Saragarhi Day in Southall
SARAGARHI DAY IN SOUTHALL THRILLS AND INSPIRES WITH DANCE, DRAMA AND REAL LIFE SUCCESS STORIES
The Public thronged to witness colourful displays and moving dramas at a spectacular interactive event at Southall Army Reserve Centre held to commemorate one of the proudest days in Sikh history, the Battle of Saragarhi. And two special visitors in particular summed up the spirit of Saragarhi – the determination to win against the odds. In a significant homecoming, Local Sikh Captain Brijinder Nijjar, who first dreamed of becoming a Army helicopter pilots while growing up down the road from the Southall Gudwara, flew in today in a British Army Apache Attack Helicopter – living proof that dreams really can come true. He was met on landing by his brother Lieutenant Harmeet Nijjar who is also currently training to be an Army Air Corps pilot. They and other Sikh service personnel spent the day offering inspiration and honest encouragement to visiting youngsters and their families, many of whom admitted they knew very little about the world class training and professional qualifications offered by the British Army.
Harmeet Nijjar said: “It can’t be the case that we are the only two people from our community who are good enough to join the Army. That’s just not true. There are a lot more out there. This is your army and everyone should know what opportunities are available.”
Brijinder Nijjar said people are surprised when he tells them he is an Army pilot. “The British Army is a home for everybody, no matter what kind of background you are from.” And he added: “I have gone from a young boy in West London to now on the verge of being a fully qualified frontline Apache attack helicopter pilot. I think that is a massive win for social mobility. The fact you can take somebody from any background and bring them to the front of a completely new area is just brilliant and more people should be encouraged to do it.”
In commemoration of the battle of Saragarhi visitors learned about the 21 Sikh soldiers who took part in the famous “last stand” against 10,000 Afghan tribesmen in 1897. The modern day Sikh Service personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force explained how they use the story of their forebears as daily inspiration in all that they do in service of our country. Celebrating our shared history and heritage is an important part of what binds military personnel serving today, giving them an enhanced sense of purpose and belonging.