Decisive victory of the unheard battle of Maharaja Ranjit Singh - Monster Thinks

Monday, June 22, 2020

Decisive victory of the unheard battle of Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Decisive victory of the unheard battle of Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the State of Nepal

Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Maharaja Ranjit Singh

In March 1809, the Gorkhas first came in contact with Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Bhimsen Thapa, the Prime Minister of Nepal, conquered the territories of Kumaon and Garhwal and made them part of the Nepalese Empire, with the intention of extending its borders to the west. His eye was now on Kangra. Sansar Chand was the king. In March 1809, the Nepal Army under Amar Singh Thapa captured most of Kangra. King Sansar Chand of Kangra sought the help of Maharaja Ranjit Singh  (Shere-Punjab). Maharaja Ranjit Singh agreed to help. However, Maharaja  wanted to make Kangra  part of the Sikh state. The Sikh army laid siege to Nepal and cut off food supplies.

Amar singh Thapa (Neplai General)
Amar Singh Thapa

Amar Singh Thapa offered a tribute to Maharaja Ranjit Singh and requested a siege. The Maharaja, on the other hand, offered on his behalf that if Amar Singh returned with the army, he would support the Nepalese Empire against the British. Amar Singh Thapa turned down the offer on the ground that the Maharaja's treaty with the British, the Treaty of Amritsar, had been concluded and that it was a ploy. He arrested the messenger Sikh. In the end, Amar Singh Thapa lost the battle and fled the field.

Hari Ram Gupta writes in History of Sikhs that after that Amar Singh Thapa sought help from the British against Ranjit Singh. Not only did he reject it, but he also condemned the Maharaja of Patiala who had agreed to attack Ranjit Singh.

During the Anglo-Gurkha war of 1814-16, Amar Singh Thapa sought military help from the Maharaja against the British, to which the Maharaja did not respond. 

The Maharaja had a keen eye on the Anglo-Gurkha war. There were two reasons for this. One was that the Maharaja was aware that there was no lack of courage, fortitude and courage in the Sikh army. But the Sikh army is unaware of the fighting style of the foreign army and he wanted the Sikh soldiers to know the fighting style of the British. The second Gurkha, who was a traditional fighter, wanted to see the Gurkha army demonstrate against the British. Maharaja Ranjit Singh Gorkha (Nepalese) army was affected by the clash with the British. It did not take long for the Maharaja to recognize the Gorkhis as a powerful warrior.


Read more: Patiala State and its history.

After the Anglo-Gurkha War, the effect of this war can be considered on the two decisions taken by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The first was to motivate the Gorkhas to join the Sikh army and the second was to recruit European officers in 1820 to prepare the Sikh army on the western lines. They were mainly French.

In his pamphlet, Himachal in Anglo-Sikh Relations, Chandravekar talks about Shiv Dutt Rai inciting Gurkha soldiers in the British army to join the Sikh army. Shiv Dutt Rai was a lawyer and confidant of Raja Maha Chand of Bilaspur. Shiv Dutt Rai was displeased with the Nepalese Empire for not giving him the feudal lordship of Baghal (now Himachal Pradesh) even after making a promise. Shiv Dutt also sought the help of the British but Lieutenant Rose refused to listen to him and finally decided to support Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

On March 3, 1816, two letters were received. One by Shiv Dutt and the other by Sangat Singh, who addressed the officers of the 1st Nusri Battalion Sabathu to leave the British army and join Ranjit Singh's army. Nusri Battalion, Sabathu was the Gurkha infantry of British India. The British were saddened by this and asked Raja Maha Chand to pull the reins of Shiv Dutt.

Shiv Dutt then sent another man to Kotgarh to proclaim that those who would leave the British army and join the Sikh army would be paid well. The man was arrested and no documents issued by Maharaja Ranjit Singh were recovered from him.

The British questioned the direct and indirect involvement of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the whole affair. Eventually, the matter came to a standstill due to lack of evidence.

From 1809 to 1834, there is no evidence of direct diplomatic missions between Lahore and Kathmandu. But indirectly, gifts continued to be exchanged with some good families in Nepal. In the Sikh army, the Gorkhas were the medium. Amar Singh Thapa's sons, Bhopal Singh and Arjan Singh Thapa, continued to serve in the army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It was through this medium that the Gorkhis were able to enlist in the Sikh army. The Thapa brothers can be considered to have contributed to the efforts to forge closer ties between Nepal and the Punjab in the third decade of the 19th century.


After 1834, Nepalese ambassadors kept coming to Lahore. Which the British had a keen eye on and sent with their agent. One of the reasons for the increase in these missions is believed to be that by that time the British had laid siege to Ranjit Singh's kingdom by allying with the allied Muslim states (Bihawalpur, Sindh and Kabul). And after the defeat of the Anglo-Gurkha war, the Gurkhas were in search of an anti-British alliance.

In 1834, Capt. Kabir Singh came to Lahore from the Nepal Darbar. Which was being monitored by a British agent in Ludhiana. Captain Wade had advised the Maharaja not to meet the Nepalese ambassador.


The same thing happened in 1835 when Qazi Kulu Singh came to Lahore with Kabir Singh. But the Maharaja did not respond positively and asked them to return.


According to Hari Ram Gupta, the Nepalese government has now sent ambassadors informally to bring the Sikhs closer. In February 1836, the Nepalese king came to Amritsar to buy trustworthy pashmina (soft woolen cloth). Whom Dhian Singh introduced to Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The Maharaja presented a dushala to the leader, a chadar to two others and a dupatta to the rest of the delegation.

