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1792 1858 

Founder of Kashmir 







2j Soho Square London 




THIS short memoir, in which I have traced the life 
story of Maharajah Gulab Singh, is meant to fill a 
gap in the history of India in the nineteenth century. 
Gulab Singh's name is known to students of Indian 
history only as an overgrown feudatory of the Lahore 
kingdom, who, taking advantage of the confusion 
which followed the death of Ranjit Singh, was able 
to carve out a State for himself. The establishment 
of the Jammu and Kashmir State by the treaty of 
1846, and its recognition later in the century as one 
of the great internal States of India, have obscured 
the essential greatness of Gulab Singh as a soldier 
and a statesman. His claim to high rank in the roll 
of Indian statesmen was established firmly even 
before he became the ruler of Kashmir. When he 
was in his thirties he had attained eminence in the 
Court of Ranjit Singh as an intrepid general and 
a far-seeing statesman. When Ranjit Singh died in 
1839, Gulab Singh was easily the most influential 
personage in the Sikh Empire and was its chief 
feudatory. In the years that followed (1840-1842) 
he conquered Baltistan and Western Tibet, and 
added to the geographical boundaries of India an 
atea such as no ruler in the past had ever done. 


Even if Gulab Singh had died before the Treaty 
of Amritsar had guaranteed to him his State of 
Jainmu and transferred to him the Sikh rights in 
Kashmir and its dependencies, he would have been 
justly regarded as one of the most remarkable men 
of his time in India. It is, therefore, as a contribu- 
tion to the history of India, and not as a chapter in 
the history of Jammu and Kashmir, that this work is 

There has been no lack of original material for 
this memoir. The main authority on which the life 
of Gulab Singh could be based is the contemporary 
record entitled Gulabnama, written in Persian, by 
Dewan Kirpa Ram, the Maharajah's private secre- 
tary and the son of Dewan Jwala Sahai, the Maha- 
rajah's Prime Minister. This work, though written 
in the flowery style of the Persian panegyrists, is 
none the less a remarkable historical document, as 
the Dewan published in it many original docu- 
ments which are not now available elsewhere. Its 
facts and chronology are beyond dispute. The 
Dewan was also fully conversant with the political 
conditions of the Punjab at the time, and his de- 
scriptions of events are vivid and informed by direct 
knowledge of men and things. 

Three other histories, two written in Dogri, the 
local dialect, and one in Urdu, also deal with the life 
of Gulab Singh. They are not of much value, 


though I have been able to gather from them stray 
facts relating to the family of Gulab Singh and his 
early life. 

The English authorities on the period which deal 
with events narrated in the book are numerous. A 
few of the most important are mentioned below : 

Life of Henry Lawrence. By Edwardes and 
Merivale. (Smith Elder, Third Edition, London, 


The Punjab. By Lieut-Colonel Steinbach. 
(London, 1845.) 

Court and Camp of Ranjit Singh. By the Hon. 
W. G. Osborne. (London, Henry Colburn, 1840.) 

Thirty-five Years in the East. By Dr. Martin 
Honigberger. (H. Balture, London, 1852.) 

Lada\. By Alexander Cunningham. (W. H. 
Allen and Co., London, 1854.) 

History of the Reigning Family of Lahore, with 
some account of the Jammu Rajahs. By G. C. 
Smyth. (Thacker and Co., Calcutta, 1847.) 

History of the Sikjis. By J. D. Cunningham. 
(Murray, London, 1849.) 

Punjab Government Records. 

Lahore Political Diaries, Vols. III., IV., V., and 

All these books are more or less contemporary, 
and their authors were in most cases men who took 


part in the Punjab politics of the time. Captain 
Cunningham, the historian of the Sikhs, was assist- 
an^to the Agent to the Governor-General at Lud- 
hiana. He was the officer selected to go to Tibet in 
order to witness the evacuation of Lhassa territories 
by Zorawar Singh. Alexander Cunningham* the 
historian of the Ladak campaign, was sent by agree- 
ment between Gulab Singh and the Company Jo fix 
the frontier between Ladak and Tibet. Edwardes, 
the biographer of Sir Henry Lawrence, is no other 
than Lieutenant Edwardes, the brilliant young 
political officer attached to Sir Henry at Lahore in 
1846-1848. Steinbach was an officer of Ranjit Singh. 
Honigberger was the State physician to the Lahore 
Court, and was a friend of the Jammu family. 

