August 2023

Hari Singh Nalwa (biography)

Hari Singh Nalwa

Hari Singh Nalwa: The Fearless General of the Sikh Empire

IntroductionHari Singh Nalwa, the Fearless General of the Sikh Empire, is renowned for his unmatched courage, strategic brilliance, and unwavering dedication to the Sikh cause. Hari Singh Nalwa emerged as one of the most formidable military leaders of his time. This article delves into the life, achievements, and legacy of Hari Singh Nalwa, shedding light on his military campaigns, administrative abilities, and his indelible impact on the Sikh Empire.

Early Life and Rise to Prominence: Hari Singh Nalwa was born in 1 October, 1791 AD, at Gujranwala. , he is belong to the  Uppal khatri family.  His ancestors were belong from majithia  and served Sukarchakia misl . His grandfather ( Sardar Bishan Singh) was martyred from Ahmad Shah Abdali’s army at a place called Kopar Hira.  His father S. Gurdial Singh was commander of the forces of sukarchakiya misl. He was barely seven when his father died.  mata dharam kaur takes him to her parents house ,  gave full attention to his education , horsemanship and weapon training. hari singh nalwa ji known these languages:  english , farsi, Pashto.

Meeting with Maharaja Ranjit Singh: In the Basant Panchami Darbar of 1805 AD, Maharaja Ranjit Singh saw Hari Singh, who used weapons in a professional way. Maharaja Ranjit Singh recruited him as one of his personal attendants. Once, when he went hunting in the forest with Maharaja Ranjit Singh, he saw a lion there! Hari Singh said to Maharaja Ranjit Singh that I have the right to fight him before you, and Hari Singh stepped forward to face the lion, but the sword was out of his hand at that time. What he did was astonishing! They hunted that lion with their kirpan and tore his jaw in half! While the pressure of the lion’s jaw is 900 pounds to 1100 pounds per square! From this, you can guess how much life will be in their arms.

Meeting with the English officer: An English officer said in his biography that when we were going to meet Hari Singh Nalwa ji, we were imagining in our minds that the Sikh fighters were great, but they would be silly and artless. We will trap this in our diplomacy. But when we met with Hari Singh Nalwa, his level of knowledge was so high that the ground slipped under our feet. They opened the secrets of the East India Company in front of us—the secret things our main leadership did not tell the rest of the officers and the army. All the usual tactics fail in the face of This was the status of Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa.

Military Genius and Battlefield Victories: Hari Singh Nalwa’s military genius and battlefield victories solidified his reputation as an unmatched warrior. Nalwa had successful experience in multiple battles, defeating Afghan tribes and kings. Like the battle of Kasur (1807), Sialkot (1808), Attack (1813), Multan (1818), Shopian (1819), Mangal (1821), Nowshera (1823), Sirikot (1824), Sayu (1827), Peshawar (1837), and Jamrud (1837), This section explores his strategic brilliance, tactical acumen, and remarkable triumphs in numerous battles and campaigns. From the fierce battles in the northwestern frontier regions to the conquest of key territories, Hari Singh Nalwa’s leadership played a pivotal role in expanding the Sikh Empire’s boundaries.


Battle of Kasur (1807): Hari Singh’s first significant participation in the Sikh conquest, leading an independent force, was during the capture of Qasr in 1807. The location has long been an embarrassment to Ranjit Singh’s power, as it is close to Ranjit Singh’s capital city of Lahore. He was caught on his fourth attempt. The attack was led by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Jodh Singh Ramgarhia. During the campaign, Sardar displayed remarkable courage and dexterity. Sardar was awarded the Order of Jagir in recognition of his achievements.

Battle of Sialkot (1807):Ranjit Singh appointed Hari Singh Nalwa to retake Sialkot from the ruler Jiwan Singh. This was his first battle under independent command. The two armies fought for several days, eventually being won by 17-year-old Hari Singh. Narwa led his army to victory and planted a Sikh flag atop the fort.

Battle of Attock(1813): Fort Attock was an important supply point for all armies crossing the Indus. In the early 19th century, Afghans appointed by the Kingdom of Kabul took control of the fort and much of the territory along the frontier. The battle was fought against Wazir Fateh Khan and his brother Dost Mohammad Khan on behalf of Shah Mahmud of Kabul, under the command of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s general Dewan Mokam Chand, against Sikh on the banks of the Indus River. The Christians fought and won. Besides Hari Singh Nalwa, Hukam Singh Ataliwala, Sham Singh, Khalsa Fateh Singh Alwalia and Behmam Singh Mariwala took active part in this battle. With Atok’s conquest, the neighboring regions of Hazara-i-Kallag and Gandgarh became Sikh tributaries. In 1815 Sherbaz Khan of Gundgar challenged the authority of Hari Singh Narwa and was defeated.

Conquest of Mahmudkot (1816) : In preparation for the conquest of the heavily fortified Mankhela, Maharaja Ranjit his Singh decided to approach Mankhela from its southern tip. After Baisakhi in 1816, Topkarna headed for Mahmudkot, accompanied by seven Parthans, Misl Diwan Chand, Ilahi Bakhsh, Fateh Singh Arwalia, Nihal Singh Attaliwala and Hari Singh Nalwa. When news of the conquest arrived, the Maharaja was overjoyed at the success of Sikh weapons and celebrated this victory by firing cannons. Two years later, on the way to Multan, the Sikhs captured the forts of Khangarh and Muzaffargarh.

Peshawar becomes a tributary (1818): When Shah Mahmud’s son Shah Kamran murdered Balakzai Wazir Fateh Khan in August 1818, the Sikhs took advantage of the ensuing turmoil and an army formally crossed the Indus and entered the kingdom of Kabul (now Afghanistan). entered the summer capital of Peshawar. first time. Hari Singh Nalwa was then entrusted to Peshawar to maintain and keep the pressure on the Sikh.

Mita Tiwana becomes Jagir (1818): In early 1819 Hari Singh accompanied Lord Diwan Chand to collect tribute from the Nawabs of Mankhela. Having completed his mission, Diwan Chand crossed the Chenab River with Topkana and set up camp at Pindi Batian near Siniot. He was asked to leave Hari Singh stationed outside Nurpur and Mita Tiwana. Hari Singh must have achieved great success. This was because the Maharajah had just given Sardar all the possessions of the Tiwana chief in Jagir.

Kashmir becomes part of Punjab (1819): In April 1819 Sikh forces marched on Kashmir. On this occasion, Prince Karak Singh took the nominal command. Misl Diwan Chand led the vanguard and Hari Singh Nalwa acted as the rear guard to support the lead forces. The 3rd Division, under the personal command of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, quickly transported supplies and handed them over to the frontline units. On the morning of July 5, 1819, Sikh formations advanced to the sound of trumpets. Heavy fighting broke out between the two armies, and the Sikhs conquered Kashmir. Cheers erupted in Sikh camps and the cities of Lahore and Amritsar lit up for three nights in a row. Thus ended five centuries of Muslim rule in Kashmir. Two years later, as governor of Kashmir, Hari Singh Nalwa put down a rebellion by one of the most vexing Haha chieftains, Ghulam Ali.

Battle of Pakhli (1819): Under Afghan rule, the Hazara-i-Kallag, Gandhar and Ghahal regions were ruled from Attok. Kashmir income was collected from Pakuri, Damtaur and Darband. Several attempts by Sikhs to make money from the Hazara-e-Kallag have not only failed, but have resulted in the loss of prominent Sikh rulers and commanders. After the Sikh conquest of Kashmir, tribute was paid from Pakri, Damtaur and Darband.[49] Returning from the Kashmir Valley to the Punjab plains, Hari Singh and his companions followed the traditional Kafila (caravan) route through Pakuri to collect tribute from the region. The Sikh demand for Nasrana has, as usual, resulted in “fighting and grievances.” However, the party succeeded in their mission.

Battle of Mangal (1821): Hari Singh’s greatest success in the Hazara area came two years later. Having successfully completed his duties as Governor-General of Kashmir, he left the valley and crossed the Kishanganga River at Muzaffarabad with 7000 infantry. Hari Singh Narwa successfully traversed the dangerous mountainous terrain, but when he reached Mangal he found his entourage blocking his path. Mangal, Urasa’s ancient capital, was home to the chieftains of the Jadun tribe, who now rule over the entire Damtaur territory. Hari Singh required the tribesmen to pass through his territory, but taxed all Kashmiri goods and treasures they brought back. All merchant Kafir pay this toll. Hari Singh’s assertion that the goods he carried was not for trading purposes was not accepted. When negotiations failed, we had to go to war. Hari Singh then joined the Sikh forces in preparation for an attack on Mankhela, but after he collected fines from all the houses and built a fort near here.

