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Sikhs and Afghans


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SIKHS AND AFGHANS

(From Guru Nanak To Maharaja Ranjit Singh)

Dr Kirpal Singh

Afghanistan has been in news recently because of the Army action by U.S. troops, which is ravaging the social life of the 'Pathans'. According to U.S. resources, they are just trying to establish democratic scenery back to barren land of dry-fruits.

Since the Sikhs under Maharaja Ranjit Singh were the first people to bring a significant portion of Afghanistan under regular administration, the study of The Sikh-Afghan relationships down the lane should be done in the light of modern developments. The Sikh-Afghan relations are significant for the Sikh studies as the Sikh history is interwoven with Afghan history and one can hardly understand the eighteenth and first half of nineteenth centuries history of the Sikhs without references to the Afghan history and their intrusions into the Sikh territories.

Afghans or Pathans

According to H. A. Rose, "The Afghan and Pathan tribes belong to the same ethnic stock and are synonymous terms." Olaf Caroe, the last British governor North Western Frontier Province. Of British India observes that distinction can be drawn between those who inhabit plans and open plateaus one hand and highlander on the others. They again can be divided into (i) the western Afghan of whom most important are the Abdalis known as Durranis and the Khiljis and (ii) the eastern Afghans, namely the Yusufzais and other kindered tribes of plains. The dialects of eastern tribes of Peshawar have something in common. These are pre-eminently the Pakhtuns. The word Pathan is the Indian variant of Pakhtanah the plural of Pakhtun. In this way Pathan and Afghans are the same though western Afghan speak the dialect akin to that of their eastern brethren but more under influence of Persian. Thus Pashtu speaking Afghans of eastern region are known as Pathans.

Guru Nanak during his return travels from Mecca and Baghdad visited Afghanistan. The government under the new scheme had destroyed the old historic Gurudwara where Guru stayed in Kabul. Bhai Gurdas seventeenth century writer has referred to Kabul Sikhs in his eleventh Var:

Bhana Malhan and Rekha the

Fellow disciples of the Guru are known to be residing in Kabul.

Daulat Khan Lodhi

After his father Tatar Khan Lodhi's death in 1504, Daulat Khan Lodhi was appointed as Governor Punjab and he left Sultanpur and began to live in Lahore. Before that he used to live in Sultanpur of district Kapurthala in Punjab (India). Jai Ram, the brother-in-law of Guru Nanak (husband of Nanaki) was one of the important officials of Daulat Khan. He got Guru Nanak appointed as Modi (storekeeper) of Daulat Khan.

Modi Khana was very important institution in those days as the land revenue was collected in kind. The menials and soldiers used to get grain from the storehouse on daily basis, which was called 'rozina'. One tenth of the grain distributed was the entitlement of the storekeeper. Guru Nanak did not take his own share and distributed it to all faqirs, sadhus, etc., whosoever came to his storehouse. This liberal attitude of Guru Nanak became the subject of criticism with some people who carried the complaint to Daulat Khan that his Modi was squandering the grain. Account was taken and to the surprise of all, it was found surplus, Daulat Khan was greatly impressed.

Later on after disappearance in stream incident when Guru Nanak left the job Daulat Khan got convinced of the divinity of Guru Nanak. Qazi of Sultanpur made objection to Guru Nanak's utterance, " There is no Hindu no Musalman." Daulat Khan said, "Utterances of Faqirs cannot be easily understood." Subsequently Daulat Khan became the follower of Guru Nanak as Bhai Gurdas has stated in his eleventh Var Paurhi thirteen:

Daulat Khan Lodhi bhalla hoa zind pir abanashi

Alayar as Sikh Missionary

According to Bhai Kahan Singh, Alayar to whom Guru Amar Das gave a Manji for preaching Sikhism was a Pathan horse dealer, who worked between Lahore and Delhi. He came in contact with Bhai Paru of village Dalla (modern District Kapurthala). Guru Angad initiated Bhai Paru into Sikhism. Later on became the devoted Sikh of Guru Amar Das the third Sikh Guru. From village Dalla he used to go to Goindwal daily on horseback to see the Guru after crossing the river Beas. During one of his visits to Guru Amar Das, he met Alayar who accompanied Bhai Paru. Later on he was attached to the Guru and became his devoted Sikh. Guru Amar Das appointed him for preaching Sikhism and later on bestowed him 'Manji'.

