History of the Jats/Chapter XI

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History of the Jats

Ram Sarup Joon

1967 (Eng Tr by Lieutenant Colonel Dal Singh)

Printed at the Jaitly Printing Press, 147, Lajpat Rai Market,Delhi-6

Chapter XI: Sikh Jats

The Sikh Panth

Guru Nanak Devji founded the Sikh Panth. He was a great Sant. He had a propensity towards meditation. At the time of his birth there was great rivalry and dissension amongst Hindus and Muslims. Then old religion Buddhism had become defunct in India. They could not bring themselves to believe in Pauranic Mat and Idol worship so they had started following various saints. Initially the saints used to believe in and preach the worship of only one God but later they also got influenced by Pauranic Mat and came down to idol worship throwing Jats in a religious quandary.

Guru Nanak Ji realized these shortcomings and started preaching correct ideologies and condemning superstitions. He emphasized Hindu Muslim unity. His preaching were the essence of Vedic philosophy, and free from the bonds of rigid tenets of any religion. His philosophy appealed to the Jats who for a long time had been devoid of proper religious guidance. A large number of Jats became a follower of the Panth. Jat Sikhs have always been the backbone of Sikh community and have provided most of Gurus and Rulers.

Guru Nanak was a Karam Yogi. He stuck to his household and yet he had renounced attachments. He did not make the seat of Guru hereditary and instead of making either of his two sons his successor selected a suitable person Shri Angad Dev Ji from the Panth. After this, two more Gurus were similarly selected on

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the basis of merit, but later this procedure was discarded and the succession of Gurus was relegated to hierarchy. Guru Arjun Dev collected large sums of money from the Panth as offerings and used it for feeding the poor and for the uplift of the Panth. The Golden temple of Amritsar was also constructed with this money.

Guru Arjun Dev gave a rebel Prince of Shah Jehan shelter. Islam was not making any progress in Punjab because of the popularity of Sikh preaching. It was because of these reasons the Muslim Emperor started harassing Guru Arjun Dev, as a result of which he submerged himself in a state of Samadhi in River Ravi. The succession of Guru inspite of being hereditary did not affect the reverence of people for them.

Non violence was, however, no longer found to be in the interests of the Panth. People developed a spirited antagonism against Muslims and their rule and took up arms in self-defence. Gurus created armed bands for the protection of the Panth and also their own.

On the other hand, Gurus became rich and started living like kings. People called them Sache Padshah. The Emperor naturally did not like it. The Panth mostly comprised of rural and martial people. The Emperor, therefore, started regarding the Panth as a future Source of trouble and, therefore increased hardship on them. To continue their struggle Sikhs constructed a fort at Amritsar. Consequent to this Emperor Jahangir placed the Sixth Guru Hargobind under detention in Gwalior fort. The ninth Guru Tegh Bahadur was summoned by Aurangzeb to Delhi and was beheaded.

Gurudwara Sis Ganj has been erected in his memory. The charge was that he had written some anti Muslim Couplets.

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Reformation and Revolution in Sikh Panth

After the Martyrdom of IX th Guru Tegh Bahadur Guru Govind Singh came into power as X th Guru when still in his teens. He had been brought up in an atmosphere of heroism. He was a marksman and an excellent horseman. Hunting was his favorite pastime. He promised to take revenge for his father's death from the King and in view of this he performed the ceremony of Five 'Kakas' by giving Amrit to his disciples and prepared the Panth to rise against the King. With his 'Gurubani' given below he infused a spirit and determination in his followers: -

Sawa Lakh Se Ek Laraon
Chiryon Kolon Baz Taraon

Tab Gobind Singh Nam Dharaon' (I will make each one of my men fights against a hundred and twenty five thousand

I will make sparrows frighten hawks,

Only then I will consider myself worthy of my name, Gobind Singh)

The Xth Guru held a 'sammelan' (assembly) at Anandpur in 1703. The Hindu Rajas of neighboring hilly regions taking it as a threat clashed with Sikhs but were defeated. They asked for help from Delhi. The ruler of Sirhind came to their help. The Sikhs had by now captured the fort of Chamkor and a fierce battle ensued. In this battle the two elder sons of Guru Govind Singh were killed and the two younger ones were captured along with their Grand Mother and they were buried alive in a wall mercilessly at Sirhind. The Grand Mother of these children committed suicide by jumping from the roof. This tragedy occurred in about 1703 or 1704. After a pause, in 1706 the Sikhs again had another battle with the Royal Army at Muktsar in which the Sikhs were crushed.

