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Events Chronicle Of Sikh Massacres (viii) Hindu Dogras Betray The Sarkar Khalsa Of Maharaja Ranjit Singh


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
After Maharaja RANJIT SINGH—Betrayal by Dogra Brothers----[Suchet Gulab and Dhyan Chand Jammu Dogras]-&---Purbia Hindus-Eastern UP- 1839 A.D - 1849 A.D. The turbulent years

Photo 1 is image of Gulab Singh Dogra
Photo 2 is image of Suchet Singh Dogra
Photo 3 is image of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his generals

Khalsa kingdom under Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the most peaceful time Punjabis had ever seen. This period of 40 years was Golden era of Punjab. Muslims, Hindus and Sikh reaffirmed their Punjabi roots. Several schools were opened, especially Khalsa schools at Amritsar and Lahore, run by Sikh academicians, which were open to all Punjabi population. Ranjit Singh did not allow any British missionaries to open Christian schools although they were allowed to preach in Punjab. Other Sikh kingdoms of Patiala, Nabha, Jind, Kapurthala and Faridkot, also accepted British Christian missionaries. Sikhs acted as a buffer between Hindus and Muslims in Punjab. Ranjit Singh, through his foresight, had brought peace and prosperity in Punjab. Punjabi Muslims who from centuries had looked westwards towards Afghanis and Persians, and had been betrayed by them, were now leading Punjabi armies of Sarkar Khalsa. Ranjit Singh's legacy was such that he created a secular kingdom with equality for all. In his lifetime, there were three groups of Individuals whom he had given power to pursue different matter of state.

One group of Dogra Hindus converted to Sikhism, led by Dhyan Singh Dogra but following Hindu customs. Ranjit Singh did not enforce Khalsa code of conduct on anyone. Often his friends and peers did things to please him which included adding Singh to their names, keeping five symbols of Sikhs, etc. Dhyan Singh Dogra played a very strange role in Sikh history. He originally belonged to Jammu. He came to Lahore in search of job, and with his hard work and ability he rose to the top. Maharaja Ranjit Singh made him prime minister of Sarkar Khalsa.

Then he also got his brothers inducted in different departments in Sarkar Khalsa. Soon Dogras had all the administration of state, things like treasury, finance, etc.

Then the other group was led by noblemen of Lahore, which were both Muslims and Hindus, leaders being Azizudin brothers. This group led departments like foreign affairs, medicine and science under Sarkar Khalsa. It is owed to diplomacy of Faqir Azizudeen that Ranjit Singh got Kohinoor diamond from Afghani king.

Third group was comprised of Sikh noblemen from all over Punjab, leaders like Dhanna Singh Malwai, Majhithia brothers, Sandhawalia brothers, Ahluwalias, Ramgarhias, Virks of Sheikhupura, Bajwas of Narowal, etc. This group was mostly involved in defense of state, and it was divided into foot soldiers, cavalry, support troops and artillery. Cavalry was all Sikh, while foot soldiers included mercenaries hired from all over India. Artillery was in command of capable Punjabi leader, named Mian Ghaus Khan. Support troops were soldiers in charge of support lines, etc.

This efficient machinery worked well under Ranjit Singh, and Punjab was on its way to prosperity.

Army was totally separated from state affairs. Ranjit Singh had designed and implemented an ingenious system for this purpose. Army democratically elected five members Panches, and they decided on all the matters vis-à-vis state, etc. British did not dare attack Punjab as long as Ranjit Singh lived.

Ranjit Singh counterchecked British by hiring several Frenchmen for his important defense portfolios. Ranjit Singh's biggest oversight was perhaps inability to have fully prepared one of his sons to take over his kingdom. When Ranjit Singh died, Kharak Singh, his eldest son became Maharaja.

Kharak Singh was 50 years old at this time. He lacked the down to earth personality of his father.

At this time Prime minister was still Dhyan Singh. His son Naunihal Singh though was a favorite with army. Dogra brothers, Dhyan Singh, Suchet Singh and Gulab Singh were in total control of administration at this time. Dhyan Singh's son Hira Singh was also a favorite of Maharaja Ranjit Singh just like Naunihal Singh(his own grandson). Maharaja had given him a title "Farzand-e-Khas", or "a special son". It was rumored that Dhyan Singh wanted Hira Singh, his son, to become Maharaja of Punjab, and thus he started his manipulations.

But during the time of Kharak Singh, everything was changed. Maharaja did not trust the Dogra brothers, but the Dogra suspected that, and had prepared for it in advance. Through shrewd manouveres they first incited the grandson of Maharaja Kharak SIngh to take control and got Maharaja Kharak Singh kiled

On the same day they assassinated the grandson, Maharaja Nau Nihal SIngh

Therefore the people of Punjab were shocked to suffer this tragedy and saw the pyre of Maharaja Kharak SIngh was still simmering when his son's body was consigned to flames.

Dhyan Singh Dogra now proclaimed other son of Ranjit Singh, from a different wife, named Sher, Singh as Maharaja of Punjab.

Sher Singh was very popular with army, he was a good person but not a shrewd politician.

In Sher Singh, Punjab got a maharaja who was handsome, dandy and knew more about wine and women then state affairs.

Therefore the Hindu Dogra brothers devised another strategy and incited Ajit SIngh Sandhawalia against the Maharaja.

