Maharaja Amar Singh

From Jatland Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
The Patiala genealogy

Maharaja Amar Singh (b. 1747-d.1781) succeeded Raja Ala Singh of erstwhile Patiala State.

Amar Singh succeeds his father

Lepel H. Griffin writes:[1]Amar Singh, the second son of Sardul Singh, was born in 1747, and was, consequently, eighteen years old when


[Page-32]

his grandfather died. He and his grandmother, Rani Fattoh, had been residing at Anahadgarh or Barnala, fifty miles to the westward of Pattiala. When they heard the unexpected news of Ala Singh's death, they left in all haste for the capital, and the Rani, who was a woman of great ability, as many of the ladies of the Pattiala family have been, placed her grandson on the vacant "gaddi,"* and declared that he was by right and by the proclaimed wish of Ala Singh, his successor in the Chiefship. The ministers and officials, whatever they may really have thought of the claims of Himmat Singh, did not attempt any diversion in his favor. The action of Rani Fattoh had been so prompt and her influence was so great, that there was no opposition; and, in full Durbar, all the Chiefs and Officers of Pattiala presented their offerings (nazr) to Amar Singh as the new Raja.

The rebellion of Himmat Singh:

Himmat Singh was not a man to lose a principality without an effort. He hastened from Hariana, where he had been employed with troops, to Pattiala, and asserted his claim to the Chiefship, taking possession of a great part of the town of Pattiala and the neighbouring country. The Sirdars of Jhind and Nabha, however, with the Kythal Chief, exerted their influence in favour of the younger brother ; and Himmat Singh was compelled to retire. He then seized the district of Bhawanigarh, and captured a portion of the country belonging to the Afghans of Maler Kotla. Amar Singh marched against him


* The term 'gaddi' litorally ‘cushion,' is used among Indians as “throne” among other races. For the English expression “mounted the throne” 'gaddi nishi’ 'seated on the cashion’, is used in Hindustani, and “takht nishin" 'seated on the throne' in Persian.


[Page-33]

and beseiged the town of Bhawanigarh, but Rani Fattoh persuaded the brothers to make friends, and Himmat Singh was left in possession.

Amar Singh captures Payal and Isru

The year after his accession, in 1766, Amar Singh captured the town of Payal, near Ludhiana, from the Kotla Afghans, with the aid of Jassa Singh Ahluwalia and other of the Trans-Satlej Sikhs; and, after that, Isru, belonging to the same proprietors, Jassa Singh taking one-fourth of the revenue of the town ; but later, by an arrangement with Amar Singh, he became possessed of the whole of the Isru district. Sirdar Jassa Singh had given the young Chief the Pahal, or baptism, always a bond of affection among the Sikhs, and there was more sincere friendship between them than had existed in the time of Ala Singh.

Ahmad Shah’s last invasion and his kindness towards Amar Singh

In 1767, Ahmad Shah for the last time invaded India, but he advanced no further than Ludhiana. Here he met Amar Singh, who was cordially received, and the title of Raja which had been granted to his grandfather, was continued to him with additional honor, as "Raja-i-Rajgan Bahadar."* Valuable presents on this occasion were also given him, with a flag and a drum, insignia of an independent prince. In honor of this reception, Amar Singh spent a lakh of rupees in ransoming the captives who had been taken by the Delhi Emperor in the neighbourhood of Mathura and Saharanpur, gaining for himself the popular title of “Bandi Chhor" or " Releaser of captives.”


* Cunningham, in his History of the Sikhs, states that on this occasion Amar Singh received the title of Maharaja. But this was granted kter, by Akbar II in 1810, on the recommendation of General Ochterlony. The sanad is still in possession of the family.

[Page-34]

War with the Afghans of Maler Kotla:

Soon after Ahmad Shah had left India for the last time, Raja Amar Singh renewed the old quarrel of his family with the Afghans of Maler Kotla. Jamal Khan, the Chief who had done most injury to Pattiala by persuading Ahmad Shah to sack Barnala, had been killed in battle, and the family had become divided — Ata-ulla Khan being the most influential of Jamal Khan's sons. This Chief, after the Raja had taken Tibba, one of his villages, by assault, found that he was unable to resist so powerful an enemy successfully and made peace which for many years remained unbroken.

Amar Singh then sent a thousand men against With the Chief of Gharib Das of Manimajra,* who, Manimajra, during the coufusion which followed the death of Ala Singh, had managed to take possession of the fort and district of Pinjor, an ancient Hindu town, in the low hills above Ambala ; and where the Pattiala Chief has now a favorite sum-


* Gharib Das was the founder of the Manimajra family. After the death of Zin Khan, the Governor of Sirhind, and the break up of the Imperial power, he took possession of 84 villages, which is father Ganga Ram had held as a revenue officer for the Empire, and farther extended his territory by seizing the fort of Pinjor. Here the Raja of Nahan attacked him, but without success ; and placing his father in charge, Gharib Das left intent on fresh conquest. It was during this absence that the Raja of Nahan having obtained aid from Pattiala, attacked the fort as described in the text, and captured it, Ganga Ram being slain. Gharib Das hastened back, but was not strong enough to attempt to recapture the fort. He, however, expelled the Nahan Raja from Chandangarh, which he had captured shortly before.
Gharib Das died in 1783, leaving two sons, Gopal Singh and Parkash Chand. The elder of these did excellent service in 1809, and again in the Gurkha campaign of 1814. Sir D. Ochterlony was about to recommend him for anew jagir, but he requested instead the title of Raja, which was given to him. He died in 1816, and was succeeded by Hamir Singh, who only survived his father a few years. Goverdhan Singh, his son, was loyal in 1845, and gave a detachment which was engaged at Mudki and elsewhere. He died in 1847, and was succeeded by Gurbaksh Singh, who died in 1866, when his younger brother Bhagwan Singh, now 22 years of age, inherited the estate of 77 villages worth Rs. 38,458 a year.


