First Anglo Sikh Treaty
ANGLO-SIKH TREATY (1806) followed Jasvant Rao Holkar’s (a Maratha Chief) crossing over into the Punjab in 1805 after he was defeated at Fatehgarh and Dig in December 1804 by the British. Accompanied by his Ruhila ally, Amir Khan, and a Maratha force estimated at 15,000, Holkar arrived at Patiala, but on hearing the news that the British general, Lake, was in hot pursuit, both the refugees fled northwards, entered the Jalandhar Doab, and ultimately reached Amritsar. Ranjit Singh, then camping near Multan, hastened to Amritsar to meet Holkar. He was hospitable and sympathetic towards the Maratha chief, but was shrewd enough not to espouse a forlorn cause and come into conflict with the British, especially when he was far from securely established on the throne. Through diplomatic negotiation, he brought about reconciliation between Holkar and the British commander-in-chief. A treaty of friendship and amity was entered into by (Sardar) Ranjit Singh along with Sardar Fateh Singh Ahluvalia of Kapurthala with the East India Company on 1 January 1806 whereby it was agreed that, as long as these Sikh chiefs had no friendly connections with enemies of the British or committed no act of hostility, the British armies would never enter into the territories of the said chieftains, nor would the British government form any plan for the seizure or sequestration of their possessions or property.
The Anglo-Sikh treaty of 1806 brought the Sikh chief into direct contact with the British government. Ranjit Singh’s reluctance to precipitate a clash with the British saved the infant State of Lahore from being overrun by Lake’s armies. The Maharaja not only kept the Punjab from becoming a theatre of war between two foreign armies, but also saved the Maratha chief from utter ruin and had his territories beyond Delhi restored to him.
The Text of the Treaty:
Sirdar Runjeet Sing and Sirdar Futteh Sing have consented to the following Articles of Agreement concluded by Lieutenant-Colonel John Malcolm, under the special authority of the Right Honorable Lord Lake, himself duly authorized by the Honorable Sir George Hilaro Barlow, Baronet, Governor General, and Sirdar Futteh Sing, as principal on the part of himself and plenipotentiary on the part of Runjeet Sing.
Article 1. Sirdar Runjeet Sing and Sirdar Futteh Sing Aloowalia hereby agree that they will cause Jeswunt Rao Holkar to remove with his army to the distance of 30 coss from Amritsar immediately, and will never hereafter hold any further connection with him, or aid or assist him with troops, or in any other manner whatever, and they further agree that they will not in any way molest such of Jeswunt Rao Holkar’s followers or troops as are desirous of returning to their homes in the Deccan, but, on the contrary, will render them every assistance in their power for carrying such intention into execution.
Article 2. The British Government hereby agrees that in case a pacification should not be effected between that Government and Jeswunt Rao Holkar, the British Army shall move from its present encampment on the banks of the River Beas as soon as Jeswunt Rao Holkar aforesaid shall have marched with his army to the distance of 30 coss from Amritsar; and that in any Treaty which may hereafter be concluded between the British Government and Jeswunt Rao Holkar, it shall be stipulated that, immediately after the conclusion of the said Treaty, Holkar shall evacuate the territories of the Sikhs and march towards his own, and that he shall in no way whatever injure or destroy such parts of the Sikh country as may lie in his route. The British Government further agrees that as long as the said Chieftains Runjeet Sing and Futteh Sing abstain from holding any friendly connection with the enemies of that Government, or from committing any act of hostility on their own parts against the said Government, the British Armies shall never enter the territories of the said Chieftains, nor will the British Government form any plans for the seizure or sequestration of their possessions or property.