SIKH SAINTS 2

 

Maharaja Ranjit Singh : Lion of Punjab

Maharaja Ranjit Singh was born on 13th November 1780 at Gujranwala in Punjab. His father Sardar Mahan Singh was a  Chieftain and a Warrior.

At a young age, Maharaja Ranjit Singh became a Champion Swimmer, an Expert Horse-Rider and an Able Swordsman. He was greatly inspired by the fact that Guru Gobind Singh ji's two elder sons had fought the Mughals very bravely at the tender age of 14 and 17.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh led his first war at the age of 11 years and defeated  the army of the ruler of Gujrat. Later he fought two severe battles with the Afghans, with a smaller army and took over the city of Lahore. After decades of misrule by foreign invaders, the people of Lahore heaved a sigh of relief when the Maharaja assured the citizens of safety and good administration. Under Ranjit Singh's leadership, the various Sikh Chiefs were united and on Baisakhi day of 1801, they conferred the title of 'MAHARAJA OF THE PUNJAB" on him.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh systematically extended the frontiers of Punjab and brought the regions around Amritsar, Lahore, Multan, Kashmir and Peshawar under his rule. He never became proud or arrogant despite all the victories won by him. He was a liberal ruler and did not bother about the colour, creed, caste or nationalities of his employees. He engaged a number of English, Italian, German, French and American Officers. They trained the Maharaja's Army and improved its organisation & efficiency.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh's army was full of men from different faiths and nationalities, but there was no jealousy or bickering between them. His court was cosmopolitan - consisting of Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims, all of whom loved him dearly. He never sat on a throne nor did he wear a crown. He sat on a silver chair and dressed in a simple and sober manner. He ruled in a Democratic manner and never isolated himself from the masses. He was a very kind and generous ruler. He ruled in a truly Secular and just manner. He allowed equal rights for all communities in Punjab. He also encouraged development of educational institutions and industries by the different communities.

The British signed a peace-treaty with Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1809 and did not dare to touch his kingdom till after he died in 1839. He was called as the LION OF PUNJAB (SHERE-PUNJAB) and is still remembered as a great king, very humble person  and an excellent warrior. He was also responsible for covering   the Golden Temple in Amritsar with pure gold.

He owned the rare KOHINOOR diamond which was later stolen by the British and is today used for studding the crown of the Queen in London. 

 

Bhai Tara Singh Ji

Bhai Tara Singh was a Jat Sikh resident of village Van, in the district of Amritsar. He was truly a saint-soldier. He was a highly religious man, with a kindly, generous heart. At the same time, he was a strong, brave, and fearless fighter. He was very popular with the Sikhs. He was always in the forefront of every Panthic undertaking. He had already won laurels in the campaign of Baba Banda Singh. He was most energetic and fearless in helping his brothers in faith, as well as others in need. His doors were open to receive everyone in need or trouble. He ran a free kitchen for all. Sahib Rai, Lambardar of Naushera, was proud, cruel, and haughty. He was a tyrant. He used to let loose his horses in the green field of the Sikhs. No one dared to drive them out. The Sikh peasants bore this quietly for a long time. Then they decided to meet him and request him to give up letting loose his horses in their fields. they said, 'Your horses eat away our crops. We have no other means of making a living. We are being driven to starvation. If you desire, we shall supply green fodder for your horses every day. Please don't let them loose in our crops.' 

    The Lambardar became furious. 'What is all this nonsense ?' said he. 'You are really an ungrateful lot. Don't you know what attitude the Muhammedan rulers have towards you Sikhs ? It is indeed risky for me to let you live in my village. I give you shelter in spite of the risk. What thanks do I get from you ? Be careful. My horses will go about at their free will. If you misbehave again, I shall report against you to the Mughal authorities. Then you will learn what it means to insult a Lambardar of their. You talk of my horses trespassing into your fields. Take care lest my scissors should trespass into your beards and long hair.' By this he meant that he would cut off their hair and beards. The poor Sikh peasants were convinced that the Lambardar would not change his ways. He would not let them live in peace. They felt that continued stay in village meant want, hunger and starvation. He might even do something far worse. So they decided to leave the village. Bhai Tara Singh heard of their sad plight. He sent for them. He undertook to give them food and lodging until they could make some suitable arrangements for themselves. They readily accepted his invitation and hospitality. They came to live in his village. 

    Sahib Rai's horses continued to graze freely in the peasants' green fields. But peasants did not dare complain. Some daring Sikhs from Bhai Tara Singh's village decided to punish the haughty Lambardar. They drove away his horses in broad daylight. They sold them in a far off place. The money so obtained was used towards meeting at expenses of feeding the refugees from Naushera. Thereupon, Sahib Rai lodged a complaint with Mirza Jaffer Beg, Faujdar of Patti. He said to him, Tara Singh is an old rebel. He is very dangerous. He gives shelter to thieves, dacoits, and bad characters. The commit raids all over the land. The lives and property of the people are insecure. An example must be made of this dangerous rebel. Otherwise others will begin to imitate him. A widespread unrest will be the result.' The faujdar chose to believe every word spoken by Sahib Rai. He was a cruel, fanatic Muslim. He was always on the look out for an excuse and opportunity to haul up and punish Sikhs. He sent a detachment of 25 mounted soldiers and 80 foot soldiers to proceed against Bhai Tara Singh. They intended to take the village by a surprise attack at dead of night. But their plan was foiled by a brave saint-soldier, Bhai Baghel Singh.

    This brave Khalsa happened, at that hour, to be out in the jungle near the village. He saw the soldiers approaching the village. He immediately understood what their mission was. He decided to block their way so that Bhai Tara Singh and his companions should not be taken by surprise. With a shout of 'Sat Sri Akal,' he suddenly fell upon the advancing soldiers, as a tiger would fall upon a flock of sheep. With a one stroke he cut off the head of a nephew of Jaffer Beg. Other nephew met the same fate. Many more soldiers were cut down by him before he was overpowered. He died fighting like a true saint-soldier. The noise of fight roused Bhai Tara Singh and his companions. They rushed out to meet the invaders. But the latter took to their heels before Bhai Tara Singh could give them battle. Mirza Jaffer Beg hurried to Lahore and reported the whole matter to Khad Bahadur Zakriya Khan, governor of Lahore. The latter at once dispatched a strong force against Bhai Tara Singh. It consisted of two thousand and two hundred fully armed horsemen. They had forty cannons and five elephants. The force was under the command of Momin Khan. With all that force, Momin Khan was to proceed against Bhai Tara Singh and his 22 companions. Such was the terror which the brave Sikhs inspired in the Mughal rulers' hearts. The news of this expedition was conveyed to Bhai Tara Singh by a secret messenger from the Sikhs of Lahore. Another man, named Ghumanda, offered to act as a scout for the Lahore army. At the same time, he sent information to Bhai Tara Singh. 