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Aurangzeb died on 3 Mar 1707 and his three sons indulged in a war of succession. In Nov 1708, Guru Gobind Singh followed Bahadur Shah's forces marching towards Deccan. He met Banda Bairagi Madhodas at Nander. He found the Banda Bairagi capable of leading the Panth, and persuaded him to come to Punjab. While on his way to Punjab, Banda Bairagi broke his journey at Sehri - Khandaa a Jat village of Dahiya Gotra, 20 miles west of Delhi. From there he dispatched letters to all the Jathedars of the Panth to concentrate forthwith. He planned to attack and loot the Royal treasury by and by the Sikhs started arriving and the strength of the force rose to 14000. He attached Samana, overran Sadhora, Kunjpura etc and finally overpowered and killed the Ruler of Sirhind named Wazirkhan. The people who had taken active part in the conspiracy against Guru Govind Singh and his sons were searched for and sentenced one by one. By 1713, he succeeded in subjugating the whole of Punjab, North of Lahore. The internecine war for succession to the throne of Delhi proved a blessing for Banda Bairagi. By 1713, four successively ascended the throne in four years Farrukh Siyyar, and on ascending the throne pledged to suppress the Sikh revolt.

Baba Banda Bairagi had also by now transgressed his path Being a 'Sanyasi', indulged in plural marriage one in 1712 and the second in 1714. As a result of these marriages, he became engrossed in worldly affairs. Rather to wage guerrilla warfare. He constructed a fort at Garhi Nangla near Gurdaspur and assembled his force in it. The royal force besieged Garhi and cut off all communication and supplies. The occupants of the Garhi were reduced to skeletons due to lack of food. The royal forces entered the fort without resistance. Banda Bairagi was captured with his wife, 3 years old son Kanwar Ajit Singh and 700 other followers and all of them were chained and brought to Delhi, where they were mercilessly butchered in 1716. After that a royal firman was issued according to which any body wearing a beard would be killed without reasons. The Sikhs were scattered and their actions

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were limited to defending themselves by 'Jatha' Bandit for 40 years. In the meantime the Mogul Government was confronting unfavorable developments.

In 1739 Nadir Shah the Shepherd overran Delhi and took away most of the wealth, the peacock throne and the famous diamond Koh-i-Noor. The power of the King of Delhi diminished Rohilkhand; Oudh and other provinces declared themselves independent. There also emerged a mighty Jat kingdom at Bharatpur. Ahmed Shah Abdali, the successor of Nadir Shah attacked Punjab and Kashmir three times from 1748 to 1759 and occupied these states. At the same time Marathas captured Lahore. There was an upheaval in Punjab, and the Sikhs once again got a chance to concentrate and regain their lost prestige and pride.

Sikhs in Power

Ahmed Shah Abdali was aware of the rising Maratha power. He marched against them overran Aligarh and concentrated at Panipat. He appealed to all Muslim rulers to unite themselves against Marathas in the name of Islam. Marathas advanced with an Army of 60,000, to meet Abdali. The Marathas also sought help from all Hindu Rajas, but unfortunately none of them gave any favourable response except Jat Raja Suraj Mal of Bharatpur. In an operational conference held at Delhi Raja Suraj Mal gave a valuable advice to Marathas to avoid pitched battles, wage guerilla warfare to harass and exhaust Abdali's forces and then gives a final crushing blow. To implement this scheme, they would be required to leave their women and heavy baggage. Out of the battlefield across River Chambal. But the narrow-minded Marathas Chief Bhau took it as an affront to his strategic ability and rejected this proposal. Raja Suraj Mal returned with his force to Bharatpur. Both the armies remained encamped at Panipat for eight months 8 miles apart from each other. Both the forces shirked to take the initiative to attack. The soldiers of these armies, particularly Marathas were

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not getting adequate rations and pay. The rations for Abdali's forces were supplied from all the territories of Muslim Nawabs, whereas the Marathas were only getting the rations and fodder from Patiala. Abdali appreciated the source of supply through Patiala and he won over Sardar Alha Singh of Patiala by restoration of his lost territory. The Maharattas were compelled to attack, and were badly defeated. This resulted in the downfall of Maratha power. Abdali had also suffered colossal losses, which rendered him incapable of re-entering India; this battle was fought in l761. A rebellion flared up in the Punjab at that time giving another chance to the Sikh Jathedars to establish themselves an army, in the shape of their 12 Misals.

