In 1845, the first Anglo-Sikh war took place and the British might very well have lost it, but for the traitorous role of the Sikh leaders and generals. The Battle of Mudki had a profound effect on the British, and they decided to incorporate the Sikhs as a part of their army. Thus in 1846 the first Sikh regiment was formed.This started a long association with the Raj, which lasted over a hundred years. The Sikhs numbering just 21 made a brave stand in 1897 at Saragrahi against a Moslem horde of 10,000 soldiers. In addition, they fought in the two wars and 83,000 Sikhs wearing the turban died for the empire.
After Independence 1947, the Sikh regiments again were in the forefront and and in wars of 1947, ’65, ’71 and 2003 acquitted themselves with honor. The fact is the Sikhs are classified as a martial race like the Cossacks and where wherever they have entered the arena, the result is only glory. Thus it will surprises no one, that the Sikh regiments have cornered nearly 75% of all gallantry awards that have been won during the 150 years since they were Incorporated. The Sikhs also won the maximum number of gallentary awards during world war II, when 83,000 sikhs wearing the turban gave their lives for a just cause.The Sikh regimental train centre is at Ramgarh in the state of Jharkhand. It houses relics of Sikh warriors like Hari Singh Nalwa. The Sikh regimental, center was earlier at Meerut
The warlike qualities of the Sikhs have not been given their due by the ruling Congress party in India after Independence, and we have the sorry spectacle of a large number of Sikh Senior officers being denied the post of the Chief of the Army general staff for flimsy reasons. The fact is that the success of the Sikhs as soldiers has not gone down well with the powers that be. In fact it started with Nehru when he superceded General Kulwant Singh and later General Harbaksh was denied the Army Chiefs position. Some atonement was made when General JJ Singh a Sikh was made the Army Chief. But despite all this the checkered history of the Sikhs cannot be erased and will live for ever.