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Havildar Ishar Singh Age, Wife, Death, Family, Biography & More

Havildar Ishar Singh's Portrait

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Bio/Wiki
ProfessionSoldier
Famous ForBeing portrayed by Akshay Kumar in the film 'Kesari' (2019)
Akshay Kumar As Havildar Ishar Singh In Kesari
Career
ServiceBritish Army
Rank Havildar (Sergeant)
Unit/Regiment36th Sikh Regiment
Awards, HonoursIndian Order of Merit Class III (posthumously)
Personal Life
Date of BirthNot Known
BirthplaceJagraon tehsil, Ludhiana district, Punjab
Date of Death12 September 1897
Place of DeathTirah, North-West Frontier Province, British India (now Pakistan)
Age (at the time of death)Not Known
Death CauseMartyred
Zodiac sign/Sun signSagittarius
NationalityIndian
HometownJagraon tehsil, Ludhiana district, Punjab
ReligionSikhism
CasteJat
Relationships & More
Marital Status (at the time of death)Married
Marriage PlaceJagraon, Ludhiana district, Punjab
Family
Wife/SpouseName Not Known
ParentsNames Not Known

Some Lesser Known Facts About Ishar Singh

  • Ishar was born into an agricultural family of Ludhiana.
  • He always wanted to be a soldier and joined the Punjab Frontier Force when he was around 18 years old.
  • He spent the majority of his life on the battlefield under regimental number 165. He was drafted in the 36th Sikhs Regiment soon after it was raised in 1887.

    The 36th Sikhs Regiment Soldiers in 1896

    The 36th Sikhs Regiment Soldiers in 1896

  • According to British historian Major General James Lunt,

    Ishar Singh was a somewhat turbulent character whose independent nature had brought him more than once into conflict with his military superiors. Thus, Ishar Singh —in camp, a nuisance, in the field magnificent.”

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  • In August 1897, 5 companies of the 36th Sikhs lead by Lt. Col. John Haughton were sent to the North West Frontier Province and positioned at Samana Hills, Kurag, Sangar, Sahtop Dhar, and Saragarhi.

    Saragarhi On Map

    Saragarhi On Map

  • A contingent of the 21 Sikhs under Havildar Ishar Singh was positioned at Saragarhi. The Saragarhi post, located on a rocky ridge, is a small village in the border district of Kohat, now in Pakistan. This post was a communication post between Fort Lockhart and Fort Gulistan and was often targeted by the Afghans and Orakzai tribesmen; as it was a key communication post.

    The 36th Sikhs Regiment Soldiers

    The 36th Sikhs Regiment Soldiers

  • On 12 September 1897, at around 9:00 am, Gurmukh Singh, a signalman of the regiment, signalled to Lieutenant Colonel John Haughton that around 6,000 to 10,000 Afghans are heading towards the Fort Lockhart, however, Haughton couldn’t do much; as he himself was sieged, and therefore, wasn’t able to send any additional forces.

    Havildar Ishar Singh With His Troops

    Havildar Ishar Singh With His Troops

  • Even though there was no realistic way to even give a fight, Havildar Ishar Singh and his troop chose to fight the “Battle of Saragarhi” to death. All the 21 Sikhs fought their hearts out and killed around 200 Afghans before they succumb to their injuries.

    Battle Of Saragarhi

    Battle Of Saragarhi

  • The 21 Sikh soldiers fought around 8 hours, without food and water. Even when they ran out of ammunition, they didn’t stop and ended in a hand-to-hand fight till their last breath.

    The Ruins Of Saragarhi

    The Ruins Of Saragarhi

  • After Havildar Ishar Singh’s death, his wife was killed by his brother, who was imprisoned at Kala Pani (Andaman and Nicobar).
  • Two Saragarhi Memorial Gurudwaras,  one in Ferozepur and the other one in Amritsar, was made to honour the 21 Sikh soldiers who belonged to the 36th Sikh Regiment.

    Saragarhi Memorial Gurudwara, Amritsar (left) and Saragarhi Memorial Gurudwara, Ferozepur(right)

    Saragarhi Memorial Gurudwara, Amritsar (left) and Saragarhi Memorial Gurudwara, Ferozepur(right)

  • Every year, 12 September is celebrated as the “Saragarhi Day” in honour of the 21 brave Sikh soldiers.
  • After him, nobody from his family joined the Army due to various reasons.
  • There have been a number of biopics on Havildar Ishar Singh. The most popular among them is the film ‘Kesari’ (2019), where Akshay Kumar portrayed his role.

    Havildar Ishar Singh's Role Portrayed By Randeep Hooda (left), Akshay Kumar (centre), and Mohit Raina (right)

    Havildar Ishar Singh’s Role Portrayed By Randeep Hooda (left), Akshay Kumar (centre), and Mohit Raina (right)

  • People often confuse Havildar Ishar Singh with Captain Isher Singh who was a soldier in the British Indian Army.
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