Contemporary histories, though they have great 
value from an historical point of view, undoubtedly 
possess one disadvantage, especially when they are 
written by persons who have taken an active part 
in the affairs they narrate. Not merely do they 
adopt a partisan attitude, but they allow their judg- 
ments of men and matters to be clouded by violent 
prejudices. One has only to read the contemporary 
biographies of such men as Napoleon. Gulab Singh 
has been no exception to this. He was traduced, 
slandered, and openly accused in his lifetime by the 
champions of the Sikhs, by the imperialists and 
annexationists of the day, and by the anonymous 


writers in the Press, to whom his towering person- 
ality offered a unique target for attack. But an im- 
partial investigation of the facts, such as I have 
undertaken, cannot fail to establish the greatness of 
Gul^b Singh both as a man and a statesman. 




PREFACE - - - - i 


I." EARLY DAYS - "9 




tinued - - - - 63 


WESTERN TIBET (1834-1842) - - 74 



OF THE STATE - - - in 

IX. CONCLUSION . . . 151 



INDEX - - - - - 170 

MAP (by courtesy of the India Office) at end 



TUB hilly tract which lies between the sunny plains 
of the Punjab and the pleasant Valley of Kashmir 
and now forms the Province of Jammu was never 
before the time of Gulab Singh united under any 
single ruler. From Sialkot in British territory the 
plain rises in gradual ascent, and within a few 
miles becomes hilly and ragged. The lower Hima- 
layan ranges begin of a sudden behind the town 
of Jammu, which, placed on a slope of over 
1,300 feet, overlooks and commands the plain 
watered by the Chenab and the Ravi. These hills, 
which become higher and higher in the interior and 
cut up the country into isolated and inaccessible 
areas, formed a succession of ramparts behind which 
the local inhabitants safeguarded their independence 
and lived a life of placid contentment unaffected by 
the changes and revolutions in Hindustan. 

The ruling classes of this hilly tract were Rajputs, 
who seem to have taken refuge in these mountain 
fastnesses when the Rajput hegemony in the Punjab 
was shattered in the twelfth century by the invasion 
of Mohammad of Ghor. Their petty principalities, 
the most important of which were those of Jammu, 



Khistwar, and Bhadarwah, maintained their inde- 
pendence even during the Moghul times, though no 
doubt they paid a nominal tribute and accepted the 
overlordship of the Padishah of Hindustan. On 
the disintegration of the Moghul kingdom in the 
first half of the eighteenth century, following the 
invasion of Nadir Shah, the Rajput rulers who held 
sway around the town of Jammu regained their 
complete independence. They even acquired under 
Rajah Dhrov Deo and his son, Rajah Ranjit Deo, 
some prominence in the politics of the Northern 
Punjab. Ranjit Deo was a ruler who was highly 
respected in the hilly tracts over which he held sway. 
He received a jagir from the Durranni king for 
sending a small force to Kashmir vid Banihal to 
punish Rajah Sukh Tewan. He subdued most of 
the petty hill rajahs around Jammu, notably 
Nihar Singh, Rajah of Khistwar; Shamsher Chand, 
Rajah of Chenani; Kirchipal, Rajah of Bhadarwah; 
and Amrit Pal, Rajah of Besolhi. He also held 
many jagirs in the Punjab, especially in the district 
of Gujerat, But this independence which Ranjit 
Deo achieved was short-lived. With the breakdown 
of Mohammadan authority in the Punjab the great 
Sikh misls began to acquire political and territorial 
importance, and Jammu, along with the rest of the 
Northern Punjab, became the scene of rivalry 
between the sardars of the Bhangi, Kaneihya, and 


Sukerchakia misls. The sardars of the Bhangi 
misl attacked Jammu in about 1770 and compelled 
Ranjit Deo to pay tribute to them. 

