The Source Book On Sikhism



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Chapter Sixty-Two

A Note on

Pashaura Singh’s M.A. Thesis:

The Sikh Self-Definition and Bhagat Bani”



(Faculty of Graduate Studies)

University of Calgary

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

1987

Dr. S.S. Sodhi

Dr. J.S. Mann

Pashaura Singh arrived in Calgary, Canada in 1984 to serve as a Granth. There he came in contact with Dr. Ronald W. Neufeldt, a Eurocentric "instant" Sikh scholar who believed in the McLeodian paradigm of Sikh research and worked as a professor of Religious Studies, University of Calgary, Calgary Canada. The other two professors who influenced Pashaura Singh were:

a. Dr. Harold Coward, Dept. of Religious Studies, University of Calgary

b. Dr. Inder Nath Kher (a Panjabi) Dept. of English, University of Calgary

All the above mentioned professors or supervisors of Pashaura Singh were non-Sikhs, and had no orientation towards Sikh traditions, culture, values, and other. Professor Coward has published a book on Jung and Eastern Thought (1985), the others were not “Sikh Scholars” but were willing to help a Sikh student with a MacLeodian paradigm. So, Dr. Neufeldt, Dr. Kher and Dr. Coward with their “role dancing” graduate student decided to produce a thesis based on Guru Bani and Guru Granth Sahib. It must be emphasized that none of the supervisors was a Sikh or could read Guru Granth Sahib,

The main chapters in this Eurocentric thesis are:

1. The issue of Sikh self-definition in relation to the "received" tradition of the Bhagat Bani included in the Guru Granth Sahib.

2. Comments of Sikh Gurus on Bhagat Bani of Farid and Kabir.

3. After including the Bhagat Bani into Guru Granth Sahib, Gurus wanted to emphasize their agreement and disagreement with the poet-saints.

4. The views of Kabir and Farid which verge on "the erroneous" were corrected by the Gurus, so as to develop a Sikh self-definition.

5. No process of integration of the Bhagat Bani in the Guru Granth Sahib was based on whether the Bani harmonizes or disharmonizes with Guru’s thoughts. If it disharmonized the Gurus took the liberty of correcting and editing it by providing an alternative commentary to cultivate a particular Sikh view.

Main Points Covered in the Thesis

a. The first canonical collection known as the Adi Granth was compiled under the direct supervision of Guru Arjan and installed in Harimandir, Amritsar on August 6, 1604.

b. Guru Nanak may have written his Shabad while travelling in India or possibly abroad (pg.3).

c. Guru Arjan, while editing Guru Granth Sahib, dropped seven hymns of Kabir and two of Namdev. Guru Arjan seems to have made some alterations to do a “recasting of certain Namdev hymns, so as to fit them into the content of the teaching of the Gurus”

d. Sikh Gurus had disagreement with Shaikh Farid on his notions of resurrection, the flaming hell, and terrible retribution on unbelievers and fear of judgement by God, death, human birth and life.

e. Gurus by criticizing Farid created boundaries between Gurmat and Sufi life and thought.



Bani Kabir Ji Ki

1. Kabir’s social background as a low caste weaver makes it likely that he was more or less illiterate (pg.70).

2. Kabir seems to have inherited his misogynist bias from Nath – panthic tradition which regarded women as tigresses. “They always sought men to prey upon them”. Kabir refers to woman as Kali nagrini, (a black cobra), Kundra Naraka Ka (the pit of hell), Juthani Jagata Ki (the refuse of the world).

Discussion

It is very clear from the information cited above, that Pashaura Singh is doing his Eurocentric role dance to bring “correct” interpretation to Guru Granth Sahib. To him, scriptures are not “Dhur Ki Bani” but something to play with, and provide interpretation to the verbal and written behaviour of Kabir, Farid, Guru Nanak, Guru Amar Das and Guru Arjan.

Dr. P. Singh is applying empiricist, and logical-positive McLeodian paradigm to develop the argument of including Bhagat Bani into Guru Granth Sahib. He fails to comment that if the Bhagat Bani needed explanation, why in the first place did Guru Arjan include it into the Holy Granth.