The Misals Of The Sikhs

Having broken off from Banda's subordination the chief Sardars conquered different regions of the Punjab with the help of their followers and established, twelve small kingdoms, which were known by the name of Misals. All these Misals were conquered later by Ranjit Singh.

I) The Bhangi Misal

The leader of this Misal was Sardar Hari Singh Dhillon. The Bhangis derive their name from their addiction to 'Bhang'. The capital of this Misal was Amritsar, Poothvar, Jhung, Pindi ghep, Bheerakhusab, Rawalpindi, Hazara, Chiniot, Gujral, Multan, Sharanpure, Jagadhri, Daodkhel, Dholia, Jidran, Dera Ismail Khan, Bhawalpur, Sunehra, Suryati, Beerwal and Karnala were included in his kingdom. Jhanda Singh son of Hari Singh crossed River Attak and defeated the Pathans. The heavy gun of Ahmed Shah Abdali, which was in the possession of the Subedar of Lahore, was snatched away from the Pathans and was brought to Amritsar. This was called 'Bhangian'. The last chief of this Misal was Sardar Gujar Singh who was defeated by Ranjit Singh.

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II- The Kanhiya Misal

Kanhiya Singh was this leader of the Misal. Bhrewal was its stronghold. The territory of Jammu and Pathankot was under his rule. The annual income from this Misal was forty Lakhs. Kalanaur, Bhatala, Sohiyan Fathegarh, Ajnala, Pathankot, Gurdaspur were also the important possessions of the Kanhiyas. Ranjit Singh of Lahore was married into this Misal.

III- The Nakkai Misal

The leader of this Misal belonged to Nakka, Bhunewal, was its capital. Hira Singh Sidhu was the founder of this Misal.

This Misal had a large army numbering sixty thousand Ranjit Singh was married into this Misal also. Ranjit Singh took this territory away from a careless chief and handed it over to his nephew Kharak Singh.

IV- The Dulewalia Misal

Tara Singh Gheba was the founder of this Misal. He was a far-sighted man He had predicted that the young man (Ranjit Singh) would disembody all the Misals. In view of this he began to give charity to the poor and needy persons. He had an army of 6,000 soldiers and annual income from the Misal was twenty Lakh Rupees. The important possessions of this Misal were Kheri Khamane, Sialiba, Adhran, Rupar, Dharam Kot, Ghanghorana, Bundewal, Beccani, Siahkot, Nakodar. The Chief of this Misal plundered the territories across River Jamuna. They took many guns from the Red Fort of Delhi. This Misal was also annexed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

V- The Kaporian Misal

The leader of this Misal was Kapora Singh. He hailed

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from village Sarki. The founder of this Misal was Sham Singh. The annual income of this Misal was forty Lakhs and the standing army was thirteen thousand. Sardar Sham Singh invaded Nadir Shah and occupied the territory across River Sutlej. He defeated the Nawabs of Jalalabad and Loharu. He also fought against George Thompson and having crossed the River Jamuna, invaded and plundered Koil,( Aligarh) Hathras, Ghaziabad, Rampur, Bareilly, Kash Ganj, and Chandosi etc. Sardar Bhaghail Singh got his territory back from Raja Amar Singh of Patiala after a long and tough fight. He received fifty thousand Rupees cash from Akbar II and received the royal word, to get the Gurudwara Sis Ganj completed. Bhagail Singh remained peacefully in Haryana till his last days with Kaithal as his Capital.

VI- The Kalsa Misal

This Misal was a branch of Larsian. The founder of this Misal was Sardar Gurbax Singh of Ralsian Village. His son was Jodh Singh.

