AMAR SINGH, RAJA (1748-1782). of Patiala, was born on 6 June 1748, the son of Sardul Singh and Rani Hukman. In 1765, he succeeded his grandfather, Ala Singh, who had no son living at the time of his death. His succession to the throne of Patiala was challenged by his stepbrother, Himmat Singh, who seized a major portion of the town of Patiala and the neighbouring area. Amar Singh secured the eviction of Himmat Singh through the help of the chiefs of Jind, Nabha and Kaithal. In 1766, he captured Payal and Ism from the Kotla.

Afghans with the help of trans Sutlej Sikhs under Jassa Singh Ahluvalia, from whom he had received the rites of Khalsa baptism. Payal was annexed to Patiala state, while Isru was given to Jassa Singh Ahluvalia. Ahmad Shah Durrani`s invasion of the country in 1767 proved very beneficial to the rising power of Amar Singh, who sent his vakils to the Shah with presents. The Shah summoned Amai” Singh and granted him the subahdari (governorship) of Sirhind with the title of Rajai Rajgan. He was also given a flag and a drum as insignia of absolute authority.

He paid a lakh of rupees to the Shah to secure the release of several thousand Hindus taken captive in the vicinity of Mathura and Saharanpur. He issued coins in the name of Ahmad Shah. In 1768, Amar Singh marched against, Gharib Das of Mani Majra who, after the death of Ala Singh, had captured the fort and district of Pinjore. Amar Singh, helped by the hill rulers of Hindur, Kahlur and Nahan, defeated Gharib Das and captured the Pinjore fort. Gharib Das was, however, not fully reduced to submission. Raja Amar Singh marched against him again in 1778.

Gharib Das paid a large sum of money to the Patiala chief and retained control of his territory. Amar Singh next attacked the fort of Kot Kapura, killing Jodh Singh, the local chief, in the battle. In 1771, he occupied the district of Bathinda subduing Sukhchain Singh to whom the Fort of Gobindgarh, commanding the town, belonged. Three years later, he reduced Saifabad, a strong fort 7 km to the northeast of Patiala. In 1774, he occupied the Bhatti country lying south of Patiala. Fatehabad, Sirsa and the fort of Rania now passed into his hands. In 1777, he. again overran Faridkot and Kot Kapura but did not attempt to annex them.

In 1779, he frustrated the designs of Abdul `Ahad Khan against Sikh territories in the Malva. He received help from Jassa Singh Ahluvalia, Jassa Singh Ramgarhia, Tara Singh Ghaiba and Jodh Singh, of Wazirabad, and repulsed the Mughal expedition at the village of Ghuram. By his extensive conquests and by the shrewd political alliances he made with the rulers of Nahan and Bikaner and with the Misldar sardars, Amar Singh had made Patiala the most powerful state between the Yamuna and the Sutlej. Raja Amar Singh died at Patiala on 5 February 1782 in the prime of his youth.

References :

1. Griffin, Lepel, The Rajas of the Punjab. Delhi, 1977
2. Kirpal Singh, Maharaja Ala Singh of Patiala and His Times. Amritsar, 1954