Updated: Aug 21, 2019
The highest compliment anyone can receive is that from an opponent, particularly in war.
Maj. General Fazal Muqeem Khan was one of the founding fathers of the Pakistan army, wrote in his book 'Pakistan's Crisis of Leadership' about the bravery of the Sikh soldiers. Here are some excerpts:
... the main reason of our defeat was Sikhs soldiers facing us. We were helpless to do anything in front of them. Sikhs are very brave ... They fight so fiercely that they are capable of defeating an army many times bigger than theirs.
....On the 3rd of December 1971, deploying one of our elite infantry brigades, we attacked the Indian army near Hussainiwala border, with ferocity and vigour.
As a result within minutes we had taken control of Indian defence posts. Proceeding rapidly the Pakistani army not only pushed the Indians far back but forced the Indian army into a headlong retreat.
Our army reached near the Kausre-Hind post. There a small contingent of soldiers from the the Sikh Regiment, stopped our progress like an iron wall.
Though greatly outnumbered, the Sikhs roared 'Bole-so-Nihal' and proceeded to attack us like blood thirsty, hungry lions and hawks.
The conflict was very brutal and we had to fight very hard to gain every inch, eventually it turned into a hand-to-hand battle. The sky was filled with roars of 'Yaa Ali' and 'Sat-Siri-Akal'. The Sikhs fought so courageously that all our desires and aspirations melted away and our dreams shattered."
..... After losing many Pakistani soldiers we managed to occupy the three-storey concrete defence post. Yet the Sikhs did not give up. Rather the Sikhs went onto the upper floors and roof and kept on opposing us.
We were astonished to see the courage of those handful of Sikh soldiers. The whole night they rained fire on us, loudly and continuously shouting 'Sat-Siri-Akal'. All day and night the Sikh soldiers managed to keep us at bay.
Next day the Pakistani tanks surrounded this post and bombed it with guns. Those handful of Sikhs got martyred.
In the meantime other Sikh soldiers recouped and destroyed our tanks with the help of their artillery. Again outnumbered they then kept on marching forward and fought with great bravery. Thus our army lost its foothold.
....Alas, a handful of Sikhs converted our great victory into a big defeat and shattered our confidence and courage. .
....The same thing happened with us in Dhaka (Bangladesh). In the battle of Jaissur, the Singhs opposed the Pakistani army so fiercely that our backbone was broken and our foothold was lost.
The Sikhs, with their fearless nature, bravely mock death for the sake of safety and honour of their country. This became the main and probably the most important reason of Pakistani defeat and Indian victory.
Grudging admiration has been repeated over and over again by the Pakistani commanders in their own camp.
We remain safe and free because brave Indian soldiers, men and women from all communities are willing to die for us.
Should we not be appreciative if not grateful for their sacrifice?
For sake of brevity, the original excerpts have been edited.
* This year 2019 is the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak. His disciples are called Sikhs. Its a user friendly path for people to find spiritual freedom. The Sikhs believe in universal sister and brotherhood shunning intolerance, caste systems, rituals and idol worship.