His name is still preserved on golden plate at Goindwal where the names of Manjidar have been preserved.

Painde Khan

Painde Khan, son of Fateh Khan an Afghan resident of Alipur, northwest of Kartarpur district Jalandhar Punjab. According to Gurbilas Chhevin Patshahi Painde Khan when only 16 years old, once accompanied a Sikh sangat proceeding to Amritsar on the occasion of Diwali to see Guru Hargobind. The Guru pleased with the manly demeanor of Painde Khan, engaged him to be trained as soldier. Painde Khan grew up into a brave hefty warrior and showed his mettle fighting against the imperial troops at Amritsar (1629). Guru Hargobind always treated him with special consideration. While at Kartarpur, he had Painde Khan married to an Afghan girl.

As the Guru arrived at Kartarpur after the battle of Mehraj in December 1634, Painde Khan presented himself in Guru's service. Guru Sahib always gave him a special treatment and because of this attention, Painde Khan grew haughty and betrayed his patron by inviting faujdar of Jullunder to attack the Guru. In the battle, which was fought at Kartarpur, he was killed.

Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan

Ghani Khan and his brother Nabi Khan Pathan horse dealers of Machhiwara (Ludhiana district Punjab) were admires of Guru Gobind Singh. They often visited Anandpur and sold many good animals to Guru. When they learned that traveling in a lonely state after the battle of Chamkaur the Guru had come to Machhiwara, they at once turned out to meet him and offered their services. They provided him with blue colored dress and carried him out of Machhiwara in a palanquin designed as a Muslim divine. They declared him to be Uchch Da Pir, the holy man of Uchh an old seat of Muslim saints in southwest Punjab. They escorted him to Hehran, a village near Rai Kot in Ludhiana district. Here a group of Sikhs met the Guru and relieved the two Pathan brothers. The Guru gave them blessings and a hukamnamah, a letter of commendation, which was reverently preserved by their descendants. The family migrated to Pakistan in 1947.

Nawab Sher Mohammad Khan

Nawab Sher Mohammad Khan, the chief of Malerkotla lived during the times of Guru Gobind Singh. He was killed in the battle of Chappar Chiri in 1710 AD while fighting against Banda Singh Bahadur.

Nawab Sher Mohamad was present when Nawab Wazir Khan pronounced the death sentence for Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh who were 9 and 7 years of age respectively. Earlier they had been offered conversion to Islam to save their lives, which they had refused. Sher Mohammad Khan pleaded against the death sentence on the ground that boys were too young to be given such harsh penalty and could not in any case be held responsible for the action of their father. Wazir Khan however did not listen this sane advice and the Sahibzadas were brutally executed.

The Sikhs remembered the pleading of Nawab Sher Mohammed Khan and appreciated him. When the Sikhs got political power during later half of 18th century, and early 19th century Malerkotla was preserved as a Muslim state. During 1947 when Punjab was partitioned followed by huge cross migration of population the Muslims of Malerkotla state as a whole did not migrate to Pakistan. Comparatively there was no communal trouble in Malerkotla. It was the only Muslim colony in Punjab, which was peaceful during 1947

Ahmad Shah Abdali and the Wada Ghallughara

In the political arena of mid 18th century Punjab there were four powers at strife of which the Sikhs were deemed to be the weakest. In the first round of this strife the Mughals were face to face with the Afghans. The invasion by Nadir (1737-39 A.D.) had completely shattered the Mughal Empire. And then Ahmad Shah Abdali who invaded the Punjab repeatedly added the last backbreaking straw.

The Second, the Third and the Fourth Invasions

This way the Sikhs were not a party during Ahmad Shah Abdali's first invasion. Abdali was defeated and he returned. To avenge this defeat he again invaded Punjab in 1750 and 1752. Mir Mannu who had been appointed as governor accepted him as his superior and thus the territories of Punjab, Kashmir and Sindh became subservient to the Kabul kingdom. In this manner the Sikhs also were deemed to be subordinate to the Afghans. In 1753 Mir Mannu died and his wife Mughlani Begum unable to control the situation invited Ahmed Shah Abdali. This was Abdali's fourth invasion. This time after conquering areas of Lahore, Sirhind, etc., Abdali went up to Delhi. He ransacked Delhi and annexed territories up to Sirhind into his empire. This was the time when in 1757 A.D. Tamaur Shah and Jahan Khan desecrated Sri Darbar Sahib. At this very time Baba Deep Singh came to Amritsar fighting the Afghans and embraced martyrdom.