Battle of Mankera (1822): Sindh Sagar Doab was ruled mainly by Mankhela and Mita Tiwana. A relative of the Durrani sect, Nawab Hafiz Ahmad Khan, had great influence in the region. Besides Manquera, he commanded a large area defended by twelve forts. As Afghan control of Kabul weakened, Attok, Mankhela, Mita Tiwana, and Hushab governorates declared independence. Ranjit Singh celebrated Dushera Ravi in 1821 at Shedera across the river. The governor of Kashmir, Hari Singh, was most familiar with the area to which the maharajah now had his eyes. Narwa was hurriedly summoned to join the Lahore army en route to the Indus. The Maharajah and his army were crossing the Jhelam River when Hari Singh Nalwa joined Mita Tiwana with the Kashmir platoon. In early November, the Sikhs launched an offensive operation.

Nawab Muhammad Khan, the predecessor of Nawab Hafiz Ahmad, established Mangera in 12 forts: Hyderabad, Maujigarh, Fatehpur, Pipal, Dariya Khan, Kanpur, Jandawara, Karol, Dhrewala, Bakar, Dingana and Chauvala. surrounded. Sikh forces captured these forts and soon became the only place Mangera itself could conquer. A few years ago, Mankhela’s Nawab was an active participant in the reduction of Mita Tiwana. The Tiwanans, now vassals of Hari Singh Nalwa, took an enthusiastic part in giving back to the Nawab. The force was divided into his three parts (his one column under the command of Hari Singh) and each column entered Mangera’s territory by a different route. The three columns met near Mankhela Town and captured various points along the way. Mankhela is besieged and Narwa’s forces are to the west of the fort.

Nawab Dera was allowed to go to Ismail Khan and given to him as a jagir. His descendants occupied the area until 1836.

Battle of Naushera (Naushera): “Hari Singh Nalwa wears full armor and assumes a military stance.”
first Sikh entered Peshawar in 1818 but did not occupy the area. They were content to collect tribute from Yal Muhammad, governor of Balaksay. Asim Khan, the half-brother of Yar Muhammad of Kabul, who completely denied any favors for the Sikhs, decided to march at the head of a large army to prove the honor of the Afghans. Azim Khan wanted to avenge the pleas of the Peshawar brothers and the loss of Kashmir, he thought. Hari Singh Narwa was the first to cross the Indus at Attok and reached the Sikh garrison at Khairabad. He was accompanied by Dewan Kirpa Ram, the Maharajah’s teenage son Khalsa Shah Singh, and 8,000 soldiers.

Afghan forces were expected near Naushera on the banks of the Kabul (Landai) river. Hari Singh’s immediate plan was to capture the Fort Yousafzai of Jahangira, north of Randai, and Hattak territory of Akora Hattak, to the south. Jahangira is a masonry fortress with very sturdy towers, to which the Yousafzais of Afghanistan made a tough promise.

After Hari Singh had successfully reduced the Afghan tribal strongholds on either side of the river, Ranjit Singh departed from the fort of Attock. He crossed the Landai River at a ford below Akora, and set up his camp near the fort of Jehangira. The famous army commander Akali Phula Singh and Gurkha commander Bal Bahadur, with their respective troops, accompanied the Maharaja. The Afghan Barakzais witnessed the battle from across the river. They were not able to cross the Landai river.[54] Eventually, the inheritors of Ahmed Shah Abdali’s legacy withdrew from the area, toward the direction of Jalalabad.

Battle of Sirikot (1824): Less than ten miles north-west of Haripur is Sirikot. The village of Mashwani was strategically placed in a valley on top of the north-eastern peak of the Gandhgarh range, making its protected location a haven for rebel warlords from across the region. Before the rains of 1824, Hari Singh Nalwa marched towards Sirikot. It was another six months before the effort yielded decisive results. Sardar almost lost his life in this campaign. In the winter of 1824, Ranjit Singh’s military campaign was planned towards Peshawar and Kabul. While stationed at Wazirabad, he received an arji (written petition) from Sardar Hari Singh , informing him that he and his men were outnumbered by one Sikh to ten Afghanis. Ranjit Singh proceeded to [Rohtas], thence to Sirikot via [Rawalpindi] and [Sarai Kala]. On news of the approach of the Sikh army, the Afghans retreated.

Battle of Saidu (1827): Portrait of Hari Singh Nalwa wearing a red turban, leaning on a baluster and armed with a black-sheathed sword.
Yusufzai’s savior came in the form of Syed Ahmad , who despite being a ‘Hindaki’ was accepted as their leader. Buddha Singh Sandhanwalia, a force of 4,000 cavalry, was deployed towards Attock to help suppress the Yusufzai rebellion. The Maharaja’s brief required him to go to Peshawar and collect tribute from Yar Mohammad Khan Barakzai. Buddha Singh first heard of Syed after crossing the Indus and encamping near the fort of Khairabad. Ranjit Singh was still ill when the news reached him of Syed’s arrival at the head of a large army of Yusufzai peasants. Yusufzai’s heroic defense at the Battle of Nowshera was still vivid in his mind. On receiving this news, he immediately mobilized all the troops he could muster and immediately marched towards the border.

Although the Barakzais of Peshawar outwardly professed allegiance to the Sikhs, in reality they were with other Afghans. The Sayyids marched from Peshawar to Nowshera. Sardar Buddha Singh wrote to the Syed and explained his intentions. Syed replied that he wanted to take the fort of Attock first and engage Buddha Singh in the battle.

Hari Singh Nalwa was guarding the fort of Atta with the intention of preventing the Sayyid and his men from crossing the river until reinforcements arrived from Lahore. The news of Syed’s number of Jihadis in the thousands reached the Sikhs. On 14 Fagun (23 February) 1827, a war broke out between the Syeds and the Sikhs. The operation started from around 10 am. Sikhs say Allah hu akbar, or “God is great,” bole so nihal, sat shri akal, or “those who affirm the name of God, the only immortal truth, will be fulfilled.” . Ironically, the opposing forces claimed the glory of the same Almighty God, before they started killing each other, in different languages. The shooting continued for about two hours. The Sikhs charged their opponents, routed them and continued the victorious pursuit for six miles with all their guns, revolvers and camp equipment. 150,000

Capture of Peshawar (1834): The capture of the great city of Peshawar and its ruined fort, Bala Hisar, shows that the region was a reflection of the great prestige of Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa. Masson reached Peshawar just in time for the capture of the city by the Sikhs. According to his eyewitness accounts, the Afghans withdrew from the region and took control of Peshawar without a struggle from Hari Singh Nalwa.

Dost Muhammad Khan withdrew (1835): Hari Singh Nalwa was the governor of Peshawar when Dost Mohammad came in person at the head of a large army to challenge the Sikhs. After defeating Shah Shuja at Kandahar, in the first quarter of 1835, Dost Mohammad proclaimed himself Padshah (King), called for jihad and set out from Kabul to capture Peshawar from the Sikhs. Ranjit Singh directed his generals to entertain the Afghans through negotiations and win over Sultan Mohammad Khan. He instructed them that without reason, if attacked, not to make a general engagement until they arrived.

Hari Singh Nalwa and other Sikh chieftains requested Ranjit Singh to be allowed to have relations with the Afghans. 30 Baisakh (10 May 1835), Sardar Hari Singh, Raja Gulab Singh, Misr Sukh Raj, Sardar Attar Singh Sandhanwalia, Jamadar Khushal Singh, Raja Kalan (Dhyan Singh), Mahashay Adalat, Signor Avitabile, Sardar Tej Singh, Dhunkal Singh, Artillery Elahi Bakhsh, Sardar Jawla Singh and Sardar Lehna Singh Majithia were ordered to move. The army spread out in five divisions and formed a semi-circle in front of the Amir’s camp. Sardar Hari Singh proposed that the water of twelve rivers flowing towards Dost Mohammad Khan’s camp should be dammed. When the Ghazis appeared, Sardar Hari Singh started firing his guns. However, the Maharaja forbade him to participate in the war and sent his lawyers to negotiate with the Amir.

Dost Mohammad Khan was assured that the Sikhs would enforce a truce as long as their advocates were not in his camp. He accused Fakir Aziz-ud-Din of “using much language, many leaves but few fruits”. With Jabbar and Sultan both half-brothers lost beyond reach, Dost Mohammad decided to retire from the field with his entire army, weapons and equipment. He left at night, ensuring that the Fakirs would not return to the Sikh camp until he passed through the Khyber Pass.

Battle of Michni
A Hindu once complained about the theft of his spouse by Dela Khan of Michni while Hari Singh Nalwa was hunting in the vicinity of Michni with 100 horsemen. Later more Hindus came forward about the atrocities of Khan. Learning about all this, Hari Singh Nalwa  agreed to help the Hindus.

