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RAJPUT-SIKH RELATIONS

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RAJPUTSIKH RELATIONS. During his preaching tours. Guru Nanak (1469-1539), founder of the Sikh faith, is believed to have visited Pushkar and Kulayat, two important Hindu pilgrimage centres in Rajputana (now Rajasthan), the land of the Rajputs. While under detention in Gwalior Fort, Guru Hargobind came in contact with some Rajput chiefs similarly held in custody there, and was instrumental in their eventual release from captivity. Mirza RajaJai Singh of Amber (1605-67), his queen, and his son, Raja Ram Singh, were devotees of the Gurus.

Guru Har Krishan (1656-64) and Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621-75) stayed in their palace in Raisina, a Delhi suburb. According to some accounts Guru Tegh Bahadur, during his journey towards the eastern provinces, was arrested near Delhi, but was soon released through the intervention of the Amber prince. The Guru later accompanied Raja Ram Singh, at the latter`s request, during the Assam expedition. Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708) travelled widely across Rajpulana in 1706-08. When Mata Sundari (d. 1747) moved from Delhi to Mathura, the then Raja of Jaipur, SavaiJai Singh, provided her with suitable residence and maintenance.

Earlier during Bahadur Shah`s expedition against Banda Singh Bahadur in 1710-11, while princes of Mcvar and Kishangarh joined the imperial camp at the royal summons, Maharaja Ajit Singh of Jodhpur and Raja Savai Jai Singh of Jaipur, despite the emperor`s pressing orders, marched leisurely and came to the Punjab ten months after Bahadur Shah`s campaign was over. During the period after Banda Singh, Sikh jaihds or subunits of the Dal Khalsa, adopting guerilla tactics against the Mughal and Afghan regimes, took refuge on several occasions in the desert of Rajputana.

We have it on the authority of Ratan Singh Bharigu, Prdchin Panth Prakdsh, that Bhai Mahitab Singh Mirarikotia and Bhai Sukkha Singh of Man Kannbo went to Jaipur and joined the service of its ruler. Bharigu also records a Sikh force assisting the ruler of Bikaner in his attack on Jaisalmer. According to Giani Gian Singh, Shamsher Khalsa, the jathd of Buddha Singh and Sham Singh of NariT had at one time been in the service of Bikaner. In December 1765, Raja Jawahar Singh of Bharaipur was at war with Raja Madho Singh of Jaipur. He hired 25,000 Sikhs under Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluvalia while Madho Singh invited the Marathas for help.

The Marathas had also been engaged by Jawahar Singh`s step brother, Naval Singh, who was in possession of Dholpur.Jawahar Singh decided first to deal with Naval Singh. He, therefore, made his peace with Madho Singh and dismissed the Sikhs after paying them their subsidy. In December 1767 Madho Singh attacked Jawahar Singh. The latter engaged 10,000 Sikhs to fight for him, but was defeated on 29 February 1768. He hired another Sikh force making a total of 20,000 at 7,00,000 rupees per month. He advanced again to meet Madho Singh, but the latter retired without giving a fight. The Sikhs and Rajputs seem to have had no mutual contact of any kind thereafter.

References :

1. Bharigu, Ratan Singh, Prdchin Panth Prakdsh. Amritsar, 1914
2. Gian Singh, Giani, Twdnkh Guru Khalsa [Reprint]. Patiala, 1970
3. Gupta, Hari Rain, History of Sikh Gurus. Delhi, 1973
4. Ganda Singh, Sarddr Jassd Singh AhluvdUd. Patiala, 1969

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