Historical Sikh Events: The Sikh Misls
The eleven Sikh bands before Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
(1) Ahluwalia Led by Sardar Jassa singh ahluwalia , area of Jullundar Doab and army of 10,000 regular horsemen. Their held territory in the neighborhood of Kapurthala, in the Jalandhar doab, and some villages in Majha such as Sarhali, Jandiala, Bundala, Vairowal and Fatehabad. Click here to read more about Ahluwalia Misl
(2) Bhangi Led by Sardar Hari singh Bhangi, so called Bhangi as they liked Bhang. ( They were also called Dhillon Sardars) Area between Beus and Ravi and Ravi and Chenab, so called Bari and Rachna Doabs. Approximately, 10,000 regular horsemen. The Bhangis, owned Sialkote, Gujrat, Multan, Amritsar, Tarn tarn and Lahore. Here are some interesting stories about the Dhillon Sardars. During his eighth invasion of India Ahmad Shah Abdali was forced to retreat from the battle at Amritsar. Then, he offered the governor ship of Lahore to the Bhangi Sardar Lahna singh Dhillon, but the latter declined the proposal. He returned to the Shah the fruit he had sent him, saying that such delicacies were meant for royalty. The Sikhs, he told the messenger, lived on parched gram. Of this he gave a quantity to the messenger to be presented to Ahmad Shah on his behalf. Then Ahmad Shah Abdali’s son Zaman Shah prepared to attack India, he collected a large army and got made special Alloy guns. But he was defeated in a battle with Dal Khalsa forces in-between Lahore and Amritsar. Then Sikh forces pursued him to snatch his guns and ammunition. They followed them all the way to Jhelum river when Zaman Shah could not take his guns across the rivers in a hurry he threw them in river. Sahib Singh Bhangi and his men took out the several guns out of the river. One such gun was called Zamzama. ( This picture on left is Zamzama Gun as it is in Lahore city today. )
(3) Dalewalia Led by Gulab singh Dalewalia. Later under their leader Tara Singh Ghaiba they held Rahon, Mahatpur, Nawanshaher and Phillaur. Approximately 5000 regular horsemen. They were always ahead of others. Dalewalias were continuously moving and helping other Misls on the command of supreme commanders Nawab Kapur Singh and later Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. Click here to read more about Dallewalia Misl
(4) Faizalpuria. Led by Nawab Kapur singh virk . Approximately 5,000 horsemen. The territories held were Jalandhar, and the villages of Banur, Ghanauli, Manauli and Bharatgarh, in the Malwa.Click here to read more about Singhpuria Misl
(5) Kanaihya. Led by Jai singh Kanaihya. This regiment ruled the area of riarki around Batala approximately 8,000 horsemen. Click here to read more about Kanhaiya Misl
(6) Karor singhia. Karora singh Dhaliwal established this Misl, Their territory was Hoshiarpur and its surrounding areas. His successor Baghel singh Dhaliwal subdued the force less Mughal Emperor Shah Alam I of Delhi, and located and constructed the Gurudwaras in Delhi, in the memory of Seventh Guru, Ninth Guru and others. A special note is made here by a late historian Hari Ram Gupta that contrary to what happened in raids by other powers which were frequent in those uncertain times, during those attacks by Sikhs there was not a single instance of woman having been molested. Later when Shah Alam gave him 2 Lakh tribute Baghel Singh vacated Delhi on the condition that his 30,000 forces will stay in Delhi, Where his forces stayed, it is still known as Tees Hazari in Delhi. Approximately 10,000 horsemen, many other irregular forces. Their forces combined with Ahluwalia misl crossed Jamuna and captured Saharanpur in Feb 20, 1764. The Sikhs overran the territory of Najib-ud-daulah the Rohilla Chief, and returned after realizing from him a tribute of eleven lakhs of rupees. Click here to read more about KaroraSinghia Misl
(7) Nakai Led by Hari singh Nakai. This band ruled the area between Ravi and Ghara, Naka Area. Approximately 7,000 horsemen. They ruled over the country South of Lahore, between Ravi and the Sutlej.Click here to read more about
(8) Nishanwala Led by Dasaundha singh. So called Nishanwala cause they carry the Nishan Sahib, the Sikh flag in the battle. Approximately 2,000 horsemen. Their territory was Ambala, Ropar, Anandpur Sahib, several hill chiefs paid tribute to this misl. Click here to read more about Nishanwala Misl
(9) Ramgarhia Led by Nand singh Sanghania, so called as they extended fort of Ram Rauni at Amritsar which was later called Ramgarh. Riarki Area around Batala Approximately 5,000 horsemen. Their territory was parts of Amritsar, Qadian, Batala and Sri Hargobindpur, in the Bari doab and Miani, Sarih, and Urmur Tanda in the Jalandhar Doab. Jassa Singh Ramgarhia was a great Sikh warrior of times of Nawab Kapur Singh and Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. He led Khalsa army in many battles. In command of Dal Khalsa he was just behind Jassa Singh Ahluwalia after the retirement of Nawab Kapur Singh. Click here to read more about Ramgarhia Misl
(10) Sukerchakia Led by Nodh Singh, Ranjit singhs Misl. Area of Gujranwala, they often carried their arms beyond Jhelum. Approximately 5,000 horsemen. Their territories were Gujranwala and parts of Pothohar (currently Rawalpindi, Islamabad, etc.) Charat Singh, Ranjit singh’s grandfather was one of the commanders with Nawab Kapur singh and then with Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. Ranjit Singh’s father Mahan Singh also led Sikh forces to many victories. Once Charat Singh Sukarchakia and Gujar Singh Bhangi of Bhangi misl secured a crucial victory over Sarbuland Khan, the Afghan faujdar of Rohtas. Sarbuland Khan fell a captive into the hands of the Sikhs who treated him with magnanimity. So deeply was he impressed with consideration shown to him by Charat Singh Sukkarchakkia that he offered to serve as a governor under him if the Sardar proclaimed himself king. "The kingship is already conferred on us by the Guru," said the Sardar, "but we want to keep you a prisoner so that the world may know that Charat Singh has captured the uncle of Ahmad Shah Abdali." "There is still a greater distinction in releasing me," said Sarbuland Khan. "For, they will say that Charat Singh captured the uncle of Ahmad Shah and, then, set him at liberty." The Khan paid the tribute and was allowed to return to his country. Click here to read more about Shukarchakia Misl
(11) Shaheed. They drew their name from their Baba Deep Singh ji Shaheed , custodian of Damdama Sahib Gurudwara. This misl was in charge of Malwa part of Punjab which is current day Ludhiana. Approximately 5,000 horsemen. Their territories were also in some districts in Ambala (parganah of Shahzadpur) and district of Saharanpur. Click here to read more about Shaheed Misl
(12) Phulkian. Misl is the only misl that was kicked out of the Dal Khalsa due to its anti Sikh policies in the time of Baba Deep Singh and Nawab Kapur Singh. This misl was founded by Baba Ala Singh. Click here to read more about Phulkian Misl
What impelled these Sikh confedracies to united and zealous action was their faith in the common destiny of the Khalsa. Any call for a joint cause was joyfully answered and the greatest sacrifices willingly made for its realization. Their living conviction was that the Guru had invested them with moral and temporal dignity and charged them with the duty of liberating the country imparted an element of philanthropy to their extremely dangerous and heroic adventure.
To did fighting for the Panth was the consummation most cheerfully sought; to compromise with evil and injustice was considered the extreme of degradation and pusillanimity. This brave new spirit created a revolutionary impulse in the country. The Sikhs gave new direction to the course of Indian history. When Zaman Shah, son of Ahmad Shah Abdali (Durrani), reached Peshawar on January 30th 1799, that was the last invasion of any Mughal, Turk, Greek, Persian, No more invader could come from that side into Punjab. Sikhs boldly sealed off the western frontiers of Punjab.
All these Misls or bands together were called Dal Khalsa. They met at least twice a year at Amritsar for Sarbat Khalsa. So called Sarbat Khalsa as the whole community of the Sikh Panth (panth means path) gets together. The leader of the Dal Khalsa was to be head of the both Sikh state and "Church".
The Arabic word misl means ‘like’. The Sikh misls were ‘alike’, in the sense that they were considered equals. The Misls were twelve companies of Sikhs , some numbering a few hundred while others could field tens of thousands of men. Each Sikh was free to join any Misl he chose, and every Misl was free to act in any way it wished in the area under its control. Only matters affecting the community as a whole were they to take orders from the Supreme Commander Nawab Kapur Singh (see picture in Gallery). It is estimated that the total force which the Dhal Khalsa (army of veterans) could put in the field was about seventy thousand Sikhs.
The misldhar system was ideally suited to the conditions of the time and worked well under leaders like Nawab Kapur Singh and Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. It combined freedom of action with the discipline of a unified command; it channeled the energies of the fiercely independent Khalsa soldier in the service of a cause which he held dear – the expulsion of hostile foreigners from the Punjab and the fulfilment of the prophecy of Guru Gobind Singh Ji of the establishment of a Sikh state.
Misldhar (Commander) – Baba Deep Singh (see picture in the Gallery). The name Shaheed (martyr) was taken after Baba Ji’s death in the defence of the Harminder Sahib (Golden temple).
Misldhar – Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, who also became the supreme commander of all the Misls.
Also known as Singhpuria. Misldhar – Nawab Kapur Singh (see picture in the Gallery) one time commander of all the Misls.
Misldhar – Nand Singh, later controlled by Jassa Singh Ramgharia (see picture in the Gallery). Name Ramghariha was taken after winning a major battle near the village of Ramghar.
Misldhar – Naudh Singh from the village Sukerchak near Gujranwala. Naudh Singh was the father of Charhat Singh Sukerchakia whose grandson , Ranjit Singh (see picture in the Gallery) became the first Sikh Maharaja of the Punjab.
Misldhar – Dasundha Singh, the standard bearer (nishanwala) of the Dhal Khalsa.
Misldhar – Hari Singh of village Panjwad, also Bhuma Singh.
Misldhar – Jai Singh of the village Khana. Fighting strength of more then ten thousand men.
Misldhar – Hira Singh of the village Baharwal, situated in a tract near Lahore called Nakka.
Misldhar – Karora Singh of the village Paigarh.
Misldhar – Gulab Singh of the village Dhalliwal.
Misldhar – Ala Singh of Patiala district