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Ram Singh Nurpuria

Associate of Bhai Maharaj Singh

An associate of Bhai Maharaj Singh in his revolt against the British, was the son of Shiam Singh alias Shiama, a Pathania Rajput and Wazir or minister to Raja Bir Singh, chief of Nurpur, 25 km east of Pathankot, a feudatory of the Sikh kingdom of Lahore since 1802. Nurpur had been annexed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in January 1816 on account of the failure of its chief to attend the general review of the army held at Sialkot in October of the previous year and his failure to pay the mulct imposed for his default. Bir Singh took refuge in British territory. He made an attempt to recover the territory in 1826 but was defeated and imprisoned. Ram Singh, also referred to as Ram Singh Wazir, probably succeeded his father in the office of minister and remained with his master during his exile.

Around 1844, he joined the service of Maharani Jind Kaur. According to his confessional statement after his arrest in 1849, he was sent by the Maharani in early 1848 with a secret message to join Bhai Maharaj Singh and to act according to the latter's orders. Ram Singh met the Bhai at Jhang, where he was given sufficient funds and was told to organize a revolt in his native hills as a part of a general uprising being planned by Bhai Maharaj Singh against the British, who had been in virtual occupation of the Punjab after the first Anglo-Sikh war (1845-46). Ram Singh led an insurrection in the Bari Doab at the close of 1848 and even threatened the British possessions in the Jalandhar Doab, while the Sikhs under the Atarivala Sardars, Chatar Singh and his son, Raja Sher Singh, had openly challenged the British. Ram Singh's campaign acquired such proportions that even the British Governor-General, Lord Dalhousie, took note of it in a letter he addressed to Sir Frederick Currie, the Resident at Lahore. Brigadier-General Sir Hugh Massy Wheeler, commander jullundur Field Force, had to launch action against him in which at least four infantry battalions and two cavalry regiments took part. This force ultimately defeated Ram Singh in a battle fought on 8 January 1849 at Bassu or Bansa, near Nurpur. Ram Singh himself was seriously wounded but escaped and took refuge in Jammu territory. He was ultimately arrested and tried as a rebel. No precise information is available as regards the sentence awarded. The general surmise is that he was transported for life to Singapore where he died.

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