Archive: 2017

  1. Saragarhi in 2017

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    What a year 2017 has been for this project and our longstanding efforts to narrate the story of Saragarhi to mainstream audiences.

    In January, we began the year with a special meeting with HRH The Prince of Wales (pictured) where we shared the story of Saragarhi and how the British Army are succesfully utilising this shared Anglo-Sikh heritage to engage with Indians in the UK.

    In February, we began filming for the “Saragarhi: The True Story” documentary, with several shoots in India (further details here).

    March brought special recognition for our director and filmmaker, J. Singh-Sohal, who was awarded a prestigious Sikh Jewel Award by the Defence Secretary at a glamorous gala for all his efforts over the past several years with this project (further details here).

    In April we worked alongside renowned artist Raj “Pentacullar” Tattal to produce a special edition artwork of the battle of Saragarhi.

    In May, we continued our filmmaking efforts and were thankful to connect with a heliography expert who explained to us how the signalling device was utilised by the Sikhs at Saragarhi.

    June saw speaking engagements about the battle in Leicester and in Southall.

    July and our filming working for the documentary in Pakistan led to the rediscovery of the grave of Lt Col John Haughton, the commander of the 36th Sikhs, in Peshawar.

    In August we visited New Delhi (pictured) where J. Singh-Sohal delivered a special talk and teaser of the Saragarhi film to veterans and historians at the prestigious United Services Institute.

    September marked an historic ‘Saragarhi Day’, the 5th year that the event has been hosted by the British Army in the UK, at the National Memorial Arboretum, the guest of honour was Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji, the eternal Guru of the Sikhs. Our film Saragarhi: The True Story also had it’s world premier at the event before being broadcast on KTV.

    October and we continued our tour of the film with a special screening in Birmingham.

    November saw screenings in London (Nehru Centre) and California, before an historic moment in the British Parliament with a screening and a standing ovation by Paliamentarians, the British Army and community represents in honour of the 21 at Saragarhi (pictured).

    And we ended December with a screening in New York City, at the Sikh Arts Film Festival; and in Punjab hosted by the Maharaja of Kapurthala.

    Throughout 2017 we endeavoured to share our journey with our audience through the groundbreaking “Saragarhi Live” Facebook Lives and regular blogs on this site.

    In 2018, we will continue the year with special screenings and engagement with key audiences, details to be announced. Thereafter we’ll likely take a hiatus as we prepare for our next exciting project!

    We thank you for all your support and good wishes this year – and hope you are also inspired to help tell the story of Sikh bravery and valour.

    All the best for the New Year! May it be a blessed one!


  2. Saragarhi in India

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    Fresh from our screening and speaking engagement in New York City, we were off to India for a special screening of “Saragarhi: The True Story” in Punjab.

    The journey began with the Maharaja of Kapurthala Brig. Sukhjit Singh Ahluwalia hosting the feature film at the Sainik School, which was attended by hundreds of cadets.

    The school, formerly the Jagatjit Palace and royal seat of the rulers of the princely state of Kapurthala, was a wonderful venue for the screening.

    In the below image, filmmaker J. Singh-Sohal presents a copy of the DVD of the film to the schools principal.

    We thank all those who helped arrange the event and supported our film and visits. These included to the Captain Jhaggar Singh Memorial for Flag Day, and to the inaugural Military Literature Festival in Chandigarh, where we got to speak to Armed Forces personnel and dignitaries about our work.


  3. Saragarhi in New York

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    On Saturday 2nd December, we had the pleasure of screening “Saragarhi: The True Story” in New York.

    The Sikh Art and Film Festivall (SAFF) hosted the event at the Paley Center for Media in Manhattan, which was attended by hundreds of people.

    It was a wonderful opportunity to share the feature film with an American audience for the first time and for filmmaker J. Singh-Sohal to share his journey over the many years it has taken to make the docu-drama.

    Some images from the screening are below, courtesy of SAFF.

    We thank the SAFF for all their support for the film and their continued devotion to ensuring the Sikh story is told far and wide.

  4. Saragarhi Film Receives Applause in Parliament

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    +Press Release

    14th November 2017

    Saragarhi film receives applause in Parliament

    On Tuesday 14th November 2017, the British Parliament resounded to a thunderous round of applause in honour of 21 native Indian soldiers who fought to defend British India on the unruly North West frontier in 1897.