VII- The Faizal Purian Misal

The leader of this Misal was Chaudhary Daleep Singh who was a true follower of the Panth, The annual income of this Misal was five Lakh. Daleep Singh, himself received Pahul from Guru Gobind Singh. His son Kapura Singh converted all the Jats of these territories into Sikhs. His son Budh Singh constructed the sacred tank of Taran Taran at a cost of Rupees one lakh.

VIII- The Ramgarhia Misal

The leader and founder of this Misals was Jassa Singh Tarkhan, Ramgarhia. This misal was as big as the Bhangi Misal. Sardar Jassa Singh was very vain and haughty. Maharaja Ranjit Singh put him into prison

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but later pardoned him and gave him a high rank in his army.

IX- The Nishanian Wali Misal

The leaders of this Misal were brave and fearless. During the invasions they led the army as an advanced guard with the insignia of the Panth. Their strong hold was Ambala. They got Lakhs of Rupees annually as the share of the Government. Singhwala, Khanna, Doraha, Sandm, Zika, Ambala, Jhoran, Shahabad and Lashkari Khan were their Parganas.

X - The Shahidan Wali Misal

Eight chiefs of this misal were killed one after another while serving the Panth. They helped Guru Gobind Singh and Banda Bahadur whole heartedly against Nawab Jehan Khan. Deep Singh Sindhu, Gurubax Singh, Suddha Singh, Buddha Singh, Sher Singh, Durga Singh, Basant Singh and Hira Singh were the chief who laid their lives for the Panth.

XI - The Ahluwalia Misal

The leader of this Misal was Sandhu Singh, a Jat of the 'Kalal' or distiller caste. But the true founder was Jassa Singh Ahluwalia so this Misal was named after him as Ahluwalian Misal. This misal lost its existence after the war of the Sikhs with the British.

XII- The Sukar Chakian Misal

Begha Mal Bhathi belonged to Suker Chak village. He was the founder of this Misal. Afterwards, Budha Singh, Charat Singh, Sardar Maha Singh held the reins of 'Sardari'. The most powerful of the Sukar Chakia Misal was Ranjit Singh of Lahore, son of Maha Singh. He conquered all the Misals and founded the Sikh State with Lahore as its Capital. He was called the 'Lion of the

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Punjab'. Budha Singh was the first Sikh who received Pahul from Guru Gobind Singh. Donda Singh was the second brother of Charat Singh, whose heirs were known as Sindhan Wala.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Maharaja Ranjit Singh (Punjab) ascended the throne at the age of 11 years and his mother Raj Kaur looked after the administration during his minority. His father-in-Law Jai Singh who belonged to Kanhiyan Misal had also died. His Mother-in-law Sada Kaur proved to be a lady of great courage and sagacity. She used to put on a Man's robe and bear arms and became the leader of the troops of both the misals. Gradually they began to annex the territory belonging to other Misals and by the time Ranjit Singh grew up his territory had extended considerably.

In 1794 Shah Zaman, grand son of Ahmad Shah Durani attacked and occupied Lahore. He returned only because of the fear of an invasion by the Iranians and Lahore was reoccupied by the Sardars of the Bhangian Misal. Shah Zaman had left behind 12 heavy guns because of floods in the river Jhelum.

Ranjit Singh succeeded in taking 8 guns out of the river and sent them to Shah Zaman in Kabul. For this he was given the title of Raja and also the permission to occupy Lahore. First of all Ranjit Singh decided to subjugate two big Misals of Bhangian and Ramgarhian. Thereafter he succeeded in defeating all the other Misals and various Nawabs. The British who

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by then become master of the greater part of India except the Punjab were very farsighted rulers. They immediately made friendship with Ranjit Singh and thus prevented his expansion towards the East. This agreement was made on 25th April 1809. Thereafter Raja Ranjit Singh spent all his life in fighting against the Pathans and making them acknowledge his supremacy. The Pathan women used to frighten their children by the name of Hari Singh Nalwa. Maharaja Ranjit Singh was devotee of Sadhus. He died June 1839.

His army included Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. In administration he did not like any interference by the Jats. With this policy, he committed a big mistake. He appointed three Dogra Sardars Dhyan Singh, Gulab Singh and Suchet Singh, belonging to the same family as the sole administrators both in civil and military affairs. After the death of Ranjit Singh they were responsible for civil war amongst the Sikhs, but ultimately the Dogra Sardars carved out the kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir for themselves.

