ADINA BEG KHAN (d. 1758), governor of the Punjab for a few months in AD 1758, was, according to Ahwal-i-Dina Beg Khan, an unpublished Persian manuscript, the son of Channu, of the Arain agriculturalist caste, mostly settled in Doaba region of the Punjab. He was born at the village of Sharakpur, near Lahore, now in Sheikhupura district of Pakistan. Adina Beg was brought up in Mughal homes, for the most part in Jalalabad, Khanpur and Bajvara in the Jalandhar Doab. Starting his career as a soldier, he rose to be collector of revenue of the village of Kang in the Lohian area, near Sultanpur Lodhi.

He obtained half a dozen villages in Kang area on lease and within an year the entire Kang region.After some time Nawab Zakariya Khan, the governor of Lahore, appointed him chief (hakam) of Sultanpur Lodhi. When after Nadir Shah`s invasion (1739) Sikhs started gaining power, Zakariya Khan made Adina Beg Khan nazim (administrator) of the Jalandhar Doab to suppress them. Shrewd as he was, he tried to strengthen his own position by encouraging Sikhs instead of repressing them.

Under pressure from Zakariya Khan, he however had to expel them from his dominion. For nonpayment of government dues he was taken into custody under the orders of the governor of Lahore and subjected to torture. On being set free after an year, he was appointed deputy nazim under Shah Nawaz Khan. After Zakariya Khan`s death on l July 1745, his sons, Yahiya Khan and Shah Nawaz Khan contested succession. Adina Beg maintained good relations with both. Shah Nawaz Khan having captured Lahore appointed Adina Beg chief of Jalandhar Doab.

Meanwhile, Nadir Shah died on 19 June 1747 and Ahmad Shah Durrani became ruler of Kabul and Qandahar. Shah Nawaz following Adina Beg`s advice invited the Durrani king to march towards the Punjab, warning at the same time the government at Delhi about the Durrani`s invasion. As Ahmad Shah advanced into the country. Shah Nawaz fled towards Delhi. Mu`in ul-Mulk (Mir Mannu), son of Qamar udDin, the chief wazir of the Delhi king, succeeded in checking the invader at Manupur, near Sirhind.

Adina Beg joined hands with Mu`in ul-Mulk and was wounded in the battle. Mu`in ul-Mulk became governor of Lahore, with Kaura Mall as his diwan and Adina Beg as Faujdar of the Jalandhar Doab as before. Sikhs again started plundering the country. Ahmad Shah Durrani launched upon his third incursion into the Punjab (December 1751), this time forcing Mu`in ul-Mulk to surrender. Mu`in remained governor, now on the Durrani`s behalf.

He and Adina Beg directed their energies towards quelling the Sikhs. On the festival of Hola Mohalla in March 1753, Adina Beg fell upon Sikh pilgrims at Anandpur killing a large number of them. The Sikhs retaliated by plundering villages in the Jalandhar and Bari Doabs. Adina Beg was as quick in coming to terms as he was in opening hostilities. He assigned some of the revenue of his territory to the Sikhs and admitted several of them, including Jassa Singh Ramgarhia, into his army.

Mu`in ul-Mulk died on 3 November 1753, and during the time of his widow, Murad Begam (Mughlani Begam), Adina Beg assumed independent authority in the Doab, extending his influence up to Sirhind (March 1755). The Emperor of Delhi bestowed on him the title of Zafar Jarig Khan. The ruler of Kangra accepted his over lordship. In May 1756, he was appointed governor of Lahore and Multan by the Mughal government of Delhi on payment of an annual tribute of thirty lakh of rupees.

Ahmad Shah Durrani came to Mughlani Begam`s help and Adina Beg took refuge in the Sivalik hills. The Afghans reappointed him faujdar of the Jalandhar Doab. During Taimur Shah`s governorship (1757-58), Adina Beg began to look around for allies with a view to expelling the Afghans. The Sikhs and Adina Beg`s troops joined hands and defeated the Afghans at Mahalpur, in Hoshiarpur district.

Adina Beg expressed his gratitude to the Sikhs by presenting a sum of a thousand rupees as homage to the Guru Granth Sahib and a lakh and a quarter as protection money for the Jalandhar Doab. Keeping up appearances with the Sikh sardars, he wished to weaken their power and invited to this end Marathas who had taken Delhi to come to the Punjab, offering them one lakh of rupees a day on march. He also persuaded Sikhs to help the Marathas against the Afghans.The Marathas led by Raghunath Rao and accompanied by the forces of the Sikhs and those of Adina Beg entered Lahore in April 1758.

Adina Beg got the subahdan of the Punjab at 75 lakh of rupees a year to be paid to the Marathas. The Punjab had now three masters: the Mughals, the Afghans and the Marathas, but in reality only two Adina Beg and the Sikhs. Adina Beg brooked no rivals, and resumed his campaign against the Sikhs, increasing his armed strength and hiring a thousand woodcutters to clear up the forests in which the Sikhs were wont to seek shelter in times of stress. He laid siege to the Sikh fort of Ram Rauni at Amritsar. Before the Sikhs rallied to confront him, Adina Beg succumbed to an attack of colic at Batala on 10 September 1758. His dead body was buried, honouring his will, at Khanpur. 2 km northwest of Hoshiarpur.

References :

1. Gupta, Hari Ram, History of the Sikhs, vol. II. Delhi, 1978
2. Gandhi, Surjit Singh, Struggle of the Sikhs for Sovereignty. Delhi, 1980
3. Bhagat Singh, Sikh Polity. Delhi, 1978