Ranjit Deo had two sons, Brij Lai and Dulel 
Singh. ' Brij lal revolted against his father and 
sought the help of Charrat Singh, the Sukerchakia 
chief, and together they attacked Jamrnu. Ranjit 
Deo naturally depended for help upon the Bhangi 
chief whose over lordship he had accepted. In the 
fight that took place at Jammu, Charrat Singh was 
killed. The Sukerchakia partisans, fearing that 
Janda Singh, the Bhangi chief, might profit by this 
catastrophe, had him also murdered. 

Brij Lal, who succeeded his father in 1780, was 
a great friend of Mahan Singh, the son of Charrat 
Singh, who is known to history as the father of 
Ranjit Singh. Brij Lal now considered himself 
strong enough to claim from the Bhangi chieftains 
some of his estates which had fallen to them and to 
reassert his independence. The Bhangis secured the 
help of the Kaneihya misl, and in the fight that 
followed Mahan Singh was defeated and Brij Lal 
had to agree to a humiliating peace, by which he 
undertook to pay a tribute to the Kaneihya chieftain. 
On the pretext that this tribute had fallen into 
arrears, the Kaneihya chieftain decided to attack 
Jammu. He requested the help of Mahan Singh in 
this expedition. 


Mahan Singh, though he had vowed solemn vows 
of friendship with Brij Lai, forgot his obligations 
an$l agreed to help. But one who was not loyal even 
to his own sworn friend was not likely to be faithful 
to a temporary alliance. Before the Xaneihya 
chieftain began to march, Mahan Singh attacked 
Jammu, sacked the town and plundered the treasure 
accumulated in the palace. Laden with the booty 
he retired to the plains, leaving Brij Lai Deo to the 
government of his principality. The sack of Jammu 
saved its independence for a time. The contending 
Sikh chieftains, knowing that there was nothing 
left in the treasury, left Jammu well alone. The 
sovereignty of the House of Dhrov Deo over the 
surrounding country disappeared, but Brij Lai was 
still in possession of the Jammu town and fort and 
continued to maintain the form and court of petty 
royalty. The hilly districts of the interior remained 
in the possession of the other members of the 
family, who held them as jagirs. On the death of 
Brij Lai, he was succeeded by his one-year-old child 
Sampurna Deo. The State was managed by Mian 
Mota, a cousin of Brij Lai. Sampurna Deo died at 
the age of eleven, and was succeeded by Jeet Singh, 
the son of Dulel Singh. 

Gulab Singh is descended in direct line from 
Rajah Dhrov through his third son, Mian Soonit 
Deo, Soorut Deo, who was thus the third brother 


of Rajah Ranjit Deo, had a son, Mian Zorawar 
Singh. His son .was Kishore Singh, who held the 
jagir of Andarwah in Jammu TehsiL Gulab Sirgh 
was his eldest son. The following is the genealogy 
of die family : 

Dhrov Deo 


Ranjit Deo Ghunsar Deo Soorut Deo Bui want Deo 

Brij Lai Deo Dulel Singh Mian Mota Zorawar Dulla 
(expelled from | (assassinated) Singh Bhoola 

throne, 1780, by Jeet Singh 
Mahan Singh) 

Kishore Singh 

GULAB SINGH Dhyan Singh Suchet Singh 


Randnir Sohan Ranbir Singh 
Singh Singh 

1 1 
Singh Jawahir 

Moti Singh 
of Pooncn 

Some doubt was cast on the genealogy of the 
Jammu family by Cunningham and others, whose 
enthusiastic admiration of the Sikhs led them to an 
unreasonable hatred of Rajah Gulab Singh, whom 
they considered to be the chief cause of the ruin of 
the Sikh State. But there is no doubt whatever 
about the genealogy of the family, Zorawar Singh 
was alive during a considerable portion of Maha- 
rajah Ranjit Singh's reign, and Mian Kishore Singh, 
the father of Gulab Singh, was also later on at the 