The Massive Massacre of the Sikhs - Wada Ghallughara - 1762

The destroyer of the Mughal rule and the conqueror of the Marathas considered the Sikhs to be insignificant. Afghans had offended the Sikhs as they had destroyed Darbar Sahib, Amritsar. When Ahmad Shah Abdali's son, Tamer Shah, and his general, Jahan Khan were returning to Kabul after ransacking Delhi, along with a lot of booty, the Sikh bands raided them seized a good quantity of plundered goods and chased the Durrani forces over a sufficient distance. It happened that in March 1757. Thereafter to wreak vengeance on the Sikhs, the Afghans attacked the town of Kartarpur (near Jalandhar) founded by Guru Arjun Sahib and set ablaze the Gurdwara Tham Sahib. On his way back from Delhi Abdali halted at Lahore where from he sent his troops to Amritsar and desecrated Sri Darbar Sahib.

When Ahmad Shah Abdali was returning after his victory over Delhi, the Sikh bands attacked him near Goindwal and liberated about 2200 Hindu women from the clutches of the Afghans. The Sikhs bands pursued the Afghan forces up to the river Attock.

In 1761 A.D. several clashes took place between the Afghan armies and Misl Sardars Charat Singh Shukarchakhia, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, Jai Singh Ghanayya and Hari Singh Bhangi.

A Terrible Dream

As Ahmad Shah was returning home after his historic victory over the Marathas in the third battle of Panipat in 1761, the Sikhs had harassed him all the way from the Sutlej right up to the Indus. Ahmad Shah Durrani, who had returned back, determined to teach the Sikhs a lesson, sent messages to Zain Khan, faujdar of Sirhind, and Bhikhan Khan, chief of Malerkotla, directing them immediately to check the Sikhs' advance, while he himself taking a light cavalry force set out at once and, covering a distance of 200 km including two river-crossings in fewer than forty-eight hours, caught up with the Sikhs who were encamped at Kup-Rahira, 12 km north of Malerkotla, at dawn on the 5th of February 1762. Jassa Singh Ahluwalia sent more Singhs as reinforcement and then the Sikhs combated Afghans of Malerkotla and Zain Khan as has been described by Rattan Singh Bhangu:

The caravan had gone two or three Kos when the foes raided it.

Zain Khan and Malaria rushed to kill them.

Sham Singh said to the Khalsa

That he would take care of Zain Khan and Malaria.

And that you all attend to the remaining three sides considering it to be a crusade.

The Sikhs were now fleeing as well as fighting and the Afghan forces were chasing them. From the military viewpoint the Sikhs had neither full scale of weapons nor tactical training which could stand them in good stead in face-to-face fighting. But they fought zealously and were ready to sacrifice their all in the name of the Guru. At last Shukar-Chakkia Chief S. Charat Singh grandfather of Ranjit Singh said to them with a warning:

Then Charat Singh said, "Listen to my suggestion. Just as the king has organized his troops, you also make miss to fight. Organize four gigantic misls and deploy two on either side. If a side is pressed hard, I shall come to its rescue."

In this battle the Singhs fought and fled, and took possession of horses and weapons of the Afghans killed by them. Jassa Singh Ahluwalia and Charat Singh took an active part in this battle. Rattan Singh so showers praises on Charat Singh:

Charat Singh's gun made him famous the world over;

He could target the enemy from near as well as far off place.

The fighting Singhs had dragged Afghan forces upto a village named Qutb Bhahmani. The Afghans had now got tired, fighting since early morning. Many of them had been killed also in this battle. So, Abdali did not deem it proper to pursue the Sikhs any further.

Contemporary, semi contemporary and subsequent historians greatly differ on the number of Singhs martyred in this massacre. It is generally estimated that from ten to thirty thousand Sikhs embraced martyrdom in this massacre. But usually it is supposed that those who were martyred were about 20000. Rattan Singh has mentioned them as 30,000:

The people say that the Sikhs were one lakh in all.