He attacked the Khan’s residence at night with his 100 horsemen. Dela Khan’s army numbered over 5,000, but he fought with only 500 men in the first half of the war. There are two accounts of what happened next. First it is mentioned that Dela Khan was killed in battle and then his son attacked the Sikhs with the rest of the army, in which he was also killed. Another says that the Khan apologized and offered to return the bride, only to be punished.

The bride was returned to her husband and both converted to Sikhism. The bride was Bibi Harsharan Kaur, a Sikh who later became chief during the martyrdom of Harisingh Nalwa.

Brahmin in Hari Singh Nalwa’s court: When Maharaja Ranjit Singh ji had won the area of Michni and built a fort there, and Hari Singh Nalua ji was holding his court, then a Brahmin in the court came with a request, Sardar Saab, that we were going to take our son‘s marriage. On the way, Pathana will pick up our bride, and they have to take her and hand her over to their leader, and we know that whenever Pathans pick up a girl and, after being raped with her, they kill her. So she never came back to her family. Hari Singh ji asked the Brahmin how many Pathans were there and how many were Baratis. And the Brahmin replied that there were 5 Pathans and 50–60 Baratis. Hearing this, Hari Singh smiled and said, If 50 of you did not save the honour of the house, then the same situation would have happened to you. So Hari Singh ji attacked the Pathan area, taught them a lesson, and brought the baby to safety, and now it was time for the lady to go. Hari Singh Nalwa ji says to the girl, “Sister What if we have taken care of you? Now you can go to your home with your husband.” That lady caught the word sister and said, General, you called me your sister. And I have accepted you as my brother, and you did not send me with such a fool, a jackass; you [her husband] did not want to save my respect before, and even now, you will save me today. If someone like this kind of animal picks me up again, no one will say whether they will pick up anyone’s sister-in-law or anyone’s wife. Everyone has to say that Hari Singh has taken Nalua’s sister away. I don’t want to go with those who don’t protect my honour. At that time, that girl did amrit paan and became a Sikhni, so her name was kept as Bibi Harsharan Kaur.

Jamrud (Khyber Pass) (1836): After Dussehra celebrations at Amritsar in October 1836, Hari Singh made a surprise attack on the village of Jamrud at the mouth of the Khyber Pass. The owner of this village, Misha Khel Khyberi, was famous for his excellent marksmanship and complete disregard for any authority. Hari Singh Nalwa’s first encounter with this tribe was after the battle of Nowshera when he pursued the fugitive Azim Khan; And again, when he chased Dost Mohammad Khan in 1835.

The capture of Jamrud was strongly opposed but the place was taken by surprise. On its capture, Hari Singh Nalwa ordered to strengthen the position without delay. A small fort, which now exists, was soon repaired. The news of this incident immediately reached Kabul. In a letter dated October 31, 1836, Mason informed Wade of frontier developments. With Jamrud’s victory at the mouth of the Khyber, the boundaries of the Sikh empire lay at the foot of the Hindu Kush. mountain

Captured Darya e Khehbar: Being the governor of Peshawar, Hari Singh Nalwa ji had built a network of many forts and had built many new forts and repaired some of them when Nazar Khan came to know that Hari Singh had captured Darya-e-Khebar. And he said to his son, Pack your bag; we have to go from here now, and he told his son, We are running away from here because we can’t fight in front of him. And that son goes to take his fiancee, and he says that we should leave this area because Hari Singh Nalwa has reached here. Bano said, You used to say that when I shoot an arrow, no enemy comes to fight with me. I had promised to marry you because you are the strongest of all the Pathans of Dariya and Khehbar, but you turned out to be a coward. The boy says now is not the time to fight, so let’s get the bag ready quickly. The girl said that she wants to see who the general is that you are afraid of. The boy explains to the girl that it is not safe for you to go there because Hari Singh is our enemy. But soon she fulfilled her insistence, and Bano reached Hari Singh Nalwa’s destination. Bano asked, Who are you? And Hari Singh Ji would reply that I am the son of Guru Nanak. Bano said, Why have you occupied our territory? So Hari Singh Nalua replied that we did not occupy anyone’s territory; we just protected our own territory. Bano Kehandi, did I wish that I would marry a brave man and a Sikh general? I want a brave son like you to be born from my womb. And Hari Singh replied that the son may not be to your liking, but pray to Allah that he will follow good principles. Bano says I want to marry you, and then a general like you will be born from my womb. At that time, Hari Singh Nalwa was married, and he had two sons and a daughter! And he tells Bano this and says, Of course you are married, but I want a son from you! You married me. Hari Singh Nalwa got angry after hearing this, and Hari Singh Nalwa grabbed his sword and said, Escape from here as soon as possible; I know you have come to test the Sikhs. The girl started to know that there were tears in her eyes, and she stopped at the door as she was leaving and said, I heard that no one leaves Guru Nanak’s house empty-handed, and you are letting me go empty-handed! Hari Singh Nalwa asks for his name, and Bano says her name! And Hari Singh ji placed the chadar on the woman’s head, and Hari Singh Nalwa said with his hands that you wanted a son like me to be born from your womb! So from today on, I am your son. At that time, Hari Singh Nalwa was over 42 years old, and Bano was 20 years old! Bano had tears in her eyes after hearing this! It started to be said that I had heard stories of Singha’s high character, and now I have seen it! Bano decided to become a Sikh! She was named Bibi Bhano Ji!

Defeat of Panjtar (1836): The defeat at Khyberis sent shock waves through the Afghans. Hari Singh Nalwa, accompanied by Kanwar Sher Singh, now advanced towards the Yusafzai forts north-east of Peshawar, which held off tribute for three years. The Sikhs defeated Yusufzai, their chief Fateh Khan of Panjtar lost his territory. It was reported that 15,000 Mulkiya fled before the Sikhs, many were killed and the rest took refuge in the hills. After burning Panjtar to the ground, Hari Singh returned to Peshawar with all arrears of revenue realized. Fateh Khan was released on condition of being forced to sign an agreement to pay ransom. Fireworks were set off when news of Panjtar’s victory reached the Lahore court.

Sarvala: Even today, when someone gets married, a sarbala must be made, and he is also dressed in the same clothes as the groom! But have you ever thought about why it was prepared? In fact, a married boy is called Var, and a girl is called Bala! That’s why the word became a word! Hindu intellectuals had found a way when the brats were looted like this! When the bridegroom went, they were attacked to steal their jewels, and the groom was killed for saving the bride. So they found a solution: they will prepare a boy as a groom; he will be of his age; he will be kept behind the barat; if the groom dies, he will be married to a girl! The boy’s name was Sarvala.

Successful Jarnail of the World: In 1881, when an Englishman started writing about the successful generals of the world, he bowed his head while writing the name of Hari Singh Nalwa and said that his great general would be Sikandar or Jungez Khan, but in my eyes, Hari Singh Nalwa would be the bravest general. Because he said that every warrior who came to Darya e Khehbar was defeated, and only Hari Singh Nalwa ji conquered him! Another Englishman says that if the English army was with Hari Singh Nalwa, he could have conquered the whole world.

Attack on Kasoor by Maharaj Ranjit Singh: On February 10, 1807 AD. When gunfire failed to have any impact on the wall of the fort, Hari Singh planted gunpowder under the walls on the night of February 27 and blew them up in three places. Having made the gaps,  the Khalsa entered the fort with swords drawn out. In the ensuing battle, the soldiers of the Sher Dil regiment captured Nawab Kutab ul Din Khan Alive. As a mark of appreciation for the bravery and fearlessness of Hari Singh, the Maharaja granted him a feoff of thirty thousand rupees a year and made him the commander of eight hundred horsemen

Command of the Khyber Pass: One of Hari Singh Nalwa’s most notable achievements was his command over the strategically vital Khyber Pass. This section delves into his successful defence and management of the pass because he prevented Afghans from entering Punjab through the Khyber Pass, which was the main route that foreign invaders used at the time of his death. The western boundary of the empire was Jamrud, which not only ensured the security of the Sikh Empire’s western frontier but also established a lasting Sikh presence in the region. His leadership and ability to forge alliances with local tribes were crucial to maintaining control over this crucial trade route.

Administration and Governance: Hari Singh’s administrative rule covered one-third of the Sikh Empire. He served as Governor of Kashmir (1820–21), Greater Hazara (1822–1837) and was twice appointed Governor of Peshawar (1834–5 and 1836–his death). He worked with the Khalsa Sena, in many aspects of administration under the leadership of the Sikh Brahmin ‘Raja Mahan Singh Mirpuri’ 2 .