Lahore Court. Maharajah Ranjit Singh, in his 
grant of the Raj of Jammu to Gulab Singh, men- 
tio^ the fact of Gulab's ancestors having been tl& 
rulers of the State. Ranjit Singh's father and grand- 
father had fought against the Rajahs of Jammu, 
Ranjit Deo and Brij Lai Deo, and therefore knew 
the history of that family intimately. The ancestry 
of Maharajah Gulab Singh became a matter of con- 
troversy, not only through the malice of his enemies, 
but also through the sycophancy of his courtiers. 
A Kashmiri Pandit went to the length of identifying 
the thirty-five missing kings in Kalhanas' list of 
Kashmir kings in the Rajataranjini with the 
early ancestors of the Jammu family. 1 There is, 
however, not the least doubt that Gulab Singh was 
descended in the direct male line from Rajah Dhrov 
Deo, the Rajput prince of the Surya Vansi (Solar) 
dynasty, who ruled over Jammu in the eighteenth 

Mian Kishore Singh is reported to have been a 
valiant soldier. He lived mainly on his jagir at 
Andarwah, eight miles from the modern town of 
Samba. His financial condition does not seem to 
have been prosperous, and he achieved distinction 
only after his sons attained prominence. Kishore 
Singh married a Rajput lady of the Jij caste. The 

1 P. 73, foot-note to Stein's edition of Rajataranjini. 
(Constable, London.) 


marriage was celebrated at Gam Madtha, a village 
in the Besolhi district. By this lady he had three 
sons, Gulab Singh, Dhyan Singh, and Suchet Singh. 

Gulab Singh was born in 1792 (on the 5th Katik, 
1849, Vikrami Samvat), Dhyan Singh was born in 
I796 r and Suchet Singh in 1801. Early in his child- 
hood Gulab Singh was sent to live with his grand- 
father, Zorawar Singh, a stern old warrior who 
lived in his jagir, Dyawago, at some distance 
from Jammu. Like all true Rajputs of the time, 
Zorawar Singh had great contempt for the study 
of letters, and does not seem to have taken any 
trouble to give his grandson a literary education. 
All that Gulab Singh seems to have learnt was to 
read and write. But though Zorawar neglected to 
give Gulab Singh any school education, he trained 
him in all manly arts. Thus even at a very early 
age Gulab Singh could ride his horse like any cavalry 
trooper and wield his sword with deadly effect. He 
was also an excellent marksman. 

An opportunity soon came for Gulab Singh to 
exhibit his prowess. The affairs of Jammu were 
in great confusion. Rajah Jeet Singh, the nephew 
of Brij Lai Deo, was an incompetent man, and his 
rani was an ambitious, intriguing woman. She 
took the management of affairs in her own hands. 
Taking advantage of the confusion resulting from 
this, Ranjit Singh ordered, in 1808, Bhai Hukam 


Singh to reduce Jammu and to annex it to the Sikh 
State. The Sikh general advanced with a very con- 
siderable force and reached the confines of Jammu. 
Mian Mota, who was in charge of the cfefence, 
organised a small force and came out of the town to 
give battle. When the forces met outside the Gumat 
Gate, young Gulab Singh, who was bjit a boy of 
sixteen, was found taking an active and prominent 
part in the battle. His spirit of adventure had been 
roused. Here was a unique opportunity to dis- 
tinguish himself before his Rajput brethren and to 
earn a name for himself. Without even obtaining 
permission from his grandfather, Gulab Singh bor- 
rowed a charger from the stables and appeared on 
the battlefield. His prowess on that day attracted 
the attention of Hukam Singh, the enemy com- 
mander. The defence was to some extent successful, 
and Gulab Singh's part in it was no mean one. 
Hukam Singh had to withdraw his forces to Said- 
garh. But a skirmish could not stem the onrush of 
Ranjit Singh's forces, and the whole province passed 
under the suzerainty of Ranjit Singh and the Lahore 

Soon after this Gulab Singh left his grandfather's 
protection. It seems that one day he took a horse 
from his grandfather's stable and went for a ride in 
the forest. By careless riding he hurt the aninial, 
and on return his grandfather, who, true to his 


soldier's creed, loved his horse as a comrade, scolded 
the boy for his carelessness. The sensitive mind of 
the boy he was still hardly more than seventeen 
was so nurt by these unkind words that he took some 
ornaments from his mother and left the house at 
night with a few attendants. His original idea was 
to enlist in the army of Shah Shuja, the unlucky 
ruler of Kabul, whom his uncle, Shah Mahmud, 
had expelled from Afghanistan and succeeded on 
the Kabul throne with the help of the Bakarzai 
tribe. But when he reached the Indus his attendants 
refused to go to Afghanistan. 