Fifty thousand survived and the rest were killed.

My father put the figure at thirty thousand.

So many died and the others survived.

All the chiefs were wounded; none was without injury.

Many of them were martyred; they were beyond a count.

Ahmad Shah Abdali presumed that he had so punished the Sikhs that their generations would remember and so large a number of them had been killed that Sikh spirit would end. But the Sikhs had always been facing adversities. They deemed this critical time also as a trial by the Almighty. Just as gold gets purified in the crucible, in the same way the Khalsa assumed that the impurities had been washed away and the pure Khalsa had survived. Rattan Singh states:

A Nihang roared and said aloud

The pure Khalsa has survived and the impure been lost.

This event is known in Sikh History as "Wada Ghallughara" the great massacre of Sikhs.

Seventh invasion:

(Martyrdom of Baba Gurbaksh Singh)

Qazi Nor Mohammad who accompanied Ahmed Shah Abdali during his seventh invasion and calls the Sikhs "dogs" has given a vivid account of Baba Gurbaksh Singh whose revered memorial (Shahid Ganj) is just behind Akal Takht, Amritsar. These thirty Singhs who challenged an army of thirty thousand Afghans belonged to the Jatha of Bhai Gurbaksh Singh of village Leehl near Khemkaran, district Amritsar. The names of three of them have survived, Man Singh, Basant Singh and Nihal Singh. The author of Jang Namah writes the account of seventh invasion of Ahmed Shah Abdali:

"When the Shah arrived at the Chak there was not a single Kafir to be seen. But a few of them had remained in an enclosure so that they might spill their own blood. And they sacrificed their lives for the sake of Guru. When they saw the renowned King and the army of Islam, they came out of the enclosure. They were only thirty in number. But they had not a grain of fear about them. They had neither the fear of slaughter nor the dream of death. Thus they grappled with the Ghazis and in this grappling they spilt their own blood. All the accursed Sikhs were killed and went to hell. The Islamis ran to the right and the left in search of them but they did not find even one of the impertinent dogs. The Shah had, therefore, to return to Lahore helplessly".

Ahmed Shah Abdali made several invasions to occupy and annex Punjab to Kabul kingdom. On every occasion he was harassed by the Sikh bands. The Sikh warriors bands, called Missal, began to occupy territory at various places. They conquered Lahore in 1765 and struck coin in the name of the Gurus. The Inscription of the coin was the same as that issued by Banda Singh Bahadur, viz Dego Tego Nusrat bedrang - Yaft as Nanak Guru Gobind Singh. The kettle and the sword (symbols of charity and power) victory and ready patronage have been obtained from Guru Nanak - Gobind Singh. The same inscription continued uptill 1849 when the Punjab was annexed. Most of the Punjab was occupied by the Sikh Misaldars. Ahmad Shah Abdali, the best horseman of his times in Asia, conqueror of Delhi, the age old capital of the Mughals, the victor of the Battle of Panipat where he gave crushing defeat to Marathas felt exhausted before the valiant Khalsa. He left Punjab and died in 1769 AD.

A Tribute by Qazi Nur Mohammed

Qazi Nur Mohammad son of Qazi Abdullah belonged to village Gunjaba in Baluchistan). He was with Nasir Khan of Kalat when the latter joined Ahmed Shah Abdali in his jehad against the Sikhs. Qazi Nur Mohammad has written the account of seventh invasion, of Ahmad Shah Abdali. Out of contempt for the Sikhs he calls them sag which is Persian means dog. dog of hell, pig eaters, accursed infidels, etc. But he has paid the highest tribute to the character of Sikhs of eighteenth century. A bigoted writer, who has got strong prejudice against Sikhs paying such glowing tribute to their character, is a matter of pride for the Sikhs. He writes:

Leaving aside their mode of fighting hear you another point in which

they excel other fighting people.

In no case they would slay a coward or put any obstacle in way of fugitive

They do not plunder the wealth and ornament of women be she be

a well to do lady or maidservant.

There is no adultery among the dogs nor are these mischievous

people given the thieving.