It is very clear that Pashaura Singh is using his Sikh identity paradigm to "understand" Farid and Kahir. He is also saying that Guru Arjan, after including the Bhagat Bani (Note: no motivation of such inclusion is given, perhaps that was kept for his Ph.D. thesis) wanted to create a “good fit”. It must be pointed out Pashaura Singh does not say that Bani of the other four groups was included to attract them to Sikhism (for more detailed analysis readers are advised to read ‘Planned Attack on AAD Sri Guru Granth Sahib Academics or blasphemy, edited by Bachiltar Singh Grani and published by International Centre of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh, 1994’.)



Comments

In 1979, Graduate Theological Union, Berkley, California, published a book entitled Sikh Studies. It was edited by Mark Juergansmeyer and N.G. Barrier. This book included an article of Dr. H. McLeod. Dr. McLeod raises these questions about the Sikh scriptures.

1. Have these scriptures been subjected to searching academic scrutiny and analysis?

2. Should they be examined by Sikh, or foreigners?

3. Will this examination be regarded as sacrilegious interference?

Dr. McLeod feels that for the sake of bringing respectability to Sikh studies, these scriptures should be subjected to analysis using social science methods of the West. Well, he found a willing student in Pashaura Singh to do that in his M.A. and Ph.D. thesis.

It is painful to imagine that Prof. Pashawra Singh was also involved in this project. If Sikhs had read through McLeod’s intentions in 1979, something could have been done to stop this “historian in a hurry” with his role-dancing disciples.

It is about time that Sikh scholars should read everything that is written by these Eurocentric scholars. In North America there are five places (U.B.C., U of Toronto, University of Calgary, Columbia University and University of Berkley) where “culture of fitters of Sikh religion” is still manifesting itself.



Chapter Sixty-Three

Adi Granth Our Living Guru is not for Research

Dr. Pashaura Singh and Dr. W.H. McLeod please note!

Dr. S.S. Sodhi

This essay is based on a careful analysis of the Ph.D. thesis on Adi Granth written by Dr. Pashaura Singh and submitted to and accepted by the University of Toronto, Canada. Dr, W.H. McLeod, a noted Sikh historian was his supervisor.

First some facts about Dr. W.H. McLeod. Dr. McLeod is a native of New Zealand who came to Kharar, Panjab, India to work as a missionary teacher in 1958. At that time, he was not at all aware of the Sikh history and Sikh Gurus. In collaboration with other Christian missions in Panjab such as at Ludhiana and Batala, he started writing and researching about Sikh Gurus and Sikh history. In ten years, he produced a Ph.D. thesis on Guru Nanak. Since 1968, he has produced numerous articles and books on Sikhism and at present is considered to be an “authority” on Sikhism. He is a Professor of History, University of Otago, Dunedin, N.Z.

The present writer had a chance to spend a few days with Dr. McLeod when he visited Halifax, Canada. Even though his writings and lectures were pro-Sikh, yet it was very clear that his identification and emotional knowledge about the Sikhs was more historical than personal, relational, or emotional. Dr. Pashaura Singh’s thesis which he supervised reflects that emotional detachment for the sake of historical-scientific-factual research.

Dr. Pashaura Singh writes that “The process of compilation of Adi Granth began in 1603 A.D.” (P. 231). The Sikhs do not believe that it was a process. It was the directive of Sat KARTAR that made the Gurus recite. Wahe-Guru intuitively and spiritually instructed Guru Arjan to compile those hymns. Dr. Pashaura Singh should know that Sikhs’ cognition of Bani is “Dhur Ki Bani,” not pothies or various recensions that are being cited in the “Process” of the evolution of the Guru Granth. Pashaura Singh’s view is a historian’s view, whereas Sikhs view is faith, emotional, spiritual and intuitive. Spiritual beliefs based on faith should not be tampered with because it causes emotional turmoil in the minds of the faithful. Cognitive dissonance generated by Western historians such as McLeod, Pashaura Singh, J.T. O’Connell, M. Isrial, W.G. Oxtoby Oberoi and Mark Juergensmeyer to mention a few, is causing a great deal of agony in the minds of the sad Sangat, and the result is, that Sikh institutions such as Canadian Sangat; S.G.P.C., Amritsar have started turning the heat on these “Historians in a hurry.”

