Sunday, November 24, 2013

Key Sikh Generals during Maharaja Ranjit's Period

Listed below are some of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's Sikh generals that contributed to the key success of his campaigns to unite the Sikhs under one leader ship. Note worthy places like Multan, Peshawar, Kashmir which were in constant turmoil because of the Afghans and Mughals were captured and ruled by the Sikhs. Many of the Sikh Mints were in these places, in addition to the Amritsar and Lahore mints. All known Sikh mints are listed in the map , which is part of this blog. 

General Phula Singh Akali (1761 - 1823)

Phula Singh Akali was the leader of the Shahid Misl , a great warrior and eminent religious figure. Around 1805, he was in charge of all religious shrines in Amritsar. As commander of the Akali troops, Akali Phula Singh took part in many of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s campaigns. This includes Kasur in 1807, Multan and Peshawar in 1818 and Kashmir in 1819. In March 1823, Akali Phula Singh was killed in battle by the Afghans at Naushera, which is between Attock and Peshawar. Burj Baba Phula Singh stands in Amritsar in his memory. 

     General Phula Singh Akali
                    (1761 – 1823)

General Sham Singh Attariwala (179x? - 1846)

Sham Singh  Attariwala entered  the service of  Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1817. He took part in the military campaigns against the enemy in Peshawar . Attock and Multan  in 1818.  In 1819,  he led a military force which took over control of Kashmir. In the 1830’s, he was made Chief of Protocol by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. His daughter, Bibi Nanaki, married  Prince Nau Nihal Singh in March 1837. Sham Singh was made a member of the Regency Council by Maharani Jind Kaur in December 1844. During the battle of Sabraon, Sham Singh Attariwala lost his life on the 10th February, 1846 against the superior British forces.

General Sham Singh Attariwala
                                                   (179x - 1846)

General Hari Singh Nalwa (1791 - 1837)

Hari Singh Nalwa entered the services of Maharaja Ranjit Singh as a personal attendant in 1805. Very shortly, he rose to the rank of Commandant. He took part in the attack on Kasur in 1807, and then again in Sialkot, Sahival and Khushab between 1809 – 1810. In 1810, he took part in the conquest of Kashmir. Hari Singh Nalwa became Governor of Kashmir in 1820 – 1821. In 1822, he was transferred to Hazara where he remained for 12 years as an  administrator. In 1834, Hari Singh Nalwa with his army captured Peshawar and annexed it to the Sikh Empire. At this point, he was appointed Governor of Peshawar. On 30th April 1837, at the battle of Attock, he died fighting against the Afgans under Akbar Khan. 

There is a Kashmir One Rupee, call the "Hari Singhee Rupee", date VS 1878 (1821). This rupee bears the words "Har" in Gurmukhi or Nagari script. Its more of a religious reference, instead of a reference to Hari Singh Nalwa. 

                     1 Rupee VS 1878 (1821)                    
Kashmir Mint
Hari Singh Rupee

  General Hari Singh Nalwa
                                                     (1751 - 1837)
                                           Governor of Kashmir 1820 - 1821      
                                             Governor  of Peshawar and Hazara 1834 - 1837
                                                  (Photo – 1960’s calendar)

Prince Nau Nihal Singh (1821 - 1840)

Nau Nihal Singh, son of Maharaja Kharak Singh and Rani Chand Kaur, was born on 23rd February 1821. In 1834, Prince Nau Nihal Singh together with General Hari Singh Nalwa, were in charge of the sikh forces during the conquest of Peshawar. The Peshawar Mint issued 1 Rupee silver coins which came to be known as the “Nau Nihal Singhee Rupees”. Prince Nau Nihal Singh was appointed administrator of the Attock region. In 1835, Nau Nihal Singh married the daughter of General Sham Singh Atariwala. In 1840, Nau Nihal Singh took charge of the Lahore administration when his father , Maharaja Kharak Singh fell ill, much to the displeasure of the Dogra Minister. Three days after his fathers death, Nau Nihal Singh was killed on 8th November 1840 in a so called incident. His untimely death was a terrible blow to the Sikh nation as he was the last hope of keeping the Punjab Empire in tack.