Foiled in his intention to go to Kabul, Gulab 
Singh approached Dewan Khushwaqt Rai, who was 
managing the jagir of Sardar Nehal Singh of Attari. 
The Dewan was intensely disliked by the people of 
the jagir, whom he oppressed greatly by his merci- 
less exactions. As there was great unrest among 
them, the Dewan decided to raise a small force for 
the purpose of defending himself and his master's 
property. Gulab Singh approached the Dewan and 
offered his services, which were accepted. He is 
himself responsible for the story that a certain jama- 
dar, who was formerly in the employ of Zorawar 
Singh, reported to Khushwaqt Rai the identity of 
the new recruit. Gulab Singh did not have to wait 
long to win his spurs. Soon after he joined service 
a skirmish occurred in which the Dewan's forces 


routed by the villagers, who attacked the fort 
itself. It was only Gulab Singh's courage and in- 
trepid action that saved the fort and enabled the 
Dewan to put down the incipient rebellion. r 

This action of his attracted attention, and Hukam 
Singh, who already had occasion to notice the young 
Mian's prowess, reported the matter to Ranjit Singh. 
Ranjit Singh asked Mian Mota to send Gulab Singh 
down to him. In Samvat 1867 (A.D. 1809) Gulab 
Singh joined the army of Ranjit Singh at Daska, a 
village a few miles from Sialkot. 



THE author of Gulabnama says that Gulab Singh 
was taken into Ranjit Singh's service as commander 
of a regiment on a monthly salary of Rs.275. This 
is not unlikely. Cunningham, 1 and, following him, 
most English writers, assert that Gulab Singh was 
employed at the Lahore Court as a running foot- 
man. This is quite improbable. It is clear that he 
was personally well known to Ranjit Singh and was 
holding a sufficiently important post near the Maha- 
rajah, for we find him, almost immediately after 
his own appointment, presenting his brother Mian 
Dhyan Singh at Court. Dhyan Singh was ap- 
pointed on a monthly salary of Rs.6o. Kishore 
Singh was also introduced to Maharajah Ranjit 
Singh, who appointed him to a civil post carrying 
Rs.55 a month. 

In 1809, when Gulab Singh joined the Lahore 
Court, Ranjit Singh had not attained that eminence 
which at a later time earned for him the sobriquet 
of the Lion of the Punjab. He was as yet looked 
upon only as a rising potentate. His empire, which 
later on extended from the Pamirs to Sind and from 
Peshawar to the Sutlej and included within it not 

* * J. D. Cunningham, History of the Sif(hs, p. 190. 


ly the Punjab but the North- West Frontier pro- 
vinces and the territories of Jammu and Kashmir, 
was then only in formation. Ranjit Singh had 
acquired Lahore and the title of Rajah only In 1799. 
It was not until 1802, when he was just twenty-two, 
that he attacked and conquered Amritsar, ^lore- 
over, the power of the Sikh misls had not been finally 
broken till the destruction of the Nakkai confederacy 
in 1 8 10. In 1809, the English concluded a treaty 
with him, as they saw in him a formidable frontier 
chief who was likely to unite the forces of the Khalsa 
under his personal rule. The Maharajah was daily 
strengthening his position, but it is necessary to re- 
member that in 1809, when Gulab Singh joined his 
service, he was not yet the renowned and masterful 
King of the Punjab, but merely an important and 
rising Sikh ruler, claiming his title from the grant 
of the Afghan and his power from the alliance of 
the Sikh misls. 

