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Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia (3 May 1718 – 22 October 1783)[2] was a prominent Sikh leader during the period of the Sikh Confederacy. He was also Misldar of the Ahluwalia Misl. This period was an interlude, lasting roughly from the time of the death of Banda Bahadur in 1716 to the founding of the Sikh Empire in 1801. He founded the Kapurthala State in 1772.

Honorable Jathedar

Jassa Singh Ahluwalia
ਜੱਸਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਆਹਲੂਵਾਲ਼ੀਆ
5th Jathedar of Akal Takht
In office
Preceded byKapur Singh
Succeeded byPhula Singh
4th Jathedar of Buddha Dal
In office
Preceded byKapur Singh
Succeeded byNaina Singh
Personal details
Jassa Singh

3 May 1718
Ahlu, Lahore, Panjab
Died20 October 1783 (aged 65)
Bandala, Amritsar, Panjab
Spouse(s)Mai Sahibji
Sadarani Raj Kaur Sahiba
MotherMata Jeevan Kaur a sister of Sardar Bagh Singh Hallovalla[1]
FatherSardar Badar Singh
Known for


Early lifeEdit

Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was born at a village called Ahlu in the Lahore District of Punjab (modern day Pakistan).[2]

Nadir Shah's invasionEdit

In 1739, Nadir Shah, the Turkic ruler of Persia, invaded much of Northern India, including the Punjab, defeating the Mughals at the Battle of Karnal in 1739, he plundered the city of Delhi (Shahjahanabad) robbing it of treasures like the Peacock throne, the Kohinoor diamond and the Darya-i-noor diamond and either massacring or enslaving much of its population. Meanwhile, all the Khalsa bands got together and passed a resolution that Nadir shah had plundered the city of Delhi and now he is taking Indian women as slaves to his country. Sikhs made a plan to free all the slaves. Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was 21 years old at that time, he planned raids to free all slaves. He along with other Sikh bands attacked Nadir shah forces, freed all slaves and send those slaves back to their families safely.[3]

Ahluwalia participated in many battles as well where he proved himself to be a natural leader. In a 1748 meeting of the Sarbat Khalsa Nawab Kapur Singh appointed him as his successor. His followers awarded him the title Sultan-ul-Qaum (King of the Nation).[2] In 1758, he circulated coins with inscription "coined by the grace of Khalsa in the country of Ahmed, conquered by Jassa, the Kalal"[4]

The raids of Ahmed Shah AbdaliEdit

Ahmad Shah Durrani, Nader Shah's seniormost general, succeeded to the throne of Afghanistan, when Shah was murdered in June, 1747. He established his own dynasty, the Sadozai, which was the name of the Pashtun khel to which he belonged to.

Starting from December, 1747 till 1769, Abdali made a total of nine incursions into the northwestern India. His repeated invasions destroyed the Mughal administration of the Punjab and the rest of Northwestern India. At the Third Battle of Panipat, he along with Nawab of Oudh and Rohillas, defeated the Marathas, who after treaty signed in 1752 became the protector of the Mughal throne at Delhi and were controlling much of North India, including Punjab and Kashmir.[5] Thus he created a power vacuum in the Punjab, which was filled by the Sikhs.

The Sixth Abdali Incursion, 1762Edit

On 5 February 1762, the Sikhs were especially the target of Ahmad Shah Abdali's sixth invasion into India. News had reached him in Afghanistan of the defeat of his general, Nur-ud-Din Bamezai, at the hands of the Sikhs who were fast spreading themselves out over the Punjab and had declared their leader, Misldar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, king of Lahore.[6]To rid his Indian dominion of them once and for all, he set out from Kandahar. Marching with alacrity, he overtook the Sikhs as they were withdrawing into Malwa after crossing the Satluj.[7]

Battle of AmritsarEdit

Despite the Ghalughara disaster, by the month of May, the Sikhs were up in arms again. Under Jassa Singh, they defeated the Afghan faujdar of Sirhind in the Battle of Harnaulgarh.[8] By autumn, the Sikhs had regained enough confidence to foregather in large numbers at Amritsar to celebrate Diwali. Abdali made a mild effort to win over them and sent an envoy with proposals for a treaty of peace. The Sikhs were in no mood for peace and insulted the emissary. Abdali did not waste any time and turned up at the outskirts of Amritsar.

The Battle of Amritsar (1762) was fought in the grey light of a sun in total eclipse. It ended when the sunless day was blacked out by a moonless night with the adversaries retiring from the field: The Sikhs to the fastness of the jungles of the Lakhi (the forests of a hundred thousand trees located in Central Punjab) and Abdali behind the walled safety of Lahore.[9]

The formation of the Dal Khalsa and the MislsEdit

Until now, the Sikh forces were divided into 65 jathas (bands). Baron Nawab Kapur Singh reorganised them into twelve bands, each of with its own name, flag and leader. These Armies or jathas, which came to known later on as Misls (literally "equal", also "an example") together were, however, given the name of the Dal Khalsa (or the Army of the Khalsa). Baron Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was nominated as the Supreme Commander of the Sikh Confederacy in addition to being Baron of the Ahluwalia Army (misl).

Ahluwalia Fort


Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia Government College (NJSA Government College) in Kapurthala, established in 1856 by Randhir Singh of Kaputhala is named after him.[10] A commemorative postage stamp on Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was issued by Government of India on 4 April 1985.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Royal Ark
  2. ^ a b c Singhia 2009, p. 111
  3. ^ Rajmohan Gandhi, Revenge and Reconciliation, p. 118
  4. ^ Archive
  5. ^ Gordon, Stewart. The Marathas 1600–1818, Volume 2. Cambridge University Press, 1993. ISBN 978-0-521-26883-7.
  6. ^ Mehta, J. L. (2005). Advanced study in the history of modern India 1707–1813. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. p. 303. ISBN 978-1-932705-54-6. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
  7. ^ Fenech, E. Louis, Mcleod, H. W. Historical Dictionary of Sikhism. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 54. ISBN 978-1-4422-3601-1.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Raj Pal Singh (2004). The Sikhs : Their Journey Of Five Hundred Years. Pentagon Press. p. 115. ISBN 9788186505465.
  9. ^ "A Concise History of Afghanistan in 25 Volumes, Volume 14". Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  10. ^ "College of excellence, 150 years ago". The Tribune. 1 October 2006.
  • Singh, Harbans "The Heritage of the Sikhs."
  • Singh, Khushwant "History of the Sikhs."


Preceded by:
Nawab Kapur Singh
Jassa Singh Ahluwalia Followed by:
Akali Naina Singh