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TARJKH-I-PANJAB, TUHFAT UL-ALBAB

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TARJKHIPANJAB, TUHFAT ULALBAB, a brief chronicle in Persian, by Maulawi Munshi `Abd ul Karim `Alawi, printed in Lucknow in 1849, gives a somewhat diffused account of Ranjit Singh and his successors, mainly bearing upon the two Anglo Sikh wars, the first of 1845-46, with actions fought at Mudki, Feroze shah, `Alival and Sabhraon, and the second of 1848-49, with actions fought at Ramnagar, Chelianvala and Gujrat. It has two illustrative maps and a plan indicating the artillery positions, as also certain geographical and statistical details. Full versions of some of the manifestoes, proclamations, dispatches and treaty engagements concerning the relations of Gulab Singh of Jammu with the Sikh kingdom are also provided.

The author, well versed in literature, history, geography and astronomy, had many books to his credit, including Tankhi Ahmadi (Durrani), and some translations from Arabic into Persian. He was also familiar with the English language. Though he was not an eyewitness of the events he has recorded, he seems to have made a careful study of letters, dispatches and declarations of the English and the newspapers in English and Urdu, having access additionally to oral information. The book commences with a short account of the origin of the Sikhs, their religion, scriptures, usages and customs. Here Guru Hargobind, the Sixth Guru, has been confused with Banda Singh.

The author then makes some very apt remarks on the able and strong administration of Ranjit Singh, his faithful observance of treaties and engagements, especially with the English. He described the series of tragic events following the passing away in 1839 of the Maharaja the deaths of Maharaja Kharak Singh and his promising son, Nau Nihal Singh, the murder of the latter`s mother Chand Kaur, the assassination of Maharaja Sher Singh, the beheading of his 13 year old son, Kahvar Partap Singh, the fatal end of the two of the intriguing Dogra brothers, Dhian Singh and Suchet Singh, and of the former`s son, Hira Singh and so on. Within a short space of five years, rulers, princes, ministers, their relatives and numerous sardars fell victims, one after another, to conspiracy and murder.

The only survivor was Ranjit Singh`s infant son, Duleep Singh, with his mother as his regent. The first Anglo Sikh war is described as having begun with the Sikhs crossing the River Sutlej on 11 December 1845, and taking Hardinge and Gough by surprise. Then follow details of the four battles of Mudki, Ferozeshah, `Alival and Sabhraon. The latter part of the book, designated Tatimma (supplement) Tarikhi Lahore, deals mainly with the second Anglo Sikh war, covering events such as the deportation of Maharani Jind Kaur to Banaras, the revolt of Diwan Mul Raj at Multan and of Chatar Singh and Sher Singh at Hazara, surrender of the Sikh army and annexation of the Punjab to the British dominions.

References :

1. Kirpal Singh, A Catalogue of Persian and Sanskrit Manuscripts. Amritsar, 1962

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