There is no doubt that Sikh women are something else, and have always stood almost shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts.
Not to say that there is no oppression or wrong things done against females in the Sikh community, but for the most part, Sikh women have been on the stronger side, not letting anyone control them.
They have been rulers, teacher, soldiers, and more for centuries now, and have contributed in a number of different ways in times of need.
Recently, I read up on the bravado of the 21 Sikhs in the Battle of Saragarhi, and the upcoming film Kesari (with Akshay Kumar and Parineeti Chopra) is certainly going to be important in shedding light on this historic battle.
But this also brought to mind that its not always Sikh men, but the community’s women too have had important roles in historic or ancient battles of India.
So here, in light of focusing on the unsung heroes, we take a look at some Sikh women who have had significant roles in Indian wars/battles:
#1. Mai Bhago
Mai Bhago, who was born around the late 1600s and lived until the mid-1700s was known for not just being an execellent homemaker, but also a strong and brave soldier.
While her mother taught her the feminine chores like sewing, cooking, etc, her father taught her a number of skills like horse-riding, archery, combat (hand-to-hand), martial arts and even the Sikh swordmanship called ‘Gatka’.
She eventually led about 40 soldiers into battle in 1705, against the Mughals who were trying to invade India. Her story becomes inspiring when you learn that the soldiers had initially left the Sikh army, but Bhago managed to rally them back into fighting against the enemy.
She then became the bodyguard of Guru Gobind Singh who was the 10th prophet of the Sikhs.
#2. Indian Sikh Women In World War 2
A lot of people still don’t recognize the contribution that Indians and Asians made in their colonized states towards the two World Wars that happened.
The British empire made extreme good use of their colonies to strengthen their army and send soldiers to far off areas that were near to their enemies.
However, in this, women are even more invisible, even though about 11,500 Indian women altogether served in the World War 2.
The contribution made by Sikh women in this war came out when historian and broadcaster Mathew Ward released this picture.
The British formed the Women’s Auxiliary Corps (India) and it was the first time women were able to enter the army. As per the tweet, women were not only involved in behind the frontline roles but also allegedly built and repaired aircrafts.
#3. Rani Sada Kaur
Sada Kaur was known to lay the foundation of the Sikh empire that went on from 1799 to 1849. Sada Kaur was born in 1762 and died in 1832, outliving her husband and even was advisor to the first emperor of the Sikh empire, Mahraja Ranjit Singh.
Apparently, one incident that is often told in her story is how after her husband died in a battle, she instead of going the stereotypical widow way, put on a turban, weapons
It is said that Sada Kaur led a lot of battles and fights which she and her army won obviously.
#4. Gulab Kaur
Another inspiring Sikh woman would be Gulab Kaur (1890-1931) who was a freedom fighter with the Ghadhar Party during the Independence struggle of India.
Although not based in India, the Ghadhar Party was based in California, Kaur was able to make a lot of difference. Apparently, she and her husband were actually moving to the Philippines, but she left her husband there and moved to be near to the party.
The party, made up majorly of Indian-Sikh people were trying to free their country from the colonial rule of the British, and in this she gave speeches to Indian passengers on boats, printed and distributed party literature, basically making people aware of the party’s motives and what was happening in India.
She decided to move back to India with her husband to take their part in the freedom struggle, however, upon entering the country she was quickly imprisoned and supposedly tortured along with the other members of the Ghadhar Party at Shahi Quila in Lahore.
It is always inspiring to read of such women who were much ahead of their time and walking shoulder-to-shoulder with their male counterparts.
Make sure to leave information of any more such amazing admirable Sikh women that we might have missed out on in the comments below.
Image Credits: Google
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