After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh his eldest son Kanwar Kharak Singh ascended the throne. He was not a capable man, but he did not permit his minister Dhyan Singh to do what he liked. At the age of 28, Kharak Singh was declared insane and then got murdered. It is said that he was murdered by Dhyan Singh. When they returned after cremating the body of Raja Kharak Singh, a door fell mysteriously on the head of Naunihal Singh and he died instantaneously. Thereafter, Dhayan Singh succeeded in convincing the Rani of Kharak Singk that the throne should not go to Sher Singh. It was announced that the Rani of Naunihal Singh was pregnant and Sher Singh's son Pratap Singh should not be considered the claimant to the throne. It was also decided that Sher Singh should retire to his jagir in Patiala. He accepted it gladly.

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In the absence of Sher Singh, Sardar Saindha Walia and Dhyan Singh started conspiracies with the help of the British. Thereupon, Sher Singh decided to seize the throne forcibly. Rani Zidhan was killed by a maid servant. A year after this event Sardar Lahana Singh and Ajit Singh Sidhanwalia,who were cousins of Ranjit Singh, killed Sher Singh and Pratap Singh and placed Daleep Singh, the youngest son of Ranjit Singh, on the throne and put a Tilak on his forehead with the blood of their fingers. Daleep Singh's mother Rani Chand Kaur, became his guardian and Hira Singh, son of Dhyan Singh, became the minister. But he was killed by the Sikh Sardars. On hearing this news, an elder brother of Daleep Singh, named Pishora Singh declared himself an independent ruler in the fort of Attock. Mantri Jawahar Singh, grandson, of last Mantri Dhyan Singh, sent Sardar Chattur Singh Attariwala, and Tiwana Sardar Fateh Khan Motiyanwala against Pishora Singh but later they joined with Pishora Singh promising him the throne of Lahore. One night, however, they throttled him to death in his camp. Later on, these two Sardars were also killed by other Sikhs. Ultimately there was a revolt in the army of Daleep Singh and the soldiers demanded higher wages. His clever mother, Chand Kaur, thought it best to bring the army into conflict with the British and provoked them to invade British territory across the river Satluj and thus gain higher wages. At the same time she sent a letter to British Governor informing him how the rebel troops were marching against the British and warned them that if after conquering those forces they would try to occupy her territory across the river Satluj she would not be responsible for the consequences. In December 1845 there was a severe battle at Mudki between the British and the Sikh troops, in which the British came out victorious. The next battle at Firoz Shah was a draw. In 1846, Sir Henry Smith defeated the Sikhs at Aliwal. In 1847, there was another battle at Sobraon in which the Sikhs lost 8,000 soldiers and the British 2500. The Sikhs had to give

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away their territory between the rivers Bias and Satluj, as war indemnity to the British.

Jammu and Kashmir was taken over by Gulab Singh in return for one crore of Rupees.

Thereafter, MoolRaj, Governor of Multan killed two British Officers.

Lord Lake marched against him with 74,000 troops and 40 guns. The Sikhs were supported by Mohammed Kabuli. In this war 24th Regiment of the British Army suffered heavy losses. Ultimately in the battle of Gujrat the Sikhs were defeated and the British occupied the Sikh kingdom.

Maharaja Daleep Singh was given a handsome pension and sent away to England, where he lived for the rest of his life.

States and Principalities Of Jat Sikhs

Phulkian Dynasty

The gotra of this royal dynasty is Sidhu. Sidhu Brar belonged to the Bhati gotra. According to their history, their ancestors, having been ousted from Ghazni, had come to India in Yudhishthiri Samvat 3008. The leader was either Bhattrak, the founder of Bhati gotra, or his father. Bhatinda and Bhatner (Bhatnair) were named after him. Among the successors of Sidhu, Phool was a lucky man and his decendants founded various states like Nabha, Patiala, Jind, Bhadaur, Bhalaur, Nodhgarh, Faridkot, Malodh etc.

