Friday, December 09, 2016
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Hari Singh, Bhangi
Founder of the Bhangi Misl (D. 1765)

Nephew and adopted son of Bhuma Singh, was the founder of the Bhangi mist or chiefship. Hari Singh received initiatory rites of the Khalsa at the hands of Baba Deep Singh Shahid. At the time of the formation of the Dal Khalsa in 1748, Hari Singh was acknowledged head of the Bhani clan as well as leader of the Taruna Dal. He vastly increased the power and influence of the Bhangi misl which began to be ranked as the strongest among its peers.

He created an army of 20,000 dashing youths, captured Panjvar in the Tarn Taran parganah and established his headquarters first at Sohal and then at Gilvali, both in present-day Amritsar district. Lastly, he set himself up at Amritsar where he established a residential area with a market known as Katra Hari Singh, and started constructing a, fort called Qila Bhangian.

Hari Singh constantly harassed the Afghan invader, Ahmad Shah Durrani, during his invasions into India. A few months after the massacre of the Sikhs at Kup, near Malerkotla, in what is known in Sikh history as Vadda Ghallughara or the Great Killing (February 1762), Hari Singh attacked Khwaja Sayyid ka Kot, and seized from there a large quantity of arms. In 1763, along with the Karihaiyas.and Ramgarhias, he sacked the Afghan stronghold of Kasur.

In 1764, he ravaged Bahawalpur and Multan. Crossing the River Indus, he realized tribute from Baluchi chiefs in the districts of Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan and Dera Isma'il Khan. On his way back home, he reduced Jhang, Chiniot and Sialkot. When Baba Ala Singh of Patiala submitted to the authority. of Ahmad Shah Durrani in March 1765 accepting certain concession from him, the Taruna Dal under Hari Singh marched upon Patiala to chastise him. Hari Singh was killed in this campaign, allegedly owing to the conspiracy of those who had been jealous of his growing influence. According to Khushwaqt Rai, Hari Singh was poisoned to death.

Source: TheSikhEncyclopedia.Com

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