Whether a woman young or old they call her 'budhya' an old lady

and ask her to get out of the way.

The word ' Buddya' in Indian language means an old lady.

There is no thief at all among these dogs nor is there any house

breaker born amongst these miscreants.

Because they do not make friend with adulterers and house breakers.

Subjugation of Afghan Turbulent Tribes of North Western Frontier

The rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1799-1839) will ever remain watershed in the annals of the trans-Indus regions especially Peshawar, Bannu as well as Hazara. All these areas along with Kashmir were a part of the Afghanistan. Olaf Caroe writes, "Ranjit Singh had wrested from Afghan their fairest provinces not only those east of Indus where Kabul rulers could claim no racial affinity, but Peshawar itself and Bannu, fertile gardens inhabited by proud people of Afghan and Pathan stock". Maharaja Ranjit Singh undertook strong measures to subdue and control the ferocious tribes of northwestern frontier. These tribes had not ever been subjugated and brought under control as Attock District gazetteer, writes, "The Mughal sway was more nominal than real. They appear to have been content to levy revenue and there is nothing to show that any serious government was attempted. The whole district paid only half of a lakh of rupees and heads of each tribe were practically independent." After the conquest of Afghan principalities Kaur, Kashmir and Multan he led his legions across the Indus. This was a big challenge to the valiant Afghans who raised a cry of Jehad under Azmi Khan ruler of Kabul. A big army was collected on the bank of river at Naushehra. (Distt. Peshawar). Ranjit Singh won the decisive victory and surging crowds of Ghazis was dispersed in 1823 AD. Azim Khan died of the shock. After this decisive battle army of Ranjit Singh conquered Peshawar and its surrounding areas. Peshawar was annexed to Sikh kingdom in 1834 and Hari Singh Nalwa who has been described as an ideal Sikh soldier" by Olaf Caroe was appointed as its Governor. All these trans-Indus areas were never under any regular administration as it has been rightly stated by Olaf Caroe territorial link of administration has to be traced to its beginnings in the Sikh occupation of Peshawar." Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his general Hari Singh Nalwa dealt with the northwestern frontier tribes in two phases dividing it into two sectors viz (i) Hazara sector and (ii) Peshawar sector.

Hazara Sector

Hazara the country west of Kashmir, east of Peshawar and north west of Attock was conquered and annexed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1820. Its first Nazim under Ranjit Singh was Amar Singh Majithia who ruled over the territory for two years. He was successful in suppressing the rebellion of Muhammed Khan Train and was able to defeat Dhund, Tarin, Tanol and Kharal tribes who were fighting against him. The battle was over, the enemy had taken to flight and the Sikh forces had retired from the field. When Amar Singh thirsty and fatigued went down to the little stream Samandar to bathe, he had only few horsemen with him and number of the enemy returning and seeing the weakness of the little party came down and killed Amar Singh and his followers after a desperate defence. After the death Amar Singh Majithia, Hari Singh Nalwa was appointed the Nazim of Hazara. He was not unknown to the Hazara tribes. When Maharaja Ranjit Singh led the army to conquer Mankera in 1821 he ordered Hari Singh Nalwa who was in Kashmir to join him there. At that time Hari Singh Nalwa had only seven thousand army men. On the way he was opposed by twenty thousand wild mountaineers living in the Pakhly hills. Pakhly or Hazara was the spot dreaded by merchants for these tribes demanded toll on the merchandise. Hari Singh after his vain efforts to induce the enemy to yield him a passage attacked them with vigor and storming their stockade defeated them with great slaughter. This was no mean achievement to defeat about the twenty thousand Hazara tribes with seven thousand men. Maharaja was much pleased over this exploit of Hari Singh Nalwa. This incident indicates how precarious the conditions were. N K Sunhat has rightly stated " in Pakhli Damtaur, Torbela and Darband region Sikh sway was still precarious. Hari Singh Nalwa was about this time sent there to create a tradition of vigorous and efficient administration". According to Griffin, 'Hazara was the most turbulent province under the Sikh rule'.

In order to understand the measures of Hari Singh Nalwa, it is essential to understand the geographical condition of this region as well as tribal distribution. Hasham Khan belonged to the northern area and was the leader of Kral tribe (or Karlani tribe which in branch of Khattak tribe). In order to have fully control over the area Hari Singh Nalwa built fort at Nara, modern Tehsil Abbotabad. Army was stationed there to keep in check the Pathans on this side.