Some bothersome, inaccurate and intentional distortions in the concluding chapter of Dr. Pashaura Singh’s thesis (P. 231-237), are listed below for the benefit of the readers:

1. Compilation of Adi Granth was a “Process”.

2. In this “Process”, Guru Arjan worked over a number of drafts as an “Editor”.

3. Bhagat Bani was included in Guru Granth Sahib to point out the identity and differences of the Bhagat Bani from the distinctive Sikh viewpoint.

4. Sikh ideals were compared with Sant, Sufi and Bhagat ideals in Guru Bani.

5. Guru Arjan used inclusive and exclusive approaches in the selection of Bani while acting as an “Editor” of the Guru Granth Sahib.

6. Because Vaishnava Bani was excluded by Guru Arjan, Bhagats of Vaishnava tradition got that included when Guru Hargobind was imprisoned in Gwalior.

7. Bura Sandhu/Lahore recensions of Adi Granth (1610 CE) reflects these inclusions.

8. Banno group which consisted of Hindali, Udasi, Bhatra, and Brahmanical interests exerted their influence within the panth in the area of Khara Mangat, Gujrat District, Pakistan and produced the Bano recession of Guru Granth Sahib in 1642 CE.

9. Banno recension and not KartarPur Wali Bir written by Guru Arjan was used by the Sikhs in the seventeenth and eighteenth century.

10. Guru Gobind Singh at the age of nine, added Guru Tegh Bahadur’s Shaloks at his father’s insistence to the earlier text of the Adi Granth.

11. “Damdama Wali Bir” was made by Guru Gobind Singh using Kartar Pur Wali Bir while living at Anandpur in the last quarter of the seventeenth century (1675-1700).

12. The popular tradition that Guru Gobind Singh prepared the final Damdama Wali Bir at Talvandi Sab in 1705 CE. does not stand the test of historical research. More manuscript evidence is required.

13. Singh Sabha scholars have attempted to impose a “single correct interpretation” to Guru Granth Sahib replacing the plurality of interpretations which was part and parcel of the Sikh approach to the Adi Granth throughout its history.

14. As a result of post-1984 events in Panjab, a phenomenon of “scripture literalism” leading to fundamentalist interpretation of Adi Granth seems to be emerging in Panjab. This interpretation is being done due to the rise of Hindu fundamentalism in India.

15. A rare manuscript (GNDUMS 1245) housed in Guru Nanak University, Amritsar, India, should be further studied to develop “Open attitudes” of further research on Adi Granth. The Adi Granth scholars can agree or disagree on crucial issues while maintaining their difference and dignity and mutual respect.

Well, the above “mentioned facts” sum up the direction and historical “correctness” which the Western historians want to bring to Sikh history. This "historical research" has become a part of an ongoing struggle of the Sikhs to save themselves and their faith from overt and covert attacks by linear, myopic, "instant" non-emotionally involved Western “Scholars”.

Those of us who have internalized Sikh traditions are bound to be offended by what is written and carried on in the name of research. A careful study of Dr. W.H. McLeod writings will reveal that he is a very difficult author to read. He produces a conceptual analysis which is different from story telling. In most of his writings he appears to be pro-Sikhs, but he firmly believes in rewriting Sikh history using his Western reality. He was looking for a docile Sikh student (scholar) as a “Medium” to say things about Adi Granth and the “Process of its Compilation”. Pashaura Singh who wanted to earn a Ph.D., readily obliged.

Only He knows the description of the Indescribable,

Whom the Lord awakens and offers the sweet nectar of His Nam.

Guru Arjan Dev Ji (Gauri Rag)



Chapter Sixty-Four

S. Hari Singh Nalwa & Subjugation of North-western Frontier

Dr. Kirpal Singh

The greatest legacy of Hari Singh Nalwa is the conquest of Hazara and Peshawar and consolidation of the north-western frontier. But for the achievement all the regions along with the entire trans-Indus territories would have been lost to India forever and in that case these territories would not have been part of the British Empire. Nor Pakistan would have inherited them. These would have been in Afghanistan. Hence Hari Singh Nalwa’s achievement in this context is of international importance. The purpose of this paper is to examine and analyse the circumstances in which this was achieved and to discuss how Hari Singh Nalwa as able to consolidate the defence of the frontier in these areas.

In order to appreciate the heroic work of Hari Singh Nalwa it is very essential to comprehend the political situation and historic background of the trans-Indus territories.

According to Ain-i-Akbari all these areas were included in the Kabul province which was one of the provinces like Lahore Province (Punjab) or Multan Province, Kapul Province and Pakhly viz Hazara (modern district of Hazara) as one of the Sarkars like that of Kabul, Sewad (Peshawar area) Issa Khvl, etc. Though these areas were under the control of Mughals they were never subdued. In the Attock (2) District Gazetter it has been stated: “But the Mughal sway was always more nominal than real. They appear to have been content to levy revenue and there is nothing to show that any serious government was attempted. The whole district paid only about half a lakh of rupees and the heads of each tribe were practically independent”. (1)

This nominal sway of the Mughals ended after the Nadir Shah invasion which created a lot of disturbance in the whole of north-western India in 1738-39 A.D. The Mughal Emperor Mohammed Shah could not resist the massacre loot and plunder of the foreign invader. (2) Nadir Shah established a very strong force on the north-western frontier. The Afghans continued the work that Nadir Shah had begun. With the Khaibar pass and Peshawar district in foreign hands, Punjab became a starting point for the expeditions against the Delhi government. (3) All the trans-Indus areas and some portion of the west Punjab was brought under the control of Kabul kingdom by Ahmad Shah Abdali, founder of modern Afghanistan. The repeated invasions of Ahmad Shah Abdali could not crush the Sikhs. On the other hand these had their rise to political power.

The Sikhs were successful in wrestling most of the territory of Punjab from Ahmad Shah Abdali. Gazi Nur Mohammad in his famous Jang Namah gives the details of the Sikh possessions. He concludes: “From Sarhind to Lahore, Multan and Derajet the whole country has been divided by these wretched dogs (4) among themselves”.

The Sikh Chiefs had very nominal control over the western part of Sindh Sagar Doab - viz areas of Fatehjang, Pindigheb and Bhakhar. Hari Ram Gupta writes, "Even the Afghan invaders had not subdued them because they were off the highway in a country difficult of access and Ghebes satisfied themselves by presenting a small tribute consisting of a horse or a few heads of cattle as the invader passed and thus secured his goodwill.” Gujar Singh Stangi could not make an impression on them to any remarkable degree. Charat Singh Sukerchakia overran the southern part of Rawalpindi - he could not get much out of hardy Ghebas and his supremacy over this tract also remained nominal (5):. It was left to Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his general, Hari Singh Nalwa to effectively subdue and control both the cis Indus and trans-Indus turbulent tribes.

The rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1799 - 1839) will ever remain a watershed in the annals of the trans-Indus regions. Maharaja Ranjit Singh undertook to subdue and control effectively these ferocious tribes. After the conquest and annexation of Jultan and Kashmir he led his legions across the Indus. This was a big challenge to the valiant Afghans who raised a cry of Jehad under Azim Khan Burkzai, ruler of Kabul. A big army was collected on the bank of the river Kabul at Naushehra. Ranjit Singh won a decisive victory and Ghazis was dispersed in 1823.



Consolidation of Defence in Hazara:

Hazara, the country west of Kashmir, east of Peshawar and Northwest of Attock was conquered and annexed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1820. Its first Nazim under Ranjit Singh was Amar Singh Majithia who ruled over the territory for two years. He was successful in suppressing the rebellion of Muhammad Khan Tarin and was able to defeat Dhund, Tarin, Tanel and Kharel tribes who were fighting against him. Lepel Griffin writes about the battle: “The battle was over, the enemy had taken to flight and the Sikh forces had retired from the field, when Amar Singh, thirsty and fatigued, went down to the little stream Samandar to bathe and drink. He had only a few horsemen with him, and a number of the enemy returning and seeing the weakness of the little party, came down and killed Amar Singh and his followers after a desperate defence (7)”.

After the death of Amar Singh Mejithis who is also known as Amar Singh Kalan, Hari Singh Nalwa was appointed the Nazim of Hazara. He was not known to the Hazara tribes. When Maharaja Ranjit Singh led his army to conquer Makerm in 1821, he ordered Hari Singh Nalwa, who was in Kashmir, to join him there. At that time, Hari Singh had only seven thousand army. On the way he was opposed by twenty thousand wild mountaineers living in the Pakhly hills. Pakhly or Hazara was the spot dreaded by merchants for these tribes demanded toll on the merchandise. Hari Singh, after his vain efforts to induce the enemy to yield him a passage, attacked them with vigour and storming their stockade defeated them with great slaughter. (8) This was no mean achievement to defeat about twenty thousand Hazara tribes with seven thousand men. Maharaja was much pleased over this exploit of Hari Singh Nalwa. This incident indicates how precarious were the conditions N.K. Sinha has rightly states, “In Pakhli Damtaur, Torbel and Darband region, Sikh sway was still precarious. Hari Singh Nalwa was about this time sent there to create a tradition of vigorous and efficient administration”. (9) According to Griffin, “Hazara was the most turbulent province under the Sikh rule.” (10)

Hari Singh Nalwa joined his assignment in Hazara in February, 1822 and undertook to punish the murderers of Amar Singh, his predecessor. He attacked Hasham Khan who was supposed to have had a hand in the murder. He surrendered and produced the real culprits who were punished. Hasham Khan promised to be loyal. (11)

In order to understand the defence measures of Hari Singh Nalwa it is essential to understand the geographical conditions of this region as well as tribal distribution. Hasham Khan belonged to the northern area and was the leader of the Krel tribe (or Karlani tribe which is a branch of the Khattak tribe). In order to have full control over this area Hari Singh built a fort at Nara, modern Tehsil Abbottabad. (12) Army was stationed there to keep in check the Pathans on this side.

On the western side of Hazara territory partly the River Indus partly forms the natural defence but on the north and eastern side is bounded by partly River Jhelum and partly by the mountainous range known as Pakhli range.

In the Ain-i-Akbari the entire territory is known as Pakhil. (13) The word Pakhli appears to have been derived from Pactyan nation, mentioned by Herodotus. (14) According to Ibbetson the following tributes chiefly occupied the Hazara territory - Dilzak, Swati, Jadun, Tanaoli and Shilmani. (15) In the lower range, according to Prem Singh, the main Pathan tribes were Tarin, Utmanzai, Tarkhoali and Mashwani. (16) Tanaoli and Tarkhoali appear to be identical. In order to check these ferocious tribes Hari Singh Nalwa adopted a well thought out policy. He built a very strong fort in the valley surrounded by mountains and named it after the eighth Guru of the Sikhs as Harkrishangarh (17) and also founded a town named Haripur. The town was surrounded by a wall which was four yards thick and sixteen yards high and had only four openings. Drinking water was provided to the town by digging a tank. Many small drains were dug to carry sullage water. (18) Baron Hugel visited the town on December 23, 1835 and he found the town humming with activity. (19)

In the upper ranges of Pakhli there lived mainly Jadun, Tanawali and Swatis. (20) They were very warlike tribes and it was very difficult to control them. There were the tribes who blocked the passage of Hari Singh Nalwa in 1821 and had been defeated by him with much lesser force. Since Hazara had been annexed with the kingdom of Ranjit Singh and Hari Singh being Nazim of Hazara adopted measures to keep under control these warlike tribes. The measures were to build forts at strategic places and garrison them with an army. The roads were built to link them so that reinforcement could be sent from one fort to another fort at the time of crisis. This policy of building forts proved very successful and very deterring for these tribes. The forts built in the upper ranges of Pakhli were: Fort Nowan, Shekar, Fort Dhamtaur, Fort Darband and Fort Shinkiari. (21) An old fort at Tarbel was repaired.



