A battle won in reality but, lost in history
Yesterday, Harbinder Singh Rana of the Anglo-Sikh Heritage Trail drove me to the Cathedral at Lichfield. It was an experience, unforgettable at that, to see the Sikh Regiment colours (Standards) from the 19th century battles which the Sikh Regiments fought with extraordinary valour and passion that the Viceroy of India was ready to surrender. Sadly, the Dogra brothers – one the Chief Minister and other, the Commander-in-Chief has made deals. After supplying sesame seeds instead of gunpowder to the Sikh army men and destroying a strategic bridge before ‘their own’ Sikh regiments could cross over as part of their crucial maneuver, they conceded the battle honours to their actual masters, the British. Punjab was lost, its dignity was soiled. A battle that would have led to the demise of the British presence in India was just cruelly not to be. Imagine Punjab and even Hindustan, if the outcome of the battle had been fairly and not treacherously written..!
The Cathedral has a historic connection with Staffordshire Regiment, which is now part of the Mercian Regiment. The Sikh standards were ‘captured’ by this regiment and are displayed beneath the 19th century window. All standards are treated with respect for, as the Cathedral puts it, “the self-sacrifice associated with them, and as a reminder not to take peace for granted”.
Here are some images from my visit to the 13-centuries-old Cathedral, where I saw the colours under which the legendary General Shyam Singh of Attari fought. My salutations to all those who died fighting and say ‘disgrace’ to the cheats of the battle. Make sure, when you visit the UK next, you visit the Cathedral of Lichfield.
A few images: