{:en}SikhHistory.in{:}{:pa}ਸਿੱਖ ਇਤਿਹਾਸ{:}



   For three days and three nights, the scent of sandalwood and burning flesh filled the Palace ground. The cremation of Ranjit Singh attracted thousands across Punjab. All Punjab seemed to have been drawn to the capital that day. The Lion was send off in spectacular fashion. In front of the neck-craning masses, the nobles of the Sikh Sardars stood barefoot and dressed in white. The body of Ranjit Singh laid out on a golden platform made to look like a ship with gold spun sails.  Maharani Mehtab Kaur called Guddan was sitting on a golden chair carrying by sweating men and behind her three more queens in a similar fashion were coming towards pyre. As Guddan and  ranis came closer to the pyre, they removed their bracelets and threw them into numerous hands which stretched towards them. It was assured that these ranis were willing participants in these age-old rituals of Sati. The Maharaja head and shoulders had been placed in the ranis lap to make it look as he was sleeping. Ranis too sat still with the tightly closed eyes, when Khark Singh, the eldest son of Maharaja lit the fire. As the fire consumed them all,a pair of pigeon too flew into the climbing flames and become willing sati for their Maharaja. Seven slave girls with their faces covered were also burned with their Maharaja. 


Thirty -seven- year old Khark Singh might have been the eldest of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s eight sons but was least able. Dr. Honigberger a spectator and family doctor described his coronation as a dark day ” Kurruck Singh ascended the Gudee (throne ), who besides being a blockhead was a worse opium eater than his father. Twice a day he deprived himself of his senses and passed his whole time in a state of stupefaction. Though his coronation came later, Khark Singh had assumed the title of Maharaja immediately after his father funeral in June 1839 and proceeded to gorge himself on the trappings of power. He threw lavish parties, goes drunk for days on end, ignored his wazir and alienated the most powerful nobles in his realm. The religious Khalsa and the new generals and advisers were also disgusted with him more because of his inability to focus on matters of state than because of his love of drugs, drink, and dancing girls.


 A plan was hatched just four months into his reign to murder Kharak Singh. Sapheeda kaskaree and rus camphor ( white lead and a compound mercury) made their way in Maharaja’s daily food and wine which affected his speech, drowsiness, itching on his body, blindness and finally affecting his organs. He literally confined to his bed lay in unremitting agony waiting to die. The slow murder took 11 months in all. During this time Kharak Singh’s eighteen- year old son Nau-Nihal Singh was recalled to the capital. A handsome young man, a brave soldier, Nau Nihal have no experience in court politics. He had been forced by his father incapacity to return to Lahore and govern in his name under the directions of Dhian Singh, who was a mastermind in poisoning Khark Singh.


 There was no suggestion that Nau Nihal Singh had any hand in his father’s murder though he did behave callously towards Khark Singh. He begged to see his son every day but NauNihal Singh rarely visits him. Death finally came to Khark Singh 0n 5th Nov 1840 i The official announcement blamed a sudden mysterious illness, making no mention of the months of suffering he had passed through. It seemed nobody really missed the dead king or questioned the manner of his death. Three of his wives and 11 slave girls were burned with him. It was presumed that these 11 slave girls were not willing participators but were threatened by Wazir Dhian Singh. to be killed if they don’t die to leave no proof behind.


NauNihal Singh lit his father pyre as his father lit his father pyre but in contrast to his father Nau-Nihal Singh looked every inch a king. He was so popular among the court and masses, which he has already proven. Though he was just 18 years of age, seemed to possess maturity beyond his years.

As his father burned, the new Maharaja led his courtiers to the river Ravi to perform their ablutions, as per the custom of the country. When Nau-Nihal Singh and his companions had been returning from the river to the palace via Hazuri Bagh, a massive block of stones had fallen mysteriously from an archway. The masonry had struck  Nau-Nihal and two of his companions, killing one of them on the spot. Luckily Nau-Nihal Singh was not badly hurt and walked away from the scene. Family Doctor was called upon who grabbed away with his box of balms and rushed to the palace. expecting to a shaken, slightly bruised young Maharaja. Instead, ashen-faced nobles greeted him. Raja Dhian Singh beckoned him to follow.


The Vazir directed the doctor to a tent, where he saw the prince  He told him not to speak to about his condition to anyone. The Prince was on the bed, his head most awfully crushed and his state was such that no hope of recovery existed. With that conviction, he left the tent and whispered to the minister in so low tone that none else could hear. “Medical art can do nothing to save this unfortunate prince”. Dhian Singh swore that his grievous injuries were sustained in Hazoori Bagh but Col. Alexander Gardner told a different story. He was just behind the prince when the structure collapsed and his own men stretched him to palace. Prince was conscious and well to walk away asking for water. Only upon Gardner insistence was he stretched to his bed.


When the doctor saw shortly afterward, was not a man capable of walking or even talking. Nau-Nihal Singh ‘s skull had caved in, sheets covered were full of blood and brain tissues. So severe were his injuries that he died hours later, though the news was kept from the people for three days. While sandalwood was collected secretly for his pyre.


When news of the freak accident finally got out, Gardner fanned speculation by reporting that five artillerymen who carried Nau Nihal Singh to his bed, two died in mysterious circumstances, two asked for leave and never came back and one disappeared. On 9th Nov 1840 Nau- Nihal was cremated and two of his wives went with the body to the flames. His eldest wife in the early stage of pregnancy was spared. Another young girl was also saved from the fire when Sher Singh interceded on her behalf. One female of the age 12 years was also detained, owing to her age and not yet being riped for the ceremony of Sati.


The child savior Sher Singh was the half-brother of Khark Singh, stout and striking with a jet black and piercing glare. He had the authority to grab a child from the pyre but not to stake a claim on the throne There were allegations on the mother of Sher Singh that Mehtab Kaur had given birth to a girl and secretly given her away as she won’t have any claim over the throne. She stood accused of taking two commoner children one the son of the weaver and the other from the carpenter. True or not Ranjit Singh refused to acknowledge them, legitimate heirs though publicly he chose not to disown them.


At the sudden death of Kanwar Nau-Nihal Singh, the Lahore Darbar split. One faction proclaimed Sher Singh the rightful heir and second were in favor of Maharani Chand Kaur till the pregnant wife of Nau-Nihal Singh gave birth to a son. When a baby boy emerged six months late. he was stillborn and as grief overwhelmed his mother panic gripped Lahore.


As soon as the news of stillborn baby reached Sher Singh with 70.000 strong armies behind him, marched from Batala to Lahore. Maharani ordered the gates of the capital locked realizing that nothing now stood between Sher Singh and throne. She called the meeting of the aristocrat’s families of Lahore, reigniting the rumors of Sher Singh birth. When Sher Singh found the gates locked, he laid siege to the city.  Army looted and terrorized the Bazaars in surrounding areas. Chand Kaur was persuaded to open the gates in exchange for a generous settlement and safe passage for herself and her grieving daughter-in-law


Sher Singh declared Maharaja of Punjab on 18th January 1841 As he sat on the throne of Lahore, he realized that as long as Chand Kaur lived, she remained his greatest threat. On 11 June 1842 Chand Kaur was found dead like her son Nau-Nihal Singh. Her skull was also crushed. This time there was no way of mistaking her death. Her own maids had beaten her to death with bricks. Apprehended by the guard as they tried to flee, he dragged them to Sher Singh palace. but Sher Singh was away on a hunting trip and it was left to Dhian Singh to punish them. Dian Singh ordered to cut there noses, ears and hands. Before their bleeding but yet breathing bodies were thrown out of the city. People with mocking smile said that they should have ripped off their tounges also since they left Lahore screaming that they had only been obeying Maharaja’s order.


Though Sher Singh might have thought that he had shored up his position but his days were also numbered. A year later on 15 September 1843 Maharaja was greeted at his hunting lodge by two trusted cousins, Ajit Singh Sandhawalia and Lehna Singh. Knowing great passions for hunting they came to show the new type of gun- double barrel, the gun went off while pointing at Sher Singh’s chest. His beloved son also found cut at Pthania garden. Dian Singh who was a scheming Wazir was murdered shortly afterward.


In the four years that followed Ranjit Singh’s death, Punjab lost three Maharajas, one maharani, and numerous aristocrats. After the assassination of Maharaja Sher Singh by Ajit Singh and his brother Lehna Singh Sandhawalia in a shooting plot, the last man standing to become Maharaja was no man at all but a tiny doe-eyed child, Duleep Singh. Lahore Darbar desperate for the unity of the entire Khalsa sarkar united behind Ranjit Singh youngest son, a five- year- old infant. Dhian Singh had also been murdered shortly after the murder of Sher Singh who was thought to be as an enemy to the freedom of Punjab as well as the biggest conspirator of most of the murders of the members of royal family. The blood still oozing from the body of Dhian Singh, Giani Gurmukh Singh put tilk of his blood instead of kesr on the forehead of  Duleep Singh and declared him  Maharaja.

Born on 8 sept.1838 Duleep Singh never knew his father, barely a year old when Ranjit Singh died. Duleep Singh had separated away from Lahore immediately after his father funeral recognizing the approaching succession storm. Rani Jindan has taken her child to Jammu, where they could remain out of sight, away from murderous minds.


Raja Hira Singh son of Dhian Singh with the support of the army and chiefs, wiped out the Sandhanvalia faction who were responsible for killing his father, forfeited their jagirs and dismantle their houses. Shortly after, Hira Singh captured the Fort of Lahore, the army proclaimed minor Duleep Singh the sovereign of the State, Maharani as the regent and Hira Singh  as the wazir in the place of his father

The political history of Jind Kaur begins from that date. Both Hira Singh and his adviser, Pandit Jalla, did not show her the courtesy and consideration she was entitled to. Her establishment was put under the control of Misr Lal Singh.  Jind Kaur became fiercely defensive of the rights of her son and pleaded with the regimental committees to protect his position asking ‘who is the real sovereign, Duleep Singh or Hira Singh? If the former, then the Khālsā should ensure that he was not a king with an empty title”.

The council assured the Rani that Duleep Singh was the real king of  Punjab. The army panchayats treated Jind Kaur with deference and addressed her as Mai Sahib or mother of the entire Khalsa commonwealth.

The eclipse of the Jalla regime was a political victory for Maharani Jind Kaur, She had goaded the army to overthrow Hira Singh and install her brother Jawahar Singh as the Wazir of Lahore Darbar. Raja Hira Singh and his deputy Pandit Jalla were killed by the Army on 21 December 1844. Maharani Jind Kaur, who had an active hand in overthrowing Hira Singh, now cast off her veil and assumed full powers as a regent in the name of her minor son, Duleep Singh. To run the administration, she constituted a Council of Regency on 22 December 1844. She now assumed control of the government with the approval of the army generals who declared that one day they would place her on the throne of Delhi.

She reviewed the troops and addressed them, held court and transacted State business. She reconstituted the supreme Khalsa Council by giving representation to the principal Sardars and restored a working balance between the army panchayats and the civil administration.

The young Maharani was faced with many problems.  Kanwar Pichaura Singh,

half-brother of Duleep Singh was seeking himself to replace Duleep Singh as Maharaja. The feudal chiefs wanted a reduction in the taxation imposed on them by Hira Singh and the restoration of their jagirs, land, and grants from which they received income. The army wanted an increase in pay. The cost of the civil and military administration had increased and Gulab Singh Dogra, Raja of Jammu and uncle of Hira Singh, had taken most of the Lahore Treasury. The power struggle between the various Sikh factions was continuing and some were secretly negotiating with the British.

Jind Kaur applied herself to the solution of these problems and secured to this end with the assistance of a newly appointed council of elder statesmen and military generals.

Jawahar Singh had formally installed wazir. Maharani Jind Kaur’s choice of Jawahar Singh as wazir became the subject of criticism. He was a power hungry man and setout to destroy any challenge to his authority. His intrigues were tolerated for a while but he went too far.

 Pashaura Singh arrived in Lahore in January 1845. He was received with honor but was persuaded to return to his estates by the army with a promise of an increase in his jagir. But in July he took over the fort at Attock and declared himself to be the ruler of  Punjab. A force commanded by Chattar Singh besieged the fort and forced him to surrender on the promise of a safe conduct. However, on the pretext of escorting him back to his home-town separated him from his army and strangled him to death.


In the eyes of high born nobles, a kennel keeper’son had crossed an unforgivable line by killing a prince of royal blood. On 21 September Jawahar Singh was summoned to a meeting of the Sikh Khalsa, the spiritual leadership of Punjab, Jawahar Singh realized, he is in danger. He chose to ride on Maharaja own elephant, with Duleep Singh, sitting firmly in front of him as a human shield in his lap.

 Khalsa along with the imperial guards surrounded the elephant, pulled his terrified, crying nephew, turned to Jawahar, tipping him from elephant, throwing him in the dust and hacked him to death.  Duleep Singh held out of danger by his own men. He saw every brutal blow which haunted him and the screams of her mother mingled with his own. The killers’ bow before the sobbing child assured him that he had never been the target of their anger and pledged loyalty to him to the end of their days.

Jind Kaur gave vent to her anguish with loud lamentation and retired in her grief and fear for the time being but emerged soon from her quarters to resume her duties as a regent. With a dignity that masked her inner turmoil and grief, she took her place in the throne room surrounded by the men who killed his brother and strongest ally. Early in November 1845, she, with the approval of the Khalsa Council, nominated Misr Lal Singh to the office of Vazir.

 To counteract the rising disaffection, Jind Kaur hastily betrothed Duleep Singh, in the powerful Atari family who was a Governor of Hazara Province and Commander in the army of Sikh Empire during the reign of Maharaja Duleep Singh.

A force of 35,000 marched to Jammu for the punishment of Gulab Singh. The council had accused him of being a traitor to the Panth and charged him with treachery and intrigue against his sovereign and looting the treasury of Lahore. In April 1845. The army returned to Lahore with the Dogra Chief as a hostage. He was allowed to go back after paying 80 lacs as fine for theft and with a promise of good behavior in the future. Misr Lal.  

Hundreds of miles away from the unfolding drama, the British East India Co., watching events at the Punjab Court with intense interest. By 1840 the British were the undisputed masters of much of India. In 1843 the very year Duleep Singh had anointed Maharaja, the East India Co., troops began to build up south of the Sutluj. Detecting tensions, British agents made tentative approaches to Jindan offering support to her regency with no intention to support but making their way to woo the most powerful men in the royal court offering to help them topple the regent. Rani Jindan and Maharaja Duleep Singh were surrounded by embittered and ambitious men and some of the most senior men proved easy to turn for power.

Relations of Khalsa Darbar with the British had already been strained by the refusal of the Sikhs to allow the passage of British troops through their territory during the First Anglo-Afghan War.

Three months after slaying Jawahar, with resentment between Jindan and Khalsa still simmering the British made their move, turning their small encampments by the Sutluj into a big army. Their movements and preparations alarmed the Sikhs and they interpreted this act as an aggression. On 11th December Sikh cavalry crossed south over the Sutlej river to push back the British encroachments. Two days later, The East India Co., claiming that their territory had been violated, British Governor General, Henry Harding declare war.

Jinda could forseek the situation and never be in favor of this war because of the lack of unity between the  Sikh Sardars and insincerity of some of the nobles and army generals. But the biggest gadar Commander Tej Singh Dogra who had secretly settled terms with Britisher to make them win and many short-sighted Sikhs with the majority insisted upon fighting back. Sham Singh Atariwala was also with the same opinion as of Maharani Jinda and left the job of the Khalsa Fauz long before in protest their power struggle and went back to settle in his village.

Jindan could do nothing but has to wage two disastrous wars against the British that led to the annexation of  Punjab. First Anglo -Sikh (1845-1846) and Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848-1849)

            First Anglo-Sikh War

Battle of Mudki            18 Dec.1845

Battle of Ferozpur         21 Dec. 1845

Battle of Aliwal            28 Jan. 1846

Battle of Saboraon         10 Feb 1846

:  The British movement and preparations to strengthen Army base on the border of Punjab alarmed the Sikh troops. Sikhs crossed the  Sutluj River in December 1845. While the battle of the First Anglo-Sikh-war was started nobody, neither Duleep Singh nor Jindan knew that two of the most powerful men in their court had already betrayed them. Prime Minister Misr Lal Singh disclosed the position of Duleep’s gun batteries, the strength of the army and their plans. Tej Singh, the commander of Duleep’s army did far worse. The battle of Ferozpur on 21st Dec 1845 was one of the hardest battle ever fought by the British army and their losses were heavy.  Low on ammunition and food, Governor General Harding found himself caught up on the front line. Fighting fiercely all day, his men got no respite even when the sun went down as Sikhs continued to pound his position with terrific gun firing. Harding describes it’ as a night of horror’ Expecting Sikhs to overrun his position any time, Harding ordered burning of his official documents. He then presented his most precious possession, a sword belonged to Nepolian Bonaparte to his aide-de-camp ” Better it should go to younger man, who might be able to fight his way out as he prepared for himself for defeat and death. This was the moment the Sikhs ought to have struck their decisive blow and claimed victory, but as they should have advanced, Tej Singh ordered a retreat. Tej Singh disastrous fallback gave ample time for British reinforcement to arrive and they set about cutting brave soldier to pieces.