Consolidation of North-western Frontier

When Peshawar was conquered and annexed, Hari Singh Nalwa was appointed its Governor in 1834 A.D. (22)

The occupation of Peshawar and the trans-Indus region by Maharaja Ranjit Singh proved to be the gravest crisis in the history of Pathans. Despite a surging sea of Afghan cries of “Lohagaza” (great Jehad) under Azim Khan, they had been defeated in 1823 in the battle of Nawshehre, (23) and Azim Khan died of the shock. Again Afghan tribes were fighting jehad under the stirring leadership of Syed Ahmad Barelvi who claimed to be the apostle born to serve the Pathans. In two decisive battles of Saido in 1827 and Balakot in 1831, (24) he was defeated. In the latter battle he was killed while fighting against Hari Singh Nalwa and other generals. (25) The Afghans and Pathan always consider themselves superior and considered people of Indian stock as inferior. They used to look down upon Indian Muslim and used to call them with contempt “Hindko”. Their pride was pricked for the first time as they had been defeated by the Sikhs whom they considered as infidels. Undoubtedly they were agitated and used to say, “Khalsa Hum Khuda Shurda” (Khalsa too has become equal to God). (26) It was under these circumstances that Hari Singh Nalwa was appointed Governor to control these unruly tribes. (27)

It is very important to understand the tribal distribution in the Peshawar region. Khattaks were predominantly settled in Khattak, a country from the south of the Kabul river on the low lands from Indus to Nowshera. They were fanatical people and never liked the Sikhs. Yusafzais, the most numerous of the Peshawar tribes, were extremely warlike. Muhammad Zai inhabited the area Northeast of Peshawar. The Gigianis had their settlements south of Muhammad Zai areas and they were in open rebellion as their lands had been given to Barakzai Chiefs under the Sikh Government. Afridis ruled supreme in the Khaibar area. Besides these there were other tribes like Khalils Mohammands, etc. (28) The tribesmen in each Khel looked to his own Malik or Khan or council of elders viz jirga for guidance in matters of common interest and not to the ruling authority at Peshawar. (29) As such he was ever ready to take up arms when called upon by Chief against the infidel Sikhs.

Hari Singh Nalwa knew how to match the Sikh hatred by Afghans. He set up a very strong administration in the Peshawar valley. He levied a cess of rupees four per house on the Yusafzais. This cess was to be collected in cash or in kind. For its realization personal household property could be appropriated. There was scarcely a village which was not burnt. In such awe were his visitations held that his name was used by mothers as a term of fright to hush their unruly children. (30)

It was prudently realized that although the spell of Afghan supremacy was broken the region predominantly populated by turbulent and warlike Muhammadan tribes could not be securely held unless a large army was permanently stationed there. A force of twelve thousand was with Hari Singh Nalwa to quell any sign of turbulence and to realize the revenue. The terror of the name of the Khalsa resounded in the valley. Part of the city of Peshawar was burnt and the residence of the Barkzai governors at Bala Hissar was razed to the ground. Hari Singh Nalwa strengthened the Sikh position by garrisoning the frontier forts. (31)



In order to consolidate the defence of the north-western frontier, Hari Singh Nalwa examined the topography of the Peshawar region. There were three rivers following from Afghanistan to Peshawar forming three water routes as well as land routes. The highest tributary of the river Indus on the western side is the River Kabul. Kabul the capital of Afghanistan and Jallalabad are situated on the banks of this river. Nawshehra where a decisive battle had been fought in 1823 A.D. between the Afghans and Sikhs is also situated on the bank of this river.

