News & Updates

November 27, 2018

 

Path of Naam Simran – Concept of Sikh meditation explained as a true path of salvation.

 

May 17, 2018

 

Sri Guru Amardas Ji – A detailed biography of Guru Amardas Ji posted.

 

Check Past Updates

Find Us On...

Find Sikhism: Sikh Religion, Beliefs, Philosophy and Principles on FacebookFind Sikhism: Sikh Religion, Beliefs, Philosophy and Principles on Twitter

Conquests of Kashmir and North-West Frontier Region

Strategic importance of Peshawar

It has already been stated that the Maharaja's hegemony had more or less been established on territories around the fort of Attock. But the Afghan tribes of the region were far from having been completely subdued. They always looked for help towards the Afghan rulers of Kabul and Peshawar. The Maharaja too was aware that as long as Peshawar and its surrounding areas remained outside his domain, the Afghans would not reconcile to the Sikh conquest of these territories. Peshawar had remained the gateway for all those who had invaded India for centuries together. Therefore the Maharaja remained on the look-out for a suitable opportunity to wrest Peshawar from the Afghans which came his way soon.

Departure for Peshawar

A dispute arose between Fateh Khan Barakzai, the minister of Amir Shah Mahmud of Kabul and the Shah's son, Kamran. Kamran got the Wazir tortured to death which led to disturbances in Afghanistan. The Maharaja took it as God-sent opportunity, and set out for Attock with a powerful army in October 1818 A.D. With brief halts; on the way at Rohtas, Rawalpindi and Hasan Abdal, he encamped in the vast plain of Hazro. From there a small detachment was sent across- the river Attock to reconnoiter the route. When the Afghans of Khatak tribe learnt about these movements, they got greatly agitated. At once, a mob of seven thousand gathered under the command of Sardar Firoz Khan Khatak and they laid an ambush in the hills of Khairabad. Unaware of this development, when a detachment of the Khalsa army passed from there, the Afghans at once emerged from the hills and fell upon them like lightening and eliminated almost the entire detachment.

Defeat of the Khataks

When the Lion of Punjab received this horrible news, his eyes became blood-red with anger. He immediately started preparations to cross the river Attock. The Maharaja, as a precautionary measure, had brought clever and experienced boats men of Ravi, Chenab and Jehlum rivers along with him. They were asked to identify fords in the fast- flowing Attock. The boatmen were soon successful. In order to encourage the army, the Maharaja himself, mounted a war-elephant and entered the mid-current of the river first of all.1 And thus the Khalsa army reached across the river. Meanwhile the Afghans also appeared on the scene and a fierce battle ensued. The Afghans came to know for the first time that the Khalsa could excel them in bravery. Therefore, thousands of the Afghans were killed and the rest got encircled by the Khalsa forces. When they found that it was impossible even to run for lives, they at once raised the white flag and submitted before the Maharaja. This time too Sardar Phoola Singh Akali displayed his extra-ordinary feats of his bravery well.

Conquest of Peshawar

After setting up his posts in forts of Khair'abad and Jahangira, the Maharaja advanced further. Meanwhile, Dewan Sham Singh, whom the Maharaja had sent towards Peshawar, conveyed the news that Dost Muhammad Khan, the nazim (governor) of Peshawar, on hearing the news of the Maharaja's occupation of fort Jahangira had vacated Peshawar and retired towards Hashtnagar. The Maharaja ordered the army to advance further and soon entered the abandoned city of Peshawar and made satisfactory arrangements for administration there. Sardar Jahandad Khan, from whom the Maharaja had taken the fort of Attock and who was then with the Maharaja as his jagirdar - chieftain, was appointed nazim of Peshawar. After staying there for a few days, the Maharaja returned to Attock.

Dost Muhammad Khan's smartness

As soon as the Lion of Punjab returned to Attock from Peshawar, Dost Muhammad came back from Hashtnagar and re-established his authority over Peshawar. He expelled Jahandad Khan and Diwan Sham Singh from there and also sent his Vakils, Diwan Damodar Mai and Hafiz Ruh-ullah-Khan to the Maharaja at Attock with the request that if the governance of Peshawar be bestowed upon him, he would accept Maharaja's suzerainty and would ensure regular payment of one hundred thousand rupees as yearly tribute. The Maharaja accepted the submission of Dost Mohd. Khan in consideration of the prevalent situation and recognised Dost Muhammad Khan as his tributary chieftain at Peshawar.