    Parliamentarians, leading members of the British Indian community and representatives of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces gathered for a special Parliamentary launch and screening of the new docu-drama “Saragarhi: The True Story”, hosted by former Justice and Work and Pensions Minister Shailesh Vara MP.

    The film, made in honour of the Sikhs who fought at Saragarhi to mark the battle’s 120th anniversary, comes after more than seven years of research and production by Captain J. Singh-Sohal, a British Army reservist and filmmaker.

    “Saragarhi: The True Story” narrates, for the first time on film, the fate of the 21 Sikh soldiers of the 36th Sikh Regiment of Bengal Infantry who on 12th September 1897 found themselves surrounded by 10,000 enemy tribesmen during an uprising on the North West Frontier between colonial India and Afghanistan.

    The brave 21 fought to the last man despite the odds, in an engagement lasting nearly seven hours and with only limited ammunition. The battle is a significant one which was commemorated by the British with memorials in India, a battle honour for the 36th Sikh regiment that fought (now the 4th Sikh Regiment in the Indian Army) and the issue of the Indian Order of Merit class III, the highest award of gallantry at that time given to native Indians on par with the Victoria Cross, which was awarded posthumously to the 21 men.

    The documentary, filmed in India, Pakistan and the UK; tells the story with unique access to private archives, never-before-seen images, stunning visual graphics, effects and re-enactment scenes.

    Event host Shailesh Vara MP said:

    “This film rightly records the outstanding courage and bravery of Sikh soldiers fighting against the odds and paying the ultimate price.

    It is right that we remember these brave men in the Mother of Parliaments, and I congratulate Captain Jay Singh-Sohal for his commitment and dedication over many years in making this remarkable film.

    The film not only informs the public, but it will also be a valuable resource for historians in the years to come.”

    Speaking about his new film, Captain Singh-Sohal said:

    “It is a unique and fitting way to honour the memory of the men who fought at Saragarhi by remembering their bravery and valour in the very Parliament of Queen and country they were fighting for. This episode of British Indian history inspired many more Indians to serve during the first and second World Wars shoulder to shoulder with the British and troops from all over the Commonwealth. And it inspires a new generation now to commit to defending our parliamentary democracy and the values it represents.  Sharing their story in our Parliament is a tremendous honour for which I’d like to express my thanks to Mr Vara.”

    The film will now begin it’s international tour, with a screening at the “Sikh Arts and Film Festival” in New York City and events across India.

    Colonel John Kendall, from the British Army, who was part of a delegation to India that visited the Saragarhi Memorial sites added:

    “The courage and loyalty of the Sikhs as a warrior race is legendary.   For over a century and a half the British Army has been proud to serve alongside Sikhs.  We have fought together in many campaigns including the North West Frontier and the First and Second World Wars.  We have fought alongside each other to protect democracy and to rescue those in need from natural disasters.  Today we are privileged to have Sikhs serving among our ranks across Her Majesty’s Armed Forces and support the work of the British Armed Forces Sikh Association (BAFSA) who help us to promote the message of inclusivity and Sikh service in the Army.”

  5. Remembrance at the WW1 Sikh Memorial

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    On Sunday 5th November 2017, we were joined by Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant to mark Remembrance at the WW1 Sikh Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum.

    The event is a regular event, held on the first Sunday of November and before the national Remembrance Day.

  6. Forli War Cemetery

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    It’s my absolute honour and a privilege to be working with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as a trustee of their new foundation.

    As part of this endeavour, I’ve been visiting CWGC sites to discover more about the men from all over the Commonwealth who fought during WW1 and WW2.

    At Forli, I saw the impressive Indian memorial statute and found out more about the Sikh, Hindu and Muslim men who served side by side fighting for the Allies in Italy.

    I highly recommend others to make such pilgrimages to discover the stories of our forebears.

    For more information visit the CWGC website here.

  7. Saragarhi: The True Story on Tour

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    Our new film “Saragarhi: The True Story” has had a fantastic response so far – and it’s with pleasure we can announce we are going on tour to screen the film in the UK and abroad.

    More dates and information will be shared directly via our Facebook site, so do bookmark and join the page for the very latest via:

    For now, we will be screening as per the below:

    October – Birmingham
    November – London, LA
    December – New York, Punjab

    Saragarhi: The True Story is available for screening in your locality. To host or arrange a showing contact us directly via DM or on: dothyphen1 AT gmail DOT com

    Thanks for all your continued support!