Hari Singh Nalwa was required to manage his vast jagir spread across the kingdom in his private capacity. He was sent to the most troubled parts of the Sikh Empire to create a “tradition of vigorous and efficient administration”. The territories under his control later became part of the British districts of Peshawar, Hazara (Pakhli, Damtaur, Haripur, Darband, Gandgarh, Dhund, Karal and Khanpur), Attock (Chachch, Hasan Abdal), Jehlum (Pindi Geb, Katus). Mianwali (Kachhi), Shahpur (Upper, Mitha Tiwana and Noorpur), Dera Ismail Khan (Bannu, Taki and Kundi), Rawalpindi (Rawalpindi, Kallar) and Gujranwala. In 1832, at the special request of William Bentick, His Majesty proposed a fixed schedule of duties for all his territories. Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa was one of the three persons appointed to fix duty from Attock (on the Indus) to Philaur (on the Sutlej). 

In Kashmir, however, Sikh rule was generally considered repressive, perhaps protected by Kashmir’s remoteness from the capital of the Sikh Empire at Lahore. The Sikhs enacted several anti-Muslim laws, the death penalty for cow slaughter, the closure of the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar,  and the banning of the Azan, the public Muslim prayer. Kashmir now began to attract European visitors, many of whom wrote of the poverty of the vast Muslim peasantry and the excessive taxation under Sikh rule.

Sikh rule was an exception in later political history in a land dominated by Muslims for centuries. Rule by an ‘infidel’ was the worst form for Muslims.[84] Before the arrival of the Sikhs in Kashmir (1819), the Afghans ruled there for 67 years. For Muslims, Sikh rule was a dark period in the history of the place, while for Kashmiri Pandits (Hindus) it was no worse than Afghan rule. The Sikh conquest of Kashmir was motivated by its appeal to its Hindu population. Oppressed Hindus were forcibly converted, their women were raped, their temples were desecrated and cows were slaughtered. Efforts by Sikhs to maintain peace in remote areas were forced to close mosques and ban calls to prayer as Muslim clerics whipped the population into a frenzy by calling for ‘jihad’ at every pretext. Cow slaughter (sacred cows) offended the religious sentiments of the Hindu population and was punishable by death in the Sikh Empire. In Peshawar, Hari Singh’s methods were most appropriate, given the “distress of the outcast tribes… and the geographical and political exigencies of the situation”.

Relations with Local Tribes and Powers: Hari Singh Nalwa skillfully navigated relations with the local tribes and powers in the regions under his influence. This section delves into his diplomatic endeavours, alliances, and negotiations with Pashtun tribes, Afghan rulers, and other regional powers. His ability to foster peaceful coexistence and maintain stability in the region contributed significantly to the Sikh Empire’s success.

Contributions to Sikh Architecture and Infrastructure: Hari Singh Nalwa’s patronage of art, architecture, and infrastructure development is a testament to his visionary leadership. This section explores his contributions to the construction of forts, palaces, and other architectural marvels, which not only served defensive purposes but also showcased the grandeur of the Sikh Empire. Additionally, his focus on infrastructure development, such as roads and irrigation systems, further facilitated the empire’s expansion and prosperity.

Conquest of Multan (1818): One of Hari Singh Nalwa’s remarkable military achievements was the conquest of Multan, a strategically important city in present-day Pakistan. In the Multan campaign of 1810 AD, the Maharaja observed that cannon fire was having no effect on the walls of the fort with gunpowder. Hari Singh Nalwa was the first to come forward for the job. Under the shower of bullets, he went ahead and placed gunpowder under the walls. After the fall of the wall, Nawab Muzzafar Khan got burning pots thrown at the Singhs from inside the fort. One pot fell on Hari Singh, which caused him severe injustice. After the victory of Multan, the Maharaja increased his feoff.

Disorder spread in Kashmir: In 1819 AD, the Maharaja annexed Kashmir to Khalsa rule and appointed Diwan Moti Ram as its governor. Due to his kind nature, disorder spread in the state of Diwan Moti Ram, its governor. Due to his kind nature, disorder spread in the state. Hari Singh was appointed governor in his place on August 20, 1820 AD. He first of all brought to book all those who were defying the state. Second, he reduced the rate of land revenue, due to which the landowners started depositing the revenue on their own accord without any force. Third, he abolished forced labour, which the farmers had to do for government officials at the cost of losing their own crops. Fourth, he abolished the tax on marriages, births, and engagements that was previously in force. Fifth, he provided financial assistance to increase the production of saffron and fine wool. Sixth, he standardised weights and measures. Seven, he abolished the law under which none except the Muslims could wear shoes or turbans. These reforms brought peace to Kashmir, and there was an increase in income.

The Maharaja was pleased with Hari Singh and conferred on him the right to mint coins in his name. After setting right the administration of Kashmir to Diwan Moti Ram on November 6, 1821, AD, on the orders of the Maharaja, he marched on the Munghar campaign himself.

Battle of Jamrud(1837) : An oil painting by Hari Singh Nalwa is exhibited in the Lahore Museum, Maharaj’s grandson Nau nihal Singh was to be married in March 1837. Troops were withdrawn from across the Punjab to demonstrate the power of the British Commander-in-Chief, who had been invited to the wedding. Dost Mohammad Khan was invited for this grand function. Hari Singh Nalwa was also supposed to be in Amritsar, but was actually in Peshawar (according to some accounts he was ill) when Dost Mohammad ordered his army to march to Jamrud along with his five sons and chief advisers. Engaged with the Sikhs, but try more as a display of power and wrestling in the forts of Shabaqadar, Jamrud and Peshawar. Hari Singh was also instructed not to engage with the Afghans until reinforcements arrived from Lahore.[69] Harisingh’s lieutenant, Mahan Singh, was in the fort of Jamrud with 600 men and limited supplies. Hari Singh was in the strong fort of Peshawar. He was forced to rescue his men surrounded by Afghan forces in a small fort without water. Although the Sikhs were outnumbered, the presence of Hari Singh Nalwa scared the Afghan army. Hari Singh Nalwa was seriously injured in this fight. Before his death, he asked his lieutenants to withhold news of his death until reinforcements arrived, which they did. Although the Afghans knew that Hari Singh was wounded, they waited for more than a week without doing anything until the news of his death arrived. The Afghans saw Nalwa’s body hanging outside the fort and retreated. Hari Singh Nalwa not only defended Jamrud and Peshawar but prevented the Afghans from ravaging the entire North-West Frontier, resulting in an inability to invade Afghanistan himself. The defeat of Harisingh Nalwa was irreparable and the defeat of the Sikhs was costly for the same reason.

Victory in the battle against the Afghans was Ranjit Singh’s favorite topic of discussion. He immortalized him by ordering a shawl from Kashmir at a record price of Rs 5000, depicting his battle scenes. After the death of Hari Singh Nalwa, there were no further conquests in this direction. The Khyber Pass continued to be the frontier of the Sikhs until the British took control of the Punjab.

Death: Hari Singh Nalwa Sahib was seriously injured while fighting the army of Dost Mohammad Khan of Afghanistan. He died of his injuries and was cremated at Jamrud Fort at the mouth of the Khyber Pass in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. According to Afghan history, Siraj al Tawarikh, he was killed in a duel with Wazir Akbar Khan. According to historian Hari Ram Gupta, Hari Singh rallied his men and rode to the front where he was shot twice and later died after escaping inside the fort. Babu Gajju Mall Kapur, a Hindu resident of Peshawar, commemorated his memory by erecting a monument in the fort in 1892.

Significance of Nalwa: Many historians maintain that if Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his commander Hari Singh Nalwa had not taken control of Peshawar and the northwest frontier, which are parts of Pakistan now, then these areas could have been part of Afghanistan.

Without Nalwa and his coalition against Afghan lords, we could see more incursions into Punjab and Delhi.

Legacy and Impact: Hari Singh Nalwa’s legacy extends far beyond his military accomplishments. This section explores his lasting impact on the Sikh Empire and Sikh history. It reflects on his contributions to Sikhism, his role in the expansion and consolidation of the empire, and his influence on subsequent Sikh military leaders. His unwavering loyalty to the Sikh cause and his commitment to Sikh principles continue to inspire generations.

Conclusion: Hari Singh Nalwa’s legacy as a fearless general, visionary leader, and devoted Sikh remains an inspiration for generations. His military exploits, administrative reforms, and unwavering commitment to Sikh values have left an indelible mark on Sikh history. Hari Singh Nalwa’s contributions to the Sikh Empire’s expansion, military might, and cultural preservation continue to be celebrated, ensuring that his name and legacy live on in the hearts of Sikhs and history enthusiasts alike.

Jassa Singh Ahluwalia

Jassa Singh Ahluwalia

Jassa Singh Ahluwalia: The Resilient Leader of Sikh Misls

Introduction: Sultan ul Qaum,  Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, a prominent figure in Sikh history, was a resilient leader and a key contributor to the rise of the Sikh Misls. As the founder of the Ahluwalia Misl, he played a pivotal role in defending Sikh interests, consolidating Sikh power, and establishing the foundation for the eventual Sikh Empire. This article delves into the life, achievements, and legacy of Jassa Singh Ahluwalia.