During the battle of Peshawar, fourteen big guns, many horses, costly goods and cash fell into the hands of Maharaja Ranjit Singh which were carried to Lahore with the grandeur of triumphal march accompanied by play of music.

Significance of the Battle of Peshawar

Although the ‘conquest’ of Peshawar cannot be termed as a conquest in the real sense, there is little doubt that it was a glorious expedition in the annals of Sikh history. If we cast a cursory glance at the events of history of the Punjab preceding subjugation of Peshawar by Ranjit Singh, the significance of this expedition would unfold itself before us. The students of history know that in the beginning of the eleventh century Mahmud of Ghazni had established his sway over Peshawar and Punjab by defeating Raja Jai Pal and his son Anang Pal. Eight hundred years following this, a heavy flood of foreign invaders had been flowing towards India from the North-West. Shahab-ud-Din Ghauri, Amir Taimur, Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali and many others, plundered India to their heart's content and perpetrated such atrocities on the people that the very memory of their horrendousness remains hair-raising. After such a long time, the great Khalsa army not only stemmed that powerful flood like tide of invaders but also pushed it so far back enough that this has not resurfaced till today. Without doubt, this rare victory of the Lion of Punjab changed the course of history of the Indian sub-continent. The strong-bodied and warlike Afghans came to know for the first time that by then, such a nation had taken birth in the Punjab at whose hands their defeat no longer remained impossible. Just as the people of Punjab used to be afraid from Ahmad Shah Abdali's name, in the same way the Afghans in the streets of Peshawar now began to tremble at the name of the brave Khalsa General, Hari Singh Nalwa. In fact till today the mention of Hari Singh Nabwa’s name in the Afghan household strikes terror.

Arrival of Pandit Bir Dar

It has already been said that after the murder of Wazir Fateh Khan anarchical conditions prevailed in the Durrani kingdom. Taking advantage of such a situation, Muhammad Azim Khan, ruler of Kashmir, set out towards Kabul at the head of a huge army, leaving his younger brother Jabbar Khan as governor of Kashmir. Jabbar Khan was a very cruel person who perpetrated great atrocities on his Hindu subjects. For this reason his revenue minister, Pandit Bir Dar finding a chance ran away from Kashmir to save his life and found asylum at Lahore under the Maharaja. Ranjit Singh extended liberal hospitality to Pandit Bir Dar, and the Pandit posted the Maharaja with every kind of information concerning Kashmir, particularly regarding matters of defence, the state of deployment of forces etc., and promised to assist the Maharaja in his conquest of Kashmir.

Preparation for Invading Kashmir

The Maharaja on his part was keen to conquer Kashmir. Therefore preparations for the invasion were commenced in the beginning of 1819 and by early May of that year a huge army got assembled at Wazirabad. It was divided into three formations. The first formation was placed under the joint commanded of Misr Diwan Chand Zafar Jang and Sardar Sham Singh Attariwala. The second formation was commanded by Prince Kharak Singh. Both the formations advanced towards Kashmir while the third commanded by the Maharaja himself stayed back at Wazirabad as reserve and also to over-see the progress of the campaign. Stores of rations and munitions were also collected at Wazirabad itself and their supplies were looked after by the Maharaja himself.

Journey to Kashmir

Overall command of the expedition was entrusted to Prince Kharak Singh. On this occasion the Maharaja released Sultan Khan a former ruler of Bhimbar whom he had kept under detention for the past seven years, and ordered him to join the Kashmir expedition. He performed very useful services to the Maharaja. Both the formations of the Khalsa army reached Rajauri through Bhimbar region. Misr Diwan Chand left his heavy artillery at Bhimbar and carried only light guns with him. Raja Agar Khan,2 ruler of Rajauri had shown signs of recalcitrance by violating the terms of an earlier treaty. His territory was therefore besieged.

When Agar Khan saw the enormous strength of Ranjit Singh’s army, he escaped in the thick darkness of night. On the following day, his brother Rahim Allah Khan2 gave himself up to the Khalsa army along with his servants and offered his services as a guide to the Khalsa army. Prince Kharak Singh sent Rahim Allah Khan to the Maharaja at Wazirabad. Ranjit Singh warmly welcomed him, gave him an elephant, a horse with golden harness and a costly robe, and appointed him as nazim of Rajauri, and made him his friend through such clever tactics.