[Page-35]

mer residence and gardens which are celebrated for their beauty over all Northern India. The place was very strong, and Bakhshi Lakhna, a Dogra General whom the Raja sent with a thousand men to reduce it, aided by the Rajas of Hindur and Kahlur, and Nahan, had a month and a half of hard fighting. But they were at last successful, and Gharib Das allied himself with the Chiefs of Sialba and Rupar* in order to attack the Raja of Nahan to whom the Raja of Pattiala had left the fort, and with whom he had contracted a strong friendship, exchanging turbans with him at Banaur. The Pattiala force lost three hundred men in this attack on Pinjor.

The attack on Kot Kapura

One hundred miles due west of Pattiala, and near the town of Faridkot, was the fort of Kot Kapura, belonging to a Burar Chief named Jodh Singh.†† One of this


* The founder of the Sialba family was Sirdar Hari Singh, who, about 1763, when the Sikhs became powerful, took possession of a large part of the country at the fort of the hills, both Cis and Trans-Satlej, the principal districts of which were Sialba, Rupar, Khizabad, and Kurali. He had several sons, but only two survived him, Charrat Singh and Dewa Singh, to the former of whom he gave the Rupar ilaka, worth about Rs. 80,000 a year ; and to the latter Sialba with the other estates Trans and Cis-Satiej, worth nearly two lakhs. This partition was made in 1792, the year before his death. Rupar has lapsed, and of the Sialba estate, the present Chief only retains villages worth about Rs. 30,000 a year.
Nahan is a very ancient Rajput principality, about 40 miles due south of Simla. The territory of the Raja, worth about a lakh per annum, was confirmed to him after the Gurkha campaign of 1814, in perpetuity, by a Sanad dated 21st September 1815.
†† The Kot Kapura family were of the same stock as the Phulkians. Ballan was the founder of the family, and, under the Emperor Akbar, was appointed Chaudhri of the Burar tribe. His son Kapura built the fort which bears his name, and became an independent Chief. He died in 1711. His eldest son Sukha succeeded him. Jodh Singh, the Chief mentioned in the text was the eldest son ; and Hamir Singh, the second son, whose quarrel with his brother and report of the insult offered to the memory of Raja Ala Singh, in naming the horse after him, occasioned the death of Jodh Singh, was the founder of the house of Faridkot, the history of which is recorded later.


[Page-36]

Sirdar's followers had stolen from the fort of Phul a horse and a mare which he presented to his master who was not in the least degree averse to receiving stolen property. It was reported to Raja Amar Singh that the Kapura Chief had been audacious enough to name the horse Ala and the mare Fattoh, after the names of the Raja's grandfather and grand-mother. Amar Singh was much offended and sent to demand the surrender of the horses. Jodh, confident in his strength, tore the Pattiala letter in pieces and sent no reply.

Death of its chief Jodh Singh :

On this Amar Singh marched against Kot and encamped five miles from the fort. Jodh, with one of his sons and an attendant, mounted a chariot and went out to reconnoitre but fell into an ambuscade laid by the Pattiala force and was surrounded and slain, after having killed several of the enemy with his bow and arrows, in the use of which he was very expert. Jit Singh, his son, who had accompanied him, was so severely wounded that he died three day afterwards. Jodh's head was cut off and carried to Amar Singh, who was much distressed as he had no wish to take the Chiefs life. He gave up all intention of besieging the fort and returned to Pattiala.

Another Bhatti expedition

The Raja then turned his arms against the Bhattis, and subdued Aharma and Singha ; but the Bhatti Chiefs attacked his camp at night, and occasioned great loss and confusion. After this he left the campaign, which, from the nature of the country, was of a most difficult character, to be conducted by Sirdar Hamir Singh of Nabha. While at Rori, a small


[Page-37]

town on the border of the present Sirsa district, two men, Gajjai Singh and Jit Singh, paid a visit to the Raja, and begged him to help them to avenge an insult one of their women had received at the hands of Sukhchen Singh, a Sabo zamindar of great repute, owner of the strong fort of Govindgarh, which commanded the town of Battinda.

Siege of fort of Gobindgarh

Only too glad of an opportunity for interference, Amar Singh sent a force against Sukhchen Singh and followed quickly himself. He gained possession of the town of Govindgarh, but the fort was too strong to take by assault and he had no artillery of sufficient power to reduce it. He was compelled to try and starve Sukhchen Singh out, and for a whole year the fort was besieged without success, till the owner, tired of his resistance, proposed to surrender if the Raja would raise the siege and promise him safety. Amar Singh agreed to this, but before drawing off his troops and returning to Pattiala, he insisted that Kapur Singh, son of the Chief, with four or five of his principal officers, should be given him as hostages. The siege was then raised, but Sukhchen did not give up the fort, and it was not till four months later that he visited Pattiala, accompanied by Sodhi Bharpur Singh, a man whose sanctity was so generally respected by the Sikhs that Sukhchen thought his company of more value than any safe conduct from the Raja. Arriving at Pattiala, he asked for the release of the hostages, agreeing to remain himself in confinement until the fort was surrendered. To this the Raja consented, and Kapur Singh, with the other hostages, returned to Govindghar and at once began to strengthen the defences and increase the garrison. On the


[Page-38]

news of this reaching the Raja, he sent orders to assault the fort without delay and treated Sukhchen Singh with great severity, to the indignation of Sodhi Bharpur Singh who protested against such treatment of a man who had been persuaded to come to Pattiala under his solemn assurance of safety. At length, Sukhchen, weary of his rigorous imprisonment, sent an order to his son to make over the fort to the Pattiala officials, which was done, and Sukhchen released. This acquisition was made in 1771, and the Battinda district has been held by Pattiala ever since.