    Some men went to Bhai Tara Singh. They advised him to go away and take shelter in the jungle. But he refused to save his life by flight. He thought that to run away would be a cowardly act, unbecoming of a Khalsa. He was determined to face death with boldness, and sell his life very dearly. The invaders came at nightfall. They surrounded the village. As they advanced to attack, they were greeted with a rain of shots and arrows. Bhai Tara Singh and his 22 companions held the army at bay during the night. They were able to inflict heavy losses on the enemy. The invaders were very near losing their hearts. They got the impression that Bhai Tara Singh had a very large force with him. They began to doubt their own power to succeed against him. But the rising of the sun betrayed the true number of Bhai Tara Singh's men. The invaders regained courage. They renewed their attack. Bhai Tara Singh and his men fought with wonderful bravery. One by one, his men fell martyrs after performing wonderful feats of valor and swordsmanship. At length, Bhai Tara Singh was left alone. He sprang to the enemy's ranks, roaring like a lion. With his sword he cut his way to the spot where Momin Khan was. The latter was riding on an elephant. Bhai Tara Singh aimed a heavy blow at Momin Khan. But as he leapt up to reach the man, he surrounded by a large number of Mughal soldiers. They fell upon him from all sides and cut him to the ground. Thus did Bhai Tara Singh die gloriously after a valiant fight against heavy odds. He fell in a noble cause. He sacrificed his life in order to serve and save his brothers in faith. He was thus a true martyr. His memory is cherished by the Sikhs, as of course, it richly deserves to be. 

His martyrdom occurred in the year 1727 A.D. 

 

Saheed Bhai Mani Singh Ji

Bhai Mani Singh was born at a village named Kailbowal. The village was later destroyed during Nadar Shah's invasion. Its ruins are near Sunam, district Patiala. His father was a Jat Sikh, named Chaudri Kala. His parents called him Mania. When he was about five years of age, his parents visited Anadpur. They did so to see and pay homage to Guru Tegh Bahadur. Guru Gobind Singh, then known as Gobind Rai, was about the same age as Mania. They became playmates and friends. When Chaudri Kala and his wife decided to return home, Mania refused to accompany them. He expressed a wish to stay at Anandpur and play with Gobind Rai. His wish was granted. He became a life-long companion and devoted Sikh of Guru Gobind Singh. Mata Gujri took charge of Mania. She treated him like her own son. The playmates lived together, dined together, played together and learnt together. Mania became a great scholar. 

When Guru Gobind Singh introduced his new baptismal or Amrit ceremony, he baptised his playmate Mania, too. Thereupon, Mania became Mani Singh. the Guru held him in high esteem and consulted him on all matters. When Guru Gobind Singh evacuated Anandpur in 1704, Bhai Mani Singh was with him. Under the Guru's orders, he conducted Mata Sahib Kaur and Mata Sundri to Delhi. There he busied himself in serving them. In 1705-06 he accompanied them to Damdama Sahib. There under Guru Gobind Singh's direction, he wrote a copy of Guru Granth Sahib. Later he accompanied the Guru to the Deccan. When the Guru was about to depart from this world, he sent Bhai Mani Singh to Delhi alone with Mata Sahib Kaur. At Delhi, he busied himself in serving Mata Sahib Kaur and Mata Sundri. He also did much to preach and popularise the Sikh faith. After the martyr of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur some Sikhs began to regard him (Banda Singh) as Guru. They were called Bandeis. But the strict followers of Guru Gobind Singh, or Tatt Khalsa, believed that the system of personal Guruship had ended with the Tenth Guru. The Bandeis began to claim that they should have an equal share in the management of the Gurdwaras and other affairs of the Panth. But the Tat Khalsa refused to accept this claim. They did not favor such divisions in the Panth. Still, the Bandeis persisted in their claim. Much tension was created between the two parties. 

    Mata Sundri, who was residing at Delhi, became aware of these troubles. She sent Bhai Mani Singh to Amritsar, with Sri Kirpal Singh, the maternal uncle of Guru Gobind Singh. He was charged with the duty of bringing about peace and unity among Singh. He was appointed Granthi (or head priest) of the Darbar Sahib. He was asked to organise the service in the Gurdwara and to manage its affairs. He was further told by her, 'Don't send any money from the offerings to me. The whole income should be spent there. It should be spent in maintaining the service, langar, and other needs of the institution. Bhai Mani Singh and his companion arrived at Amritsar in the beginning of 1721. In the consultation with the notables of the city, they put the affairs of the Gurdwara in order. A few days later it was the Vaisakhi fair. Elaborate arrangements were made for the grand celebrations. Thousands of Sikhs gathered around the tank. The Tatt Khalsa and the Bandeis also gathered in large numbers. They were preparing to come to blows. But Bhai Mani Singh came between them and saved the situation. He suggested that instead of fighting, they should decided their claim be casting lots. He took two slips of paper. On one he wrote, 'WaheGuru Ji Ki Fateh'. These words were used by the Tatt Khalsa when meeting and saluting each other. On the other slip he wrote, 'Fateh Darshan'. These words were used by the Bandeis for the same purpose. Both slips were immersed in the water at Har Ki Pauri. The agreement was that the party whose slip rose first to the surface, would be considered to have carried the day. For some time neither slip came up to the surface. It seemed as if both the slips had sunk for ever. The parties stood in great suspense. At long last, the slip with Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh came to the surface. The Tatt Khalsa was declared to have won. The Bandeis took it as the Guru's verdict. They agreed to give up their claim. 

    In this way, on account of Bhai Mani Singh's wisdom and sweetness, the dispute was settled in a peaceful manner. Bhai Mani Singh was the most learned and respected man of his time. As Granthi of Darbar Sahib, he did very valuable work for the Panth. His masterly exposition of Gurbani was appreciated by all. It drew an immense congregation every day. His saintly life and affectionate manners won everybody's esteem and admiration. He wrote a number of scholarly books, like the Gyan Ratnavali. He also compiled the Dasam Granth. For years the Muslim rulers had carried on a large scale massacre of the Sikhs. All efforts was made to prevent the Sikhs from assembling in their favorite shrine, the Darbar Sahib, Amritsar. Therefore, for years the Diwali festival had not been held there. In the year 1738, Bhai Mani Singh applied to the governor of Lahore for permission to hold the Diwali festival in the Gurdwara. Permission was given on condition that Bhai Mani Singh should pay to the government 5000 rupees after the affair. The fair was to last for ten days. Bhai Mani Singh hoped that he would be able to pay the sum out of offerings to be made by the Sikh visitors. He issued invitation to the Sikhs of all places. In response to that invitation, thousands of them started from their homes. 

    But the governor's intentions were not good or friendly. He sent a large force to Amritsar under the command of Diwan Lakhpat Rai. This man was a bitter and sworn enemy of the Khalsa. The governor said that the force was intended to keep order. But the real purpose was to prevent the Sikhs from gathering in large numbers. The force was stay at Ram Tirath, near Amritsar. It was to march towards the city on the day of the fair. Seeing it advancing towards the city, the Sikhs would be frightened, and would disperse of their own accord. Bhai Mani Singh knew that Mughals don't like Sikhs so they are here to kill the Sikhs because a large number of Khalsa was going to gather. So Bhai Mani Singh issued an order to all Sikhs to not to come to the festival. Bhai Mani Singh refused to make the payment because he said no fair was held. He was arrested for his failure to make the payment. He was taken to Lahore in chains. There he was condemned to death by tortures. He was told that he could save his life by embracing Islam. He stoutly and resolutely refused to give up his religion. Orders were given that his body should be cut to pieces,  limb by limb. As the executioner started his work, Bhai Mani Singh sat calm and serene. He was absorbed in meditating on God and repeating the Guru's word.