Less than two months after the heavy defeat at Ferozpur on 10th Feb 1846 the Sikh army found itself pushed hard by freshly deployed, heavily armed British soldiers. To reorganize and rearm Punjabi soldiers withdrew across the Sutlej river at every point except Sobaron, some forty miles east from Lahore. A single battalion of exhausted Sikhs was left to hold the bridgehead. In spite of heavy fire, they refused to surrender or retreat.  When they ran out of bullets they attacked with their swords weaving through heavy artillery fire. For a while their bravery was turning the tide of the battle, General Tej Singh betrayed them again. He ordered the bridge to be burned across the Sutlej cutting off any hope of reinforcement for his pinned down soldiers. His men were trapped between the British and the water. Though they knew their situation is hopeless, not one Sikh soldier surrender that day. They fought until British guns silenced the Sutlej.  Sikh casualties are said to have outnumbered around 9000.


After the victory at Sabraon, the English army occupied Lahore and dictated peace terms. Therefore, the First Anglo-Sikh Battle ended by the Treaty of Lahore (1846).

The treaty of Lahore 9th March 1846

Under the treaty of Lahore which Duleep was forced to sign on 9th March 1846. The terms of the Treaty were punitive. Sikh territory as Punjab – A land of five rivers was reduced to a fraction of its former size The British imposed a heavy war indemnity amounting one and a half crores rupees on the Lahore Durbar. Out of this, Half a crore was paid, and in lieu of the balance war- indemnity, Lahore durbar offered to cede territory of Jammu, Kashmir,and Hazara, the territory to the south of the river Sutlej. The forts and territory in the Jullundur Doab between the rivers Sutlej and Beas became under the British Domain. The control of the rivers Sutlej, Beas and part of the Indus Pass was given to the British, with the condition that this was not to interfere with the passage of passenger boats owned by the Lahore Government. The provision was made for The East India co., for the  rights and interests in the hill countries situated between the Rivers Beas and Indus including Kashmir

It also limited the Sikh army to a specified number 20,000 infantry and 12000 Cavalries. Most importantly a British Resident (Sir Henry Lawrence) was stationed in Lahore with British troops. A British resident was appointed to assist the Sikh Council of Regency.

 Treaty of Amritsar  16th March 1846

 Treaty of Amritsar, 1846, a treaty formalizing the arrangements in the Treaty of Lahore between the British East India Company and Maharaja Gulab Singh Dogra after the First Anglo-Sikh War  A nation sold for just seventy- five lakh to Maharaja Gulab Singh, an area of 84,471 sq. miles with 2½ million people along with their hopes, aspiration, dreams and all that was essential for their moral, intellectual and economic growth.

  Maharani Jinda was replaced in December 1846 by a Council of Regency, under the control of a British Resident with an annuity of 150,000 rupees. However, her power and influence continued.

She may have made huge strategic errors due to her military inexperience and young age but Jindan was a capable and fierce ruler that nobody could deny.

Though the  British came out victorious still they could not dare to enter Lahore. so they played another strategy. They assured a reeling Lahore that not only they would leave Maharaja on the throne but also safeguard his interest.

 On 11th March 1846, a supplementary treaty was initiated according to which the British troops would remain in Lahore until no later than the end of 1846. When the time approached for the British to leave,  new articles of agreement were drawn up, forming the Treaty of Bhyroval signed on 26 December 1846,


.. Treaty of Bhyroval on 26 Dec. 1846

While signing the Treaty of Bhyroval on 26 Dec. 1846 with the child, a Resident British officer, with an efficient establishment of assistants, was to be appointed by the Governor-General to remain at Lahore, with “full authority to direct and control all matters in every Department of the State”. When he attained age, as mentioned in the treaty government himself would leave Punjab as friends.


Maharani Jind Kaur was treated with unnecessary acrimony and suspicion of no fault of her as she was totally against war. Anyhow, She had retired gracefully to a life of religious devotion in the palace, yet mindful of the rights of her minor son as the sovereign of  Punjab. Henry Lawrence, the British Resident at Lahore and Viscount Harding both accused her of fomenting intrigue and influencing the Darbar politics.

