The story of 21 Sikh soldiers who died fighting against very heavy odds, while defending the Saragarhi post against an attack of nearly 10,000 Pathans is a story of “an instance of the most daring and calculated feats of bravery and devotion to duty that one reads in the history of mankind.” In the year 1897, there was general uprising in the North-West Frontier led by Mullahs. The Pathans started attacking the troops everywhere. The 36th (Now 4/11) Sikh Regiment- then only ten years old- was raised at Jullundur in 1887 under the command of Colonel Cooke- was ordered from Kohat to Fort Lockhart on the bare, scraggy hills of tribal areas. Gulistan and Saragarhi were two outposts of Fort Lock-hart. The former could be reinforced and was reinforced but Saragarhi was in a different category.On September 12, 1897 thousands of Afridis and Orakzai Pathans swarmed on the ridge and soon the two aforesaid posts were surrounded. Lieutenant Colonel Haughton, Commanding officer of Fort Lock Hart was in constant touch with Saragarhi from where signals were coming on the heliograph. This post of Saragarhi was being then manned by Havildar Ishar Singh as the Post Commander along with Naik Labh Singh, Lance Naik Chanda Singh and 18 Sepoys.This signalling post for that was its main function and a link between Gulistanand Fort Lockhart on either ends of the ridge, situated on the top of a narrow barfren hill, was a square shaped block of solid stones with long loopholes in the parapet on all sides, to enable marksmen inside to fire at any approaching enemy.One side of this stronghold was protected by an abrupt fall making any approach impossible from that direction.
The Nankana massacre (or Saka Nankana) took place in Nankana Sahib gurdwara on 20 February 1921, at that time of British India, in modern-day Pakistan. more than a dozen Sikhs were killed by the Mahant and his mercenaries. The event forms an important part of Sikh history. In political significance, it comes next only to Jallianwala Bagh massacre of April 1919. The saga constitutes the core of the Gurdwara Reform Movement started by the Sikhs in early twentieth century.