    Bhai Mani Singh was martyred about one month after the day on which Diwali festival was to have held in 1738. His Sahid Ganj is outside the Masti Gat of Lahore, and near the Lahore fort.

Bhai Mani Singh was a great Sikh scholar and martyr who was the scribe of the final version of the Guru Granth Sahib under the guidance of Guru Gobind Singh and who compiled the Dasam Granth following the death of Guru Gobind Singh. Bhai Mani Singh was born to Jat parents at the village of Sunam in 1670. He was the younger brother of Bhai Dyala who was martyred along with Guru Tegh Bahadur in 1675. Bhai Mani Singh was raised from a young age with Guru Gobind Singh by the Gurus mother Mata Gujri. Bhai Mani Singh became a great preacher of Sikhism and spent almost a year with Guru Gobind Singh at Damdama Sahib compiling the final and current version of the Guru Granth Sahib in 1705. After the death of Guru Gobind Singh, Bhai Mani Singh was installed as the head granthi at the Golden Temple in 1721. Here he produced many works on Sikhism and under the insistence of Guru Gobind Singhs widow Mata Sundri compiled the works of Guru Gobind Singh and produced the Dasam Granth. In 1737 Bhai Mani Singh took permission from the muslim governor of Lahore for the Sikhs to celebrate Diwali at the Golden Temple on the payment of Rs. 5,000 as tax, a practice which had been banned. Not enough people attended Diwali that year because they were afraid of the muslim authorities and as a result not enough money was collected. The muslim authorities arrested Bhai Mani Singh and publicly executed him in Lahore.

 

 Bhai Taru Singh Ji

Zakriya Khan was carrying on a cruel, all-out campaign against the Khalsa. Hence, all daring and desperate Sikhs had gone away to places where the Mughal armies dared not to trouble them. So they had become out of the reach of the government. However, in several small villages there yet lived some gentle, harmless Sikhs. They were peaceful and peace loving by nature. daring military adventures were against their natures. They were averse to active clashes with the government. They wanted to live and work in peace. They kept themselves engaged in peaceful pursuits. At the same time, they practiced the main principles of life taught by their Gurus. They earned their living by honest labour; they shared their honest earnings with those in need, irrespective of cast or creed; they recited Gurbani and kept meditating on God. They were friends and helpers of all who needed help. Such persons were loved and honoured by their neighbours; yes; even by their Muslim neighbours. One such Sikh was Bhai Taru Singh. He was a Jat living in Poola, a small village in the present district of Amritsar. He was a young man of 25. He was very gentle, kind hearted and pious. He loved a peaceful life. He enjoyed helping and serving those who needed his services and help. He loved all and he was loved by honoured by all.    

    As we have seen, most of the daring, adventurous Sikhs had been driven from their homes. They lived in forests. One such place was Baba Buddha's Bir. It was quite near Bhai Taru Singh's village. Bhai Taru Singh took special pains to serve these exiled brethren of his. He cultivated his fields. Most of what he produced was offered to those whom the iron rule had driven into the wilderness. His aged mother and youthful sister were gentle and pious like him. They took delight in assisting him in every way. What they did for their exiled brethren was this. The two ladies ground the grain and baked cakes of bread. Usually, the cakes were made of a mixture of wheat and gram flour, salted and spiced. At night, Bhai Taru Singh took a basketful of them into the jungle nearby. He also carried a bucketful of milk. His exiled brethren used to be waiting for him. He distributed the cakes and milk among them. He used to sit and talk with them during a good part of the night. Sometimes, he happened to have learnt of some fresh government move against them. He warned them of it.

    This went on for some years. As already mentioned one particular vile, mean enemy of the Khalsa. He was Harbhagat of Jandiala. He was ever at pans to harm the Sikhs. He found out about the work being done by Bhai Taru Singh. He was cut to the quick to hear that Bhai Taru Singh was very popular with his neighbours, even with his Muhammadan neighbours. He decided to put an end to Bhai Taru Singh's life and activities. So determined he went to Zakriya Khan. he said to him, 'In a small village named Poola, there lives a dangerous rebel Sikh. His name is Taru Singh. He has the outward garb of a gentle, innocent, peace loving man of religion. But really, he is a wolf in sheep's clothing. He is a friend and helper of thieves and dacoits. He helps and shelter men of bad character. He also supplies milk and food to Sikhs living in the jungles. Your orders are that nobody should help or harbor these outlaws. He does both. He thus disobeys your orders. He is a dangerous rebel. He should be hauled up and punished. Zakriya Khan rewarded Harbhagat for this useful information. He sent a body of armed men to arrest Bhai Taru Singh and bring him to Lahore. His men went to posthaste to Poola. They arrested Bhai Taru Singh and he was taken to Lahore. There he was put in prison. In the prison he was subjected to severe, inhuman tortures for many days. He was asked to embrace Islam and get his hair cut. He was told, 'If you do that, you will be given in marriage a beautiful damsel of high Mughal family. You will be given riches and high position. You will lead a life of happiness and pleasure. If you refuse, you hair will be forcibly cut, you will be subjected to still severer tortures.'  

    'Finally, you will beheaded or broken on the wheel. Be well advised. Don't throw away your life and all that it can offer you.' Bhai Taru Singh firmly and defiantly refused to give up his faith. He said, 'Even if I were offered kingship of the whole world, even if all the beauties of Paradise were offered to me as my personal servants, even if the treasure of the entire world were placed at my feet, I would not give up my religion. It is far more precious and dear than all these. I would not let my hair be cut, not even a single hair. I am prepared to die. May God and the Guru let me die with my hair all intact.' Zakriya Khan said, 'Your God and Guru are powerless here. I am here to grant your prayer. Your hair shall not be cut. It will remain intact. Your scalp along with the hair shall be scraped off. What do you say to that ?' Bhai Taru Singh replied, 'That will be very good of you, indeed. Kill me in any manner that you like. Be quick. I am eager to join my martyred brethren at the feet of the Almighty and All-loving Father of all.'

    Zakriya Khan gave the orders. Bhai Taru Singh was taken to the Nakhas, outside the Delhi gate. Thousands had been butchered there in the near past. A shoemaker was ordered to scrape off Bhai Taru Singh's scalp. Bhai Taru Singh stood the ordeal bravely. He went on reciting Japji and repeating the name of God. The scalp with the hair intact was scraped off. It was thrown before him. He bowed, and thanked God and the Guru. He was thankful that his hair had not been cut. After that, he was taken back to the prison. The tortures were repeated. After a few days he let his soul fly from his body and go to the feet of the All-loving Father. This happened on the 1st of July 1745. His torturer, Zakriya Khan, had died a few hours before him, after having borne intense suffering. He had an attack of kidney pain. He could not pass urine. His abdomen swelled up till breathing became difficult. In this hour of terrible suffering, he thought within himself, 'I have put a saintly, innocent person to horrible tortures. May be my agony is due to that act of mine.' He sent a messenger to Bhai Taru Singh, asking for forgiveness. Bhai Taru Singh said, 'I have no ill-will against him. All happens as willed by God. As far as I am concerned, he is forgiven. But he will have to render an account of his doings. The inmates of hell are waiting to welcome him.'