Early Life and Association with the Sikh Gurus:  Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was born on May 3, 1718, in the village of Ahlu, near Lahore, in present-day Pakistan. He hailed from the Ahluwalia lineage, which had a deep association with the Sikh Gurus. When he was 4 years old, his father, Sardar Badar Singh, passed away, and then he was brought up by his mother. And Mother Ji connected them with the Gurudwara and taught them the history of the Guru, Sikh principles, and Gurbani Kirtan. In those days, Khalsa’s mother, Sahib Kaur Ji, lived in Delhi! The Sangat often went to see her; similarly, the boy Jassa Singh Ahluwalia went to meet Mata Sahib Kaur Ji with his mother. When Jassa Singh Ahluwalia recited kirtan, Mata Sahib Kaur ji was so impressed that Mata Sahib Kaur ji kept Jassa Singh Ahluwalia and his mother in Delhi! Mata Sahib Kaur ji made special arrangements for Jassa Singh’s education; while staying there, Jassa Singh learned Urdu, Persian, Hindi, mathematics, etc. Gurbani Santhya was given to Jassa Singh ji by Bhai Mani Singh ji! Jassa Singh used to do kirtan with Mata Sahib Kaur ji every day! Jassa Singh Aluwalia’s maternal uncle Bhag Singh Haluwalia had no children in his house, and he came to Delhi and took Ahluwalia and his mother or asked permission from Mata Sahib Kaur ji. At first, they refused but repeatedly requested it. And Mata Sahib Kaur ji gave them weapons and permission to take Jassa Singh! Bhag Singh ji was very close to Nawab Kapur Singh ji. One day, when Kapur Singh ji came to his house to meet Bhag Singh, Jassa Singh’s qualities captivated him, and he also started insisting that Jassa Singh should be married to him as well. To be taken, Nawab Kapoor’s repeated request, Bhag Singh could not refuse, and he sent 12- to 13-yyear-old Jassa Singh to his camp! Jassa Singh, staying in the camp, started serving the langar and cleaning the vessel and fodder for the horses. Along with staying in the camp, I learned martial arts and armour.

Creation of Dal Khalsa and Misals: In 1733, Zakaria Khan Bahadur tried to negotiate peace by giving the Sikhs a jagir, the title of Nawab to their leader, and unfettered access to the Golden Temple. After deliberations in the Sarbat Khalsa, Kapur Singh was chosen as the leader of the Sikhs and assumed the title of Nawab. He grouped the various Sikh armies into two groups; Taruna Dal and Budha Dal, collectively known as Dal Khalsa. Sikh militia above 40 years of age will be part of Budha Dal and Sikh militia below 40 years of age will be part of Taruna Dal. The Taruna Dal is further divided into five jathas, each with 1,300 to 2,000 men and separate drums and banners. Taruna Dal will control the eastern region of Patna Hari while Budha Dal will control its western region. Taruna Dal will act as a united soldier. In 1735, however, the agreement between Zakaria Khan and Nawab Kapur Singh broke down and the Dal Khalsa retreated to the Shivalik Hills to regroup. Dal Khalsa was then ruled by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia who was an able and powerful administrator, he shifted the then Mughal power center (Red Fort) under the Khalsa flag and firmly laid the foundation of Khalsa to lead the next generation.

Attack of Nadir Shah: In 1739, Persian ruler Nadir Shah invaded most of northern India, including Punjab, defeated the Mughals at the Battle of Karnal in 1739, sacked the city of Delhi (Shahjahanabad) and looted treasures such as the Peacock Throne, the Kohinoor. Diamonds and Darya-e-Noor Diamonds. Meanwhile, all the Khalsa factions came together and passed a resolution that Nadir Shah had looted the city of Delhi and was now taking Indian women as slaves to his country. The Sikhs planned to free all the slaves. Jassingh Ahluwalia, who was 21 years old at the time, planned a raid to free all the slaves. He along with other groups of Sikhs attacked Nadir Shah’s army, freed all the slaves and sent them safely back to their families. 

Ahluwalia participated in many battles where he proved himself as a natural leader. Nawab Kapur Singh appointed him as his successor in 1748 meeting of Sarbat Khalsa. His followers conferred the title of Sultan-ul-Qaum (King of the Nation).

First confrontation of Sikh with abdali: The first confrontation of Sikhs with Abdali took place when, he defeating the Marathas in the field of Panipat, Abdali was abducting diamonds, gold, silver, and Hindustani women from there, and a group of Maratha leaders reached Sri Akal Takht Sahib to meet Sardar Jassa Singh Ahwalia. He appeals to save their honour; Sardar Saab agrees after consulting the Sardars of the Misals; and then, after the war, 22,000 females are freed and go to Maharashtra, leaving them at home! Along with this, the Sikhs took away a lot of Abdali’s treasure. After this war, Abdali was not taken care of at all and had to go to Lahore to survive.

Conquest of Jalandhar and Malarkotla: In June 1763, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia marched on Jalandhar, Jalandhar Governor Sadat Yar-Khan, fearing that he would not leave his capital, Jassa Singh plundered Jalandhar, and in December 1763, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia defeated and killed Bhikhan Khan. The Nawab of Malerkotla captured Morinda,

Conquest of Sirhind: In January 1764, the Dal Khalsa under Jassa Singh Ahluwalia attacked Sirhind, the governor of Sirhind, Zain Khan Sirhindi, was killed, the Sikhs captured Sirhind and divided the province among themselves, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia taking over Jagaon, Bharog, and Fatehgarh, 

In 1764 in the Ganga Doab and Rohilakhand: In February 1764, the Sikhs under the command of Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, Khushal Singh, Sardar Tara Singh Ghaiba, Baghel Singh and Gurbaksh Singh crossed the Jamuna. They captured Saharanpur, Shamli, Kandla, Miranpur, Deoband, Jawalapur, Chandausi, Muzaffarnagar and Najibabad. Najib ad-Dawla made peace by promising the Sikhs a tribute of 11 lakh rupees.

Aggression of Abdaali against Sikhs: After this war, Abdali started to get angry with the Sikhs. During his next step, he announced the elimination of the Sikhs, and he gave the Nawab of Punjab to his special person! After giving the Nawabi of the province, he went back to Ghazni. Abdali gathered a huge army in the name of Jihad to fight the Sikhs, and after a short time, he went back to attack India.

Vadda ghalughara (the big mess): There is an occasion of Diwali in Punjab in 1761, when the entire Sikh panth gathers on the holy land of Amritsar for Sarbat Khalsa. There are many ideas passed for the sake of the nation, one of which is that those who arrest the Sikhs because of the supremacy of the Sikh government are traitors to the nation; the biggest threat to the nation is from them. Without whom, even Abdali cannot do anything; he will be killed first! When this matter reached Akal Das, he pretended to apologise and abdicate in the message! On the other hand, he also sent a message to Abdali that the Subedars whom you had sent have established their hold in the area and the families of the Sikhs are with them in vaheer, due to which it will be difficult for the Sikhs to compete. It is a golden opportunity to kill them. After a while, the Sikhs also got the news of Abdali’s arrival! It was not a big deal for the Sikhs to confront Abdali. The whole life of the Sikhs was a struggle; they were always on the saddles of horses, but the difficulty was that at that time their families (elderly, children, and women) were with them! The Sikhs had received the news that it would take about 10 days to reach Abdali, so they thought we had to leave our families in the land of Bikaner, so the Singhs walked towards the land of Bikaner! At that time, the number of Sikhs was 40000–45,000! Day went on when night fell. The Singhs settled in three villages. The Sikhs were thinking that it would take another 4-5 days to reach Abdali. The blood of killing the Sikhs was so intense in Abdali’s head that he led his army continuously for 36 hours! Abdali also gathered the forces of the Subedar of Punjab and surrounded the Sikhs around 3 o’clock in the morning! At that time, suddenly, the Sikhs had prepared a policy of fighting. The Singhs had built a human fort in which there were soldiers on both sides and their families in the middle. The Singhs had the responsibility of confronting the enemies and running the vaheer(group), but secretly, Abdali’s army came and attacked the families! Due to this, the Sikhs suffered a lot! Fighting from dawn to dusk, the Sikhs marched up to 14 miles, during which more than 40,000 Singhs, women, and small children were killed! By nightfall, only 2000 Sikhs were left in Wheer! Those Sikhs spent the night in a small jungle! At that time, Jassa Singh Ahuwalia had 21 wounds on his body. Half of the Sikh nation was destroyed during the great conflict.

