Sikh Warriors : Hira Singh Nakkai
Hira Singh Nakkai
According to Lepel Griffin, there is a legend believed at Bahrwal that runs as under: About the year 1595 Guru Arjan, travelling with a few followers in the Lahore district, reached the small town of Bahrwal which had been founded by an Arora Khatri, named Bahr. The Guru was not received with due hospitality. So he passed on to the neighbouring village of Jambar where he lay down on a charpai (cot) under a shady tree. By this time, Hem Raj, a Sandhu Jat, chaudhari or headman of Bahrwal, who was absent when the Guru passed through his village, heard of what had occurred and ashamed of his town-men’s inhospitality went to Jambar and brought the Guru to his town. The Guru blessed Hem Raj and prophesied that his son and successor, Hira Singh, would be a great and powerful chiefs
This legend would have been more correctly applied to Alam, the father or to Mahmana, the grandfather of Hem Raj, for Hira Singh, who was certainly the first man of note in the family, was not born till nearly a hundred years after the death of Guru Arjan which took place in 1606.
Hira Singh, was the son of Hem Raj, of Bahrwal village in the pargana of Fasilabad and in the province of Multan. He was born in A.D. 1706 (BK. 1763). He was initiated into the Khalsa in 1731,3 and he joined the Sikh movement in the Punjab in 1748. In the course of a few days time about two hundred Sikhs gave him a following and remained in attendance on him, day and night. Hira Singh gathered power about the middle of the eighteenth century. He took possession of the Nakka territory lying between Lahore and Gogaira and between the rivers, Satluj and Ravi, which has given its name to the family of Hira Singh and to the Misal which he commanded. In 1749, he took Satghara and Chunian from the Afghans and augmented his resources considerably Shortly thereafter, the number of his horse and foot rose to three thousand. His territorial possessions included Bahrwal, Faridabad, Jethpur, Chunian, Khudian, Mustfabad and Shergarh and areas from river Ravi to Dogran and Manwan, situated on the bank of river Satuj. Day by day, Hira Singh’s status and position increased.
At that time, Sheikh Subhan was the gaddi-nashin of Baba Farid-ud-Din of Pak Pattan. He had, at his command, one thousand horsemen and two thousand pyadas. He was carrying on the administration of the estate attached to the dargah. According to Gian Singh and Muhammad Latif, Subhan Khan Qureshi, the rais (landlord) of Pak Pattan wanted of Muslims to slaughter the cows in large numbers, without compunction. His Hindu subjects felt deeply hurt over it. They made appeals to Hira Singh to ask Subhan Khan to desist from hurting the feelings of the Hindus. But Subhan Khan cared meither for the Hindus nor for Hira Singh’s request. Hira Singh launched an attack on Sheikh Subhan. Hira Singb received a gun-shot on his forehead and died instantaneously. His companions brought his dead body to Bahrwal where it was cremated.
Hira Singh had a Suckling son, named Dal Singh. But the Sikhs of the derah assembled and unanimously decided to place his place Nahar Singh as caretaker of the Nakkai Misl.
Sad note: One of his descendant (fourth of fifth generation) converted to Islam in early 20th century as he came in the influence of a Muslim woman., but carried on the name Nakai. Recently, Arif Nakai, grandson of the person who converted to Islam was made an interim prime minister of Pakistan (before Nawaz Sharif).
Excerpts Taken From
“A History of Sikh Misals