The Mahratts march northwards

Soon after this, a Mahratta General, Janka Rao, marched in the direction of Pattiala, to tho consternation of Amar Singh who sent off all his treasure and family jewels to Bhattinda, which, lying amidst sandy wastes, was not likely to be attacked. But, after all, the Mahratta did not visit Pattiala, coming no further north than Pihoa, sixteen miles beyond Thanesar and a famous place of pilgrimage, situated on the Sarsati, the Sanskrit Saraswati* Here he remained for a short time and then returned.

Himmat Singh again rebel

Relieved from his fear of being himself plundered as he had so often plundered others, Raja Amar Singh set out to punish some refractory zamindars in the neighbourhood of Battinda. Sirdar Himmat Singh considered the absence of the Raja so far from the capital a good opportunity to recover the rights of


* The Saraswati is mentioned in some of the most ancient Sanskrit writings, and was a stream of great sanctity. Saraswati was the wife of Brahma and the Goddess of wisdom. Wandering one day in the deserts about Thanesar, she was surrounded by demons, and to escape them, changed herself into the stream which bears her name. The Saraswati is supposed to have an under-ground connection with the Gauges.


[Page-39]

which he considered himself to have been unjustly deprived, went with all speed to Pattiala and professing himself to have none but the most loyal intentions, was admitted with his followers into the fort by Sirdar Sukhdas Singh Kaleka, who had been left in charge.

Seizes Pattiala Fort:

He then threw off all disguise, seized the fort and proclaimed himself the rightful Chief and Amar Singh a usurper. On receipt of this terrible news the Raja hurried back to Pattiala and encamped at Samana to take council with his friends, for the reduction of the fort by assault was a difficult and doubtful operation. To this place he invited all the Sirhind Chiefs and a large number responded to his call ; Sirdar Tara Singh, the Chief of Rahon ; the Afghan Nawab of Maler Kotla ; the Rais of Kot ; Sirdar Hamir Singh of Nabha ; Raja Gajpat Singh of Jhind ; Bhais Dhanna Singh and Sukha Singh of Kythal ; and Bhai Desu Singh, the father of the famous Lal Singh whose power later became too formidable to Pattiala. There were, moreover, Manjha Chiefs and Jassa Singh Ahluwalia ; while Kirat Parkash, the Raja of Nahan, remembering that Amar Singh had helped him in his difficulties, came with his troops, without waiting for an invitation at all.

But his friends stand aloof:

Himmat Singh perceived that he could not long resist the large force which had assembled to attack him and was altogether disappointed at the result of his attempt. He had fancied that the neighbouring Chiefs, even those of Phulkian blood, who were jealous of the increasing predominance of Pattiala, would be only too glad to encourage any project


[Page-40]

which might divide or destroy the power of the State ; and there is no doubt that any calamity which might happen to Pattiala would be hailed with a certain satisfaction. But Himmat Singh had been too hasty in his action and declared against his brother before he had made sure of allies. The name of Amar Singh was now dreaded : he had been a successful General, and it was well understood that any attack upon him, that failed to crush him, he would most certainly avenge. So it happened that Himmat Singh remained shut up in the fort without any of his declared friends.

He is compelled to surrender

Bhai Desu Singh of Kythal, the Rajas of Jhind and Nabha, or the Rai of Kot, who had exchanged turbans with him, offering their help ; and at last, seeing preparations made for assaulting the fort, he was easily persuaded by the Chiefs above named to surrender. Amar Singh had no wish to proceed to extremities, and readily consented to allow his brother life and liberty, and he even, with the vain hope of rendering him content, increased his jagirs by the grant of several villages from the district of Darbah. But Himmat Singh was not disposed to abandon intrigue ; his claim he considered good, for he was an elder brother, and, although by a Karewa marriage his mother had been lawfully married according to the custom of the Jats, and he could not rightfully be held to be illegitimate. Even supposing that he had forfeited the title to succeed to the Chiefship, yet equal division among sons was the almost universal rule and he was entitled to a half-share of the territory which his grandfather Ala Singh, had won. Thinking as he did, and with much right on his side, it was not to


[Page-41]

And soon after dies:

be expected that Himmat Singh would ever live as a loyal subject, and it was fortunate for the peace of the territory, that, in 1774, two years after his attack on Pattiala, he died from excessive drinking at Langowal, and his estates, Bhawanigarh, Darbah and Dhoarah, were resumed by Amar Singh who married the widow by Chaddar dalna.

Raja Amar Singh visits Nahan

In this attack on Sefabad, the Raja of Nahan had assisted his friend Amar Singh, and after its successful conclusion he retired to his hills, where he soon after died, leaving a son, Jagat Parkash, who was unable to maintain order in his territory, and Raja Amar Singh accordingly visited Nahan, and aided him to reduce the rebellious Chiefs to obedience.

Marches against the Bhattis.:

He then prepared for a campaign on an extensive scale against the Bhatti country to the south of Pattiala, and, in the winter of 1774, marched to Begran, a strong fort now in the Hissar district, which he invested. The Bhatti Chiefs made an effort to relieve it and a sharp fight took place beneath the walls, in which Amar Singh was victorious, losing about one hundred killed and four hundred wounded : one of his Generals, Sirdar Natha Singh Kaleka, being among the slain. The loss of the Bhattis was still heavier and the Raja gained possession of the fort.