A Brief Encounter

Both the formations of the army advanced from Rajauri thereafter. Because the track had been badly damaged by floods etc., heavy luggage and extra material had to be left behind. Some of the horsemen and even their horses were left behind and many marched on foot. Leaving the road, they followed hill-tracks. Prince Kharak Singh's division reached Bahramgarh via Poshanah. Here the thanedar (Commander) of fort Shapin accepted the Khalsa's suzerainity on the advice of Sultan Khan of Bhimbar. The Prince honoured him by granting him a robe of honour. Here the Prince came to know that Zabardast Khan, ruler of Poonchh, was collecting a large force to offer resistance. Therefore the need arose to avoid the regular road and follow the hidden hilly passages. Zabardast Khan had got all nearby passes and tracks made impassable by blocking them with tree trunks and rocks. But the Prince's division attacked him all the same and after a brief battle brought all the, passes under its control. Zabardast Khan agreed to submit. In the battle, Sultan Khan of Bhimbar gave very useful assistance and Ranjit Singh’s policy proved successful.

Ranjit Singh's Presence

Meanwhile the Maharaja himself along with his division, arrived at Shahabad after having traversed through Gujrat, Bhimbar and Rajauri. On the way he established storehouses for stocking materials required for the supply to the forces. Besides, he appointed Harkaras (couriers) at short distances who brought daily news to the Maharaja. Now the two divisions advanced further by separate routes to keep the hills of Pir Panjal in occupation, and the Maharaja sent from behind a contingent of ten thousand soldiers as reinforcement which joined Misr Diwan Chand at Pir Panjal.3 Here, a gruesome battle was fought between the Sikhs and the Afghans in which the former emerged victorious. Thereafter, both these divisions met each other at Sarai Aliabad after crossing the difficult mountain ranges.

Defeat of Jabbar Khan

Here (at Sarai Aliabad), they got the news that Jabbar Khan had blocked the road with twelve thousand-strong Afghan army. Hence they encamped there. After a few days' rest, the Khalsa suddenly attacked the enemy on the morning of Har 21, or July 3. When the Afghan army came within the range of Khalsa's guns, the Sikhs rained fire with such intensity as to present a scene of devastation. But Jabbar Khan's soldiers also fought well and on one occasion they compelled the Khalsa army to beat a tactical retreat when one or two guns of theirs fell into the enemy's hands. But by then Akali Phoola Singh's jatha of intrepid Nihangs arrived on the scene and shouting “Akal! Akal!” fell upon the enemy instantly. They showed such a sleight of their sword-hands that hundreds of Afghans fell dead on the ground. The Khalsa gunners were again on their feet, and Jabbar Khan was forced to flee the field. The Afghans left behind all their war-material, stocks of rations and countless horses which all fell into the hands of the Khalsa army.

Occupation of Srinagar

The Afghans suffered very heavy losses during this battle. Jabbar Khan was seriously wounded and he himself fled for his life with great difficulty. He went to Afghanistan through the hills of Bhimbar. The Khalsa army occupied the fort of Shergarh and other posts and entered Srinagar with great fanfare on Har 22 corresponding to July 4, 1819 A.D. Prince Kharak Singh, as advised by Misr Diwan Chand, ordered his army not to interfere with the city life in any form, and promulgated this order with the beat of drum to the satisfaction of the people.4

Return of the Lion of Punjab

The news of this great and glorious victory reached the Maharaja at Shahabad. The slogans of "victory of the Great Guru" (Waheguru ji ki Fateh) began to be raised in all the formations of the Khalsa army, hearing which the Maharaja was greatly delighted. Riding an elephant he took a round of the army camp and showered gold. Then he marched towards Lahore and from there he reached Amritsar. He offered countless gold and silver at Darbar Sahib, and held great festivities. For three days illuminations were held in the entire city. The streets were decorated and the people heartily participated in the happiness of their Maharaja. On his return to Lahore, the Lahorias also expressed happiness. On this occasion, the Maharaja, liberally distributed thousands of rupees among the poor.