    As soon as these words were spoken, Zakriya Khan was able to pass urine. His abdomen subsided. His pain was gone. But he died a few hours before Bhai Taru Singh's soul was released from his body.

 

Sardar Hari Singh Nalua

How the vast Afghani Empire on Punjabi soil disappeared in Kasur, Multan, Kashmir and Peshawar is a subject closely associated with the campaigns of Sardar Hari Singh Nalua, the Marshal of the Khalsa and terror for the Afghans. Being the 'Murat of the Khalsa' as he was appropriately called by Sir Henry Griffin, the famous British dignitary and a prominent writer of significant treatise on the Sikhs, his name figures among those patriots who participated bravely rather passionately in almost all battles fought constantly against the Afghans during the Sikh rule under Maharaja Ranjit Singh for a period of three decades from A.D. 1807 to A.D. 1837.

Sardar Hari Singh Nalua, the typical product of his age was born at Gujranwala now in the West Pakistan in A.D. 1791 in Uppal family in the house of Sardar Gurdial Singh to Dharam Kaur. He was the only son of his parents. The ancestors of Nalua Sardars were originally from Majitha town situated in the vicinity of Amritsar. His grandfather Sardar Hardas Singh engaged in the service of Sukarchakia Misl was killed in an expedition undertaken by the Misl in A.D. 1762. Gurdial Singh, the father of Sardar Hari Singh Nalua followed the profession of his father and took part in various campaigns of Sukarchakia Sardars - Charat Singh and Mahan Singh in the capacity of Deradar . 

 He expired in 1798 when Hari Singh was only seven years of age and was thus looked after with care and caution by his maternal uncle who took him to his house. In those days training in the feats of war was deemed necessary and physical education attracted much attention. Accordingly, Hari Singh who was physically quite stout and strong and impressive too in appearance when grew up, learnt the art of warfare. It is said that he was indefatigable and could sit on horse back for long hours. Hari Singh received his preliminary education in languages of Gurmukhi, Urdu, Persian. Baron Charles Hugel states that Hari Singh besides his general knowledge about the statistics of many of the European states, was well versed in Persian. He impressed him extremely with his overall achievements.

 

Hari Singh was administered Pahul when grew up and assumed the responsibility of supervising the affairs of his father's jagir. Hari Singh presented himself before Maharaja Ranjit Singh in his open darbar which he used to hold for a week or so on the eve of Basant fair every year. The Maharaja was so impressed by the feats of chivalry shown by him that he was taken in the royal service as a personal khidmatgar or an attendant. Maharaja commissioned him in 1804 A.D. by granted him a command of 700 footmen and horses with the honour of Sardar. Why Hari Singh is called "Nalua" and not Uppal. The reason is that he came to be know by the said title by way of an incident which took place during the early days of his joining the service of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. During the course of hunting expedition he happened to be a victim of a sudden attack of a tiger. The attack was so subtle and unexpected that he did not gain time to pull out his sword. Sardar Hari Singh Nalua faced the crucial situation with such boldness that he managed to catch hold of the jaw of the beast forcefully with his hands and pushed it away with the prowess of arms arranging thus to kill it with his sword. Baron Charles Hugel says he was called Nalua for 'having cloven the head of a tiger who had already seized him as its pray'.

The Sikhs often passing through a series of vicissitudes, first establish themselves as a political power in the Punjab in 1765 A.D. But their mode of fighting then was desultory and hardly suited to the requirements of a well-settled state, However Maharaja Ranjit Singh 'Built up a strong , centralised and effectively controlled military system by amalgamating the best elements in foreign with best elements found in the indigenous fighting mechanisms. Hari Singh Nalua's significant military campaign was that of Kasur, the so called 'mythological rival of Lahore', in 1807 A.D. Hari Singh Nalua along with Sardar Jodh Singh Ramgarhia, Sardar Nihal Singh Attari, Baba Akali Phula Singh, Fateh Singh Ahluwalia, Dhanna Singh Malwai, and Sardar Fateh Singh Kalianwala marched on to Kasur to subjugate its Afghani owner Kutab-ud-din Khan. Sikhs laid siege for three months after which Kutab-ud-din Khan surrendered. Hari Singh Nalua, of course, was the first to march inside the city gate of Kasur with his division called 'Sher-Dil-Rajman.' The troops under him caught Kutab-Ud-Din alive and presented him before Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Maharaja Ranjit Singh made him retire to a territory of Mamdot as a jagir, subject to his supplying 100 horsemen for service when required.

Sardar Hari Singh Nalua's next significant military achievement was to reduce to submission Sardar Jiwan Singh, the ruler of Sialkot who was asked by the Maharaja to surrender his possessions. Jiwan Singh gave tough fight for two days after which he raised his hands in peace. The strategic significance of Sialkot lay in the fact that it was a very fertile tract extending its dimensions up to Jammu. Moreover, Maharaja Ranjit Singh after bringing to submission a major part of the Central Punjab made it a centre of his further political aggrandisement. 

Hari Singh Nalua's next significant military achievement was the conquest of Multan. before annexing Multan in 1818 A.D., six expeditions were sent by the suzerain of Lahore. Resultantly tribute was collected every time, annexation was never visualised and attempted. Hari Singh contributed in all of these six campaigns as well as conquest of Multan. Multan had a great commercial and strategic importance having been the gateway of Afghanistan. It is stated that working boats from the Jhelum, Ravi and Chenab were forced to work for invariable supply of provisions. Illahi Bux of the artillery forces of Ranjit Singh made conspicuous arrangements for battering the forts of Multan. During Mughal rule it was an important headquarter and fell into Afghan custody after the fall of empire. After Multan, Sardar Hari Singh also subjugated the territories of Mitha Tiwana, Rajauri, Naushera, etc. from which strip tribute was realised for the kingdom of Lahore.

Then Maharaja turned towards Kashmir. Hari Singh Nalua's regiment was in forefront in campaign to get back Shah Shuja from the Governor of Kashmir, Shah Shuja's wife Wafa Begum had promised Kohinoor Diamond for Maharaja if her husband was to be freed from prison of Kashmir. In 1814 A.D., Hari Singh forces routed Kashmiris forces. Shah Shuja gave Ranjit Singh Kohinoor Diamond, from that day on till his death Maharaja Ranjit Singh wore that Diamond on his right shoulder, it was his pride. Hari Singh Nalua was appointed Governor of Kashmir. Immediately, he ordered to ban cow slaughter, such was an effect that to this day, Kashmiri Muslims don't eat beef. Jaziya, etc , the taxes which Hindu and Sikh population had to pay to their Muslim rulers for "not being a Muslim" were eradicated. For these obvious reasons, several Muslim historian had labelled Hari Singh Nalua as a tyrant. His rule they called "Sikha Shahi" or the "Rule of Sikhs." But no matter what, Hari Singh Nalua and his forces never destroyed any Mosques or abducted Muslim Women, etc. all those atrocities which Mughals and Pathans had committed on the local non-Muslims population. (It was around 1700's A.D that majority of Punjabi population became Muslim owing to the atrocities by Aurangzeb the sixth Mughal emperor) .