On the western side of Hazara territory the river Indus forms the natural defense but on the north and eastern side was bounded by partly river Jhelum and partly by the mountaneous range known as Pakli range. In the Ain-i-Akbari, the entire territory is known as Pakhli. Pakhli appears to have derived from Pactyam nation mentioned by Herodotus.

According to Ibbetson the following tribes chiefly occupied the Hazara territory - Dilzak, Swati, Jadun, Tanaoli and Shilamani. In the lower range according to Prem Singh the main Pathan tribes were Tarin, Utmanzai, Tarkholi. In order to check these ferocious tribes Hari Singh Nalwa adopted suitable measure to control them. He built a very strong fort in the valley surrounded by mountains and named it after the eighth Guru of the Sikhs as Harkrishangarh and also founded a town named Haripur. The town was surrounded by a wall, which was four yards thick and sixteen yards high and had four gates. Drinking water was provided to the town by digging a tank. Many small drains were dug to carry water into the streets of the town. Baron Hugal visited the town on December 23, 1835 and he found the town humming with activity.

In the upper ranges of Pakhli there lived mainly Jadun, Tanawali and Swatis. Hari Singh built forts at strategic places and garrison them with army. The roads were built to link them so that reinforcement should be sent from one fort to another fort at the time of crisis. The forts built in the upper ranges of Pakhli were: Fort Nowan Shehar, Fort Dhamtaur, Fort Darband and Fort Shinkiari. Old fort at Tarbela was repaired.

Subjugation of Tribes In Peshawar Sector

When Peshawar was conquered and annexed Hari Singh Nalwa was appointed its Governor in 1834 A.D.

It was very important to understand the tribal distribution in the Peshawar region. Khattaks predominantly settled in Khattak, country from the south of Kabul River on the low lands from Indus to Noushehra. They were fanatical people and never liked the Sikhs. Yusafzais were the largest of the Peshawar tribes. They were extremely warlike Muhammadzai inhabited the area north east of Peshawar. The Girgianis had their settlements south of Muhammadzai areas and they were in open rebellion as their lands had been given to Barakzai chiefs under the Sikh Government. Afridis ruled supreme in the Khaibar area. Besides these there were other tribes like Khalils, Mohammads etc. The tribesman in each Khel looked to his own Malik or Khan or council of elders viz jirga for guidance in matters of common interest and not to the ruling authority at Peshawar. As such he was ever ready to take up arms when called upon by chief against the infidel Sikhs.

Hari Singh Nalwa knew how to match his hatred of Afghans against their hatred of Sikhs. He set up a very strong administration in the Peshawar valley. He levied a cess of Rupee four per house on the Yusafzais. This cess was to be collected in cash or in kind. For its realization personal household property could be appropriated. There was scarcely a village, which was not burnt. In such awe were his visitations held that mothers used his name as a term of a fright to hush their unruly children.

It was prudently realized that although the spell of Afghan supremacy was broken the region predominantly populated by turbulent and warlike Muhammadan tribes could not be securely held unless a large army was permanently stationed there. A force of twelve thousand was with Hari Singh Nalwa to quell any sign of turbulence and to realize the revenue. The terror of the name of Khalsa resounded in the valley. Part of the city of Peshawar was burnt and the residence of the Barkzai governors at Bala Hissar was raised to the ground. Hari Singh Nalwa strengthened the Sikh position by garrisoning the frontier forts.