Seizes Fatehabad and Sirsa:

He then took possession of Fatahabad and Sirsa and invested Rannia, then a strong fort some eight miles west of Sirsa, held by Muhammad Amin Khan, Bhatti. While before Rannia, news arrived that Rahimdad Khan, the Governor of Hansi, had, by the orders of the Dehli


[Page-43]

The Imperial troops repulsed before Jhind:

Emperor, attacked Jhind and was then besieging Raja Gajpat Singh in his capital. All the Phulkian Chiefs were summoned to aid their kinsman, and leaving Sukh Das Singh to carry on the siege of Ranni, the Raja marched to Fatehabad from whence he sent a strong detachment to Jhind, under Diwan Nanun Mal. This General successfully effected a junction with the Kythal and Jhind troops and a joint attack was made upon the enemy who were defeated with great slaughter. After this, the Diwan, in company with Raja Gajpat Singh, overran the Hansi and Hissar districts, establishing the authority of his master, while Gajpat Singh took possession of parts of Kohana and Rohtak.

Rannia is captured and the whole of Sirsa country conquered :

When Amar Singh heard of the defeat of Rahimdad Khan before Jhind, he marched from Fatehabad to Hansi, and after having collected the revenue, which was the same thing as plundering as extensively as he was able, he returned to Pattiala, where, four months later, he had the satisfaction of hearing from Sukhdas Singh of the full of Rannia.

On this he again marched southwards, and the whole of which is now the Sirsa district being under his authority, he was able to collect a large sum of money as as revenue.

The fort of Bhatner :

He thought of attacking the fortress of Bhatner, but its position in the desert, where no supplies could be obtained and its reputed strength, induced him to abandon the intention and leave the Bhatti Chiefs, Muhammad Amin Khan and Muhammad Hassan Khan in quiet possession.


* The town of Bhatner is situated a few miles from the western border of the Sirsa district, on the banks of the Gaggar, a fierce and deep

The birth of Sahib Singh AD 1774

The same year in 1774, Amar Singh's first wife, Rani Raj Kour, gave birth to a son, Sahib Singh, who afterwards became Maharaja.

Expeditions of Amar Singh

Lepel H. Griffin[2] mentions about the following Expeditions of Amar Singh.

Raja Amar Singh visits Nahan:

Lepel H. Griffin[3] mentions that In this attack on Sefabad, the Raja of Nahan had assisted his friend Amar Singh, and after its successful conclusion he retired to his hills, where he soon after died, leaving a son, Jagat Parkash, who was unable to maintain order in his territory, and Raja Amar Singh accordingly visited Nahan, and aided him to reduce the rebellious Chiefs to obedience.

Marches againtt the Bhattis.:

Lepel H. Griffin[4] mentions that He then prepared for a campaign on an extensive scale against the Bhatti country to the south of Pattiala, and, in the winter of 1774, marched to Begran, a strong fort now in the Hissar district, which he invested. The Bhatti Chiefs made an effort to relieve it and a sharp fight took place beneath the walls, in which Amar Singh was victorious, losing about one hundred killed and four hundred wounded : one of his Generals, Sirdar Natha Singh Kaleka, being among the slain. The loss of the Bhattis was still heavier and the Raja gained possession of the fort.

Seizes Fatehabad and Sirsa:

Lepel H. Griffin[5] mentions that He then took possession of Fatahabad and Sirsa and invested Rannia, then a strong fort some eight miles west of Sirsa, held by Muhammad Amin Khan, Bhatti. While before Rannia, news arrived that Rahimdad Khan, the Governor of Hansi, had, by the orders of the Dehli


[Page-43]

The Imperial troops repulsed before Jhind:

Emperor, attacked Jhind and was then besieging Raja Gajpat Singh in his capital. All the Phulkian Chiefs were summoned to aid their kinsman, and leaving Sukh Das Singh to carry on the siege of Ranni, the Raja marched to Fatehabad from whence he sent a strong detachment to Jhind, under Diwan Nanun Mal. This General successfully effected a junction with the Kythal and Jhind troops and a joint attack was made upon the enemy who were defeated with great slaughter. After this, the Diwan, in company with Raja Gajpat Singh, overran the Hansi and Hissar districts, establishing the authority of his master, while Gajpat Singh took possession of parts of Kohana and Rohtak.

Rannia is captured and the whole of Sirsa country conquered :

When Amar Singh heard of the defeat of Rahimdad Khan before Jhind, he marched from Fatehabad to Hansi, and after having collected the revenue, which was the same thing as plundering as extensively as he was able, he returned to Pattiala, where, four months later, he had the satisfaction of hearing from Sukhdas Singh of the full of Rannia.

On this he again marched southwards, and the whole of which is now the Sirsa district being under his authority, he was able to collect a large sum of money as as revenue.

The fort of Bhatner :

He thought of attacking the fortress of Bhatner, but its position in the desert, where no supplies could be obtained and its reputed strength, induced him to abandon the intention and leave the Bhatti Chiefs, Muhammad Amin Khan and Muhammad Hassan Khan in quiet possession.


* The town of Bhatner is situated a few miles from the western border of the Sirsa district, on the banks of the Gaggar, a fierce and deep

Faridkot territory overrun, A. D. 1777 :

Lepel H. Griffin[6] writes that In the year 1777, the Raja of Pattiala sent a force Under Chaudhri Singh Daya, to overrun the Faridkot and Kot Kapura districts, but no attempt was made to take formal possession of them ; and the Raja had, more-over, plenty on his hands in keeping the people of his newly acquired territories in order. They were wild, lawless, and had never known what it was to pay tribute or revenue, and one fortified village after another took long to reduce, while its reduction was of little advantage.

The Chief of Manimajra again attack:

Raja Amar Singh had not forgotten the doubtful contest, in 1768, with Gharib Das of Manimajra and Sirdar Hari Singh of Sialba and Rupar, and, in 1778, he determined to reduce these Chiefs under his authority. The estates of the first named were in the plain,


[Page-46]

where the river Gaggar debouches from the hills, and the Pattiala force, before Gharib Das had time to summon his friends to his assistance, had overrun the country and forced him to shut himself up in his fort For three months he held out bravely, but seeing no prospect of release from his position, he offered a large sum of money to the Pattiala Chief to retire and leave him in undisturbed possession of his estate.