Administration of Kashmir

Although the Maharaja's rule had been established over Srinagar, yet at far flung places there were forts where the Afghans still held the posts. Therefore before returning to Lahore, the Maharaja issued orders to ensure the conquest of such places. He had himself conquered one such fort of Azimgarh near Rajauri. Diwan Ram Dayal was ordered to stay at Bhimbar along with his contingent. Bhayya Ram Singh was appointed at Thanah Pass so that he might bring under his control Mad Fort and other places. Misr Diwan Chand, Sardar Sham Singh Attariwala and Sardar Jawala Singh Bharania were stationed at Baramula and Srinagar. Faqir Aziz-ud-Din was sent to Kashmir on a special mission of studying the situation personally and to present an eye witness report to the Maharaja. Diwan Moti Ram was appointed governor of Kashmir and under his command about twenty thousand soldiers were stationed there to guard against Afghan insurgency in the entire Kashmir province. Pandit Bir Dar was given a rich jagir as a reward for his distinguished service. He was also given a contract for collection of revenue of the state in exchange for fifty three hundred-thousand Kashmiri rupee coins.5 Misr Diwan Chand had been decorated with the title of Zafar Jang during the Multan campaign. Now he received the higher title of “Fateh-O-Nusrat Nasib” along with a jagir of fifty thousand rupees.6

Tour of Multan and Bahawalpur (October 1819)

Getting respite from the Kashmir expedition, the Maharaja turned his attention towards southern Punjab, and started tour of that sector with a detachment of the army. First he stayed at Pindi Bhattian and chastised the recalcitrant landlords of that place. From there, he reached Chandhiot (Chaniot) by boat through Chenab River. Then he stayed at Multan. It is to be remembered that during such tours, the Maharaja used to hold Darbar in big towns which were attended by leading landlords, muqaddams (headman), chaudhries (leading men), panches and grandees of the towns. The Maharaja attentively listened to their views on local matters and gave consideration to them. The Maharaja learnt in one such Darbar held at Multan that the subjects were bemoaning because of the excesses of the local governor, Sham Singh Peshawaria who had also been charged with embezzlement of government money. Therefore the Maharaja suspended him and ordered his detention for some time.

Birth of Kashtnira Singh and Multana Singh

During this tour the Maharaja received the news that two of his queens, Rattan Kaur and Daya Kaur had given birth to two sons at Sialkot. Many functions were held in celeberation of this joyful event. As the Maharaja had recently conquered two large provinces of Kashmir and Multan, therefore the princes were named Kashmira Singh and Multana Singh to commemorate those victories; and their birth place Sialkot was illuminated at the Maharaja's orders.

The Policy of Finding a Foothold

Ranjit Singh had always nursed a strong desire to conquer the North-West Frontier region. Earlier, taking advantage of the weakness of the Durrani kingdom, he had tried to conquer Peshawar, but in the end he had to return after accepting Sardar Dost Mohammad Khan as his tributary chief of Peshaw'ar. During this confusion, Shah Shujah also got tempted to try his luck for getting back the throne of Kabul. Leaving Ludhiana, he reached Peshawar and thought of bringing it under his sway. But Dost Mohammad Khan and Mohammad Azim Khan joined to defeat him. He fled from there and reached Dera Ghazi Khan. Its ruler Zaman Khan gave him sufficient help but Shah Shujah was not destined to wear the crown again. He met with no success and leaving Dera Ghazi Khan, he crossed over to Sindh to seek asylum with the Amirs of that region.

Under these circumstances, the Maharaja thought it necessary to annex Dera Ghazi Khan, because its ruler could still think of owing allegiance to the rulers of Kabul. So an army contingent under Jama'dar Khushal Singh was despatched thither. He expelled Zaman Khan after a brief encounter and occupied Dera Ghazi Khan. Because it was far away from Lahore and the Maharaja was only looking for a foothold there, he handed over this territory, to Nawab of Bahawalpur in exchange for an additional annual tribute of three hundred-thousand rupees per year.

Riots in Hazara

A large part of Hazara was included in Kashmir province when it was conquered by the Sikhs. The chieftains and jagirdars of Hazara got scared with the thought of subjugation by the Sikhs. Therefore they began to create tumult. The Maharaja was then busy in consolidating his sway in Kashmir Valley. Therefore, for a time he ignored it. But the turmoil gathered strength before long and a large army under the command of Prince Sher Singh was sent to Hazara for the suppression of the rebel chiefs. For the help and guidance of the Prince, some seasoned and brave officers like Sardar Fateh Singh Ahluwalia, Sardar Sham Singh Attariwala and Diwan Ram Dayal were detailed. Maternal grandmother of Prince Sher Singh, Sardarni Sada Kaur along with her contingent also accompanied them.