The second important river is Barba River. It is a tributary of River Kabul and joins it from the southern side. Peshawar which the capital of the region is situated on its banks. The Swat River which is also a tributary of River Kabul joins it from the north. Hari Singh Nalwa decided to build forts in this terrain in order to check infiltration of, and the invasion of the Afghans on all these routes. The nearest mountainous pass to Peshawar is the Khaibar which is only nine miles from Peshawar. On the previous occasions all important invaders had invaded India through it. Hari Singh Nalwa decided to construct forts on all these strategic points. On the bank of the River Kabul, Michni, a fort, was constructed and it was put under the command of Nichhatar Singh, (32) son of a well-known general Dhanna Singh malwai. In this fort were stationed 300 infantry men, 100 horsemen, 10 artillery men, two big and two small cannon. (33) On the bank of the River Barha also a strong fort was built. It was named Barha fort. Three hundred infantry, 100 cavalry, three cannon pieces were placed there and the required provisions were supplied. It was placed under Jhanda Singh Butalia. (34) On the Swat river there was a strategic place where three routes met. These three routes were one from Kabul, another from Hashatnagar which was an Afghan settlement on the extreme north, and the third was Gandhav Pass a minor opening. Hari Singh constructed a fort here. It was names as Shankargarh. There were stationed 500 infantry, 300 cavalry, 35 artillery men, two big and 10 small cannons. It was placed under lehna Singh Sandhanwalia, a well-known warrior. (35) But the most important route was through the Khaibar Pass which had been the traditional route for the invaders since the times immemorial. After surveying the entire area Hari Singh spotted a small mound on the eastern end of Khaibar Pass which was a part of the nearby village of Jamrud. It had the remains of a small mud fort. Hari Singh decided to build a fort there. Necessary material was collected and a foundation of a very strong fort was laid there on October 17, 1836. Hari Singh Nalwa himself laid the foundation of the fort after offering prayers. The masons and the labourers were working there continuously and they were able to finish this historic fort after a month and twenty-five days. Its walls were four yards wide, 12 yards high. It was named as Fatehgarh Sahib. (36) Inside this fort were stationed 800 infantry, 200 cavalry, 80 artillery men, 10 big cannons and 12 small cannons. Maha Singh, a seasoned general, was appointed the commander of the fort. The fort faced scarcity of water which was overcome by harnessing a nearby stream that was under the control of the Afridis. The Afridis were offered a jagir worth Rs. 122/ - in return for control over the stream. An alternate arrangement of water was also made within the fort to face any eventuality by digging a big well. (37) Another important fort was built on the road leading to this fort linking Peshawar. It was just in the middle of the way between Jamrud and Peshawar. (38) It was named Burj Hari Singh and 100 men were stationed there. Besides this Hari Singh got repaired the old forts like Attock, Khairabad, Shubkadar and Jehangir. (39)

This line of forts on the north-western side were linked by roads so that reinforcements could reach each fort in the time of crisis. Peshawar was strongly fortified and was linked with Attock by a line of towers erected at a distance of every two Kos. (40)

All these defence measures of Hari Singh Nalwa alarmed the Afghans Dost Mohammad and Burkzai Chief of Kabul. The Afghans apprehended that their dangerous neighbours would make an inroad beyond the formidable defence. Therefore, they resolved to put a stop to any further advance of the Sikhs into the tribal area. A force of 8,000 strong with 50 cannons under Akbar Khan and Abdul Samad Khan proceeded towards the Khaibar to dislodge the Sikhs from Janrud. The cry of jehad swelled their ranks to 20,000 horse and foot. Hari Singh Nalwa was killed in the battle of Jamrud most valiantly in 1837 A.D. (41) Thus ended the life of a great general who had become a terror to Afghans.