Sirdar Hari Singh of Sialba attacked:

This was accepted, and Amar Singh then marched against Sialba, sixteen miles to the north-west of Manimajra. But Sirdar Hari Singh had heard of the Raja's intentions, and, as he was both rich and well connected, he had called to defend him many of the most famous fighting Sirdars, Jassa Singh Ramgharia ; * Gurdit Singh and Diwan Singh Laudawala ; Karam Singh Shahid, of Shahzadpur ; Gurbaksh Singh Ambala, and a number of the smaller Chiefs who only fought for pay and plunder and were indifferent as to the side on which they fought.

But defeats the Patiala force:

The force of the Raja of Pattiala marched to Sialba, where Hari Singh came out to meet it with his mercenaries.

The Pattiala General had no idea of the number that would be opposed to him, but he had no option but to fight, for it was too late to retreat ; and was utterly routed with the loss of several hundred men, among whom was Bakshi Lokhna. Diwan Nanun Mal was also wounded, and Sirdars Chandu Singh and Mahan Singh were taken prisoners.

Raja Amar Singh determines to avenge:

Raja Amar Singh was much distressed at this defeat, and, determining: to avenge it, sent messengers to his kinsmen and friends to assemble at Pattiala with all their forces. First among his relations came his cousin, Bibi Bajindar of Phagwara, a rich widow, as fond of fighting as any of the Pattiala men, who marched with three thousand followers through the territory of the Chiefs who had fought on the side of Hari Singh, harrying and pillaging, till she arrived


[Page-48]

at Pattiala. Then came the Kythal brothers, Dhanna Singh and Sukha Singh, although Bhai Desu Singh, the most influential of the three, was, in heart, a friend of the Sialba Chief ; and the Chiefs of Nabha and Jhind, with the Maler Kotla Nawabs, now allies of Pattiala after their long hostility ; a detachment of Nahan troops under Mian Kishan Singh ; Jai Singh of Lidhran * Tara Singh Dallehwala, and his follower Saunda Singh Khannah †† Budh Singh Faizullapuria,§ and others of less note. The command of the Pattiala troops was given to Sirdar Chuhr Singh Malod, while the contingents of the Chiefs marched under their own


[Page-49]

leaders. Arrived before Sialba, one or two skirmishes took place with the mercenaries collected by Hari Singh, but the Pattiala leader determined to leave as little as possible to chance and offered a rupee a day to those of the opposite party who would join him. The effect was immediate, and the force of the Sialba Chief day by day wasted away, and some of the Chiefs who had promised him their assistance began to desert him ; among others. Sirdars Karm Singh and Dharam Singh Shahid, and the Buria Sirdars, Rai Singh and Bhag Singh.* At last, Sirdar Hari Singh found himself left almost alone, and had no option but to make such terms for himself as he best could. He accordingly submitted, presented a nazr in token of obedience to the Raja of Pattiala, who withdrew his troops without attempting to retain possession of any of the Sialba territories.

The Raja quarrels with Bhai Desu Singh:

After the return from Sialba, Raja Amar Singh sent a force against Bhai Desu Singh of Kythal, who had


[Page-50]

not assisted him in the late campaign, his sympathies being notoriously on the side of Sirdar Hari Singh ; but Bhais Dhanna Singh, Sukha Singh and Takht Singh, the brothers of Desu Singh, arranged matters between the parties and prevented any contest, which indeed the Raja was glad to avoid as the hostile attitude of the Dehli Government now gave him full employment.

The death of Raja Amar Singh AD 1781

In February 1781, Raja Amar Singh, who was only thirty-five years of age, died of dropsy brought on by excessive drinking. During the last year of his life little had occurred worthy of notice. [Page-53]

The character of Amar Singh

Amar Singh was not altogether a character to admire and he had a fair share the vices faults of his age, but he made Pattiala the most powerful State between the Jamna and the Satlej. He formed a successful coalition against the Muhammadan power, which possessed indeed only the shadow of its former greatness, but at the name of which India had learned to tremble, and it needed a brave heart and a bold hand to drag away the imperial robes and show the world that the place of the giant had been filled by a tottering scare-crow which a push might over-throw. The conquests of Amar Singh were unscru[Page-53] pulous and often without the shadow of excuse or provocation; but princes can only be judged by success and by the use which they have made of their opportunities, It is true that the ambition of Amar Singh was personal and he cannot be classed with those statesmen who have no policy but the glory and prosperity of their country, and to whom infamy itself is welcome if they can leave their coun-


[Page-55]

try more strong and more respected. He was but a fine specimen of a barbarian ; rude, courageous, impulsive, generous and ignorant. He had a quick intelligence and a strong arm, and his success was well deserved ; though whether success entitles a man to praise and admiration, is a point on which the world and its teachers have agreed to differ.