Demolished Darbar sahib, Abdali sent a letter to the sikhs: Abdali thought that I would destroy the entire Sikh community, but this did not happen, and then Abdali demolished the Darbar Sahib with cannons in the month of April! When Diwali came in the month of October, Abdali thought that this time no one would go to the Darbar Sahib of Diwali because he had eliminated all the Sikhs, in his opinion! But then Darbar Sahib was the most crowded; more than 6,000 people came to celebrate Diwali! When Abdali found out about this, he was about to explode with anger, and then he made up his mind to attack. Then his mind collapsed, and after doing so much, he saw that the Sikh community would stand up again, so he sent Sardar Ala Singh of the Patiala princely state to negotiate. In the Darbar Sahib, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia and all the Sardars of the Misls had gathered; they tore the letter and returned the envelope to Ala Singh with the letter.

Last attack by Abdaali : Abdali then ordered an attack, but he was actually broken from the inside! Under the leadership of Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, the Afghans were in bad condition; people died all day long, and Abdali suffered a lot, as it was the custom during wars at that time that the battle was not fought at night! So when the night came, all the armies returned to their respective places! Next morning, when the Sikh army arrived in the field, the Sikhs saw that Abdali’s army was not on the battle field! Because Abdali’s army had returned at night! This was the first punishment of Abdali’s life; after this war, Abdali never messed with the Sikhs. After this war, Darbar Sahib was rebuilt under Jassa Singh Ahluwalia.

Conflict with Jassa Singh Ramgarhia:  In 1775, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia once went to Achal near Batala, he was attacked by Jassa Singh Ramgarhia’s brothers Khushal Singh, Tara Singh and Mali Singh, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was captured, Jassa Singh Ramgarhia apologized for the bad behavior of his brothers and sent Ahluwalia away with honour. returned with presents, but differences between them increased, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia took an oath, He would expel the Ramgarhias from the country,

In 1778, Jai Singh Kanhaiya and Haqikat Singh Kanhaiya, supported by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, attacked the headquarters of Jassa Singh Ramgarhiya Sri Hargobindpur and after driving him to the desert of Ghansi and Hisar, he set up his headquarters at Tosham.

Bravery of Jassa Singh Ahluwalia: Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia’s bodyguard name was Gurmukh Singh! When he saw Jassa Singh Ahluwalia surrounded, he thought that something had happened to our general and the feet of the rest of the army would also be uprooted, so Gurmukh Singh ran to his horse and tried to get the horse out of the enclosure by hitting the scabbard of his sword. But Jassa Singh Ahluwalia raised his hand, signalled to stop, and started saying that with your help, I would not get out of this enclosure by running a horse!

Captured delhi: When the Sikhs entered Delhi in 1783, after reaching Delhi, Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgarhia first captured Mughalpur, and then Baba Baghel Singh Ji came with 30,000 troops and gathered outside the 4 walls of Delhi and the wall in which the Sikhs entered through a hole. A gate was made on that wall. In this way, Sikhs occupied the red fort of Delhi, along with Jassa Singh Ragarhia, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, and Baba Baghel Singh. Here they got a lot of money, and 4 guns and 12 thousand pillars of the Mughal artillery were also captured. A colourful stone slab with a crown, Takht-e-Taus, was also found, which they took possession of. And the emblem of the Khalsa Raj was swung on the throne of Delhi, where it always issued orders to end the Sikh rule. Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was placed on the throne of Delhi by the Sikhs as Badshah Singh of Delhi, the Ramgarhia being a minority, but he challenged Ahluwalia and demanded his immediate resignation. When Jassa Singh Ahluwalia once abandoned his honour, both sides drew swords and prepared to attack each other. [46] [47] The Mughals agreed to build 7 Sikh Gurdwaras in Delhi for Sikh Gurus.

12misls: At that time, the Sikhs had about 65 groups, and after gradually disintegrating, they became more than 400. By reuniting them, Sardar Saab formed 12 groups, and he himself took over their commando in chief. These 12 groups became 12 misls. These 12 misls were: Ramgharia misl, Bhangi misl, Kanheya misl, Ahluwalia misl, Sukarchakkia misl, Nakai misl, Dalewala misl, Nishanwalia misl, Karorasinghia misl, Shahid or Nihang misl, Faizulpuria misl, and Phulkian misl.

Differences between Sikhs: These Sikh misls used to fight with each other a lot, but there was one characteristic: when there was a calamity in the Sikh community, the leaders of the misls used to shout a slogan that:

ਮਿਸਲ ਵੰਡ ਹੁਣ ਕਦੇ ਨਾ ਪਾਓ

ਰਲ ਮਿਲ ਕੇ ਖੜ੍ਹ ਤੁਰ ਪੰਥ ਬਚਾਓ

Misl vand hun kade na pao

Ral mil ke kharh tur panth bachao

It means that we should never divide now; save the Sikh panth together.

Inter-Misl battles : The Sikhs suffered a lot in the inter-Misal battle; this loss could have been more, but Jassa Singh Ahluwalia’s prudence kept him aside. Only Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was educated among the leaders of these misals! In order to reduce fighting among the Misls, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia began to keep recording the territories conquered by the Misls. Whenever there was a fight between the Misals on a border issue, Jassa Singh would get documents and, with Ahluwalia, peacefully resolve the issue.

Maintained peace and unity in panth: Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia’s main focus was to maintain peace in the panth! 11 out of 12 misals never bowed before Abdali, except one! This is Sardar Ala Singh of Patiala State! Since then, the rest of the misals have been insisting on removing him from the panth, and Sardar Saab stopped them and explained that it was the compulsion of Ala Sahib that Abdali’s headquarters were located in Sirhind, and then he could have easily attacked Patiala and won it! So Jassa Singh Ahluwalia ji limited them only to fining the panth and saved the panth from disintegration.

Support for Sikh Education: Jassa Singh Ahluwalia recognised the importance of education in empowering the Sikh community. He encouraged the establishment of Sikh educational institutions, including schools and centres of learning. By promoting Sikh education, he aimed to ensure the preservation of Sikh values, traditions, and teachings for future generations.

Passing and Legacy: The great warrior of the Sikh panth, Jassa Singh, died in 1783 in Amritsar. He was only 65 years old. His martyrdom further cemented his legendary status and left an indelible impact on Sikh collective memory in Katra Ahluwalia Amritsar. Jassa Singh Ahluwalia’s sacrifice and unwavering commitment to Sikh principles continue to inspire generations of Sikhs, reminding them of the sacrifices made for the preservation and prosperity of the Sikh faith.

Conclusion: Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, a resilient leader and visionary, played a pivotal role in Sikh history. His military prowess, strategic leadership, and dedication to Sikh values left an indelible mark on the Sikh community. His contributions to Sikh institutions, governance, and alliances laid the foundation for the Sikh Empire and inspired generations of Sikhs to uphold the principles of justice, equality, and selfless service. Jassa Singh Ahluwalia’s legacy continues to serve as a beacon of inspiration, reminding Sikhs of their rich history, resilience, and the enduring spirit of the Khalsa.

Jassa Singh Ramgarhia

Jassa Singh Ramgarhia: The Dynamic Sikh Warrior

Jassa Singh Ramgarhia

Introduction: Jassa Singh Ramgarhia, a prominent figure in Sikh history, was a revered Sikh warrior and statesman who played a crucial role in defending Sikh interests and consolidating Sikh power. His leadership, military brilliance, and administrative capabilities made him one of the most respected and influential figures of his time. This article provides an overview of Jassa Singh Ramgarhia’s life, achievements, and legacy.

Early Life and Rise to Prominence: Jassa Singh Ramgarhia was born on 5 May 1723 in the village of Ichogil, Punjab. He belonged to the Ramgarhia Misl, named after the fortified fort of Ramghar.

The family of Jassa Singh Ramgarhia has been associated with Guru Ghar for generations. On the day of Baisakhi in 1699, when Guru Gobind Singh Ji founded the Khalsa Panth, the first hundred Singhs who were baptized by Dashmesh Pita included Sardar Hardas Singh, the grandfather of Jassa Singh Ramgarhia. They knew carpentry, so they were entrusted with the task of making weapons for the army of Guru Ghar. Bhai Hardas Ji performed this work very well. Bhai Hardas Ji fought many wars with Baba Banda Singh Bahadur after accepting the torch of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and was injured after the widow’s war. After the martyrdom of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, the Sikhs had no main leader until 1716-1733. During that time, Bhai Bhagwan Singh (Jassa Singh’s father) came to Icho Gill with his family. Bhai Bhagwan Singh was a fearless soldier and, with 200 followers, entered the royal Mughal army under the governor of Lahore, Khan Bahadur, where he became a renowned officer. Bhai Bhagwan Singh had five sons: Jai Singh, Jassa Singh, Khushal Singh, Mali Singh, and Tara Singh. Jassa Singh was the second son, born in 1723. Sardar Jassa Singh Ji learned armor techniques and Gurmukhi from his father. From a young age, he embraced Sikhism and became a dedicated follower of the Sikh Gurus. Soon, under the leadership of Sardar Gurdayal Singh, Jassa Singh Ji drank Amrit from the Five Beloved Ones ( Panj Pyaare). Jassa Singh Ramgarhia Ji was not interested in carpentry work since his childhood, because as he grew older, his desire to work for the Sikh community grew stronger.

