Pashaura Singh

Kunwar Pashaura Singh (1821 – 11 September 1845) (also spelled Peshawara Singh) Sometimes styled as Shahzada was the younger son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Rani Daya Kaur.[3]

Pashaura Singh
Born1821
Sialkot, Punjab, Sikh Empire
Died1845
Baraich, Oudh
SpouseJeevan Kaur[1]
Uttara Kanwar[2]
IssueJagjoth Singh.
HouseSukerchakia
FatherMaharaja Ranjit Singh
MotherRani Daya Kaur

He is said to be the son of a slave girl in the household of Rani Daya Kaur by Jai Ram, a shopkeeper in Lahore.[4][5] He was procured by Daya Kaur and presented to the Sikh Emperor, Maharaja Ranjit Singh who accepted him as his son along with Kashmira Singh.

His son, Jagjoth Singh was born in 1844 and was granted a half-share of a large jagir in Baraich, Oudh, after the annexation. He was a great philanthropist and public benefactor, who performed valuable services to the government during the Second Afghan War. He had a son Amar Singh. (b. 1876).

After the assassination of Maharaja Sher Singh, he made a bid for the throne of the Sikh Empire.

To hide from his political rivals and avoid assassination, he took refuge in British territory, from 1844 to 1845. He then returned to the Punjab, revolted, and was pardoned several times.

He was eventually strangled to death by Malik Fateh Khan Tiwana and Sardar Chattar Singh Attariwalla, at Attock, while in safe custody, 11 September 1845.

He had only one son, Sardar Jagjoth Singh.

Emergence as a contender for the throneEdit

Little is recorded about the early life of Pashaura Singh during the reigns of Ranjit Singh and his first four successors. After the assassination, on 15 September 1843, of Maharaja Sher Singh and his vizier Raja Dhian Singh Dogra, the Khalsa proclaimed Duleep Singh as Maharaja and Dhian Singh’s son, Hira Singh Dogra, as vizier.

Later that year, Pashaura Singh and his elder brother, Kashmira Singh, were recorded as having joined the camp of the holy men, Baba Bir Singh at Nauraṅgābād, near Tarn Tāran. The camp had become the centre of Sikh revolt against the dominance of the Dogras and was a base for several Sikh sardars and commanders and a volunteer army of 1,200 musketeers and 3,000 cavalry.[6] In May 1844, Hira Singh despatched a force of 20,000 men and 50 cannons under the command of Mian Labh Singh to destroy Baba Bir Singh’s camp. Baba Bir Singh told his men not to fight "How can we attack our brethren?” he said. He was killed by a shell while meditating over the Holy Book. Kashmira Singh was also killed in the cannonade, but Pashaura Singh escaped.[6]

Pashaura Singh visited Lahore later in 1844 in an unsuccessful attempt to form an alliance with Hira Singh, who, however had his own problems. He had lost favour with the Khalsa, because of several unpopular actions, including: his involvement in the death of Baba Bir Singh, his confiscation of the jagirs of some of the army commanders, and his attempt to poison the Regent, Maharani Jind Kaur. He escaped from Lahore with several loads of gold and silver stolen from the treasury, but was pursued by the Khalsa army, who killed him on 21 December 1844.[7]

Renewed bid for the throneEdit

During the second half of 1844, Pashaura Singh travelled around the Punjab seeking support against the Dogras. He crossed the Sutlej River and visited the British cantonment at Ferozepur. However, the British were unresponsive, being already in negotiation with Gulab Singh Dogra, brother of Dhian Singh.[3]

On learning of the death of Hira Singh, Pashaura Singh returned to Lahore on 1 January 1845. He was received with honour and goodwill in the court, and was offered presents of jewels, elephants and horses. Some of the army commanders proposed that he should be made Maharaja in place of the six-year-old Duleep Singh. However, some influential members of the Supreme Council of the Khalsa and the regimental committees supported the young Maharaja and his mother, Maharani Jind Kaur. They requested him to return to his estates, with a promise of an increase in his jagir, and the Khalsa army ordered him to leave Lahore.[3]

A new vizier, the Maharani’s brother, Jawahar Singh Aulakh, was appointed on 14 May 1845 and immediately despatched artillery against a force being assembled by Pashaura Singh. The Prince capitulated, but was allowed to go free.

Attock rebellionEdit

Two months later, in July 1845, Pashaura Singh took the fort of Attock with a handful of Pathan followers and declared himself to be the ruler of the Punjab. He raised fresh levies and, with the money that the fort yielded to him, tried to obtain help from the chiefs within the kingdom, from Jehlum to Khaibar, and even opened negotiations with Dost Muhammad.

After hearing of the rebellion in Attock, Jawahar Singh Aulakh ordered Chattar Singh Attariwalla and Malik Fateh Khan Tiwana to recapture the fort and defeat Pashaura Singh. The prince was forced to surrender the fort on 30 August 1845 and place himself at the disposal of Chattar Singh, after receiving assurances of safe passage to Lahore and the retention of his estates at Sialkot.

However, Jawahar Singh Aulakh considered that the Prince posed too great of a threat to his nephew, the young Maharaja, and sent instructions that Pashaura Singh be disposed of immediately. The prince was secretly removed from his personal bodyguard on 11 September 1845, and taken back by Fateh Khan Tiwana to Attock where he was strangled to death. For his part in this, Jawahar Singh Aulakh was speared to death by the Khalsa army on 21 September 1845 in front of his sister, the agonised Maharani.[8]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Atwal, Priya (2020). Royals and Rebels The Rise and Fall of the Sikh Empire. C. Hurst (Publishers) Limited.
  2. ^ Atwal, Priya (2020). Royals and Rebels The Rise and Fall of the Sikh Empire. C. Hurst (Publishers) Limited.
  3. ^ a b c Khurana, J. S. "Pashaura Singh Kanvar (1821-1845)". Encyclopaedia of Sikhism. Punjabi University Patiala. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Howell, David Arnold, (28 June 1890–11 May 1953), Principal, Punjab College of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan, since 1951", Who Was Who, Oxford University Press, 1 December 2007, retrieved 25 September 2021
  5. ^ Howie, R.A. (April 2001). "Collins Wild Guide: Rocks & Minerals". Mineralogical Magazine. London: Harper Collins Publishers. 65 (2): 322–322. doi:10.1180/s0026461x00033181. ISSN 0026-461X.
  6. ^ a b Khurana, J. S. "Bir Singh Baba (1768-1844)". Encyclopaedia of Sikhism. Punjabi University Patiala. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  7. ^ Sukhdev Singh Charak. "Hira Singh Dogra (1816-1844)". Encyclopaedia of Sikhism. Punjabi University Patiala. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  8. ^ Khurana, J. S. "Jawahar Singh (1814-1845)". Encyclopaedia of Sikhism. Punjabi University Patiala. Retrieved 4 September 2015.

SourcesEdit

Pashaura Singh, Kanvar The Sikh Encyclopedia. Retrieved 9 November 2011.