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Hari Singh Nalwa .

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Hari Singh Nalwa .

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:45 am

Hari Singh Nalwa (Punjabi: ਹਰੀ ਸਿੰਘ ਨਲਵਾ) (17911837) was Commander-in-chief of the Khalsa, the army of the Sikh Empire. Hari Singh Nalwa was born into an Uppal Khatri (kshatriya).He is known for his role in the conquests of Kasur, Sialkot, Multan, Kashmir, Attock, and Peshawar. He led the Sikh Army in freeing Shah Shuja from Kashmir and secured the Koh-i-Nor diamond for Maharaja Ranjit Singh. His death at the Battle of Jamrud was a significant loss to the Sikh Empire.

He was responsible for expanding the frontier of Sikh Empire to the Indus River. In 1831, he opposed moves by Ranjit Singh to appoint Kharak Singh as his successor as Maharaja of the Sikh Empire.[3] At the time of his death, the western boundary of the Sikh Kingdom was Jamrud. His frontier policy of holding the Khyber Pass was later used by the British Raj.

He served as governor of Kashmir and Hazara and established a mint on behalf of the Sikh Empire to facilitate revenue collection.

Hari Singh's ancestors came to Majitha and served the Sukerchakia Misl. His grandfather, Hardas Singh, was killed in action in 1762. His father, Gurdial Singh, served under Charat Singh and Maha Singh as a Risaldar and received the Jagir of Balloki, a village in the modern day Kasur District of Pakistan.[3]

Hari Singh Nalwa was born into an Uppal Khatri (kshatriya) family, in Gujranwala, Punjab to Gurdas Singh uppal and Dharam Kaur.[4] After his father died in 1798, he was raised by his mother with help from his uncle. His mother fought off attempts to seize the family's Jagir after his father's death. In 1801, at age ten, he took Amrit Sanskar and was baptized as a Sikh.[5] At the age of twelve, he began to manage his father's estate and took up horseriding.

In 1804, at the age of fourteen, his mother sent him to Ranjit Singh's court to resolve a property dispute.[5] Ranjit Singh decided the arbitration in his favour and asked him about his background. Hari Singh explained that his father and grandfather had served under Maha Singh and Charat Singh, the Maharaja's ancestors, and demonstrated his skills as horseman and musketeer.[5] Ranjit Singh gave him a position at the court as a personal attendant.

Military career

His military career began in 1804 on a hunting trip. At some time during the hunt, he was temporarily separated from the hunting party and a lion attacked him, killing his horse. The rest of the hunters found him but he refused their attempts to protect him and killed the lion by himself with a shield and short sword.[1] Ranjit Singh rewarded him with a commission as Sardar and the command of 800 cavalry.

Sir Henry Griffin called Nalwa the "Murat of the Khalsa". A British newspaper had asserted in the early twentieth century that had Nalwa possessed the resources and the artillery of the British, he would have conquered the East and extended the boundaries of the Sikh Kingdom to include Europe.[6][7][8][9] He participated in the conquests of Sialkot, Kasur (1807), Multan (1818), Kashmir (1819), Pakhli and Damtaur (1821-2), Peshawar (1834)[10] and finally Jamrud in the Khyber Hills (1837).[11] He defeated the Afghans, something the British failed to do, and annexed a segment of what was the Kingdom of Kabul to the Sikh Kingdom. In Peshawar, he rebuilt the Bala Hisar Fort in Ranjit Singh's name.

Hari Singh served as the governor of both Kashmir and Peshawar. A coin minted in Kashmir came to be known as the 'Hari Singhee'.[12] The coin is on display in museums.

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