Patiala State

Patiala was one of the four big states of India. When the leaders of the Sikh Panth, taking advantage of the weakness of the Mughul dynasty, became determined to extend their power, one of their leaders was Alha Singh, son of Chaudhary Rama, who fought against Ahmed Shah Abdali. 20,000 of his followers were killed. To earn his friendship Ahmed Shah returned his territory. After Abdali's return to Kabul, Alha Singh annexed the territory of Sirhind also. His son, Sardar Amer Singh, got the title of Raja from Kabul. Raja Karan Singh of this dynasty helped the British to suppress

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the 1857 uprising. As a reward states Kaithal and Baghat and several Parganas belonging to Nawab of Jhajjar were given to him.

Maharaja Bhupinder Singh, seventh in the dynasty occupied a high place among other princes. He brought about improvement in all spheres. The Patiala forces secured high position in games under his leadership.

After his death, his son Yadvendra Singh succeeded to the throne and proved to be a very good ruler and administrator. During his rule the state merged in the Indian Union.

Jind State

Phool's grandson, Sardar Gajpal Singh, was the founder of this state. He married his daughter who was the mother of Ranjit Singh to Sardar Mahan Singh Sukharchakiya. 1772 AD Emperor Shah Alam gave him the title of Raja. In 1773 he was victorious in the battle of Sirhind and annexed certain parts of Sirhind. Later he also seized Rohtak and Dadri. As a reward of helping the British in the 1857 uprising, Lord Lake granted him various parganas of Gohana.

Nabha State

Sardar Hamir Singh, in the fourth generation of Phool, obtained a Jagir in Kapurgarh and Sangrur belonging to Chaudhary Taloka.

After the conquest of Sirhind the pargana of Molodhgarh came into his share. The Annual income of this state was Rs. 1,30,000.

Faridkot State

Faridkot state came into existence in the 12th generation of Phool and was founded, in 1600 AD by Kapur Singh. His grandson, Amir Singh, extended the territories. He fought two wars against Ranjit Singh. The annual income of this state was Rs 3,54,800.

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The Randhawa Chiefs Of Talwandi

In 1640 AD Chaudhary Randhir Chand founded the village Bhandahi on arrival from Rajasthan and his grandson Targha founded Talwandi. In the fourth dynasty Pradhan Chand's son Santosh Singh adopted Sikhism.

Working in the Jattha of Sardar Jai Singh he obtained Banga Talwandi as a Jagir.

Randhawa Chief of Khundha

The ancestor of this dynasty, Randhawa, was very famous in Rajasthan. His son Kajal Singh, became the leader of a Jattha in Patiala and worked with enthusiasm and occupied the Parganas of Nowshera, Jafarwal, Khurha and Shahpur.

The Mann Chiefs Of Bhaga

Chaudhary Amar Singh Mann, resident of Bhaga joined the Kanhaiya Misal and annexed the Pargana, of Sokalgarh, Sujanpur, Dharmakot and Behrampur.

The Mann Chiefs Of Mughul Chak

Chaudhary Ladha Mann of this dynasty, came from Sidipur Lowa in Rohtak district and settled down in Gujaranwala. He founded a small village named Maina.

Thereafter, he became the Chaudhary of 22 villages.

Sardar Mahatab Singh of this dynasty occupied 82 villages due to the weakness of the Mughal Emperor. He was a member of the Bhangi Misal.

Siddhu Chief Of Saranwali

The leader of this dynasty, Hasan, fought fierce battles against the people of Kariya community. Later, they settled down in Gurdaspur and his widow daughter was married to Ranjit Singh's elder son Kharak Singh. The annual income of this Jagir was Rs. 36,000.

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Sindhu Chiefs Of Wadala

Sardar Mokal Singh, leader of this dynasty, founded the village of Mokal near Daska. After several generations Chaudhary Durga Das was appointed Chaudhary on behalf of the Moghuls. Later Sardar Mahtab Singh occupied 82 villages due to the weakness of the Mughal emperor. He was a member of Bhangi Misal.

Chiefs Of Kalas Bazwa

Chaudhary Manga was a famous leader of this dynasty. Both Sikh and Muslim descendants of Chaudhary Manga worship at his fortress. His son, Kalas, obtained a Jagir. Dewan Singh son of Jai Chand Jogi, in this dynasty adopted Sikhism and was an important leader of the Bhangian Misal. Sardar Hari Singh Dhillon adopted him as his Dharmputra. In 1816 AD the daughter of Sardar Jodh Singh was married to Ranjit Singh, son of Kharak Singh.

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