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VIJAI VINOD, also called Bijay Binod, is an account of the events at Lahore Darbar after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. This work was composed in 1844 by Gval, the court poet at Lahore Darbar, at the orders of Pandit Jalla, the mentor and most influential adviser of Raja Hira Singh Dogra. Hira Singh became the prime minister after his father, Dhian Singh, was murdered. But because of the minority of the sovereign, Maharaja Duleep Singh, he was the de facto ruler of the Sikh empire. Since the book was written to please Hira Singh and Pandit Jalla, it is full of praise for the Dogra clique of Lahore Darbar.

The poet starts with the praise of goddess Sharda, Lord Rama and Guru Gobind Singh. Then he gives a brief account of the exploits and victories of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (up to stanza 24) whom he describes as the incarnation of Lord Krisria, and Prime Minister Dhian Singh Dogra is compared to the legendary hero, Arjuna (up to stanza 42). Special mention is made of the celebrations at the birth of Hira Singh (57). He gives a detailed account of events beginning after the death of Ranjit Singh in AD 1839. The succession to the throne of Kharak Singh (11113), his death (124) ; the death on the same day of the heir apparent and promising youth, Prince Nau Nihal Singh (12734) and brief reign of Maharani Chand Kaur are described in detail.

The poet deals with events leading to the succession of Sher Singh (1942-50). Then follow details about the flight of Sandhanvalias to British territory, their reconciliation with the Maharaja and their readmission to the Darbar (27484), and the treacherous assassination of Maharaja Sher Singh and his son, Kanvar Partap Singh. The poet tries to paint a rosy picture of the administration of Hira Singh and Pandit Jalla. He praises them in high flown language (47285). The last historical event narrated in the Vijai Vinod is concerning the attack of the Lahore army on the Dera of the famous Sikh saint Bhai Bir Singh of Naurangabad, where Atar Singh Sandhanvalia was staying with his contingent.

Atar Singh was defeated and beheaded, but during the fierce battle Bhai Bir Singh was also killed, though he himself and his followers did not take part in me strife. The death of this saint ultimately became the main cause of the downfall and assassination of Hira Singh and Jalla. But the poet does not narrate this last event, because he had fled from Lahore and taken shelter in Nabha Darbar just after the murder of his patrons. Vijai Vinod is a large composition consisting of 487 stanzas of varying length. Since the poet was an eyewitness to all the happenings, the account he provides is very detailed and is of considerable historical value.

But it is not linear narration of history. The poet does not provide even a remote hint of the intrigues of the Dogra trinity behind all these tragic episodes. His work, therefore, is more a panegyric of the Dogra family than objective history. Vijai Vinod no doubt is a commendable literary work. Gval was a poet of merit and recognition in his time, who has written a number of poetic works in addition to Vijai Vinod. He was a native of Mathura and his language was Braj Bhasa. He entered die court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh when he was still very young.

The poet has used eleven different poetic metres including kabit, savaiyya, sorama, doha, padhan, etc. The author lias himself given full statistics of the chhands (metres) used, and their total number. The book was completed on Savan .such`8, 1901 Bk/August 1844. The work was first published by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee in 1950 in the collection entitled Prachm Jangname edited and compiled by Shamsher Singh Ashok. Again it was published by the same committee in 1977 in the collection called Prachm Varan te Jangname.

References :

1. Ashok, Shamsher Singh, ed., Prachm Jangname. Amritsar, 1950

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