The Afghanis of North West region across river Indus around Peshawar were divided into several tribes (They still are). They were sort of savage people which would not obey any rule. From time to time the Punjabi forces from Lahore were sent there to put them down. Each time they would offer some tribute and then again revolt. To totally take control of these areas Maharaja Ranjit Singh give command to Hari Singh Nalua. Also to stop the attacks of Afghanis on Punjabi soil, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and others decided to put a series of forts to built up the defences of the Punjabi frontier. From Attock to the Khyber Pass series of small forts were built under Hari Singh Nalua to keep Afghanis in check. The most important part of this fortification was to put a complete halt at invaders who had attacked India entering from Khyber pass in West, starting with Greeks in 500 B.C.. So after 2300 Years of constant defeat and humiliation of Punjabi and Indian people Maharaja Ranjit Singh was able to totally shut down this historic route of invasion into India. It had been used by Greeks, Turks, Arabs, Mughals, Mongols, Tatars, Afghanis, etc. And on top of that there is no denying fact that Maharaja Ranjit Singh was quite conscious of the significance of North West frontier province for the defence of his territorial acquisitions.

A significant battle was fought here by Hari Singh Nalua when he defeated and caught the self styled Rajput chief Ghulam ali and send him over to Lahore. Maharaja was so happy that he allowed Hari Singh to strike a coin in his name in Kashmir. Then in the tract of Pakhli and Dhamtur Nalua with his usual sagacity and vision, was able to pacify a revolt against the Lahore court arising in the region. This is also acknowledged by Syed Mohd. Latif, a biased famous Punjabi Muslim historian. Henry Lepel Griffin in connection with Sardar Nalua in Pakhli states "obedience was not an easy to Hari Singh for wild mountaineers to the number of 20,000 opposed to his passage, on this way to mankera and at Pakli he was compelled to halt with his force of 7,000 men. Pakli has long been a spot dreaded by merchants, for the hill men of that place were accustomed to demand a toll on shawl, wood and other merchandise. Hari Singh after vain efforts to induce the enemy to yield him a passage, attacked them with vigour, and storming their blockades defeated them with great slaughter. After this he imposed a fine of Rs 5 on each house in the district.

Since virtually peace in Punjab was only possible by sealing the border of Kabul, and Peshawar being geographically situated in its close proximity was an indispensable asset for Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Thus, ultimately the strip of Peshawar became the bone of contention between Maharaja and Afghanis. After the conquest of Attock, Maharaja's solid and concrete target of conquest was Peshawar as the exigency of time so demanded.

The murder of Wazir Fateh Khan of Kabul in A.D. 1818 provided Maharaja the desired opportunity to attempt the conquest of Peshawar as consequent to his murder the two major factions of the Afghans-The Sadazui's and Barqzai's-came to be seen at dagger's drawn with each other. Moreover, the possession of Peshawar except as a step to further acquisitions, does not appear to have been advantageous to Ranjeet with additional evil of leading Sikhs into constant collision with the savage tribes of Afghanis.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh availed himself of anarchy in Kabul and made as invasion of Peshawar, the South-West-Eastern frontiers of Peshawar with Punjab having been neglected by Sultan Yar Mohammed Khan and Dost Mohammad Khan, the then Afghan governors of Peshawar who found themselves helpless and vacated the city. Punjabi forces with Mian Ghausa and Diwan Mohkam Chand leading the charge With Sardar Nalua as general of Cavalry didn't had to face any fight what so ever. Maharaja appointed Jahan Dad Khan, ex governor of Attock as new governor of Peshawar in November 1818.

Then in 1822, Dost Mohammad Khan and Yar Mohammad Khan were able to expel the Maharaja's nominee Jahan Dad Khan from Peshawar and thus another expedition was undertook by Punjabi forces. This time the forces were being led by cavalry by Sardar Hari Singh Nalua, Foot soldiers by Dhanna Singh Malwai, and Jagat Singh Attariwala, Artillery by Mian Ghausa. Dost Mohammad Khan managed to reconcile by paying a handsome nazrana to Maharja and by accepting the submission to Khalsa kingdom rather than to kingdom of Kabul. In Jan 1823, Muhammad Azim, the Kabul wazir occupied Peshawar with the assistance of large army. Ranjit Singh sent another expedition, the battles of Jahangira and Naushera were fought in March 1823 where Sardar Nalua, Akali Phula Singh, Gorkha Bal Bhadra, Mian Ghausa, Misr Diwan Chand, Sardar Attar Singh marched in the battle field at the head of their divisions and gave a defeat to the Afghans in the battle of Jahangira but a more serious and awe inspiring battle was fought at Naushera which is also known as the battle of Tibbi Tehri. General Allard and Ventura's participation in this battle with their divisions and trained army of Lahore kingdom with Akali division of the army had absolutely no match for untrained militia who although surpassed in sheer numbers, Afghans after a great massacre submitted and Naushera was captured. Albeit, the Lahore troops lost an indispensable commander, Akali Phula Singh whose dashing feats of warfare had surprised one and all. Hari Singh Nalua played a conspicuous role first by inflicting a crushing defeat upon the enemy and secondly by pursuing the enemy after the defeat in order to be sure about the victory of the Lahore troops. The battle of Naushera made it evident to the frontier tribesmen that the Afghan militia was weaker than those of Lahore troops. This battle sealed the further prospects of Muhammad Azim of Kabul and established the Sikh supremacy over Peshawar.

In 1827, Sayed Ahmad Bareli who claimed himself to be the messenger of Prophet Mohammad inspired the tribesmen by fervent appeals to recover their territory from the "kafir" or "Infidel" kingdom of Lahore. Yar Mohammad Khan also joined these crusaders. These forces captured the Peshawar. Maharaja Ranjit Singh sent Hari Singh Nalua to recapture the Peshawar as well as major parts around khyber pass. Sardar Hari Singh Nalua gave blow to the rising power of Syed Ahmad Bareli Griffin states that when Sayed Ahmad roused all the fanatic power of Yusafzais for a holy war against Sikhs and was joined by the Barkazi chief of Peshawar, Sardar Hari Singh Nalua with his 25,000 men prevented Syed Ahmad from crossing Indus. Then Lahore troops crossed Indus and invaded Peshawar, Syed Ahmad and his crusaders were butchered. Hari Singh gave Sayed a great setback. Peshawar was pillaged, Palaces were destroyed, tribute of Peshawar was increased and the son of Yar Mohammad Khan was carried away by Hari Singh as hostage. Then again, in 1830, Maharaja had to sent Prince Sher Singh to Peshawar to get tribute from Sayed Ahmad which was paid.

Hari Singh was put to call of duty in 1834 A.D for annexing Peshawar to the dominion of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. On 6th May 1834, Peshawar was made part of Punjab and Hari Singh Nalua was made his first non-Muslim governor. But most of Hari Singh time was spent at Lahore, his division was situated in Lahore. A year after annexation of Peshawar, Dost Mohammad, now the Afghan ruler of Kabul attempted to regain his supremacy over strip of Peshawar. Tribesmen from Yusafzai, Mohmmand and Khatak tribes of the vicinity were appealed in the name of religion to jump into holy war or jehad against Sikhs in order to oust them from their region. But due to unknown reasons these Afghan troops retreated long before confrontation.