1st Battle Against Nader Shah: When Nader Shah was coming to India intending to loot Irani and when this news reached Sardar Jassa Singh, he went to war with his father. He fought so bravely in the war. In the war of 1738, Sardar Jassa Singh’s father was martyred, but Zakariya Khan, seeing his bravery, gave his family a Jagir of 5 villages near Amritsar and gave Sardar Jassa Singh the post of Rasaodar. The names of those villages were:- Vallah, Verka, Tung, Sultanwind, Chaba. Among them, the village of Wallah came to the share of Jassa Singh ji and this is where his political life began

Sikhs Forming Small Groups: Sikhs forming small groups That particular time of 1745 holds a special place in Sikh history, Zakaria Khan dies on July 1. Due to his 19 years as the governor, the Sikh community faced many difficulties. his two sons started fighting each other for the throne! Although the Sikhs had many golden opportunities, the Sikhs also started forming small groups and Sardar Jassa Singh also joined the group of Sardar Nand Singh Singhania. By the time the two boys of Zakaria Khan understood, the Sikhs had made a separate place.

Construction of Ramrouni Fort: One day, on the occasion of Baisakhi, all Sikhs were gathered together, their Sardar Sukha Singh Kalsi, Mani Kamboke urged the Sikhs to build the first fort for their protection, which will be named from Guru Ram Dass ji’s name!!! And the fort was named Ramroni, near Amritsar, Guru Ramdas ji built a well, around the same well, in 1748, the foundation stone of a crude fort was laid! Within a few days, this fort was completely done, in which Sardar Jassa Singh and his colleagues made a big contribution!


The Siege at Ramrouni Fort Ahmad Shah Abdali was defeated by Mir Mannu during a battle and on 9 April 1748, Mir Mannu became the subedar of Lahore and Multan, who, anticipating the growing Sikh population, issued orders to kill the Sikhs when the Sikhs sought help. They reached Adheena Begh towards Jalandhar, who was the subedar of that place, he was a very clever ruler. One day on the occasion of Diwali, when the Sikhs Harminder Sahib gathered in large numbers, Mir Mana asked the subordinate Bey to surround him. 500 Singhs were sitting in the fort of Ramrouni. Seeing that they entered the Sikh’s courage increased and he was ready to fight with them! Kaura Mall Jau was the hero of Adheena Beg. When Jassa Singh spoke to him, he consulted with Adhin Beg and lifted the siege from Ram Rauni. When Ahmad Shah got this news, he was coming from Kabul. Adhin Bagh embraced the Sikhs, and with the wisdom of Jassa Singh this crisis that came to the Sikh community was overcome.

From Jassa Singh to Jassa Singh Ramgarhia : Sardar Jassa Singh Ji became a respectable personality and it became clear that he could make a great sacrifice for the Panth. After this, the fort of Ramrawani was also named Ramgarh, and Sardar Jassa Singh was also appointed as its commander, so he and his companions were called Ramgarhia after their name! All the responsibility of Ramgarh Fort was entrusted to Jassa Singh Ramgarhia and he continued to build it from time to time!

Formation of Dal Khalsa: Ahmed Shah Abdali started attacks from Afghan!! On his way to Delhi, Punjab was located here to stop Ahmad Shah Abdali, Sikhs formed Dal Khalsa, which had 65 teams, and each team had a Jathedar!! Slowly the group got together and took the form of misals. On March 29, 1749, 12 misals were formed on the day of Vaisakhi!! Among them was Ramgarhia Missal, his Jathedar was Jassa Singh Ramgarhia!

Ramgarhia Misl: Most of the Jathedars of Ramgarhia misl were blacksmiths and carpenters. Because of which they started naming Ramgarhia after their name. At one time Jassa Singh Ramgarhia had 12000 soldiers, 6000 horsemen, and more than 360 forts and more than 40 lakhs of taxes were collected from that area. During the third attack of Ahmed Shah Abdali, only Diwan Kaura Mall was the support of the  Sikhs after his death!! Mir Mannu sat on his throne!! Now there is no way for the Sikhs and Mir to become very close to each other!

Attack on Ramgarhia Fort: Mir Mannu did a lot of oppression to the Sikhs, many Sikhs left Lahore and were tortured and martyred, but still he could not eliminate the Sikhs completely. Mir Mana was attacked and demolished Ramgarhia fort But Jassa Singh Ramgarhia managed to get out by breaking the wall!!

Abdali’s Attack on Punjab: In the year 1752, Mir Man died and the government began to weaken. On this occasion, Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgarhia started the construction of the Ramgarh Fort again, which kept the enemies in mind. In the year 1767, Ahmad Shah Abdali attacked for the last time, in which Abdali was getting success, he crossed the river Beas, but Jassa Singh Ramgarhia and Jassa Singh Ahluwalia were standing in front of him. With that attack of the Sikhs, Abdali’s army was swept away. Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was injured in this battle. And the command of the army was in the hands of Jassa Singh Ramgarhia. Jassa Singh Ramgarhia fought so bravely that Abdali’s army had to accept defeat. After this, his name became famous all over India!!


Jassa singh Ramgarhia captured areas Jassa Singh Ramgarhia along with his brother Jai Singh won some areas of Batale and Amritsar!! After the death of Adhina Baig in 1758 AD, the Pathans took over the rule which the Sikhs resisted very bravely. Jassa Singh Ramgarhia’s power increased due to being with the entire Sikh Panth. They then occupied Batala, Kadian Kalanur, Ghuman, Sri Hargobandpur, Dinanagar, Shahpur Kandi!! They soon conquered the areas of Tanda, Maniwal, Mangowal, Miani, Digalpur and Rohil. When Sardar Jassa Singh Ji Ramgarhia thought of occupying the hilly areas of the north, at that time no one thought of going to the north because of Punjab. The hill princely states were the most developed princely states in those days. Ghuman Chand, the ruler of a princely state, Sardar Jassa Singh Ji Ramgarhia, climbed Kot Kangre and agreed to pay 4000 rupees to Ghuman Chand. They paid taxes till 1774. Because of this stubbornness of Kangra, they easily gained authority over the rest of the hill kingdoms. After some time, the kings of Nupur and Chambe also disagreed. Made a permanent central state system. After that, Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgarhia annexed all the territories and established a permanent central state.

The rivalry between Ahluwalia and Ramgarhia: Since the borders of Ahluwalia, Ramgarhia and Masala were connected, there was occasional clash between them. As a result, tensions between the two parties arose.

The controversy between Ahluwalia and Ramgarhia and the battle for the Delhi government: When 60-70,000 Sikhs attacked Delhi with all their strength, the emperor vacated the throne occupied by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, which Ramgarh was unhappy with. He carried the stone throne, 6 feet 3 inches long, 4 feet 6 inches wide and 9 inches thick, on the back of elephants to Sri Amritsar and placed it in front of the Ramgarhiya Bungi where Sri Guru Granth Sahib was installed.

Capture of Ahluwalia by Ramgarhia brothers : As Jassa Singh Ahluwalia passed through Gurdaspur, Ramghar’s brothers Kushal Singh, Mali Singh, and Tara Singh caught up with him. Jassa Singh left Ramgarhia with honors and gifts, but Holwalia did not forget the humiliation and swore that he would not remove the turban from his head until he had conquered the entire Ramgarhia region. He surrounded Jhosa Singh’s territory with other missiles. He was accompanied by Bhangi Ganda Singh and Janda Singh, Kanhiya Jai Singh and Hakit Singh, Charhat Singh Shukarchakia, Nahar Singh Chamariwala, and other chiefs who besieged the Ramgarh district. After a siege of four months, Tara Singh was killed and Khushi Singh was wounded. Of the 10,000 men only 4000 survived, Jassa Singh left his territory at Ramgarh and crossed the Sutlej with his Sikhs to Mathura in the Agra district.

Administrative Reforms and Good Governance: Jassa Singh Ramgarhia was not only a skilled warrior but also an astute administrator. He introduced a range of administrative reforms aimed at ensuring efficient governance within his territories. These reforms focused on promoting justice, welfare, and the development of infrastructure. He encouraged trade and commerce, benefiting the local economy and strengthening the overall prosperity of the Sikh community.