In 1812 Ranjit Singh started on his first expedi- 
tion against Kashmir, in alliance with Fateh Khan, 
Minister of Shah Mahmud of Kabul. To under- 
stand the events which follow it is necessary to 
realise the position of the Afghan kingdom at this 
time. In the beginning of the nineteenth century 
the Durrani Empire comprised the whole of the 
Indus Valley, including Multan, Kashmir, and the 
hilly provinces attached to the valley. Peshawgr, 


Attock, and other places were considered integral 
parts of Afghanistan in the same sense as are Herat 
and Kandahar to-day. Kashmir was a recognised 
province of the empire. Zaman Shah, whose name 
had once been a cerror to the East India Company, 
was on the throne in 1803, and it was from him that 
Ran] it Singh had received the title of Rajah in 1799. 
But in that year the Shah was deposed by Mahmud, 
his brother. Mahmud was in turn expelled by Shah 
Shuja, the unlucky sovereign who plays an important 
part in the history of the Punjab during the next 
thirty years. In 1809 the Dakar zai tribe again 
rebelled, and its chief, Fateh Khan, son of Poynda 
Khan, put Mahmud back on the throne, keeping 
to himself all the power in the State as Wazir. It 
was this Wazir Fateh Khan who allied himself with 
Ranjit in the invasion of Kashmir. General Mokam 
Chand was, on behalf of Ranjit Singh, in charge of 
the expedition, and the army marched up the Jhelum 
Valley. The alliance, however, broke on the way, 
as Fateh Khan tried to forestall the Dewan. Though 
the trick failed, Fateh Khan stuck to Kashmir. In 
1813 the Maharajah attempted to oust Fateh Khan, 
and Ranjit Singh led a force in person into Kashmir. 
In this campaign Gulab Singh's regiment played a 
prominent part. On the advice of Ajar Khan of 
Rajouri, the Punjab army was divided into two por- 
tions, one section proceeding by way of Poonch 


under Ranjit himself, and the other under Dewan 
Ram Dyal, the grandson of the great Mokam Chand, 
by jvay of Bahramagalla. This division of the in- 
vading forces was disastrous, and Ram Dyal's,army 
was cut to pieces by the Governor of Kas-hmir. 
The people also rose in rebellion behind the Sikhs. 
Gulab Singh and his company escaped with diffi- 
culty. In these perilous circumstances Gulab Singh 
showed the greatest courage in reassembling his 
forces and bringing them back safely. His father, 
Mian Kishore Singh, was wounded in this cam- 
paign. Ranjit Singh was greatly pleased with Gulab 
Singh's achievement, and gave him as jagirs Kharoti 
and Beyol and promoted him in his command. 

At this time Mian Mota, the brother of Zorawar 
Singh, was murdered at Jammu through the intrigue 
of the Sikh Governor, and this event had a great 
influence on the career of Gulab Singh. We have 
already mentioned how the ambitious Rani Bindral 
had tried to take in her own hands the management 
of Jammu. The great hindrance to her plans was 
her uncle-in-law, Mian Mota Singh, who wielded 
great influence in the area. In 1812 Prince Kharrak 
Singh, the eldest son of Ranjit Singh, to whom 
Jammu was allotted as jagir, came to take possession 
of the city, and the Rani Bindral insinuated herself 
into favour with him. When the matter came to 
the knowledge of Ranjit Singh he ordered that the 


government of Jammu should be carried on in 
consultation with Mota Singh, and that he should 
be given a jagir bringing an annual income of 
Rs. 12,000. This displeased the Rani greatly. When 
Kharrak Singh returned to Lahore he left Dewan 
Ajit Singh, Khullal of Gujerat, as Governor. The 
Rani, nothing daunted, intrigued with the Dewan, 
over whom she acquired great influence, and per- 
suaded him to order the assassination of Mian Mota. 
This dastardly act was entrusted to two bravos, 
Traho and Sutro, who waylaid the mian and mur- 
dered him (1812). 

One day, on their way to the Durbar at Lahore, 
Gulab Singh and Dhyan Singh encountered the 
murderers by the Bhati Gate and killed them in 
broad daylight. This action of the brothers caused 
a great sensation in Lahore, especially as these 
bravos were known to be under the protection of 
Prince Kharrak Singh. When Gulab Singh arrived 
at the Durbar the guards insisted on his surrender- 
ing his arms, which he refused to do. But Ranjit 
Singh took no notice of the incident, merely remark- 
ing that Gulab Singh should be more careful of his 
life. As he feared vengeance against the brothers, 
Ranjit Singh took care to put Dhyan Singh under 
Jamadar Khushal Singh, the famous Deorhi Officer 
or Chamberlain, who was at the time the most 
powerful personage at the Lahore Court. 


