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SIHARFIAN HARI SINGH NALVA

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Siharfian Hari Singh Nalva, by Misr Hari Chand who adopted the pen-name of Qadar Yar celebrating an earlier poet of this name, is a poem in Punjabi, Gurmukhi script, describing the valorous deeds of Hari Singh Nalva (1793-1837), an army general of the Sikh times. Inspired by the elder Qadar Yar's Siharfi Sarddr Hari Singh Nalva, the poem was first published in 1924 by Lala Manohar Das Dua at Manohar Press, Sargodha, under the title Hari Singh Nalva va Jahg Penhawar Mabain Sikhan vd Afghanah ba 'ahid Maharaja Ran/it Singh ji Maharaja.

A reprint was brought out by Punjabi University, Patiala, in 1965, the text having been edited by Ganda Singh, noted Punjab historian, who had obtained in 1931 an incomplete copy of the work from Sita Ram Kohli which before publication he compared with and corrected agaisnt a copy in the possession of Baba Prem Singh Hoti.

The Slhar/ian is divided into six parts pertaining to Maharaja Ranjit Singh's decision to attack Dost Muhammad Khan, the king of Kabul, to seize Peshawar; Hari Singh Nalva's offer to lead that expedition; internal strife at Kabul which prompted the Maharaja to hasten the expedition; Nalva's victory over the Afghans who fled from Peshawar without firing a shot; his occupation of Peshawar and his appointment as governor of Peshawar; Dost Muhammad Khan's attack on Peshawar to recover control of the city from the Sikhs and the fierce battle at the Fort of Jamrud in which Hari Singh was killed; Ranjit Singh's march towards Peshawar on receipt of the tragic news; death of Akali Phula Singh in the battle that ensued between the Afghans and the Sikhs; defeat of the Afghans at the hands of Ranjit Singh; and the search for the body of Phula Singh and its cremation by Ranjit Singh.

A typical feature of the work composed in siharfi form, borrowed from Persian, in which verses are arranged acrostically, is the poet's power of picturisation. He has an inexhaustible store of native idiom and imagery, interspersed with Persian vocabulary. The dramatisation of different events, especially of those which cover the battle of Jamrud in which Hari Singh was fatally wounded, is a notable quality of the poem.

References :

1. Amarjit Singh, Punjabi sahit da itihas—Qissa kal, Amritsar, 1981.
2. Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature, 6 Vols., Delhi, 1995.
3. Ramdev, Jaginder Singh (ed.), Punjabi Likhari Kosh, Jullundur, 1964.
4. Sekhon, S.S. and K.S. Duggal, A History of Punjabi Literature, Delhi, 1992.

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