BAINTAN SHER SINGH KIAN,
BAINTAN SHER SINGH KIAN, by Nihal Singh, is a poem dealing with some gruesome events from the history of the Sikhs murders in 1843 of the Sikh monarch Maharaja Sher Singh, his young son Partap Singh, and minister Dhian Singh Dogra at the hands of Sandhanvalia collaterals Ajit Singh and Lahina Singh, and of the latter at the hands of Dhian Singh`s son. Hira Singh, and his supporters. No biographical details about the poet are known, except that he was a witness to these tragic events. As he himself says in the text, he composed the poem, in the baint poetic measure, “at the time of the happenings” (34). These murders occurred on 1516 September 1843, followed by Duleep Singh`s installation on the throne referred to in the poem (24).
The poem does not mention any other event, not even the sequential murders of Hira Singh and his confidant Pandit Jalla which took place on 21 December 1844, leading to the presumption that it was composed immediately after Maharaja Sher Singh *s assassination. According to the poet, the poem comprises thirty four stanzas (but in fact it contains thirty three), with a couplet each at the beginning and at the end: the poet seems to have counted the opening couplet among the stanzas: the concluding couplet barely records the date of the event (1 Assu, 1900 Bk/15 September 1843). All stanzas comprise eight lines each, except two (2 and 24) which have six lines apiece.
The poet traces Sher Singh`s unpopularity among the army to dismissal by him of some old soldiers a few among whom had been serving since the days of his grandfather. He gives the instance of a Niharig, also recorded in Sohan Lal Suri, `Umdatut Twarikh (Daftar IV, Part III), who as a mark of protest gifted away his horse and spent the remaining years of his life like a recluse at the samadh of Haqiqat Rai. Ajit Singh Sandhanvalia treacherously kills Sher Singh (8); Lahina Singh slays prince Partap Singh despite his pitiful pleadings (10). Both kill Dogra Dhian Singh (13). Hira Singh, the son of Dhian Singh, avenges the murder of his father by killing, with the support of the army, Ajit Singh (30) and Lahina Singh (31).
The poet does not conceal his hatred of the Sandhanvalias, but also gives them credit for their soldierly feats (26) when Fighting against Hira Singh Dogra. The poem does not possess many literary merits, but is significant being a contemporary account of these bloody events at tlie Lahore court.