Gulab Singh continued to rise in favour at the 
Lahore Court. At the siege of Jullundur he dis- 
tinguished himself greatly, and was as a reward given 
additional jagirs of Chohana and Ramgarli.. He 
was also empowered to raise as his* own a company 
of 200 soldiers. This was the first force which 
owned Gulab Singh as its master. Ramgarh was 
reduced after some fighting, and Mian Zorawar 
Singh, with the family, took his permanent abode 
there. (It was at this place that Rajah Hira Singh 
was born.) 

In 1815 Reasi, which is an important district in 
the proximity of Jammu, was awarded by Ranjit 
Singh as jagir to Mian Dewan Singh. Dewan Singh 
was the mortal enemy of Gulab Singh, and was one 
of the prime movers in the murder of Mota Singh. 
The ambitious chief, who dreamed of uniting all the 
hilly country over which his ancestor ruled into one 
State, naturally disliked the grant of Reasi to his 
enemy. As Dewan Singh was in the plains, Gulab 
Singh forestalled him and took possession of the area 
and put Wazir Zorawar Kalhoria, who was destined 
to earn undying fame as the conqueror of Ladak and 
Tibet, in charge of its defence. But his rival was a 
person of courage and influence. Dewan Singh had 
a large body of supporters, and at their instigation the 
whole district rose against Gulab Singh's unauthor- 
ised action. Zorawar was hard pressed in the fort*, 


but the courage, fortitude, and resourcefulness which 
later on enabled him to conquer Ladak and Baltistan 
and lead an army into the heart of Tibet were not 
to b$ shaken by a local siege. He held the town in 
spite t of al 1 that the enemy could do. When Kishore 
Singh heard of the plight of the garrison at Reasi 
he. sent a few servants to Jammu to inform Gulab 
Singh of the position. Gulab Singh was away in 
Lahore, but Dewan Amir Chand, the father of 
Dewan Jwala Sahai, who figures greatly in the later 
events of Gulab Singh's life, was in charge of affairs 
at Jammu, and he took up the matter with all ex- 
pedition. There was no money in the treasury and 
there were no troops at his command. He tried to 
enlist the support of the Rajputs of the locality, but 
they, envious of Gulab Singh's rising position, held 
back. Amir Chand, however, was not a man who 
easily lost hope. He borrowed money from a mer- 
chant in Jammu, collected as much arms and am- 
munition as he could, and marched on Reasi. He 
had only forty men with him, but the Dewan 
obtained recruits on the way by producing a letter 
which he declared he had received from Gulab 
Singh to the effect that he would soon be coming 
himself and that he was in greater favour than ever 
at Lahore. With his followers thus increased he 
reached Reasi and relieved the garrison. 
- Almost within six years of his taking service 


in Lahore, Gulab Singh had become an important 
grandee. He was in possession of many estates 
granted to him as jagir in recognition of his meri- 
torious services, and he was among the few noble- 
men entitled to maintain a regular force of {heir 
own. Rajah Dhyan Singh also had advanced 
greatly in the favour of the Lahore Durbar. 

In all the campaigns that the Sikh King carried 
on at this time Gulab Singh played a prominent part. 
Especially at the siege of Multan, in 1819, his 
personal bravery attracted Ranjit Singh's favourable 
notice. During the siege, which was conducted 
under the supervision of Ranjit Singh, one of the 
Sikh sardars fell dead at the very foot of the fort. 
The besiegers were being subjected to heavy cannon 
fire, and Ranjit Singh, who was fond of the dead 
sardar, commanded his officers to ride to the spot 
and bring back the dead body. No one ventured 
except Gulab Singh, who, without a word, rushed 
forward to the amazement of the whole army and 
brought back on his horse the body of his dead 

In the frontier campaigns of Ranjit Singh between 
1815 and 1820 Gulab Singh played a prominent and 
noteworthy part. The most important among them 
was the campaign against the tribe of Yusuf in 1819 
which enabled Ranjit Singh to acquire Peshawar. 