Sher Singh had a ten years old son named Pertap Singh. One day when Sher Singh was inspecting his troops, Ajit Singh Sandhawalia asked permission to show him how to fire a new gun he had got from British. Sher Singh allowed, and Sandhawalia fired at him, Sher Singh could only say "aah ki Daga", "what treachery?" At the same time, Lehna Singh Sandhawalia killed ten years old Pertap Singh.

Dhyan Singh Dogra who was about a mile away when all this was happening reached there with 25 of his troops. He declared them traitors and asked the Khalsa Army to kill them hence. Sandhawalia brothers Ajit Singh and Lehna Singh were killed even before they could do anything else.

Dhyan Singh Dogra cut his body into different pieces and hung all over Lahore City. Gulab Singh Dogra, brother of Dhyan Singh Dogra, along with Sarkar Khalsa, attacked Sandhanwalia's citadel.

While all this was going on, another Dogra Brother, named Suchet Chand [Singh], got 22 carts load of Khalsa treasury through the back door, and transported it on its way to Batala and then subsequently to Jammu.

Gulab Singh Dogra now openly supported making his son a Maharaja of Punjab. He even asked Maharani Chand Kaur, widow of Ranjit Singh, to adopt Hira Singh. Khalsa Army and other Sikh noblemen intervened and made youngest son of Ranjit Singh, born of Maharani Jindan, and named Dilip Singh, a 5 years old boy, new Maharaja of Punjab with Hira Singh Dogra as new prime minister. Few days later, Maharani Chand Kaur was found murdered on her bed, her head crushed. It was suspected that Gulab Singh Dogra got her killed since she refused to adopt Hira Singh.

Hira Singh appointed Tej Singh Dogra and Lal Singh Dogra as general of Khalsa Army. So now, the command of Khalsa army was passed from Sikh generals to Hindu generals, and only one Sikh general named Ranjodh Singh Majithia remained at highest command level. Even though able generals like Sham Singh Attari were always there, they were never considered for top posts. It is believed that Dogra Brothers were responsible for appointing generals to keep negotiations open with British during war, which increasingly was becoming inevitable.

British forward post was in Ferozepur, and then at Jalandhar and Ambala being another major cantonments.

The Sikhs who were against Dogras got themselves under Bhai Bir Singh, thus creating two camps of Dogras vs. Sikhs.

More then 70% of Punjab's army which was Khalsa or pure Sikh was under Hira Singh Dogra. Hira Singh Dogra through his promises of more salary, and gifts of gold for each soldier manage to keep most of them with him, and above all, the king of Punjab was still a Khalsa Sikh child named Dilip Singh, to whom army was loyal.

British forward post at Ferozepur was being strengthened, and by all means it looked like that whole of Punjab was under preparation of war. Ambala and Jalandhar cantonments were tripled with reinforcements and new recruits from Bengal, Awadh and Bihar.

Hira Singh Dogra, although fearing British, knew that war was inevitable. Hira Singh Dogra mobilized Punjabi troops to Kasur which was directly opposite Ferozepur. Sooner both armies were directly opposed to each other. In December of 1944, Henry Harding took over as Governor General of India. He was called Tunda Lat, or the One-armed Lord. He sent his officers to Ferozepur, and Punjabis fearing attack put on a vigil for 24 hours a day. But no attack came and standstill was averted. Then came the second round of intrigues between Dogras and Sikhs.

Gulab Singh sent 1000 horsemen, and Hira Singh and Jalla came out of their palace, and slowly and quietly crossed river Ravi from Shahdra, and were on their way to Jammu with more crores of treasury.

Khalsa army pursued them and caught them about 14 miles away from city. Mian Labh Singh, their general, gave a good fight, but all 1000 dogras were massacred. Pundit Jalla, Hira Singh Dogra, and their accomplice faced wrath of Khalsa army, their heads were put up on city streets of Lahore. Then Diwan Deena Nath, aristocrat of Lahore, took charge of the situation and appointed Lal Singh as Chief minister of Punjab, Tej Singh as commander of Army, and Dilip Singh as Maharaja of Punjab.

Punjabi Khalsa army was a much larger and stronger force, and at this time British were still mobilizing their forces from Ambala and other places. Instead of attacking Ferozepur, Lal Singh waited for four months by then British forces were three times stronger then the Khalsa army.

It is said that Lal Singh had already negotiated with British and supplied them with position of guns, number of soldiers, plan of attack and other vital statistics.

Hence the Hindu Dogra brothers who gained the entrance to Maharaja Ranjit Singh's Darbar, and moved their way up through their treacherous ways and shrewd manouveres, led the whole empire to its downfall. If we read about the Anglo-Sikh Wars, it surprising to know that the British were defeated by Sikhs in the first war, and the British were utterly shocked as no one had defeated them so far !!

Even in 2nd Anglo-Sikh war - The Sikhs had the Upper hand, but as mentioned above, due to the betrayal of the Sikh positions, and cutting the supply of Gunpowder they lost that battle due to the great betrayal, and not because they were any less than the British Army !!

Intrigue of Dogra brothers for their own selfish means, and inability of any Sikh politicians to lead, was responsible for demise of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's Sarkar Khalsa. After Anglo-Sikh Wars, Dogras got whole Kashmir (until 1947 then it was divided between India and Pakistan),

British got Punjab and Sikhs lost their hard earned kingdom !!




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