On the eve of the 70th Independence Day, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh chose to spend an evening with a battalion of the Sikh Regiment close to the Indo-Pak border at Tibri military station in Gurdaspur.
A former Indian Army Officer in the Sikh Regiment, Amarinder maintains close relations with the regiment in which he once served. He was commissioned in the 2nd Battalion of the Sikh Regiment and was the Aide de Camp to the GOC-in-C Western Command, Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh, in the 1965 Indo-Pak war.
Today, he chose to spend time with the officers and troops of the 3rd Battalion of Sikh Regiment (Rattray’s) in the lead-up to the Independence Day. Capt Amarinder inspected a Guard of Honour in the battalion and participated in a ‘Barakhana’ with the troops. He also presented a cheque of Rs 11 Lakhs for the Regimental Fund of the unit to Major General Tarlochan Singh (retd), also of the Sikh Regiment and Colonel Manish Mahindra, the Commanding Officer of 3 Sikh.
The Chief Minister interacted with the troops who were pleasantly surprised to have him amongst them. A pibe and drums ensemble presented a display for Amarinder and other guests at the battalion’s officers’ mess on the occasion along with a bhangra performance by the troops of the battalion. A ‘Gatka’ display was also made during the course of the event and a presentation about the battalion was also made to him.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Capt Amarinder Singh said that his heart is always with the Army and that it was an impromptu visit as he was already visiting Gurdaspur. “I came to know that 3 Sikh was stationed here and decided to spend this important evening with them. The last I visited this battalion was in 1964 when they were deployed in Kupwara. So I have come to them after 53 years. It is so enjoyable to see the spirit of these boys,” he said.
Amarinder said that 3 Sikh had originally been raised as the 45 Sikhs and they were raised by Capt Thomas Rattray in 1846 at Lahore. A keen military historian, Amarinder said that the battalion has ever since been known as Rattray’s Sikhs. “I will never forget this night. It has revived all those memories when I was part of the Regiment,” he said.
Sept 12 to be Saragarhi Day in Punjab
On the occasion, Capt Amarinder announced that Punjab government will observe September 12 as ‘Saragarhi Day’ every year and that this year’s function to commemorate the Battle of Saragarhi will be held that day at the Saragarhi Memorial in Ferozepur. It was on this day in 1896 that 21 soldiers of 36 Sikh Regiment and one non-combatant, laid down their lives while fighting off a tribal attack in the North West Frontier Province. Amarinder has also written a book on the Battle which he has dedicated to the Sikh Regiment.