Hari Singh Dhillon
Maharaja Hari Singh Dhillon (died 1764), was one of the most powerful, admired and famous of all the royal Sikh warriors of the 18th century.
He was Maharaja of Amritsar, Lahore and large areas of central and western Panjab. He was the nephew of Bhuma Singh Dhillon, a famous Sikh soldier. They were a family of Jats of the Dhillon clan. His military exploits were legendary and his defence of Amritsar, with his army, from Afghan attacks is still remembered with much affection by the Sikh community today. His army became the most popular to join due to his tireless defence of Amritsar.
Such was the respect and admiration of the Sikh community for Hari Singh, that at the formation of the Dal Khalsa in 1748, he was democratically elected leader of the Taruna Dal at Amritsar which is considered to be one of the greatest honours given, in the 18th century, to any Sikh.
Hari Singh Dhillon fought against the Afghans with the help of his friends Charhat Singh Sukerchakia (the grandfather of Maharaja Ranjit Singh) and Baron Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, during Ahmed Shah Abdali's sixth invasion of Punjab. He was an intelligent leader, a progressive soldier and a wise statesman. The author of Tarikh-e-Punjab writes that "Hari Singh was clever, powerful and a man of shining abilities."
After the death of Hari Singh Dhillon, The Dhillon sirdars went on to become the most powerful family in Panjab. They ruled over most of the major cities of Punjab, including Amritsar, Lahore, Multan, Chiniot, Jhang, Bhera, Rawalpindi, Hasan Abdal, Sialkot and Gujrat and large areas of central and western Panjab. They were the first Sikh family to conquer Multan, although they were unable to hold onto it. The Dhillon family's power brought them, some 30 years later after Hari Singh Dhillon, into conflict with their neighbours. They were eventually defeated by an alliance of rival Sikh misls, led by Ranjit Singh.
- The Sikh Commonwealth or Rise and Fall of Sikh Misls. Edition:2001.
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