Dost Mohammad Khan did not rest contented and after mobilising all his resources dispatched his son Akbar in A.D. 1837 to recover Peshawar which he did. Resultantly, Sardar Hari Singh Nalua was sent at the head of Lahore troops to face Afghans. He got his forces to Peshawar. Jamrud turned out to be the field of battle this time where a formidable battle was fought. Sardar Hari Singh Nalua had earlier build a fort on the entrance of Khyber pass called fort of Jamrud, this fort was being commanded by Sardar Mahan Singh Mirpura. For want of man and war material Nalua strove extraordinary hard, inspite of this he did not loose his heart. Urgent messages were sent to Lahore and Peshawar for materials. For want of timely help the Sardar was of course, killed but the Afghans could not dislodge the 500 Punjabi troops from the fort of Jamrud. General Hari Singh Nalua give his last command to his men to not to disclose his death and continue giving enemy a good fight.

Sir Lepel Griffin, gives a detailed and comprehensive account of Sardar Nalua's campaign of Jamrud. He points out that Sardar was directed to build a fort at Jamrud situated at the entrance of Khber pass from the walls of which Maharaja might glance Jalalabad in Afghanistan. Sardar got built a small port which was quite impregnable to the artillery fire and could hold on for several weeks of pounding. The Dost Mohammad Khan, with 7,000 horse, 2000 matchlock men and 18 guns. His three sons with their forces and a force of 12,000 to 15,000 of Khaibiris joined the main force and started pounding the fort. Mahan Singh Mirpura requested help from Peshwar where Hari Singh Nalua was ailing with fever. While giving an account of the march of Sardar Hari Singh Nalua at the head of Lahore troops to give fight to the Afghans at battle of Jamrud. Hari immediately sent some horsemen to Lahore for more reinforcement and he along with his soldiers went to Jamrud. Reinforcement under Hari Singh Nalua give a new life to the garrison and attack of Afghanis was repulsed with vigour. Griffin further states that when Hari Singh Nalua along with about five of his companion went outside of the fort to inspect a breach in a wall, he was struck by two balls, one in the side and the other in stomach. In spite of them understanding that he was mortally injured, the Nalua Sardar managed to ride as far as his camp lest the troops be discouraged. Then laying on floor he gives his last order to his few trusted men, that was to not to disclose the secret of his death.

Hari Singh further imparted instructions to his soldiers to cover his dead body after lifting it from the ground and placing it on a cot. Thus the great Sardar Hari Singh Nalua, with the terror of whose name Afghan mothers used to quite their fretful children attained his martyrdom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maharaja Ranjeet Singh Ji

Ranjeet SinghAfter the Treaty of Amritsar with British which simply stated that the International boundary of line between the Sarkar Khalsa and British India is Satluj. Ranjit Singh was virtually made master of all the territory to the west of Satluj. But there was several small kingdoms, like Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Kashmir, Multan, Sialkot which were ruled by Afghani or local chiefs. Thus, Ranjit Singh first turned towards North towards Kangra valley which was taken over from Raja Sansar Chand by Gurkhas. Ranjit Singh's forces fought with Gurkhas in Kangra Valley in the end the Gurkha leader Amar Singh thapa fled leaving the field to the Sikhs. Ranjit Singh entered the fort of Kangra and held a royal Darbar which was attended by the hill chiefs of Chamba, Nurpur, Kotla, Shahpur, Guler, Kahlur, Mandi, Suket and Kulu. Desa Singh Majithia was appointed governor of Kangra.

Then Ranjit Singh sent a force under the command of Hukma Singh Chimmi to Jammu and himself marched on to Khushab. The fort of Khushab was held by Jaffar Khan, a Baluch chief. He gave up the city and defended the fort stoutly. Ranjit Singh invited him to vacate the fort and accept a jagir. In few months, Jaffar Khan accepted Ranjit Singh's terms and gave up the fort. He was given a jagir and allowed to remain in Khushab with his family.

Meanwhile, Shah Shuja was arrested by a Afghani Ata Mohammad Khan who was governor of Kashmir. Shah Shuja's wife Wafa Begum approached Ranjit Singh to get her husband out of Kashmir. Ranjit Singh wanted Kohinoor diamond and he agreed. Hari Singh Nalwa and other forces were dispatched along with the Afghani forces of Wafa Begum. The Sikhs and Afghans crossed the Pir Panjal and entered the valley of Kashmir towards the close of 1812. Shah Shuja was rescued from an underground dungeon by Sardar Nihal Singh Attariwala. Hari Singh Nalwa was made a new governor of Kashmir by Ranjit Singh. Shah Shuja was set free. Shah Shuja invited Ranjit Singh to his house. A servant brought in a packet as they settled down in their seats after mutual exchange of courtesies. Ranjit Singh watched eagerly as the stone was being slowly unwrapped. He was beside himself with joy when the Koh-i-nor, Mountain of Light was placed on his palm. The price of this stone at that time was 6 crore rupees which comes to about Two million American dollars with today's conversion factor. This diamond still exist in England and is part of one of the Royal stone's.

Around this time, Ranjit Singh also got the fort of Attock by daring operations of Hari Singh Nalwa and Desa Singh Majithia. Now Punjab under Ranjit Singh extended from Satluj to river Attock and from Kashmir to Kasur. Early in 1817, Ranjit Singh sent a body of troops to Multan under the command of Diwan Bhiwani Das to receive from Nawab Muzaffar Khan the tribute he owed to the Sikh Darbar. Bhiwani das laid siege to the city, but showed little vigour to pressing it. He made a secret pact with the Nawab which led Ranjit Singh to recall him and deprive him of his office. Ranjit Singh planned the afresh expedition and sent a strong force under his son Kharak Singh's charge. He arranged for supplies to be sent by boats down the river Ravi, the Chenab and the Jhelum. The system of passing letters was organised in such a manner that the Maharaja received the news from Multan by relays of messengers several times a day.

The fort of Multan was one of the strongest in the country and Nawab Muzaffar Khan defended it with an equally strong heart. Kharak Singh's armies lay around it without making much headway. Ranjit Singh sent a big gun Zamzama along with Akali Phula Singh's Nihang regiment. The Zamzama was fired with effect and the gates were blown in. Akali Phula Singh made a sudden rush and took the garrison by surprise. The grey bearded Nawab stood in his way, sword in hand to fight, resolved to fight to death. His five sons died fighting. Two surviving sons were giving jagirs by Ranjit Singh. their descendants are still in possession of those lands in Pakistan. Prince Kharak Singh left Jodh Singh Kalsia with 600 men to guard the fort of Multan. Now Ranjit Singh southern boundary was Multan. In 1818, A.D. Ranjit Singh won Rohtas, Rawal Pindi and Hasan Abdal. Then he made preparations to cross the river Attock and attack Peshawar. These conquests are greatly explained with the biography of Hari Singh Nalua . In 1819, Ranjit Singh had to attack Srinagar again, this time he made Diwan Moti Das Governor, with Sham Singh Attariwala, Jawala Singh Padhania, and Misr Diwan Chand to further assist him in the operations in valley. Ten successive governors administered Kashmir during Sikh regime. One of them was prince Sher Singh who cared the Sikh standard across the high mountains into Ladakh. The conquest of Ladakh valley which was strategically very important, made the frontier secure against the expanding influence of China. Sher Singh sent General Zorawar Singh to march towards Tibet. Garo and Rudok were occupied and the Lhasa armies attacked. Tibetian government signed a treaty with Zorawar's armies.