Suppression of the Rebels

It needs to be mentioned that this rebellion was not confined to any particular place, but had spread over the entire region. All landlords of Pakhali, Dhamtaur, Tarbela, etc., prepared for war. Therefore the Khalsa army considered it proper to fight the rebels at various places instead of fighting a pitched battle at one place. Still a fierce battle continued to be fought throughout the day, at/one place. As the evening approached, the troops of Diwan Ram Dayal and Sardar Sham Singh, which had been busy fighting the enemy since morning, tactically moved back and then charged with such ferocity that the enemy forces took to their heels.

Death of Diwan Ram Dayal

Diwan Ram Dayal, who was then in the prime of his life and intoxicated with the verve of youth, set out in pursuit of the enemy, killing and making them flee, he went up to a hill stream. Suddenly there came a strong wind-storm and Diwan Ram Dayal became helpless. All at once the Afghans started firing from nearby hills killing many Khalsa young men. A bullet also hit Diwan Ram Dayal and he died instantaneously. On learning this, the Khalsa army was dumbfounded and it advanced to take revenge from the enemy. They charged at the Afghans ferociously with a view to avenge the death of Diwan Ram Dayal. Their fire for revenge could extinguish only after thousands of Afghans lay dead on the battlefield.

Hazara region was conquered and the rebel chiefs accepted subjection, but the Maharaja was deeply grieved at the death of an upcoming general as Diwan Ram Dayal was. The Maharaja had hoped that this young man would in time earn name and fame like his grandfather, Diwan Mohkam Chand. For Ram Dayal's father, For Diwan Moti Ram, the shock of the death of his young and promising son was so severe that he got fed-up with this world and its appurtenances. He resigned from the governorship of Kashmir and expressed a desire to retire to the holy pilgrim centres of the Hindus. The Maharaja rejected his resignation, but granted him long leave for pilgrimage. Dewan Moti Ram went to Kashi (now Varanasi), and started living the life of a hermit. In his place, Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa was appointed as governor of Kashmir.

To make proper arrangements for the governance of Hazara, the Maharaja started the construction of four strong forts under the guidance of Diwan Kirpa Ram and Sardar Fateh Singh Ahluwalia, at Ghazigarh, Tarbela, Darband and Gandgarh.

William Moorcroft

During the same year, that is, in May 1820 A.D., the famous traveller, Mr. Moorcroft came to Lahore. He was the Daroga (manager) of the stables of East India Company and was on his way to Turkistan for buying horses. The Maharaja arranged for his stay in Baradari (pavilion) close to the Shalamar garden.7 He was extended generous hospitality. One hundred rupees per day was sanctioned as expenses for hospitality. William Moorcroft often used to visit the court to have the honour of meeting the Maharaja. He also visited Maharaja's stables, and he mentions in his travelogue that the Maharaja's stables had many excellent and rare species of horses.

Internment of Sardarni Sada Kaur - October 1821 A.D.

Sada Kaur's maternal grandson, Prince Sher Singh, was now quite grown up and the Maharaja wanted that the Sada Kaur should allot him a sufficiently big jagir out of the territories of the Kanheya Misl, but she was not at all ready for this. Therefore discord arose between Ranjit Singh and his mother-in-law. Gradually the matter became serious and Sada Kaur thought of seeking asylum with the British, because some of her possessions, such as Ferozpur, Badhani, etc., were situated across the river Sutlej.8 The Maharaja was sagacious and forbearing. He wrote very courteous and conciliatory letters to Sada Kaur and called her to Lahore, where she was interned. Once the Sardami got a chance and escaped, but she was apprehended while she had not yet gone far from Lahore.

Annexation of the Territories of the Kanheya Misl

The Maharaja had doubts that Sada Kaur might again find a chance to seek asylum with the British. Therefore, he thought of forestalling any such move. An army commanded by Misr Diwan Chand and the Attariwala Sardars, was sent to occupy all the possessions of Sardami Sada Kaur which were on the Trans-Sutlej side. All the wealth, treasure and weapons accumulated since the time of Sardar Jai Singh Kanheya came into the Maharaja's hands. The town of Batala was given in jagir to Prince Sher Singh and the remaining territory was merged in the Kangra province under the governorship of Sardar Desa Singh Majithia. Sada Kaur remained interned in the fort of Lahore for the rest of her life.

