Milkha Singh Thehpuria
A Powerful Chief During the Eighteenth Century. (D. 1804)
He abandoned his native place, Kaleke, near Kasur, founded the village of Thehpur in Lahore district and took possession of a number of villages in its vincity and in Gujrat and Gujranwala districts. Nor content with these possessions, he marched northward and seized Rawalpindi then an insignificant place inhabited by Rawal mendicants. Milkha Singh fixed his headquarters there, building new houses and fortifying the town. Rawalpindi being on the highway into India, was a vulnerable possession exposed to attacks of Afghan invaders, but Milkha Singh held his own. He conquered a tract around Rawalpindi worth several lakhs of rupees a year and had won the esteem of the warlike tribes of Hazara. He had adopted the cognomen of Thehpuria from the village he had founded, but in the north he was known as Milkha Singh Pindivala. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, whom Milkha Singh had joined in his early expeditions, called him Babaji, i.e. the revered grandfather.
Milkha Singh died in 1804. Jivan Singh, his only son, who succeeded to his father’s estates, fought in the Maharaja’s Kashmir campaign in 1814, and died the next year. The force which Milkha Singh and Jivan Singh had maintained was transferred to the service of the Sikh State and placed under Sardar Atar Singh Sandhanvalia, bearing the name of Dera Pindivala.