 

The legacy of Maharaja Ranjit Singh

The Sikh court

Two Europeans, Ventura, an Italian by birth, and Allard, a Frenchman, came to Lahore in 1822 to seek service in the Sikh army. Both of them had served under Napoleon in the imperial army of France. After Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo they lost their occupation and left Europe to try their fortune in the East. They had heard many a tale of the grandeuf of Ranjit Singh's court and were taken up with the idea of visiting Lahore. Ranjit Singh, although not educated but was very wise and intelligent, he knew about the exploits of Napoleon. Punjabi historians had compared them and Ranjit Singh was even called Napoleon of the East. Ranjit Singh met these two European and he received them kindly asked them about their health and journey, previous employment, future plans. He showed them his troops on parade and provided amenities for their entertainment. In April of 1822, they sent a letter to Maharaja asking for an employment with his troops. The communication between these soldiers and Maharaja was in French through the trusted aide Faqir Nur-ud-din, who knew French, English, Persian as many other languages. Maharaja wanted to make sure that these people did not had any contacts with British and only when he was cent percent sure, he gave them command of 500 horsemen each. This command had few Purbias (Bihari) and other Hindus of Central provinces, employed with Ranjit Singh. They were also to train all forces of Sikhs in the western method of drill. Ventura's army was called Fauj-e-Khas while little bit later Allard was asked to raise a cavalry of fresh recruits.  Then Ranjit Singh also made them sign an agreement that in the event of a clash between Maharaja and European power, they would remain loyal to Sarkar Khalsa and fight for him. They were to wear their beards long and abstain from beef and tobacco. Ranjit Singh provided houses for Ventura and Allard and gave them handsome salaries. To Ventura he gave 40,000 rupees when he married a Muslim girl from Ludhiana. Two villages were subsequently given to the daughter of Ventura as jagir. Ventura built a house, which still exists near Anarkali, it is a beautiful Cheateau in French style. This shows that even though Ranjit Singh was cautious but shrewd and able enough to distinguish between people beneficial to him.

He selectively employed several more Europeans, such as Dr.Honigberger, a native of Hungary. Evitable an Italian later appointed Governor of Peshawar. General Court, a Frenchman who organised the artillery. Dr. Harlan an American, who became governor of Jasrata and later Gujrat. Henry Stein Bach, a German was made a battalion commander. Hurbon, a Spainard was an engineer. Dr. Benet, a Frenchman was a surgeon-general of Khalsa Army. Viewkenawitch, a Russian held a high rank in the artillery. There were a number of Englishmen too- Fitzroy, Gillmore, Leslie, Harvey, and Foulkes, to mention but a few- who were employed on various civil and military duties. With men of such diverse races, nationalities and faiths to serve him, Ranjit Singh maintained a most picturesque and cosmopolitan court. He was very kind to these foreigners. He trusted them and gave them positions of responsibility and rewarded them generously for their services. But he always kept a watchful eye on them and never let them have an influence over him. They willingly submitted to his natural dignity and served him faithfully.

Ranjit Singh's Lahore also attracted many visitors and travellers. Like his foreign couriers, they came from all parts of the world. They were drawn by the reports of the Maharaja's hospitality and his personal charm and joi de vivre. What fascinated his visitors most was his unquenchable curiosity. He asked them the most searching questions and his keenness of mind and range of interest surprised everyone. Many travellers have written in their books of his generosity, refined manner and mental alertness. He was always cheerful and vivacious and transmitted the same spirit of heartiness to his visitors. In the summer of 1821, William Moorcroft, the Superintendent of East India Company's horses came to visit Ranjit Singh's court. A daily allowance of 100 rupees was fixed for his entertainment. Moorcroft was also shown Sikh army, he was greatly impressed by the turnout and discipline of the Sikh army. He also visited the royal stables and remarked that some of Ranjit Singh's horses were the finest in the world. On the way back from Bukhara, Moorcroft brought a letter from Prince Nesselrode of Russia which contained greetings and good wishes from the ruler of that country. It also expressed Russia's desire to have trade relations with the country of Ranjit Singh. They traders from Punjab were assured welcome and security in Russia.

Another famous traveller to visit Ranjit Singh was Baron Charles Hugel. He was a German Scientist, who travelled extensively in the Punjab and Kashmir. In his book, he wrote that Punjab under Ranjit Singh was safer than territories ruled by the British. He also recorded his conversations with Ranjit Singh, who, as usual, asked him many questions. He asked him if he had served as a soldier and questioned him about the German armies and their wars with France. He asked him what he thought of the Sikh army and whether it was in a fit state to confront a European force.

Victor Jacque Mont, a French traveller, also praised Ranjit Singh's powers of conversation and his shrewd judgement. He wrote in his book: "Ranjit Singh is almost the first inquisitive Indian I have seen, but his curiosity makes up for the apathy of his whole nation. He asked me a hundred thousand questions about India, the English, Europe, Napoleon, this world in general and the other one., hell and paradise, the soul, God, the devil, and a thousand things besides." There were several missionaries whom Ranjit Singh also met. Several requests to open up churches, convent schools, etc were denied by Ranjit Singh. He asked them to teach Punjabi language and Sikh scriptures instead. No wonder when British took over Punjab after Ranjit Singh convent Schools were spread all over Punjab.

He was a benevolent king. Even though the Government of Punjab was called Sarkar Khalsa but no laws were imposed on any of the minority or majority. Sikhs at his time were about 15% of whole population, Hindus around 25%, rest were Muslims. He governed the forty years of his rule from Lahore with secular ideals. He would fast with Muslims during Ramadan and play Holi with Hindus., yet he would be at Amritsar almost every Month to take bath. A poor Muslim from Lahore had written a Quran which he was going to take to Delhi to sell at the Mughals court. Ranjit Singh asked him how much he wanted and paid him twice. There is another story about Ranjit Singh. One year, crops totally die and due to a massive famine, people were starving. So being a king, he opened up all the state stores for people. Ranjit Singh would often roam in streets of Lahore in disguise to check his rule, whether people are happy or not. That night he saw an old woman who could not carry a bag of wheat to her house where her children were starving. He carried that bag to her house on his back. Although he was a devout Sikh but he cannot be called a strict Khalsa Sikh adhering to all the principles of Sikhism. He was a very well disciplined soldier of Khalsa who was also a secular as well as enjoying his life, like drinking, etc. The spirit of stern religious discipline and sacrifice which had supported Sikhs through a critical period of their history and led them to power and glory was dimmed in the pomp and splendour of sovereignty. Ranjit Singh's death on June 27, 1839, left a deep hiatus. The Khalsa lost a leader who had, by commanding personality, foresight and skill, become their beau ideal and secured them the status of sovereign people. The British had by then taken practically the whole of India, except the Punjab and Sind.