Raja Sahib Singh’s accession

Raja Sahib Singh, the new Chief of the Pattiala State, was a child six Years of age. It would have been a hard task for a man, however able, to maintain order in a country so lately conquered, inhabited by warlike and independent races, and to ward off the attacks of powerful neighbours and rivals. For a child, surrounded by greedy and unscrupulous servants, who found their own profit in his weakness and inexperience, there could be little hope of a successful or happy reign.[Page-55]

जाट इतिहास:ठाकुर देशराज: पटियाला महाराज अमरसिंह

महाराज आलासिंह के बाद उनके पौत्र अमरसिंह पटियाला की गद्दी पर बैठे। आप में योग्य शासक और वीर सिपाही के गुण विद्यमान थे। सर लेपिल ग्रेफिन ने लिखा है कि गद्दी पाने का अधिकारी हिम्मतसिंह था चूंकि वह अमरसिंह से बड़ा था। परन्तु तवारीख पटियाला का लेखक अमरसिंह को ही बड़ा बतलाता है। दोनों भाइयों में राज्य के लिए जो झगड़े-फसाद हुए, आगे के पृष्ठों में अंकित हैं।

अमरसिंह ने गद्दी पर बैठते ही सबसे पहले यह काम किया कि अपने सरदारों को देश की रक्षा के लिए सीमाओं पर नियुक्त किया, जिससे कि सिक्खों के अन्य लुटेरे दलों की लूट-पाट से देश सुरक्षित रहे। दूसरे साल मालेर कोटला के पठानों से 'पायल' को छीन लिया। कुछ ही दिनों बाद अपने पितामह के दोस्त सरदार


1. 'सैरे पंजाब' के लेखक ने भूमियानसिंह के बजाय इसका नाम सुभानसिंह लिखा है।


जाट इतिहास:ठाकुर देशराज, पृष्ठान्त-406


जस्सासिंह अहलूवालिया व सिख दल की सहायता से कस्बा ईसरडू को भी मालेर कोटला के पठानों से छीनकर अपने कब्जे में कर लिया और उसकी आमदनी का चौथा हिस्सा सिखों में बांट दिया। 1767 ई० के शुरू में अहमदशाह ने भारत की ओर फिर कदम बढ़ाया तो महाराज ने कड़ा व बाना के मुकाम पर उसका स्वागत किया। अहमदशाह ने खुश होकर के आपको 'राजा राजगान' का खिताब और नक्कारा और निशान प्रदान किए। अपने नाम का सिक्का जारी करने की इजाजत भी दी। अहमदशाह के हिन्दुस्तान से वापस होते ही महाराज ने मालेर कोटला के पठानों पर फिर चढ़ाई की। लेकिन वहां के तत्कालीन शासक अताउल्लाखां ने महाराज की अधीनता स्वीकार कर ली। लखनाबख्शी के द्वारा गरीबदास के इलाके जब पटियाला की हुकूमत में मिला लिए गए, तो सिरमौर के रईस कीर्तिप्रकाश ने महाराज अमरसिंह से आकर पगड़ी-पलट दोस्ती कर ली। क्योंकि गरीबदास जो कि मनीमजुरूए का रईस और पंजोर के परगने का अधिकारी था, कीर्तिप्रकाश को हमेशा तंग किया करता था।

इन बाहरी लड़ाई-झगड़ों से निवृत होने पर महाराज अमरसिंह ने कुं० हिम्मतसिंह पर जो किला ढूंढान में रहते थे, चढ़ाई करके उनके तमाम अधिकृत इलाकों पर अपना कब्जा कर लिया। कारण कि वह महाराज के खिलाफ बगावत कर रहा था। 'सैरे पंजाब' में लिखा हुआ है कि हिम्मतसिंह के पास डहोढ़ा समेत 200 गांव थे। रानी फत्तो साहिबा ने गृह-कलह को बढ़ने देना उचित न समझकर दोनों भाइयों में सुलह करवा दी और हिम्मतसिंह के गांव वापस करा दिए। 'आइना विराड़ वंश' में लिखा है कि कोटकपूरा के रईस सरदार जोधसिंह ने गर्व में मत्त होकर अपने घोड़ा और घोड़ी का नाम आला और फत्तो रख छोड़ा था। महाराज अमरसिंह के कानों तक यह बात पहुंची तो उन्होंने जोधसिंह को सबक देने के लिए अपने सरदार झंडूसिंह को मय फौज के कोटकपूरा भेजा। दुर्भाग्य से जोधसिंह शिकार खेल रहा था कि झंडूसिंह के साथियों ने घेर लिया और मय उसके बेटे जीतसिंह को मार डाला। इसके बाद महाराज ने भट्टियों पर चढ़ाई की। 'अहरवां और सिंहा' नाम के दो गांवों को अपने अधिकार में कर लिया। भट्टी यह देखकर बहुत क्रोधित हुए। रात के समय दस हजार आदमियों ने छापा मारकर महाराज की सेना को बहुत नुकसान पहुंचाया। विजय तो महाराज की ही रही। यहां से महाराज पटियाला को रोड़ी होकर लौट पड़े। किन्तु जब महाराज रोड़ी में थे, गूजरसिंह और जैतसिंह ने आकर प्रार्थना की कि भटिण्डा को विजय करने में हमारी मदद की जाए। क्योंकि भटिण्डा के रईस सुखचैनसिंह (साबू गोत के जाट) ने हमारी औरत गोरी का सिर कटवा लिया है। महाराज ने उनकी प्रार्थना पर कुछ सेना तो उसी समय भटिण्डा की ओर भेज दी और फिर स्वयं सेना लेकर भटिण्डा पर जा चढ़े। एक साल तक


जाट इतिहास:ठाकुर देशराज, पृष्ठान्त-407


बराबर लड़ाई जारी ही रही किन्तु किला महाराज के हाथ न आया। सुखचैनसिंह किले में घिरा हुआ था इसलिए रसद आदि के बीतने पर उसने अमरसिंहजी को यह कहला भेजा कि - यदि आप पटियाला को वापस लौट जाएं तो मैं किला खाली कर दूं। अमानत में महाराज उसके लड़के कपूरसिंह को साथ लेकर पटियाला को लौट गए। चार महीने बाद सुखचैनसिंह पटियाला पहुंचा। यहां महाराज ने उसे कैद कर लिया और उसके लड़के को भटिण्डे इस वास्ते भेजा कि वह किले की चाबी हमारे सरदारों के सुपुर्द कर दे। पहले तो कपूरसिंह ने प्रतिज्ञा भंग की लेकिन आखिर में अपने पिता को कैद से छुड़ाने के लिए उसने किला खाली कर दिया। महाराज ने भटिण्डा के इलाके को अपने राज्य में मिला लिया और सुखचैनसिंह की औलाद को केवल 12 गांव गुजारे के लिए दिए। भटिण्डा-युद्ध की घटना सन् 1771 ई० की है।