Nepal after the Anglo-Gurkha war and the first

In June 1836, Echo Shah, the lawyer of the Maharaja of Nepal, arrived at Lahore with two elephants, one horse, a necklace and two pandas of Chinese cloth. Fearing the British, he could not bring any letter with him. He was awarded Rs. 250 by the Sikh state for tourism, Rs. 200 as an honor, two elephants and a horse. A few days later, at the time of Eko Shah's departure, he was given 9 jewels, a pair of gold wings, 500 cash and 11 beautiful dushalas as farewell gifts, as well as two horses for the King of Nepal.


In May 1837, Kalu Singh and Capt. Kabir Singh reached Ludhiana on their way to Lahore. He told Captain Wade, a British political agent, that his intention to cross the Sutlej was a religious one. To whom Jwala ji wants to offer the temple. Captain Wade allowed him to go to Lahore on the condition that he be accompanied by a British agent who would keep a record of his actions.

On his arrival in Lahore, Maharaja Ranjit Singh addressed them and said that the two governments had common interests and should exchange gifts and increase dialogue with each other.

On the growing friendship of Nepalis with the Sikh state, Capt. Wade expressed his apprehension to the British Government and said that by following in Nepal's footsteps, other Indian states could increase their closeness to Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Read more: Patiala State and its history.

Once again in June 1837, some of the king's confidants came to Amritsar and Maharaja Ranjit Singh said that he would be welcomed on his arrival at Lahore. For this work he assigned the duty of Nur ud Din. On 2 July 1837, Kanji Kahnu and the Captain of the King of Nepal personally presented the Maharaja with an elephant, two horses, a necklace, two Persian guns, two kirpans, five turbans and a piece of cloth. Maharaja Ranjit Singh rewarded him with Rs. 900 in cash, sweets and fruits. On 24 July 1837, General Ventura was shown an army drill by the lawyer of the King of Nepal. In the farewell gifts, he was given an elephant, 11 nice Chinese made clothes and an address of Rs. 225. The Nepalese delegation was bade farewell on 1 October 1837.

Mathwar Singh Thapa was the nephew of Bhim Sen, the Prime Minister of Nepal who wanted to go to Lahore. He was arrested for interrogation in Ludhiana and the Maharaja asked Qazi Amar Singh about Mathwar Singh who was present at the court at that time. Replied that Mathwar Singh was a famous Gurkha general. Who gets a salary of one lakh per year.

Nepal's PM Bhem Sen Thapa
Bhem Sen Thapa

Maharaja Ranjit Singh wrote to Captain Wade to issue a passport to Mathwar Singh.


Captain Wade referred the matter to Governor-General Lord Auckland. The Governor-General refused to issue the passport on September 20, 1837, and asked Captain Wade, "Where is the government (Ranjit Singh) preparing to invade, which requires the services of Mathwar Singh?" .


The King of Nepal also wrote to the Governor General that Mathwar Singh had gone on a pilgrimage as per his wish to pay homage to Jwala Ji and Darbar Sahib Amritsar and to meet Maharaja Ranjit Singh to enhance the friendship and unity of the three governments. Is desirable

The Governor General replied that "Mathwar Singh has come in secret which is not true and no passport will be issued to him".

Maharaja Ranjit Singh asked his ambassador to Ludhiana, Rai Gobind Jas, to seek permission from Captain Wade for Mathwar Singh. The Maharaja wrote: Fought He would not take any of Mathwar Singh's services into the Sikh army without the permission of the British Government.


Captain Wade finally told Mathwar Singh that if he wanted to cross the Sutlej, he would be accompanied by a British agent who would monitor all his activities. Mathvar Singh appeared before the Maharaja on 18 April 1838. He was soon ordered to leave Lahore in March 1839 due to British opposition.


At this time Maharaja Ranjit Singh was very ill and three months later, on 27 June 1839, Maharaja Ranjit Singh died.


Analyzing all the above incidents, it can be said that the Sikh state and the Nepali state were willing to form an alliance with each other. But due to geographical conditions and the conspiratorial intervention of the British government, this alliance could not succeed. The British always looked closely at the closeness of the two governments and tried to break the deadlock.

These efforts of both the countries continued even after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.


In the spring of 1841, after conquering Ladakh and Baltistan, Zoravar Singh decided to invade western Tibet. In the same area of ​​western Tibet are the shrines "Mount Kailash" and "Lake Mansarovar" and the area of ​​western Tibet is also famous for gold mines.


According to Dr. L.C. Dutta, General Zorawar Singh had two main reasons behind this campaign, one was to bring the gold mining area under the control of the Sikh state and the other was to supply shawl (wool) from western Tibet to Kashmir via Ladakh. It was normal. According to the British government, there was a third reason why Punjab could be connected to Nepal geographically, by land, through western Tibet. This could lead to opportunities for political alliances and trade between the two countries. The British policy makers in Calcutta were well aware that after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, his grandson Kanwar Naunihal Singh was a strong supporter of the anti-British Sikh-Gurkha alliance.

Unfortunately, despite the tireless efforts of the Sikh state and the Nepalese Empire, the Sikh-Gurkha alliance did not succeed. If that were possible, the situation in South Asia today would be somewhat different.


 Read more: Patiala State and its history.

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