Sardarni Sada Kaur

Sada Kaur possesses a place of honour among the honourable ladies of India. Her life time is a memorable period in the history of the Khalsa in general and the ascendancy of Ranjit Singh in particular. This lady performed distinguished services in the history of the Punjab continuously for thirty years. It was with her active support that Ranjit Singh took the administration of his misl from the Diwan who was a contemporary of his father. It was with her help that Ranjit Singh occupied Lahore. Later on also this clear-headed woman continued to gives all kinds of help to Ranjit Singh. To fight shoulder-to-shoulder with great and famous generals of her times during the war, was a simple task for her. She governed her own state so well that even sagacious statesmen envied her. Sada Kaur was like the first rung of the ladder through which Ranjit Singh succeeded in climbing to the zenith and in establishing a Khalsa kingdom in Punjab.

Conquest of Mankera and Dera Isma'il Khan

While some troops of the Khalsa were sent to occupy Sardar Sada Kaur's possessions, the Maharaja himself took an army contingent towards the west setting his mind on the conquest of Mankerah. Proceeding leisurely stage by stage and crossing Jehum river in early October, the Maharaja reached Khushab and from there went straight to Kandian village. Meanwhile Misr Diwan Chand, having got free from the expedition concerning Sada Kaur joined Ranjit Singh along with his army. Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, who after Diwan Moti Ram's return from leave had been relieved from the governorship of Kashmir, also joined the Maharaja. From Kandian the entire army entered the territory of Nawab Hafiz Ahmad Khan and besieged Bhakkar fort. The Nawab's commander of the fort could not face the attack. He accepted subjection and handed over the fort to the Maharaja. The latter established a permanent post there. From there, Ranjit Singh sent a detachment of his army commanded by Sardar Dal Singh and Jama'dar Khushal Singh towards Dera Isma'il Khan. The Nawab's nazim, Diwan Manak Rai, put up a fight but was defeated, and he handed over the fort to the Maharaja. Another detachment soon conquered the forts of Leh, Khangarh and Manajgarh, etc. Then the entire Khalsa army advanced towards Mankera, the Nawab's capital. This fort was located in a desert where water supply was scarce. Therefore the army suffered a lot; but Ranjit Singh employed thousands of workers and collected enough water in two or three days.9

The fort was besieged and taking firing positions, the Khalsa army began shelling. The Nawab was also ready to fight. He held his ground for fifteen days, but when many of his officers went over to the Maharaja,10 his courage broke down and he showed willingness for submission. The Maharaja readily accepted the conditions of the Nawab. He granted to the Nawab, Dera Ismail Khan as jagir and residence, and permitted him to leave the fort of Mankera safely along with his family and goods without any check or hindrance. The Maharaja treated him with respect, met him in his tent, supplied him means of carrying his goods, sent him across the Indus River and annexed his territory worth about a million rupees of yearly revenue to the kingdom of Lahore.

Birth of Kanwar Nau Nihal Singh (Phagun, 14, Samat 1878)

On February 23, 1822 A.D., in the house of Prince Kharak Singh was born a son who was named Nau Nihal Singh. On that occasion grand festivities were held on behalf of the Maharaja and thousands of rupees were given away in alms to the poor and the lowly.

Arrival of Generals Ventura and Allard in Lahore

Generals Ventura and Allard arrived at Lahore in March 1822. Ventura was an Italian national and Allard hailed from France. Both these men had served in high ranks in the army of the world-famous General Nepoleon-Bonaparte. In the battle of Waterloo, the united powers of Europe had defeated Nepoleane and had imprisoned him, for which reason hundreds of French youngmen had to wander about in search of livelihood. These two were also such officers, who came through Iran and Afghanistan, disguised as Pathans, and reached Lahore. They could speak some broken Persian; and so they made it to the Darbar, with the help of FaqirAziz-ud-Din. The Maharaja received them well and arranged their accommodation in the famous Anarkali Tower.11 After a few days they applied for employment in the Maharaja's service. The Maharaja thinking that such a case needed serious thought, kept it under consideration for some time. His doubt was how those young men could undertake such a long and hazardous journey simply in search of employment. But when he was satisfied, he employed them at two thousand-five-hundred rupees per month. Ventura was attached to infantry and Allard to cavalry. Their duty was to train the Sikh soldiery in drill on the European model.

