Stories that motivate me often revolve around one or a group of individuals who take on a task that is seemingly impossible. Rocky Balboa went the distance in a fight he knew he was going to lose. 300 Spartans and a few thousand Greek soldiers held of a vast Persian army for a few days at Thermopylae. And 21 Sikhs fought to the death against 10,000 invading Afghans at the Battle of Saragarhi.
Image by SIKHWARS Saragarhi is a small village in present-day Pakistan. Back then, India and Pakistan were one country. During the British rule of India, the majority of the soldiers in the British Army were Indians. There was one such regiment, the 36th Sikh Regiment under the command of Colonel J. Cook. Saragarhi was part of a volatile area, where tribal Pashtuns regularly attacked British personnel. The area is still a tribal region and has been giving trouble to the Pakistani governement since Pakistan was formed.
The Battle of Saragarhi
Saragarhi post was situated between two forts created by Maharaji Ranjit Singh, ruler of the Sikh Empire, as a way to improve communication between Fort Lockhart and Fort Gullistan.
- The post consisted of a small block house with loop-holed ramparts and signalling tower.
- Pashtun uprisings began in 1897. Between August 27th and September 11th, many Pashtun attacks on the forts were thwarted by the 36th Sikh Regiment.
- The Pasthuns realized that it was Saragarhi that was relaying messages between the two major forts.
- On September 12, 1897, 10,000 Pashtuns attacked the signalling post of Saragarhi, where 21 brave Sikhs were ready to give up their lives for their duty and country.
The Secret of Inspiration
The details of the battle can be found almost anywhere on the internet. But the reason why I am talking about this battle, and why it is on Shah Training, is because of the great sense of pride and motivation it brings me when hearing such heroic stories.
The story inspires me to give all my best in any endeavor I choose. Here are a few tips to find things that inspire you to do better:
- Search for a story – Stories that are compelling and have a strong message are ones that you never forget. The message that is told in that particular story should be one that is true to your core values.
- Make it tangible – Make sure you can read it, hear it, and see it. Every time you feel you need some motivation, you should be able to go to your bookshelf to read about it, or computer to see a video about it.
- Talk about it – Telling others the story or sharing something inspirational with others will make you appreciate it even more. It’s what they say about teaching. You’re able to retain more information for yourself when you teach that information to others.
For me, what makes a story like Saragahri so great is because they followed their gut instincts and didn’t seek anyones approval to see whether they were right or wrong. They knew what they had to do and just went along and did it.
Find a way to honor the story. We have found ours by designing and intense workout to pay tribute to the 21 soldiers that passed defending India against it’s invaders.
The Saragarhi Workout
21 reps of each for time:
- Sumo Deadlift High Pull
- Push Press
- Hindu Pushups
- Kettlebell Windmill
- Kettlebell Thruster
- Squat Jumps
*Exercises may be performed in any order.
On September 12, 2008, we performed the Saragarhi Workout: