The First Anglo Sikh War: Betrayal of Lal Singh
Betrayal of Lal Sing and Tej Singh
Lal Singh and Tej Singh again came to the rescue of the English. The former suddenly deserted the Khalsa army during the night and the latter the next morning (22 December) which enabled the British to turn defeat into victory. The British loss was again heavy, 694 killed and 1,721 wounded. The number of casualties among officers was comparatively higher. The Sikhs lost about 2,000 men and 73 pieces of artillery.
|Tej Singh – the traitor|
A temporary cessation of hostilities followed the battle of Ferozeshah. The English were not in a position to assume the offensive and waited for heavy guns and reinforcements to arrive from Delhi. Lal Singh and Tej Singh allowed them the much needed respite in as much as they kept the Sikhs from recrossing the Sutlej.
To induce desertions, Lord Hardinge issued a proclamation on the Christmas day inviting all natives of Hindustan to quit the service of the Sikh State on pain of forfeiting their property and to claim protection from the British government. The deserters were also offered liberal rewards and pensions.
A Sikh sardar, Ranjodh Singh Majithia, crossed the Sutlej in force and was joined by Ajit Singh, of Ladva, from the other side of the river. They marched towards Ludhiana and burnt a portion of the cantonment. Sir Harry Smith (afterwards Governor of Cape Colony), who was sent to relieve Ludhiana, marched eastwards from Ferozepur, keeping a few miles away from the Sutlej. Ranjodh Singh Majithia harried Smith’s column and, when Smith tried to make a detour at Baddoval, attacked his rear with great vigour and captured his baggage train and stores (21 January). But Harry Smith retrieved his position a week later by inflicting a defeat on Ranjodh Singh Majithia and Ajit Singh, of Ladva, (28 January).
:Anglo-Sikh Wars and its Inside Tale – Karnail Singh