Sunday, December 11, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

Maharaja Ranjit Singh :Other campaigns

After the Treaty of Amritsar with British which simply stated that the International boundry of line between the Sarkar Khalsa and British India is Satluj. Ranjit singh was virtually made master of all the territory to the west of Satluj. But there was several small kingdoms, like Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Kashmir, Multan, Sialkote which were ruled by Afghani or local chiefs.

Thus, Ranjit singh first turned towards North towards Kangra valley which was taken over from Raja Sansar Chand by Gurkhas. Ranjit Singh's forces fought with Gurkhas in Kangra Valley in the end the Gurkha leader Amar Singh thapa fled leaving the field to the Sikhs. Ranjit singh entered the fort of Kangra and held a royal Darbar which was attended by the hill chiefs of Chamba, nurpur, Kotla, Shahpur, Guler, Kahlur, Mandi, Suket and Kulu. Desa Singh Majithia was appointed governor of Kangra.

Then Ranjit singh sent a force under the command of Hukma Singh Chimmi to Jammu and himself marched on to Khushab. The fort of Khushab was held by Jaffar Khan, a Baluch chief. He gave up the city and defended the fort stoutly. Ranjit singh invited him to vacate the fort and accept a jagir. In few months, Jaffar Khan accepted Ranjit singh's terms and gave up the fort. He was given a jagir and allowed to remain in Khushab with his family.

Meanwhile, Shah Shuja was arrested by a Afghani Ata Mohammad Khan who was governor of Kashmir. Shah Shuja's wife Wafa Begum approached Ranjit Singh to get her husband out of Kashmir. Ranjit Singh wanted Kohinoor diamond and he agreed. Hari Singh Nalwa and other forces were dispatched along with the Afghani forces of Wafa Begum. The Sikhs and Afghans crossed the Pir Panjal and entered the valley of Kashmir towards the close of 1812. Shah Shuja was rescued from an undergrond dungeon by Sardar Nihal singh Attariwala. Hari Singh Nalwa was made a new governor of Kashmir by Ranjit Singh. Shah Shuja was set free. Shah Shuja invited Ranjit Singh to his house. A servant brought in a packet as they settled down in their seats after mutual exchange of courtesies. Ranjit singh watched eagerly as the stone was being slowly unwrapped. He was beside himself with joy when the Koh-i-nor, Mountain of Light was placed on his palm. The price of this stone at that time was 6 crore rupees which comes to about Two million American dollars with today's conversion factor. This diamond still exist in England and is part of one of the Royal stone's.

Around this time, Ranjit singh also got the fort of Attock by daring operations of Hari Singh Nalwa and Desa Singh Majithia. Now Punjab under Ranjit Singh extended from Satluj to river attock and from Kashmir to Kasur. Early in 1817, Ranjit singh sent a body of troops to Multan under the command of Diwan Bhiwani Das to receive from Nawab Muzaffar Khan the tribute he owed to the Sikh Darbar. Bhiwani das laid siege to the city, but showed little vigour to pressing it. He made a secret pact with the Nawab which led Ranjit Singh to recall him and deprive him of his office. Ranjit Singh planned the afresh expedition and sent a strong force under his son Kharak Singh's charge. He arranged for supplies to be sent by boats down the river Ravi, the Chenab and the Jhelum. The system of passing letters was organised in such a manner that the Maharaja received the news from Multan by relays of messengers several times a day.
The fort of Multan was one of the strongest in the country and Nawab Muzaffar Khan defended it with an equally strong heart. Kharak Singh's armies lay around it without making much headway. Ranjit Singh sent a big gun Zamzama along with Akali Phula singh's Nihang regiment. The Zamzama was fired with effect and the gates were blown in. Akali Phula singh made a sudden rush and took the garrison by surprise. The grey bearded Nawab stood in his way, sword in hand to fight, resolved to fight to death. His five sons died fighting. Two surviving sons were giving jagirs by Ranjit singh. their descendants are still in possession of those lands in Pakistan. Prince Kharak singh left Jodh Singh Kalsia with 600 men to guard the fort of Multan. Now Ranjit Singh southern boundry was Multan. In 1818, A.D. Ranjit singh won Rohtas, Rawal Pindi and Hasan Abdal. Then he made preparations to cross the river Attock and attack Peshawar. These conquests are greatly explained with the biography of Hari Singh Nalua . In 1819, Ranjit Singh had to attack Srinagar again, this time he made Diwan Moti Das Governor, with Sham singh Attariwala, Jawala Singh Padhania, and Misr Diwan Chand to further assist him in the operations in valley. Ten successive governors administered Kashmir during Sikh regime. One of them was prince Sher singh who carred the Sikh standard across the high mountains into Ladakh. The conquest of Ladakh valley which was strategically very important, made the frontier secure against the expanding influence of China. Sher Singh sent General Zorawar Singh to march towards Tibet. Garo and Rudok were occupied and the Lhasa armies attacked. Tibetian government signed a treaty with Zorawar's armies.

Next :The legacy of Maharaja Ranjit Singh

 

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