 

 

 

Bhai Kanhaiya Singh Ji

Bhai Kanhaiya ji was founder of Sevapanthi or Addanshahi sect of the Sikhs. He was born in a Dhamman Khatri family of Sodhara near Wazirabad in Sialkot District (Now in Pakistan). His father was a wealthy trader, but he himself being of a religious bent of mind left home when still very young and roamed about With sadhus and ascetics in search of spiritual peace. His quest ended as he met Guru Tegh Bahadur 1621-75) and accepted initiation at his hands. Kanhaiya established a dharamsal at Kavha village in the present Attock district of Pakistan. Which he turned into a preaching centre. His special mission was selfless service of humanity with no distinction of nationality, caste or creed. In 1705, he was on a visit to Anandpur when Anandpur was invested by a combination of hill troops and the Mughal imperial army. During the frequent sallies and skirmishes, Bhai Kanhaiya used to roam around serving water to the wounded and the dying without distinction of friend and foe. Some Sikhs complained to Guru Gobind Singh that Kanhaiya had been resuscitating the fallen enemy soldiers. As Guru Gobind Singh summoned Bhat Kanhaiya and told him What the Sikhs had said, he spoke, "Yes, my Lord, what they said is true in a sense, but I saw no Mughals or Sikhs in the battlefield. I only saw the Guru's face in everyone. " The Guru, pleased with the reply, blessed him and told his Sikhs that Kanhaiya had understood his teaching correctly. Guru also give him medicine to be put on the wounds of fallen soldiers (Sikhs and Enemies).

After evacuation of Anandpur, Bhai Kanhaiya retired to Sodhara where he died in 1718

 

 

Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgharia

Jassa Singh Ramgarhia was a born leader of unprecedented qualities. His birth took place near city of Amritsar. He was 5 years old when Banda Singh Bahadur attained martyrdom at Delhi. He was among the crop of those Sikhs who had fought against all odds for survival of their newly founded religion. In those times all Sikhs, cook, ate, fought together and Sikhism was thought of a family. Sardar Kapur Singh was elder and an able leader, Jassa Singh Ramgarhia, Sardar Budh Singh Sandhu (grand father of Ranjit Singh), and others were able leaders fighting Mughals and Afghnis keeping Khalsa flame alive with their resistance. In around 1720's Mughals decided to offer truce to these Sikh leaders and sent some gifts to them in mountains where they were hiding. Mughals offered three towns for Sikhs and title of Nawab for their leader. Five Sikh leaders which includes Budh Singh, Jassa Singh Ramgarhia and others decided to make Kapur Singh Supreme Jathedar of Dal Khalsa and Kapur Singh accepted it only when he was reminded of Guru's order to listen to the anonymous order of Five Gursikhs . Later this group of Sikh leaders created Misals and two factions of Sikhs called Budha Dal and Taruna Dal. Jassa Singh Ahluwalia were youngsters leading their regiments under Taruna Dal and reporting to Jathedar Kapur Singh ji at Diwali and Vasaikhi.

Under Dal Khalsa, Jassa Singh Ramgarhia established his Misl of Ramgarhia in and around riarki area of Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Batala. He also fortified and constructed fort of Ram Rauni at Amritsar. His misal contained more then 5000 cavalry always on move and helping Dal Khalsa whenever Afghanis or Mughals attacked. Sikhs at this time were in control of villages while Mughal administration was only effective in cities. Twenty years Earlier Banda Bahadur had wrecked a havoc on administration by abolishing all taxes and Zamindara system. Now Sikhs only levied "Dasvand", that is 10% of their income for Rakhi tax or "protection tax" for armies.

Mir Mannu became the new governor of Lahore and Multan on the 9th April 1748 A.D. He appointed Kaura Mal as his new Diwan. After setting right the administration of his province, he deployed army patrol to finish the Sikhs of his province. The Sikhs left his territory and moved to other states. Sardar Jassa singh Ramgarhia and his squad joined the army of the Commander of Jalandhar, named Adina Beg. Adina Beg was a cunning treacherous soft and sweet speaking mean person. Adina Beg on one hand would woo Sikhs to join him against Mughals on the other hand he had secret links with Afghanis, while he drew his salary from Mughals. Jassa Singh Ramgarhia, being a simple minded person trusted Adina Beg and joined his army.

The Sikhs gathered at Amritsar on the occasion of Diwali in 1748 A.D. When Mir Mannu came to know of the gathering of Sikhs, he sent his general with an army to blockade Amritsar and sent words to the Commander of Jalandhar, Adina beg to to take his army to help his general in finishing the Sikhs. Adina Beg not telling his Sikh army personnel attacked fort of Ram Rauni. Five hundred Singhs took shelter in fort of Ram Rauni and the rest moved to forests. The combined forces of Lahore and Jalandhar surrounded the fort. Sardar Jassa Singh Ramgarhia was in army who was in siege of fort, with his squad. Plight of his fellow Sikhs sorrounded in the fort of Ram Rauni was too much for him and his squad. One day he deserted the royal army and joined the Singhs inside the fort with his squad. The Singhs inside the fort did not surrender even after two months of siege. Adina Beg felt the departure of the Jassa Singh Ramgarhia in this manner very much but could not do anything. Hearing the news of the second invasion of Abdali, Mir Mannu made peace with Sikhs and sanctioned an estate in Patti area for the livelihood. Thus Jassa Singh Ramgarhia won the battle of Ram Rauni.

Abdali attacked India and Jassa Singh's squad along with other Sikh squad was deployed in and around hills of Jammu, Pathonkot, to harass and snatch Abdali's baggage train. His 5000 cavalry soldiers harassed Abdali's Afghanis through Guerilla tactics of warfare that Abdali lost more soldiers to Sikhs in this type of warfare than his battle with Marthas. Around same time Jassa Singh Ahluwalia freed 2200 young Hindu women from Afghanis who were being taken to the harems and bazaars of Kabul, Baghdad and Basra. It was blessings of Waheguru (the almighty God) that Sikhs who were weak and few had defeated Abdali.

Next year Abdali returned to Punjab only to punish Sikhs. Mughals at this time were under his protectorate and small Mughal chieftains like, Nawab of Sarhind, and Sher Khan, Nawab of Malerkotla as well as other small time nawabs all over Punjab helped Abdali to sorround Sikhs at a place near Malerkotla called Kup. Taruna Dal and Buddha Dal sorrounded Women and children and fought head on for the first time with Abdali and his allies. Sikhs were outnumbered five to one (including women and chlidren on Sikh side). In this battle Sikhs lost about 30-45000 Sikhs in single day of battle and to this day it is called "The greater holocaust"., or "Wadda Ghalughara"

After this incident, Sikhs came out strong and in less than five years Sikhs had defeated all Mughals and Afghani protectorate in between area of River Jamuna and River Indus. Jassa Singh's Ramgarhia Misl had played major part in this struggle. Later Ranjit Singh incorporated Ramgahia Misal into Sarkar Khalsa and thus a one unified Khalsa kingdom was created.