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The Sikh Empire [1799 - 1839] (11)
The Sikh Empire [1799 - 1839]
ARMY OF MAHARAJA RANJIT SINGH, a formidable military machine that helped the Maharaja carve out an extensive kingdom and maintain it amid hostile and ambitious neighbours, was itself the creation of his own genius. His inheritance was but a scanty force which, in the manner of the Sikh misldari days, comprised almost solely horsemen, without any regular training or organization. Everyone brought his own horse and whatever weapon he could afford or acquire. What held these troopers together was their personal loyalty to the leader. The. tactics followed were those of the guerilla warfare.
The Sikh Empire [1799 - 1839]
CHARYARI SOWARS was the name given to an irregular cavalry regiment in Sikh times. It owed its origin to four friends, or Char (four) Your (friends), who were seen together all the time. Their names were: Bhup Singh Siddhu.Jit Singh, Ram Singh Saddozai and Hardas Singh Bania. They were all young men of the same age, very handsome, well built and always elegantly dressed. Maharaja Ranjit Singh became very fond of the foursome and employed them as soldiers. He was so impressed by their bearing that he gave them fine horses to ride and created a regiment named Charyari Sowars after them.
The Sikh Empire [1799 - 1839]
HOLKAR, JASVANT RAO (d. 1811), Maratha chief of Indore, who, defeated at Dig and Fatehgarh in 1804 by the British, moved northwards to obtain succour from the cissutlej Sikh rulers and from Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Accompanied by his Ruhila ally, Amir Khan, he arrived in 1805 at Patiala, where he received assurances of help from the Sikh chiefs assembled there. Meanwhile, Lord Lake`s army came in hot pursuit of the Maratha refugee. On hearing the news of Lake`s arrival at Panipat, he crossed over into the Jalandhar Doab and ultimately reached Amritsar. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who was then camping near Multan, hastily came to see him.
The Sikh Empire [1799 - 1839]
LAHORE POLITICAL DIARIES is how volumes III to VI of the Records of the Punjab Government arc collectively referred to. Comprising a part of the British Government records published in nine volumes during the early years of the twentieth century, these four volumes deal with the regency period, 1846-49. They contain journals, reports and diaries of the British residents at the Sikh capital, Lahore, and the agents appointed in different districts of the Punjab. Altogether they afford an intimate glimpse of the administration of the Punjab during the period between the two Anglo Sikh wars, and the settlement of various districts under British officers. These energetic and vigilant officers also kept the Lahore Residency informed of all political events and trends in the areas under their charge.
The Sikh Empire [1799 - 1839]
MARATHASIKH RELATIONS spanning a period of half a century from 1758 to 1806 alternated between friendly cooperation and mistrust born out of rivalry of political and military ambition. Although Shivaji (1627-80), the founder of Maratha power, and Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708), the creator of the Khalsa, both rose against the tyiannical rule of Aurarigzib, and although the Sikhs` real crusade in the Punjab took its birth on the banks of the River Godavari in Maharashtra, the two forces did not come in direct contact with each other until the Marathas, in a bid to fill the power vacuum caused by the fall of the Mughal empire, expanded their influence as far as Delhi.
The Sikh Empire [1799 - 1839]
PANOPLY. To have established precise standards of regal usage and hospitality was remarkable for one born to a small worldly inheritance. Ranjit Singh`s patrimony did not amount to more than a few villages precariously held in those turbulent days, and his authority scarcely coincided with any recognizable or settled geographical demarcation. He carved out sovereignty for himself in his own lifetime after a protracted and bitter struggle, but the tradition of noble pomp and splendour he set up was unmatched by royalties of much older origin.
The Sikh Empire [1799 - 1839]
PREMA PLOT, a conspiracy allegedly engineered by Maharani Jind Kaur with the help of some Sikh sardars to assassinate Sir Henry Lawrence, the first British Resident at Lahore, and the Sikh commander in chief, Tej Singh, and to topple the British control of the Punjab. One of the factors responsible for the general unrest was the treaty of Bharoval (December 1846) by which Maharani Jind Kaur had been deprived of all authority and the Resident had been invested with unrestricted powers.
The Sikh Empire [1799 - 1839]
SARDAR, in Persian amalgam of sar (head) and dar (a suffix derived from the verb dash tan, i.e. to hold) meaning holder of headship, is an honorific signifying an officer of rank, a general or chief of a tribe or organization. Sikhs among whom, during the time of the Guru and for half a century thereafter, no words indicative of high rank were current other than the common appellation bhaior, rarely, baba to express reverence due to age or descent from the Gurus, adopted sardar for the leaders of their Jathas or bands fighting against Afghan invaders under Ahmad Shah Durrani.
The Sikh Empire [1799 - 1839]
SIKHS` RELATIONS WITH HILL STATES lying between the Ganga and the Chenab rivers from the time of the Gurus to the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh fluctuated from guarded friendship to open hostility. Guru Nanak (1469-1539) and later his son, Baba Sri Chand, had preached the Sikh tenets in the hill tract east of the Punjab proper. Under the order of Guru Amar Das (1479-1574), his nephew, Savan Mall, had gone to Haripur (Guler) state, to preach as well as to send down the River Beas timber needed for the new habitation being raised at Goindval.
The Sikh Empire [1799 - 1839]
SIKHS` RELATIONS WITH JATS OF BHARATPUR. Hindu Jats, who have ethnic affinity with the Sikh Jatts of the Punjab, had emerged, like the Sikhs, as a new political power in the region south of Delhi. Their first revolt in 1669 under their leader Gokul was ruthlessly suppressed by the Mughal audiority, but they soon found another leader in Raja Ram who continued the struggle till his death in July 1688. Churaman (d. 1721), his younger brother and successor to leadership, was an astute politician. He professed allegiance to Emperor Bahadur ShahI (1707-12) and received from him mansab of 1500 zat and 500 sowar. He joined the imperial campaign against the Sikhs at Sadhaura and Lohgarh in 1710

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