Raising day of highest decorated regiments of Indian army-Sikh Regiment
Kanwar Inder Singh/royalpatiala.in/ Patiala
Known for their valour and famous for their war cry “Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal” ,the Sikh Regiment, an infantry regiment of the Indian Army was officially raised just before the annexation of the Sikh Empire on August 1 1846, by the British East India Company.The regiment has a very rich history of bravery, achievements.
After the First Anglo-Sikh War (1845-1846), Sikhs who lived in the territory ruled by the Sikh Empire (the Punjab region) began to be recruited into the Bengal Army of the British East India Company. Among the earliest entirely Sikh units of the Bengal Army were the Regiment of Ferozpur (raised in 1846) which later became the 14th King George’s Own Ferozepore Sikhs, and the Regiment of Ludhiana (also raised in 1846) which later became the 15th Ludhiana Sikhs.
A number of new Sikh regiments were raised, such as the 36th Sikhs and 35th Sikhs, both raised in 1887. 21 soldiers of the 36th Sikhs fought in the Battle of Saragarhi against 6,000-10,000 Pashtun tribesmen in 1897 during campaigns in the North-West Frontier, in what is considered by some military historians as one of history’s greatest last stands.
During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947-1948, the 1st battalion of the Sikh Regiment was the first unit to be airlifted to Srinagar to aid in the defence of the Kashmir Valley against Pakistani irregular forces. Battalions of the Sikh Regiment also fought in the Sino-Indian War in 1962, the Indo-Pakistani wars of 1965 and 1971, and the Kargil War in 1999.
It is the most decorated regiment of the Indian Army and in 1979, the 1st battalion was the Commonwealth’s most decorated battalion with 245 pre-independence and 82 post-independence gallantry awards, when it was transformed into the 4th battalion, Mechanised Infantry Regiment.
In all, the regiment has to its credit 1652 gallantry awards and honours including: 2 Param Vir Chakras (L/Nk. Karam Singh and Sub. Joginder Singh) ,8 Maha Vir Chakras,64 Vir Chakras, 4 Ashoka Chakras,14 Victoria Crosses,21 Indian Order of Merits,75 battle honours,38 theatre honours besides five COAS Unit Citations
21 soldiers of the 36th Sikhs were posthumously awarded the Indian Order of Merit for their actions in the Battle of Saragarhi in 1897.
Even the marching contingent that takes part in the Victory Day Parade, at Moscow in Russia, this year is led by a major rank officer of the gallant Sikh Light Infantry Regiment.