    PS – the DVD of the film will be released in late November 2017 via Amazon. You can order via here.

  8. Saragarhi Day media coverage

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    Lot’s of media coverage of Saragarhi Day 2017 and our film launch at the National Memorial Arboretum. Here’s a round up of outlets and media for you to share and enjoy:
    The Times – image picture above
    BBC News Channel – link to follow
    BBC Midlands Today –
    BBC East Midlands Today – link to follow
    BBC WM –
    BBC London –
    BBC Leicester – Ushma Rose story about Lt Col John Haughton, listen below

    BBC Asian Network Debate show with Dil Neiyyar
    BBC Asian Network Reports
    BBC Radio 4 – link to follow
    ITV News – image to follow
    BBC History When 21 Sikh soldiers stood against 10,000 men: the battle of Saragarhi
    Hindustan Times Deathless in death: Saragarhi bravehearts were limited by numbers, bullets:
    The Scroll (India) British documentary wants to ensure that the epic Battle of Saragarhi is not forgotten
    History of War magazine Saragarhi: The True Story shows how heroism can overcome nationalism
    Tribune (India) Saragarhi saga captured on film:
    Asian Image Anniversary of legendary heroism of 21 British Indian Army Sikh soldiers commemorated
  9. New Saragarhi film set to be released for 120th anniversary

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    Press Release: 

    New Saragarhi film set to be released for 120th anniversary

    Following more than seven years of research and production, a long-awaited factual film about the epic Indian frontier battle of Saragarhi is being released to mark its 120th anniversary.

    “Saragarhi: The True Story” narrates, for the first time on film, the fate of the 21 Sikh soldiers of the 36th (Sikh) Regiment of Bengal Infantry who on 12th September 1897 found themselves surrounded by 10,000 enemy tribesmen during an uprising on the North West Frontier between colonial India and Afghanistan.

    The brave 21 fought to the last man despite the odds, in an engagement lasting nearly seven hours but with limited ammunition. The battle is a significant one within British frontier history as it came during the period known as the ‘Great Game’ with Russia, but in recent times it has largely been overlooked.

    Its impact was such that the British at the time created several memorials to it in Punjab, awarded a battle honour awarded to the 36th Sikh regiment that fought (now the 4 Sikh regiment in the Indian Army) and issued the Indian Order of Merit class III, the highest award of gallantry at that time given to native Indians on par with the Victoria Cross, to 56 men involved in the defence of all the Samana outposts.

    The documentary tells the story with unique access to private archives, never-before-seen images, stunning visual graphics effects and re-enactment scenes. Filming took place all over the UK, in India and Pakistan.

    For the first time groundbreaking footage was also gathered from the actual site of the ruins itself, which fall within the unruly tribal area of Pakistan. To highlight the dangers of doing so, on the day that filming took place on the Samana the Pakistan Army were combating Islamic State militants 40km north of the site in Rajgal.

    Speaking about his new film, journalist and filmmaker Jay Singh-Sohal said: “It’s been a long but fulfilling journey to research, film and promote for the first time the bravery of the 21 Sikhs at Saragarhi. It’s a personal endeavour; I’ve myself been inspired by it because it speaks to the shared history and values that make me proud to be both British and Sikh, and I know many others in my community feel the same.”

    “The Sikhs who fought for Britain on the frontier were rightly rewarded and honoured for their bravery and devotion to duty at that time, today we must continue to remember the sacrifices they and others made in such conflicts which might not be so well known but are vitally important. We must share it with others, celebrate our long and rich connection to our country, and motivate young people to learn from their historic lessons to take up such acts of public service.”

    The film will be screened on Tuesday 12th September 2017 at the official ‘Saragarhi Day’ commemoration hosted by Her Majesty’s Armed Forces which this year will be held at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. The film will be broadcast on KTV (Sky channel 858) at 9.30pm on the same day.

    A special preview of the film will be held for select guests on Wednesday 6 September at a corporate venue in London Bridge. Contact us directly to register your interest in attending.

    For more information about Saragarhi:

    History of War Magazine article

    Remember the Sikh heroes for fought for Britain

    Armed Forces commemorate Saragarhi 2015

    Saragarhi book launch at RMAS 2013

    Watch commemoration day videos:

    Saragarhi Day 2015

    Saragarhi Day 2014

    Saragarhi Day 2013