भटिण्डा की विजय के बाद महाराज ने अपनी दादी फत्तोरानी का निज का खजाना उनसे अलग करके इस किले में भेज दिया। महाराज तो कहते थे कि यह रुपया वहां सुरक्षित रहेगा, लेकिन फत्तोरानी को यह बात बुरी लगी। इससे महाराज से वह रुष्ट रहने लगी। इन्हीं दिनों महाराज के किसी व्यवहार से एक सेनानायक सुखदाससिंह भी उनसे नाराज हो गया। जबकि महाराज भटिण्डा में प्रवेश-मुहूर्त की बाट में पहुंचे हुए थे। इधर पटियाला में सुखदाससिंह ने रानी फत्तो को अपनी ओर मिलाकर, कुंवर हिम्मतसिंह को ढूड़ान से बुलाकर, पटियाला का मालिक बना दिया। भटिण्डा में जब महाराज के पास यह खबर पहुंची तो वह पटियाला आए और घेरा डाल दिया। नाभा-झींद और सिरमौर के राजाओं से भी मदद ली। कुंवर हिम्मतसिंह की मदद को मांझ के सिख आ गए थे जो राज्य में लूट-पाट करने लगे। महाराज अमरसिंह और उनके सरदारों ने मांझ के सिखों से लड़ाइयां भी कीं, किन्तु उन्हें दबा न सके। आखिर हिम्मतसिंह के वायदे की रकम से भी अधिक देकर उन्हें विदा किया। मांझ के सिखों के चले जाने के चार मास बाद, निरन्तर लड़ाइयों से कुंवर हिम्मतसिंह हिम्मत हार गए। महाराज ने उन्हें समाना का किला और परगना डहरवा के 25 गांव देकर किले से बाहर कर दिया। इस तरह गृह-युद्ध समाप्त हुआ। किन्तु इस घटना के दो वर्ष बाद कुंवर हिम्मतसिंहजी का देहान्त हो गया। उनके देहान्त के बाद महाराज ने उनका इलाका खालसा में मिला लिया और उनकी स्त्री से चादर डालकर जाति के नियम के अनुसार करेवा कर लिया।

इस घटना के कुछ ही दिन बाद आपने अपने सरदार मुखदाससिंह को जिससे कि अब मेल हो गया था, झींद नरेश गजपतिसिंहजी की सहायता के लिए भेजा, चूंकि गजपतिसिंह पर समरू नाम के फ्रांसीसी सेनापति ने चढ़ाई की थी। समरू को पानीपत के मैदान में दोनों राज्यों की सेनाओं से मुकाबला करना पड़ा और


जाट इतिहास:ठाकुर देशराज, पृष्ठान्त-408


फिर वहीं से दिल्ली की ओर लौट गया। इस तरह झींद द्वारा मिली सहायता का बदला महाराज ने कुछ ही दिन में चुका दिया। दूसरे वर्ष साहिबा का भी स्वर्गवास हो गया। महाराज के घर पुत्र पैदा हुआ। इनका नाम साहबसिंह रखा गया। पटियाला के पास ही सैफाबाद नाम का कस्बा था जो कि उस समय गुलबेग के अधिकार में था। राजा कीरतप्रकाश से महाराज ने उसे भी विजय करा के अपने राज्य में मिला लिया।

सन् 1776 ई० में महाराज ने बड़ी धूमधाम के साथ भटियाने की विजय के इरादे से कूच किया। वास्तव में यही मुस्लिम राजपूत उद्दण्ड और लूट-मार करने वाले लोगों में से था। वे बड़ी तैयारी के साथ भगीड़ान नामक स्थान पर महाराज की सेना से भिड़ गए। कई दिन के घमासान युद्ध के बाद इनकी विजय हुई। इस लड़ाई में भट्टियों के 1400 आदमी मारे गये। इधर भी 4-5 सौ आदमियों की हानि हुई। इस विजय के बाद सरसा, भतेहाबाद भी इनके अधिकार में आ गए। विजित स्थानों का प्रबन्ध करने के बाद में 'रानिया' पर मोर्चा लगाया, जहां भट्टियों का सरदार नवाब मुहम्मद अमीन खां भागकर जा छिपा था। बीकानेर के राजा गजसिंह ने जब यह समाचार पाया कि पटियाला का जाट नरेश अमरसिंह उनके राज्य की ओर बढ़ रहा है तो गजसिंह ने रानिया पहुंचकर अमरसिंह से पगड़ी-पलट दोस्ती कर ली। रानिया अभी विजय नहीं हो पाया था कि झींद के राजा साहब गजपतिसिंह का, जिनके कि देश पर हांसी के हाकिम मुल्ला रहीमदाद खां ने चढ़ाई कर रखी थी, सहायता के लिए अमरसिंहजी पास पहुंचा। महाराज अमरसिंह ने रानिया के युद्ध का भार सुखदाससिंह के ऊपर छोड़ा और, स्वयं फतेहाबाद पहुंचकर अपने दीवान नानूमल को 5000 सेना के साथ, राजा साहब झींद की सहायता के लिए रवाना किया। झींद और पटियाला की दोनों सम्मिलित फौजों के मुकाबले में रहीमदाद खां की सेना न ठहर सकी और रहीमदाद लड़ाई में खेत रहा। उसका बहुत सा सामान, हाथी-घोड़े आदि दीवान के हाथ आए। दीवान ने महाराजा झींद की रजामन्दी से रहीमदाद खां के अधिकृत प्रदेश हांसी, हिसार, रोहतक, तोसाम और महिम पर अधिकार कर लिया। गोहाना और रोहतक का कुछ हिस्सा राजा साहब झींद के हिस्से में आया। यह घटना 1778 ई० की है। इससे चार महीने बाद ही रानिया का किला भी विजय हो गया। भट्टी लोग रानिया को छोड़ कर सन्धि के अनुसार, किला भटनेर में जाकर रहने लगे और सरसा का कुल इलाका महाराज अमरसिंह के अधिकार में आ गया।

