BASAWAN, SHAIKH, a ranked Muslim officer at Maharaja Ranjit Singh`s court, started his career as an assistant to Misr Beli Ram, who had entered the Maharaja`s service in 1809 and who in 1816 had become superintendent of the to shakhana or treasury. Basawan by dint of hard work gradually rose in rank and status and had been made a colonel of the Khalsa army by 1838 when under the Tripartite Treaty he was given command of the Muslim contingent (6,146 men and 140 pieces of artillery) to escort Shahzada Taimur to Kabul across the Khaibar.
Shaikh Basawan accomplished the task efficiently, occupying `All Masjid on 29 July 1839 and reaching Kabul in time to participate in the victory parade there on behalf of the Khalsa army. Lord Auckland, the British Governor General of India, expressed “high satisfaction” with the conduct of Colonel Shaikh Basawan, to whom he sent a sword “in testimony of his gallantry and determination.”
1. Suri, Sohan Lal, `Umdat-ut-Twarikh. Lahore, 1885-89
2. Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, Princeton, 1963,1966