Monday, March 23, 2015

Fall of Shikh Empire and Rise of Maharaja Gulab Singh

Fall of Shikh Empire and Rise of Maharaja Gulab Singh

Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the one eyed (Sun Eye) King, the founder of Shikh Empire, was one of the most powerful Kings of Punjab. His empire was in region of Punjab bordering China and Afghanistan. Koh-i-noor (Mountain of Light) Diamond was surrendered to him by the Sujah Shah Durani of Afghanistan, the diamond mined from Kollur (AP) travelled through many dynasties and went abroad.

Gulab Singh Dogra was the ambitious General of Punjab Army. Due to his bravery in wars and services to the Maharaja of Punjab, he was confirmed Raja Jammu under the empire of Punjab in 1822 by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.  Normally, the Rajtilak is done from bottom to up of the forehead but his Rajtilak was done from top to down. Jit Singh, the legal heir of Raja Kishor Singh renounced the proprietorship of Jammu in flavour of Dogra Brothers (Gulab Singh, Dhian Singh, Suchet Singh) as token of affection and love!

After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in on 27/6/1839, Lahore became centre of conspiracies and interest in which three Dogra Brothers of Jammu (Gulab Singh, Dhyan Singh, Suchet Singh) were involved. 2 days, November 5-6 of 1840 were dark days, changed the history of Punjab.

After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, his eldest son Kharak Singh succeeded the throne. But he was imprisoned (1/9/1840) and put to death by slow poisoning (5/11/1840). They succeeded in getting administration under Nau Nihal Singh (son of Kharak Singh) with Dhyan Singh as wazir. When Gulab Singh's son Udham Singh died (1840) on the spot due to masonry fall, when they were returning with Maharaja Nahu Nihal Singh, from the funeral of Maharaja Kharak Singh, the unconscious Maharaja Nahu Nihal Singh (19Y) was likely to be killed looking at the additional injuries of smashing of his head on 6/11/1840. His mother Chand Kaur tried to claim the legacy of Maharaja but the birth of stillborn child by Sahib Kaur, the wife of Nahu Nihal killed her hope and she was also killed (1842) by smashing of head in the palace through the conspiracy of the Wazir.

Thereafter Sher Singh (1841-43), the son of another wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh won the throne but he was killed by his cousin Ajit Singh. Wazir Dhyan Singh was also killed by this group. Thereafter Duleep Singh (1843-49) (through his mother Jind Kaur), the son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh succeeded the throne but powerful empire of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was so weak that British won it in the first Shikh-Anglo war in February 1846. British took the Kohinoor Diamond and presented to Queen Victoria of England.

At the fall of Lahore Court, ambitious Gulab Singh concentrated on expansion of his empire to the North. His General and Wazir Zorawar Singh Dogra conquered upper Himalayas, Baltistana and Ladakh. He was called Napoleon of India. Due to cold weather and short supply to the distance place, he lost his life in the battle of To-yo in 1841 against Tibetian and their Chinese allies. The Treaty of Churshul signed amongst the officers of Lama Guru Sahib of Tibet, Empire of China and Wazir of Gulab Singh to observe and keep the friendship amongst them till eternity.

Meantime, Raja Gulab Singh's brother Dhyan Singh Dogra (Wazir of Lahore Court), youngest brother Suchet Singh and nephew Hira Singh were murdered in 1842. The collapsed Khalsa empire was unable to pay the arrears to the soldiers, they looked at rich Raja of Jammu Gulab Singh for extracting money and the Raja accepted indemnity of 27 lakh rupees in 1845.

When Shikhs lost the war with British in February 1846, Raja Gulab Singh was the negotiator of the terms and conditions of peace agreement with British on behalf of Lahore Darbar as the Maharaja Duleep Singh was only 7 years old. British imposed fine of 15 million rupees over the Maharaja of Punjab as war expenses. As the Maharaja family was unable to pay the amount, Gulab Singh took two advantages; independence from Lahore Darbar, and purchase permission of Nation of Kashmir (the second largest Princely State) under the treaty of Lahore (9/3/1846).

Finally, British sold Nation of Kashmir for 7.5 million nanashahis  signing Kashmir to Maharaja Gulab Singh under the Treaty of Amritsar, on 16/3/1846.

Kashmir of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was owned by Maharaja Gulab Singh and acceded to Dominion of India through a legal document of Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh on 26/10/1947 in Hari Niwas, Jammu. The accession was accepted by the Governor General of India, Lord Mountbatten on 27/10/1947.

It was a rise and fall of Shikh Empire through Dogras of Jammu and Kashmir!!!

22 March 2015
Mandavi, Kutch

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