रहीमदाद खां के मारे जाने और उसके इलाके को पटियाला राज्य में मिला लेने की खबर देहली में जब वजीर नजफखां के पास पहुंची तो उसने अपने विश्वासपात्र कलीखां को एक बड़ी सेना दे करके रहीमदादखां का बदला लेने


जाट इतिहास:ठाकुर देशराज, पृष्ठान्त-409


तथा नानूमल द्वारा जीते हुए मुल्क को वापस लेने के लिए भेजा। दीवान नानूमल ने इस समाचार को पाकर नवाब जाब्ताखां से जो कलीखां का दुश्मन था, सहायता लेना मुनासिब समझा। परन्तु संयोगवश लड़ाई न होकर संधि हो गई। नवाब कलीखां, नवाब जाब्ताखां, राजा भगवन्तसिंह, राजा गजपतसिंह और महाराज अमरसिंह ने सम्मिलित होकर यह फैसला किया कि भट्टियों का तमाम मुल्क और कसूहन, बांगर, परगना बरवाला, परगना बालसमद पटियाला के कब्जे में रहें, गुहाना वगैरह सात गांवों पर राजा जींद का अधिकार रहे और हांसी, हिसार, रोहतक तथा महिम बादशाह देहली को लौटा दिए जाएं। इस मौके से कलीखां और जाब्ताखां का भी मनोमालिन्य दूर हो गया।

कुछ समय तक शान्त रहने और घरेलू धन्धे से निबट जाने के पश्चात् महाराज ने गरीबदास और हरीसिंह को जिन्होंने कि तंजोर का इलाका अपने कब्जे में कर लिया था, सजा देने के लिए महासिंह और पाखरसिंह की अध्यक्षता में सेना भेजी। गरीबदास तो थोड़ी सी लड़ाई के बाद ही महाराज की शरण में आ गया, पर हरीसिंह ने मांझ के सिख सरदार जस्सासिंह रामगढ़िया, करमसिंह सहजादपुरिया, गुरुबख्शसिंह अम्बाला वाला आदि सरदारों की सहायता लेकर पटियाला की फौज का मुकाबला इस वीरता के साथ किया कि पटियाला के 3000 सैनिकों के अतिरिक्त बख्शी लखना आदि अफसर मारे गए। दीवान नानूमल जख्मी हुआ, झण्डूसिंह और महासिंह पकड़े गए। महाराज अमरसिंह अपनी सेना की इस भांति हानि का समाचार पा अत्यन्त चिन्तित हुए और अपने गए हुए प्रभाव को पुनः प्राप्त करने के लिए धीरे-धीरे युद्ध की सामग्री जुटाने लगे। राजा गजपतसिंह जींद, चौ० हमीरसिंह नाभा, भाई धन्नासिंह कैथल, सरदार चौरहटसिंह भदौड़, सरदार दलेलसिंह भलोह, मियां किशनसिंह नाहन, सरदार तारासिंह राहून, बहन राजेन्द्र कौर फगवाड़ा (यह राजा अमरसिंह की बहन थी जो 3000 फौज के साथ सहायता को आई थी) आदि अनेक सरदार महाराज अमरसिंह की सहायता को इकट्ठे हो गए। इन सबकी सम्मिलित सेना करीब चालीस हजार के थी। मांझ के सिख सरदारों से छोटी-छोटी कई लड़ाइयां हुईं। महाराज अमरसिंह के साथियों ने कुछ समय के बाद मांझ के सिखों को कुछ ले देकर हटा दिया। हरीसिंह यह देख करके हक्का-बक्का रह गया और लाचार होकर के अमरसिंह की शरण में भेंट का घोड़ा लेकर उपस्थित हुआ। महाराज ने उस समय तो उसे क्षमा कर दिया, परन्तु अन्त में उसके कुल इलाके को अपने राज्य में मिला लिया, क्योंकि इस बखेड़े में उनके दस लाख रुपये खरच हो चुके थे।

महाराज ने जहां अपनी वीरता और राजनैतिक कौशल से राज्य की वृद्धि की, वहां कोष को भी मजबूत कर लिया। उनके खजाने में अटूट धन-राशि थी। पंजाब


जाट इतिहास:ठाकुर देशराज, पृष्ठान्त-410

की रीति के अनुसार उन्होंने अपने सरदारों से दंड एवं भेंट में भी बहुत सा रुपया लिया था। इनकी अपार धन-राशि का पता इस बात से चल जाता है कि बहन चन्द्रकौर, साहबकौर की शादियों में 12 लाख रुपये व्यय किए थे। इसके अलावा मांझ के लुटेरे सिक्खों को सन्तुष्ट करने में भी कई लाख रुपये दिए थे। आप में एक अवगुण था कि आप मद्य-पान करते थे। अन्तिम दिनों में तो इतनी अधिकता से पीने लगे थे कि जिसके दुष्परिणाम से केवल 34 बरस की अवस्था में परलोक पधार गए।

References


Back to The Rulers