Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hari Singh Nalwa

Hari Singh Nalwa was mortally wounded, the medicine man was applying ointments but Hari Singh knew that his end was nearing. Hari Singh Nalwa was the commander-in-chief of Khalsa, his fierce campaign for over 30 years lead to the addition of Kasur, Sialkot, Multan, Kashmir, Attock, Peshawar and Jamrud to Sikh Empire. 
The majority of the Sikh Army was in Lahore to attend the marriage of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s grandson (1837).  Padshah Mohammad Khan took this opportunity to lay a siege on Jamud Fort, Hari Singh who was in Peshawar immediately rushed to Jamud Fort. During the ambush near Jamud Fort Hari Singh succumbed to  mortal woundS. This was not the first time that Hari Singh was near death, the wound inflicted during the Battle of Multan (1818) took almost an year to heal. But now Hari Singh was getting old, long War Campaigns had already taken a toll on his health.
He called his lieutenant, Mahan Singh and asked, “Is there any action outside?”
“No Sir! The Afghans are waiting. We have already sent messenger to Lahore. The king should dispatch army”, replied Mahan Singh
7,000 cavalry, 2,000 matchlock, 20,000 Khybers, 50 pieces artillery Afghan Army against just 800 garrison! But the Afghans were still waiting, because they knew that Hari Singh Nalwa was inside the Fort. The Afghans remembered Battle of Mangal (1821), Battle of Sirikot (1824) both won by Hari Singh Nalwa in spite of the fact that the Afghans outnumbered the Sikhs! They feared that Hari Singh Nalwa had some trick up his sleeve and waited for him to make the first move.
“When I die….”, began Hari Singh Nalwa
“No Sir! You are not dying!!”, interrupted Mahan Singh.
Mahan Singh wanted to continue with his reassurance but when he saw the calm face of Hari Singh Nalwa, he decided to be silent and waited for the instructions.
 “Let no one know about my death until our army reach here”
And so the Afghans waited outside the fort patiently for a week, unaware that Hari Singh Nalwa was dead and finally when the relief Sikh forces came, the Afghan army returned back to Kabul without offering any resistance.
Hari Singh Nalwa, even in his death saved the ‘strategic’ Jamrud and Peshawar!