Akali Phoola Singh
The Prince saw that it was dangerous to remain at Balawali, where his capture Was Certain, and, the day after he had entered the fort, he abandoned it, carrying off fifteen or twenty thousand rupees with other valuables that had been lodged there ; and after a long and circuitous march, crossed the Satlej at Makhowal, with forty followers, and joined Phula Singh Akali who was in force on the opposite bank.*
This famous outlaw † had taken up his residence at Nandpur Makhowal and defied the whole power of the Sikhs to expel him. He had with
* Sir D. Ochterlony to Resident Dehli 30th September 1814. Sir G. Clerk to Agent Governor General 20th March 1836.
† Phula Singh was the leader of the Akalis of the Amritsar temple, who attacked Mr. Metcalfe’s party in 1809, and also Lieutenant
him about seven hundred horse and two guns. With this man Partab Singh remained for two months, then persuading him to cross the Satlej and actively assist him at Balawali, which remained in open rebellion against the Raja of Jhind. When it became known that Phula Singh had crossed the Satlej, the Agent at Ludhiana wrote without delay to Raja Jaswant Singh of Nabha and the Khans of Maler Kotla, directing them to combine their forces and attack him, though such was the veneration in which Phula Singh was held by the Sikhs that there appeared little chance of the Nabha troops loyally acting against him, and Maler Kotla was not sufficiently strong to act alone.*
Partab Singh reaches Balawali, but Phula Singh compelled to retire:
Balawali, at this time, was invested by Pattiala troops, and was almost pared to Surrender, when its defenders heard of the approach of Phula Singh. They at once broke off negotiations, while Partab Singh went in advance and with a few men threw himself into the fort. Seven hundred of the Pattiala troops marched to intercept Phula Singh, who was unable to relieve the fort, and retired
While on survey duty, and, who, for his numerous crimes, had been outlawed by Ranjit Singh on demand of the British Government.
Vide ante p. 128, 132—84.
* Phula Singh had, as an Akali, (a Sikh ascetic class), great influence with his countrymen. The Maharaja tried for years, with half sincerity to capture him, and the English drove him from place to place, but could never seize him. At this very time, when Partab Singh joined him at Makhowal, the Maharaja had sent the most positive orders for the Philor troops to drive him out of his territories. The garrison was accordingly marched against him, but when they approached, Phula Singh sent to ask them if they would kill their Guru, (spiritual teacher). The Sikhs would not molest him ; and the whole force was kept out some two months to prevent his plundering, marching where be marched, more like a guard of honor than anything else. Numberless stories of the same kind can be told of Phula Singh, who was a very remarkable man. He was a robber and an outlaw, but he was nevertheless a splendid soldier, and a brave, enthusiastic man. He made friends with Ranjit Singh later, and won for him the great battle of Teri, in which he was killed, in 1823.
toward the Satlej, taking refuge in a village belonging to two Sirdars, Dip Singh and Bir Singh, who reproached the troops for attempting to offer violence to a poor fakir and their Guru. The Pattiala General did not know what to do in this emergency, and wrote to the Political Agent, who warned the Sirdars against protecting an outlaw whom all the Cis-Satlej Chiefs had been ordered to expel from their territories. The Chiefs of Nabha and Kythal were directed to send their forces to Balawali to co-operate with those of Pattiala, as the latter were afraid of the odium that would ever afterwards attach itself to them should they be the only assailants of Prince Partab Singh.
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