This viral picture has been among the most shared pictures of Sikh soldiers on social media. It is often related to the Battle of Saragarhi when in fact it was taken much before that. The picture was taken in 1860 of the Ludhiana Sikh Regiment fighting in the Opium Wars in China for the British Empire. The picture is not of any Sikh soldier from the Battle of Saragarhi but from the Ludhiana regiment stationed in China.
Historians from the SIKHWARS group point out that:
“Men of the Loodiaah (Ludhiana) Sikh Regiment in China, Circa 1860. One of the most profitable exports from East India Company’s possession was opium, a drug that was sold to addicts in China. When Chinese attempted action against the agents selling the drugs, the reaction was always the same – violence. Despite the termination of the East India Company’s mandate, the British Government continued the trade and the armed aggression against the Chinese. The three conflicts which ensued are called the Opium wars for that reason.”