In December 1846, Maharani Jind Kaur surrendered political power to the council of ministers appointed by the British Resident after the treaty of Bharoval. The Sikh Darbar ceased to exist as a sovereign political body. The regent was dismissed with an annuity of Rs 1,50,000 An officer of Company’s artillery became, in effect, the successor to Ranjit Singh. 

The time has come to give rewards to the leaders who had cheated out Sikhs and helped British, including Commander Tej Singh. When in August 1847 Duleep Singh refused to invest Tej Singh as Raja of Sialkot in a Public Ceremony, Tej Singh was insulted and British were infuriated. They have thought that it was because of the instigation of Maharani. She was also suspected of having a hand in what is known as the Prema Plot – a conspiracy designed to murder the British Resident and Tej Singh at a fete at the Shalimar Garden.

Although neither of the charges against Jinda Kaur could be substantiated on enquiry, the British Resident,  Henry Lawrence with the thought of separating Jindan and her son, imprisoned the Maharani in the Samman Tower of the  Lahore Fort.  Jindan was torn screaming from the palace and was dragged away by her hairs from the court of Lahore, thrown into the fortress of Sheikhupura and reduced her annuity to Rs. 48000.  The bitterest blow to the Maharani was the separation from her 9-year-old son.

She was begging the Sikh men around to wake up and fight not just for her but for the very survival of Punjab itself. Not one man lifted a finger.

Fredrick Curie described Jinda as “the rallying point of rebellion” implicated her in a fictitious plot and exiled her from Sheikhupura, Punjab,  to Banaras U.P. She remained there as a prisoner under strict surveillance

The way they treated Maharani by the two Residents caused deep resentment among Sikhs. The Muslim ruler of neighboring Afghanistan, Dost Mohammad Khan, also protested that such treatment is objectionable to all creeds.


Jinda in her confinement she begged British again and again to return her only child. why do u take possession of my kingdom by underhand means, why do you not do openly? You have been very cruel to me. You have snatched son from me. For 10 months I have kept him in my womb. In the name of God you worship and in the name of the King whose salt you eat, restore my son to me. I can not bear the pain of this separation. Instead, you should put me to death”

She appealed to Henry Lawerence also,” My son is very young and incapable of doing anything. I have left the kingdom, I raise no objection, I will accept what you say There is no one with my son, He has no sister no brother. He has no uncle senior or junior . his father, he has lost. To whose care he has been entrusted?

Henry Lawrence was decidedly uneasy but Henry Harding Governor General of India and survivor of the recent Ferozpur battle had no such misgivings ” we must expect these letters in various shapes” He counseled Lawrence. With Jinda out of the way, the British were now free to do anything.


Next year Henry Harding war-wearied General was replaced by Lord Dalhouzi. His appointment would seal the fate of Maharaja and his entire kingdom as well. Dalhousie appointed Sir Fredrick Curie as his new resident at the Sikh Darbar. When Lord Dalhousie instructed Sir Frederick Currie, the British Resident at Lahore, to expel Maharani Jinda from  Punjab., he waited for the right time and right opportunity. 

 Lord Curie raises taxes to refill the depleted British coffers by which Punjab was hit hard. Multan which was Punjab largest and oldest city become a hotbed of resentment. Diwan Mul Raj who was very loyal to Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Britisher tried to replace him with Diwan Khan Singh, little known. but much more sympathetic and loyal to the Britishers.

Mul Raj was ordered to hand over the city on 18th April 1848. Khan Singh with British Political agent and Lieutenant Anderson from East India Co; presented at the gates, appeared as a peaceful surrender, what followed, pre-planned or merely a reaction to the humiliation felt by the crowd they set upon Anderson and Vans Agnew and eventually hacked both of them to death. This triggered an endgame which would ultimately lead to the total annexation of Punjab.

2nd Anglo-Sikh War. (1848-1849)

Accused of creating the violence, The British declared war – 2nd Anglo-Sikh War. Mulraj was painted as bloodthirsty despot intent to over through Duleep Singh and his British allies. Portraying Mulraj as an enemy of the Maharaja they thought that they will keep the rest of Punjab out of the conflict but Soldiers from the old imperial army joined the Mulraj rebels and fighting spread throughout the kingdom, becoming brutal, messy, crippling to the region where civilians often found themselves caught in the crossfire.