Capital changed : In the beginning, his capital was Ramgarh, then later he made Sri Hargobidpur his capital, because he conquered them. Maharaj Ranjit Singh ji built 360 forts in the center of the area. Singhpur Barnala fort is the most famous among them.

Battle of kasur : After winning many important areas, Maharaja Jassa Singh Ramgarhia’s hard work was discussed everywhere, he was seen as a responsible and powerful general. In the 18th century, Kasur city was considered the city of blessed! Because all the rich people lived there. In that area, there were 12 forts and a large army camp!Sardar Hari Singh Bhangu, Sardar Chars Singh Shukarchakiya, Maharaja Jassa Singh Ramgarhia, Sardar Jai Singh Kanhaiya marched on the city with an army of 15000 !The real reason for this attack was looting rich wealth for supplies and weapons for the Sikh soldiers and the complaint made by the Pandit to Sikhs that pandit’s wife was forcibly taken away by the ruler of Kasur. Finally, the Sikhs came to the battlefield, and the ruler of Kasur, Usman Khan Kasuri, came in the battlefield with many soldiers and they were confronted!And finally the ruler died, the Sikhs looted diamonds, pearls, wealth, crores of rupees from Kasur Sahib.

Provinces of Delhi and Rajputana for five years: In Delhi he looted and burned the Mughal Palace and captured 4 cannons from the Red Fort. He then defeated the Nawabs of Panipat, Karnal and Meerut and started collecting ten thousand rupees a year. He also received large presents and gifts from the kings of Bharatpur, Dholpur and Jaipur Of these, a Gupti (sword in a staff) is preserved by the family, on which the name of Maharaja Jasa Singh Ahluwalia is written in gold letters.
The areas around Delhi held by Jassa Singh Ramgarhia included Hissar, Hinsi, Sambhal, Chandosi, Kashganj, Khurja, Sikandar, Meerut, Delhi, Panipat and Karnal. The states of Bharatpur, Dholpur and Jaipur also pay tribute to him.

 free the two daughters of Brahman: One day a Brahmin complained to him that Nawab Hisar had taken his two daughters Josa Singh always stood against violence and oppression and helped the victims. He attacked the Nawab, strangled him, freed the two girls, and handed them over to the Brahmins. Some Brahmins objected to receiving the girls, whom they expected to be defiled by Muslims, but Jassa Singh Ramgarhia gathered all the Brahmins and fed all the girls by hand. Therefore, girls are accepted in society.
Sadat Ali Khan, son of Nawab Hissar, gave Rs. 50,000 for the maintenance of the Nawabshah. A tribute of Rs 50,000 was also paid from the people of Hissar.  

 The Khalsa flag was hoisted around Delhi: When the Sikhs entered Delhi in 1783, after reaching Delhi, Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgarhia first captured Mughalpur and then 30,000 troops gathered outside the 4 walls of Delhi and the wall in which the Sikhs entered through a hole, A gate was made on that wall. In this way, Sikhs occupied the red fort of Delhi. along with Jassa Singh Ragarhia, there were other generals of the Sikh Misal. Jassa Singh raised the Khalsa flag for five years in the present-day Haryana region, western UP, Delhi, and Rajputana. Here they got a lot of money and 4 guns and 12 thousand pillars of the Mughal artillery were also captured. A colorful stone slab with a crown, Takht-e-Taus was also found, which they took possession of. And the emblem of the Khalsa Raj was swung on the throne of  Delhi, where always issued orders to end the Sikh rule. That is still present in Ramgarhia Bunge, Amritsar. This sill is 6 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 9 inches thick.  

Back to Punjab: In 1783, Shakrachakia and Kanhaiya factories clashed. Since the Kanhaiya family was strong, Maha Singh looked for a strong partner He could not find a brave and capable commander like Josa Singh Ramgarh, so he called Punjab to help him Jai Singh, understanding the purpose, replied to Maha Singh, “If Jai Singh will bow his head and offer his daughter in marriage to Ranjit Singh, give back the fort of Kangra to Raja Sansar Chand, then you will all be good friends.” By rejoining, you’ll be against me again, so there’s no point in me joining your fight. To this reply, Mahasingh Raja, together with Sansar Chand and other hill kings, again sent a message saying, “If you help us against Jaisingh Kanhaya, we will not break our friendship with you.”

Return to Batala: Jassa Singh, finding the answer of Maha Singh and his friends satisfactory, set out with his army for Punjab Jai Singh Ramgarh, Maha singh and the hill kings suddenly besieged the fort of Kanhayia and sent a message to Jai singh to surrender and vacate the territory of Ramgarh If Jai Singh did not saying so, the team of Maha Singh, Jassa Singh and their friends destroyed the Kanhiya Factory area.
Jai Singh sent 8000 soldiers under the leadership of his son Garbaksh Singh who stopped Josa Singh, Maha Singh and their friends but Garbaksh Singh was killed by the arrows of Jasa Singh Jai Singh submitted to Jassa Singh. Jasa Singh also mourned the passing of Garbaksh Singh. He then started attacking Riarke.

Jai Singh objected again: Soon the cat was out of the bag. It happened as predicted and written by Jassa Singh to Ramgarh Maha Singh. Jai Singh married his grandson to Ranjit Singh. Maha Singh, along with Sansar Chand and other hill kings besieged Batala But after 20 days the siege had to be lifted.
When Jai Singh died, his queen Sada Kaur Kanhaya took over the government of Egypt With his son Ranjit Singh, Fateh Singh of Ahluwalia Mul, etc., he besieged Jassa Singh Ramgarh on the banks of the Beas in Mayani When a natural flood occurred in the Beas, where Kanhaiya Dera sank, Sada Kaur and Maharaja Ranjit Singh lifted the siege and returned to Gujranwala. However, Jassa Singh also lost his courage against Ranjit Singh at Ramgarh

protested against Ranjit Singh: In 1800, when Ranjit Singh ascended, the Sardar besieged him in Lahore. Bhangis, Ramgarhias and other Misals met to inspect Sardar Ranjit Singh’s booty. After Jassa Singh Ramgarhia grew old, the cover fell on his son Jodh Singh Ramgarhia who also joined the expedition along with other Sardars But the siege was lifted after the death of Sardar Gulab Singh, the chief of Missal. Shortly after this, in 1803, Jassa Singh also breathed his last due to high fever. And so ended the life of a great warrior. and the command of Misal fell to his son Jodh Singh

Some special events: After the assassination of Raja Alam Khan of Delhi, Bhambu Khan Jassa Singh, brother of Ghulam Khan, sought refuge from Ramgarhia. He was not only given waste and security but also a jagir in Mazha. When Laik Singh escaped from Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s prison and came under the protection of Jassa Singh Ramgarhia, he fought with Maharaja Ranjit Singh for his protection for four months.

Brief Comparison of Jassa Singh Ahluwalia and Jassa Singh Ramgarhia:The two great leaders of the Misal period were Jassa Singh Ahluwalia and Jassa Singh Ramgarhia Ahluwalia, who were close confidants of Kapur Singh, and whose legacy in view of his succession to Kaur Singh, enjoyed a special position among the Sikhs, while Ramgarhia had acquired a reputation for strength and courage. When all who yearn decide together, the guidance of both is accepted. Their courage is unmatched. The Ahluwalia remained confined to the Punjab, but the Ramgarhia also spread beyond the Punjab to the states of Himachal, Haryana, UP, Rajasthan and Delhi, and Khalsa rule spread to northern India. He is also generous. Once the Dehi emperor secretly sent him valuables He kept only the weapons but distributed the rest of the expensive gifts to his Sikhs.

Legacy and Contributions: Jassa Singh Ramgarhia’s leadership and contributions significantly shaped Sikh history. His military successes inspired pride and confidence among Sikhs, establishing him as a revered figure within the community. His efforts in safeguarding Sikh institutions, promoting Sikh values, and fostering unity laid the foundation for a united Sikh identity and the eventual establishment of the Sikh Empire under Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Martyrdom and Legacy: Despite his military successes and administrative reforms, Jassa Singh Ramgarhia’s life came to a tragic end. In 1803, he was betrayed and captured by the Sukerchakia Misl, led by Ranjit Singh’s father, Maha Singh. He was then handed over to the Mughal authorities and subsequently executed. Jassa Singh Ramgarhia’s martyrdom further solidified his legendary status and left a lasting impact on Sikh collective memory.

Conclusion: Jassa Singh Ramgarhia, a revered Sikh warrior and statesman, played a pivotal role in defending Sikh interests, consolidating power, and shaping Sikh history. His military brilliance, administrative acumen, and commitment to Sikh principles continue to inspire and resonate with Sikhs worldwide. Jassa Singh Ramgarhia’s legacy serves as a reminder of the indomitable spirit, valor, and resilience of the Sikh community

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