Battle of Jamrud(1837) Victory and Swan Song of General Hari Singh Nalwa
Auto Beauty Business Culture Dieting DIY Events Fashion Finance Food Freelancing Gardening Health Hobbies Home Internet Jobs Law Local Media Men's Health Mobile Nutrition Parenting Pets Pregnancy Products Psychology Real Estate Relationships Science Seniors Sports Technology Travel Wellness Women's Health

Battle of Jamrud(1837) Victory and Swan Song of General Hari Singh Nalwa

In the beginning of 1837 the major elements of the Sikh army was recalled to Lahore the capital to take part in the celebrations of the wedding of the grandson of Ranjit Singh, Nau Nihal Singh. Hari Singh himself fell sick and retired for rest and recuperation. The Afghan ruler Akbar Khan came to know about this and decided the time was ripe to re-capture Jamrud. Raising the flag of Jihad he laid siege to the fortress of Jamrud with a Pushtoon force of 22-25,000 soldiers reinforced by artillery.

Sikh history has recorded a perpetual conflict with the Muslim rulers of India and the Afghans. The battles with the Afghans or Pushtoons have been severe and no quarter given and none asked for. Many in the present US military think tank feel that winning a war in Afghanistan is impossible, yet the fact remains that the Sikhs overpowered the Afghans and established their hold over the turbulent North West frontier. In this the battle of Jamrud fought in the first half of 1837 hold great significance.

Jamrud is a small fort at the mouth of the Khyber Pass. This pass is famous as it was the route for invaders from Central India and Afghanistan to enter India. These invasions through this pass continued for close to a 1000 years and history records a string of invaders from  Mohammed Ghori, Ahmed Shah Abdali, Babar, Timur Lange among others who imvaaded India. The Hindus the original rulers of India showed little strategic sense and for centuries left these passes unguarded. This is an unpardonable fact of history.

During Sikh rule Maharajah Ranjit Singh realized the importance of the Khyber Pass and deputed his most able general Hari Singh Nalwa to capture the pass and continue to advance to Kabul. In 1836 Hari Singh Nalwa at the head of a Sikh force captured Jamrud by defeating a combined force of Afghans, Pushtoons and Turks. The battle marked a turning point in Indian history as it was the first invasion from India towards the west. The Afghans had been at the receiving end of battles with the Sikhs for over 20 years and had lost all their territories from Multan to Peshawar to the Sikhs. This was significant and marked the high point of Sikh conquest. The general who led the Sikhs during this period was Hari Singh Nalwa. This was also a period when an element of dread crept in the Pushtoon psyche at the name of Hari Singh Nalwa.

In the beginning of 1837 the major elements of the Sikh army was recalled to Lahore the capital to take part in the celebrations of the wedding of the grandson of Ranjit Singh, Nau Nihal Singh. Hari Singh himself fell sick and retired for rest and recuperation. The Afghan ruler Akbar Khan came to know about this and decided the time was ripe to re-capture Jamrud. Raising the flag of Jihad he laid siege to the fortress of Jamrud with a Pushtoon force of 22-25,000 soldiers reinforced by artillery.

Despite heavy bombardment the Sikhs inside the fort held out. But one of the ironies of history is that the Afghans assumed that Hari Singh was inside the fort and so great was their dread of this warrior that though they outnumbered the Sikhs 20 to 1 they failed to assault the fort. The siege continued and the Afghans could make no headway.

Inside the fort things were getting desperate as water and food supplies were running low and the Sikhs inside desperately needed to pass information to Hari Singh at Peshawar. A volunteer a young girl named   Harsharan Kaur decided to volunteer for this task. Disguised as a boy she made her way through the Pushtoon lines at night and reached Peshawar.

Hari Singh now assembled his force immediately, though Sick he decided to lead the charge himself. In the early hours the Sikhs force under Hari Singh   mounted an assault on the Afghans. The Afghan guns were captured and this was the signal for the Afghans to retreat. In the retreat the Afghans suffered heavy casualties as the Sikhs cut across the Afghan army surrounding the fort.  It was a decisive victory for the Sikhs, but Hari Singh was hit by a bullet and died shortly after the victory.

Need an answer?
Get insightful answers from community-recommended
experts
in History on Knoji.
Would you recommend this author as an expert in History?
You have 0 recommendations remaining to grant today.
Comments (0)
ARTICLE DETAILS
RELATED ARTICLES
RELATED CATEGORIES
ARTICLE KEYWORDS