ADMINISTRATIVE MEASURES

In order to subjugate northwestern frontier tribes Hari Singh Nalwa examined the topography of the Peshawar region. There were three rivers following from Afghanistan to Peshawar forming three water routes as well as land routes as has always been the case in the hilly area. The highest tributary of the river Indus on the western side was the river Kabul. Kabul the capital of Afghanistan and Jalalabad a very important town between Kabul and Peshawar has been situated on the banks of this river. Noushehra where a decisive battle had been fought in 1823 AD between the Afghans and the Sikhs was also situated on the bank of this river. The second important was Barha River. It was a tributary of river Kabul and joined it from the southern side. Peshawar, which was capital of the region, was situated on it. The Swat River, which was a tributary of river, Kabul joined it from the north. Hari Singh Nalwa decided to built forts in order to check infiltration of and the invasion of the Afghans on all these routes. The nearest mountainous pass to Peshawar was Khaibar pass which was only nine miles from the Peshawar. On the previous occasion all-important invaders had made invasions on India through it. Hari Singh Nalwa had decided to construct forts on all these strategic points. On the bank of river Kabul Michni fort was constructed and it was put under the command of Nichhatar Singh son of a well-known general Dhanna Singh Malwai. In this fort were stationed 300 infantrymen, 100 horsemen, 10 artillerymen, 2 big and 2 small cannons. On the bank of river Barha, a strong fort was built. It was named Barha fort. 300 infantry, 100 cavalry, 3 cannons pieces were placed there and suitable provisions were supplied. It was placed under Jhanda Singh Butalia. On the Swat River side there was a strategic place where three routes met. These three routes were one from Kabul, another from Hashantnagar, which was an Afghan settlement on the extreme north, and the third was Gandhav Pass, which was a minor pass. Hari Singh constructed a fort here. It was named as Shankargarh. There were stationed 500 infantry, 300 cavalry, 35 artillery, men, 2 big and 10 small cannons. It was placed under Lehna Singh Sindhanwalia who was very well known warrior. but the most important route was the Khaibar Pass, which had been the traditional route for the invaders since times immemorial.

After surveying the entire area Hari Singh found a small mound on the eastern end of Khaibar Pass. It was in the nearby village named Jamrud. It had a very small mud fort. Hari Singh decided to build a fort there. Necessary material was collected and a foundation of a very strong fort was laid there on Oct. 17 1836. According to Prem Singh, Hari Singh Nalwa himself laid the foundation of that fort after prayers. The masons and the laborers were working there continuously and they were also able to finish this historic fort after a month and twenty-five days. Its walls were 4 yards wide, 12 yards high. It was named as Fatehgarh Sahib. There were stationed 800 infantry, 200 cavalry, 80 artillerymen, 10 big cannons and 12 small cannons. Maha Singh, a very tried general was appointed the commander of the fort. In the fort of Jamrud there was scarcity of water. There was a little stream which flowed in the Khaibar Pass itself and it was under the control of the Afridis. In order to have constant flow of water in the fort the Afridis were given a jagir worth Rs. 1200/-. An alternate arrangement of water was also made in the fort in case this flow of water was stopped. A very big well was dug in fort to supply water if Afridis stopped the water.

Another important fort was built on the road leading to this fort linking Peshawar. It was just in the middle of way between Jamrud and Peshawar. It was named Burj Hari Singh and 100 men were stationed. It was comparatively small fort.

Besides this Hari Singh got repaired the old forts like Attock, Khairabad, Shubkadar and Jehangira. Roads linked the line of forts on the northwestern side so that reinforcement could reach there in the time of crisis. Peshawar was strongly fortified and it was linked with Attock by a line of towers erected at the interval of two Kos.

All these measures alarmed the Afghans in Afghanistan especially Dost Mohammad the Burkzal Chief of Kabul. The Afghans apprehended that their dangerous neighbors would make an inroad beyond the formidable defile. They, therefore, resolved to put a stop to any further advance of Sikhs into the tribal areas. A force of 8,000 strong with 50 cannons under Akbar Khan and Abdul Samad Khan proceeded towards the Khaibar to dislodge Sikhs from Jamrud. The cry of Jehad swelled their ranks to 20,000 horse and foot. Hari Singh Nalwa was killed in the battle of Jamrud most valiantly in 1837. thus ended the life of a great general who had become terror to Afghans and subdued the turbulent tribes of northwestern frontier.

The Afghans had been invading India for a number of centuries (1001-1798AD). They have never seen a defeat at the hands of Indians whom they considered Kafirs and whom they contemptuously called "Hindku". For the first time of their history they were decisively defeated at the battle of Naushehra, 1823 Battle of Saido (1827) and battle of Balakot (1831) by Sikhs whom they considered "Kafir". Now they were bewildered and confused and began to say "Khalsa ham Khuda Shuda" Khalsa too has become believer of God.

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