According to Griffin, Hari Singh Nalwa was the “bravest of the Sikhs Generals - the most dashing general - fertile in recourse and prompt in action”. Edward Lincoln writes, “Hari Singh Nalwa carried the title of ‘Ney of Punjab’ and whose exploits in extending the Sikh dominion were hardly eclipsed by those of Maharaja Ranjit Singh himself”. (42)

1. Aveen Akbary, Francis Gladwin (tr.) Vol. II, Calcutta 0 1784, pages 191-204

2. Attock area was east of the River Indus but was adjoining the Hazara District which was north of District Attock.

3. Attock District Gazette, Lahore, 1932, page 47.

4. For the effects of Nadir invasions see Sarkar, J.N.; Fall of Mughal Empire, Vol. I, Calcutta - 1971, p. 2-3

3. Sinha, N.K., Rise of the Sikh Power, Calcutta - 1973, p. 8.

4. Qazi Nur Mohammad, Jang Namah, ed. Ganda Singh, Amritsar, 1939, p. 60.

5. Gupta, Hari Ram History of Sikhs, Vol. II, Delhi, 1978, pg. 239-45.

6. Hoshiarpur, The Life and Times of Ranjit Singh, 1977, p. 60.

7. Griffin Lapel H. The Chiefs and Families of Note in the Punjab, Vol. I, Lahore, 1940, p. 415.

8. cit.op, Vol. II, p. 87.

9. Sinha N.K. Ranjit Singh, Calcutta, 1968, p. 60.

10. Chiefs and Families of Note, cit. op., Vol II, page 87.

11. Hoti Prem Singh hari Singh Nalwa, (Punjabi) Ludhiana, 8th edition, p. 164-65.

12. Ibid, Surinder Singh Johar, Hari Singh Nalwa, New Delhi, 1982.

13. Ain-i-Akbari, cit, op., page

14. The Ibbetson, Punjab Castes, Lahore, 1916, p. 63.

15. Ibid, p. 64

16. Prem Singh, Hari Singh Nalwa (Punjabi) cit. op. p. 165.

17. Baron Von Hugel, Travels in Punjab & Kashmir cit. op. p. 207.

18. Surinder Singh Johar, Hari Singh Nalwa, cit. op., p. 93.

19. Baron Von Hugel, Travels in Punjab & Kashmir cit.op. p. 207.

20. Ibbetson, Punjab Castes, Lahore, 1916, p. 63.

21. Prem Singh, Hari Singh Nalwa (Punjabi) cit. op p. 267. Shinkiari is in modern tehsil of Manera (dist. Hazara) and is at eleven miles from Mansera.

22. Cunningham, A History of the Sikhs, (Oxford University Press, 1918, p. 199).

23. N.K. Sinha Ranjit Singh, Calcutta, 1968, p. 62.

24. Ibid page 80, Oalif Carv, The Pathans, London, 1962, p. 150.

25. Sham Singh Attariwala was one of them. For details see Kirpal Singh Sham Singh Attariwala, (Punjabi) Patiala, 1978, p. 204.

26. Sita Ram Kohli, Maharaja Ranjit Singh (Punjabi) Delhi, 1951, p. 153.

27. Sinha N.K. Ranjit Singh cit. op. p. 110, Griffin Chiefs & Families of Note in Punjab, vol. II cit.op. page 88.

28. Hasrat B.T. Life & Times of Ranjit Singh, Hosiarpur, 1977, p. 134-35.

29. Idea.

30. Peshawar District, page 70, Quoted in Life and Times of Ranjit Singh. cit. op., p. 137.

31. Life and Times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, cit.op., p. 136.

32. Ibid, page 245.

33. Surinder Singh Johar, Hari Singh Nalwa, New Delhi, 1984, p. 148.

34. Ibid, p. 148.

35. Ibid, p. 242.

36. Ibid, p. 243.

37. Ibid, p. 243-44.

38. Sinha N.K. Ranjit, cit.op., p. 111.

39. Ibid, p. 111.

40. Chiefs and Families of Note in Punjab, Vol. II, Lahore, 1944, pages 87,89,90.

41. Gujranwala District Gazetter part A, Lahore, 1935, p. 29.



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