Nidhan Singh Panjhattha
Soldier, Minor Commander and Jagirdar (D. 1839)
Soldier, minor commander and jagirdar under Maharaja Ranjit Singh. He acquired the epithet Panjhattha, the "five-handed," for his gallantry in the battle of Teri hill (1823). He single-handed made five Pathans prisoners and captured their weapons. This act of valour earned him the title of Panjhattha. In every battle, Nidhan Singh was among the first to advance and the last to retreat, and his body was covered all over with the marks of his courage. His great-grandfather, Dulcha Singh, had been in the service of Raja Ranjit Deo of Jammu, and his grandfather, Ram Dat Singh, is said to have served the Sukkarchakkia family under Mahan Singh. Ram Singh, Nidhan Singh’s father, joined the service of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1798, and took part in the occupation of Lahore by Ranjit Singh in 1799. Nidhan Singh himself joined as a sowar in the Sikh irregular horse. He distinguished himself in the battle of Jahangira (1823), under General Hari Singh Nalva and Prince Sher Singh. The Afghan force; defeated in the battle, retreated-towards Teri hills, west of Attock. Muhammad ‘Azim Khan, the Amir of Afghanistan, reinforcing it marched upon Nowshera. A strong detachment of Sikh troops under Nidhan Singh Panjhattha and Mahan Singh Akali was posted behind the Teri hills, but it suffered a reverse in the fierce action which followed. Phula Singh Akali, who made a headlong charge, was killed. Nidhan Singh valiantly held out, rallying his troops till the Gorkha and Najib battalions kept in reserve by the Maharaja came to his rescue and routed the Afghans.
Nidhan Singh was a member of the Sikh goodwill mission which called on Lord William Bentinck in Shimla in 1831. In 1834, he joined Kanvar Nau Nihal Singh, Sardar Hari Singh Nalva, General Ventura and General Court in their expedition to Peshawar. Peshawar was occupied by the Sikhs and Nidhan Singh’s troops were stationed there under the command of Sardar Hari Singh Nalva. Nidhan Singh also took part in the battle of Jamrud in 1837. He died in May 1839.