 The British political agent sent his Pakhtun irregular forces and some Sikh regiments, together they defeated Mulraj army in the battle of Kineyri.  The British resident Currie also sent some forces from Bengal army and later the forces of East India Co. to crush once for all the center of defiance. Eventually, Multan fell. Dalhousie wanted the British conquest to be undisputed. Under his direction, East India Co., poured men, artillery, and logistics into the region and defeated Sikh forces in savage, bloody battle of Chilianwala on 13th January 1849 and finally 21 February at Gujarat. After the loss of thousands of lives, most of the rebels what was left after the Ragtag resistance surrendered on 12 March 1849 including Mul Raj and rounded up, sent to Lahore dungeons to await trial and possible execution

 Maharani Jind Kaur has been accused by some historians of wishing the Khalsa army to destroy itself in wars with the English.  But it was not right. A much more balanced and realistic view will be obtained by a closer examination of the policies, correspondence of Ellenborough and Harding with the Duke of Wellington and political factors which led to a clash of arms between the Sikhs and the English.

. With all opposition now dead or in chains. on 29th March 1849, 2nd Treaty of Lahore, a new legal document was forced upon Duleep Singh to sign. The child terrified by the recent fighting in his kingdom, separated from her mother and surrounded by the foreigners and Punjab nobles either too weak or corrupt to stand up for him, was told he must sign over his kingdom, his fortune, and his future

2nd Treaty of Lahore

 The Maharaja  Ranjit Singh was long dead, and his mother was forcibly removed some- time earlier and incarcerated in a Palace outside the city, Now just ten- year old Duleep Singh was surrounded by a group of grave-looking men wearing red coats and plumed hats, who talked among themselves in an unfamiliar language. In the terror of the minute that followed-what he later remembered as crimson day, the frightened but dignified child finally yielded to the mount of British pressure. In a public ceremony in front of what was left of the nobility of his court, he signed a formal Act of Submission. Within  minutes, the flag of Khalsa was lowered and the British colors run up above the gatehouse of the fort.


 The document signed by the ten-year-old Maharaja, later known as Treaty of Lahore, handed over to a private corporation, The East India Co., the richest land in India which until that moment had formed the independent Sikh kingdom of Punjab


 Kohinoor was the highest in the demand, which after grabbing, Dalhousie  sent it to Victoria .Later Maharaja Duleep Singh was induced to hand over to Queen himself as the gift ,the single most valuable object not just in Punjab but arguably in the entire subcontinent, the celebrated Koh-i-Noor or Mountain of Light.

His Highness the Maharaja Duleep Singh shall resign for himself, his heirs and successors all right, title and claim to the sovereign power. whatever

2. All the property of the State of whatever the gem called the Kohinoor which was taken from Shah Sooja by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, shall be surrendered by the Maharaja of Lahore to the Queen of Victoria

3.His Highness Duleep Singh shall receive from the Honourable East India Co., for the support of himself, his relatives, servants of the State, a pension of not less than four and not exceeding five lacs of the Company’s rupees per annum provided he shall remain obedient to the British Govt. and shall reside at such place as the Governor General of India may select.

4. His Highness shall be treated with respect and honor. He shall retain the title of Maharaja Duleep Singh Bahadur


After the second Anglo-Sikh war (1848-49), the ten year old Maharaja whom, under the Treaty of Bharoval the British Government was committed to protect and maintain until he attained maturity, was deprived of his crown and kingdom and the Punjab was annexed to the British dominions. With signing the treaty Punjab was now unquestionably a British territory. The Punjab and diamond fate was settled but the fate of Duleep was entirely in Dalhousie’s hands.

 Dalhousie has already decided to send him from Punjab, far from everything he had ever known. banishment.

On 6 April 1849, soon after the annexation, the deposed Maharaja Duleep Singh was formally introduced to his new `superintendent,`his de-facto parents  John Login, a native of Orkney, Scotland, who had started his Indian career as a medical officer in the Bengal army. Duleep Singh was removed from  Punjab to Fatehgarh Hill, a small village in the North-West Province Farrukhabad district U.P almost 600 miles away from Punjab where he arrived in February 1850. and later after converting him into christanity, sent to England.



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Nirmal Anand


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