Conditions of Service for Ventura and Allard

For these two officers and for all British or French officers who subsequently entered the Maharaja's service, it was essential to accept the following conditions and to give a signed undertaking to remain bound by them:

  1. “If at any time the Sikh forces need to fight against any European power, they (the European officers i.e. Ventura and Allard) shall fight as loyal rank-holders of the Sikh government.
  2. They shall have no right to enter into direct correspondence with any European government without prior permission of the Lahore Darbar.
  3. They shall have to grow beard, and shaving the beard shall be strictly forbidden.
  4. No one shall be permitted to eat beef.
  5. Smoking shall be totally forbidden.
  6. If possible, they shall marry an Indian woman.”

Enthronement of Mian Kishore Singh

Mian Kishore Singh was from the lineage of Raja Ranjit Dev, ruler of Jammu, who had entered the service of the Maharaja after the conquest of Jammu in 1812 A.D. His two handsome and young sons, Gulab Singh and Dhian Singh, were enlisted in the mounted forces of the Maharaja ; some time back. These Rajput (Dogra) soldiers gradually acquired influence in the Maharaja's Darbar, which will find mention at many places henceforth. In 1820 A.D. the Maharaja granted them the Jammu territory that had remained their family possession, as hereditary jagir in consideration of their services. Their father, Mian Kishore Singh was invested with the title of Raja along with vast powers for the administration of Jammu territory.12

Notes & References

  1.  See Sohan Lal's Umdat-ut-Twarikh, Daftar II page 236 and 237. A legend is still current in the Punjab that while crossing the river Attock, the Maharaja first recited this line in a forceful voice : “Attock can obstruct only him who has hesitation in his mind”, made offering of a plate full of gold coins to the river, and then he pushed his elephant into the river. The river-water subsided and the Maharaja's army waded across the river.

Diwan Amar Nath also writes in Zafarnamah-i-Ranjit Singh, page 119:

“In the eye of storm and flood, the chief purposefully pushed the elephant into the noisy Attock, to test its fordability. From the awe of his grandeur, the blue water (i.e. the river) became fordable. He ordered the army to cross.”

  1.  Sayyad Mohammad Latif has by mistake written his name as ‘Aziz Khan’. Misr Diwan Chand had gone via Koh Dhuan, the same route through which Emperor Akbar had gone and conquered Kashmir. See ’Umdat-ut-Twarikh, Daftar II, page 256.
  2.  Sayyad Mohammad Latif has described Ruh Allah Khan as son of Aziz Khan. We in this case have followed Munshi Sohan Lal and Diwan Amar Nath.

The correct name of brother of Aghar Khan as mentioned in the text is Rahim-Allah-Khan and not Ruh-Alla Khan. It appears to be a mistake committed by the Urdu scribe. - Editor.

  1.  “In the city it was anounced with the beat of drum that peace and security shall be guaranteed. Those who had been victims of miserable atrocities of the Afghans were comforted”.  Zafarnamah-i-Ranjit Singh, page 132.
  2.  Munshi Sohan Lal has estimated the total income of Kashmir as sixty-nine hundred-thousand rupees. Diwan Amar Nath's estimate is also about the same. Besides, fifty-three hundred- thousand, an income of ten hundred-thousand came from shawl-industry, the contract for which was given to Jawahar Mai. Diwan Amar Nath also mentions income of a few hundred-thousand rupees from other miscellaneous sources.
  3.  For details see Umdat-ut-Twarikh. Daftar II, page 361 and Zafarnamah-i-Ranjit Singh, page 132.
  4. In the wall of this baradari is fixed a stone which reminds of this incident. On it the following text is inscribed in English letters: - “In this pavilion got constructed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the famous ambassador Moorcroft stayed as the Maharaja's guest in 1820 A.D. while going to Turkistan, where he died in 1825.”
  5.  According to submission received from Game Khan, Khan-i-Saman and Prince Sher Singh "the Rani (Sada Kaur) whose neck remained ever ready in submission to your Lordship, has shortly gone over to other side of Sutlej to launch opposition (to the Maharaja)." Zafamamah-i-Ranjit Singh, page 148.
  6.  “When the attacking forces confirmed that the inmates of the fort were protected against shortage of water because that land was a dire desert, they dug temporary wells and with abundant water everyone had his fill” — Zafarnamah, page 150.
  7.  “Imam Shah, Hakim Shah and some other leading persons separated from the said Nawab and came in the circle of obedience and submission of the ruling sovereign" — Umdat-ut- Twarikh, Daftar II, page 294.
  8.  Now-a-days, Records Office of the Punjab Government is located here. For detail see Umdat-ut-Twarikh, Daftar II, page 281.