In 1819 Dhyan Singh was made Deorhi Officer, 


or Grand Chamberlain, when Khushal Singh was 
sent as Governor of Multan. This appointment 
gave Dhyan Singh great influence over the Maha- 

At this time the hilly area behind Jammu was 
being terrorised by an intrepid chief by the name of 
Mian Dedo. His word was law in the interior, and 
he even attacked the Sikh garrison, which numbered 
over 2,000, in the Jammu fort. 1 The local Rajput 
chiefs sympathised with him and afforded no help 
to the Sikhs. The Sikhs laid hands on some of the 
leading Rajputs, held them as hostages, and sent 
them to Sheikhpura to be detained in prison. Dewan 
Bhavani Das called Juna Dingh, a Rajput chieftain, 
to Jammu and cut him to pieces on the mere sus- 
picion of having given refuge to Dedo. This was 
the signal for a general revolt. The whole country 
behind the Jammu town threw off the Sikh yoke, 
and Mian Dedo placed himself at the head of the 
popular discontent. His adventures took a more 
serious turn, and it became clear either that he had 
to be put down or that Ranjit Singh would have to 
withdraw to Sialkot. 

In open Durbar one day Gulab Singh requested 
to be entrusted with the duty of putting down this 
insurrection. Having secured the commission he 

1 Smyth, History of the Reigning Family of Lahore. (Cal- 
cutta, 1847.) 


started without delay, accompanied by Sardar Attar 
Singh Kallol and Sardar Jagan Nath Singh, of 
Attari. At his request the Rajput chiefs held as 
hostages at Sheikhpura were released. On reaching 
Jammu he proceeded vigorously to put down the re- 
bellion. The local chiefs surrendered, but Mian 
Dedo continued his depredations. The rtiethods by 
which he brought Dedo to book were characteristic. 
It soon came to his notice that Dedo got free supplies 
in all the villages where he went. The bandit chief 
used to requisition all that he wanted, and the vil- 
lagers out of fear obeyed him. It was necessary to 
stop this if Dedo was to be captured. Gulab Singh 
hit on a stratagem. He suddenly appeared in some 
out-of-the-way villages and demanded supplies in the 
name of Dedo. When the villagers brought the 
supplies he announced his identity, and punished 
them for helping the bandit. When this procedure 
was followed in a few villages Dedo found it diffi- 
cult to get any supplies, because, when he sent his 
requisition, the villagers, not knowing whether it 
was Gulab Singh trying their loyalty or Dedo him- 
self, refused to obey. 

After this manoeuvre Gulab Singh marched on 
Jugti, which was the headquarters of Dedo. The 
chief himself was not there, but his aged father 
defended the place, though he was past ninety. 
The old man was cut to pieces at the entrance to his 


house by Attar Singh Kallol. Dedo then took refuge 
on the Trikuti peak. The peak was surrounded, 
and in this last extremity Dedo, after committing 

his wife and children to the care of one Brahma- 


chari, who was in the temple of the Devi, came out 
bravely to sell his life dear. He encountered Attar 
Singh, who was responsible for the death of his aged 
father, and challenged him to open combat. Attar 
Singh was killed in the fight, but Dedo was immedi- 
ately shot dead by Gulab Singh's soldiers. 

In 1820 Jammu was given to Gulab Singh in 
farm. Ran] it Singh followed the medieval system 
of farming out provinces for revenue. Jammu had 
always been considered an unruly and difficult pro- 
vince to manage, and when the government of the 
province was offered to Gulab Singh he represented 
that it was impossible to collect the revenue, as the 
place had not been completely subdued. Ranjit 
Singh therefore allowed him to keep an army of his 
own and gave him the title of Rajah, and Mian 
Kishore Singh and Dewan Chand were sent to instal 
him in his office. This appointment to the govern- 
ment of Jammu should not be confused with the 
conferment of that principality as an hereditary 
possession three years later. 

In 1821 Gulab Singh undertook the conquest of 
Khistwar. With this object he marched into the 
interior. On the way he called on Dyal Chand, 


Rajah of Chenani, to do him obeisance. But as the 
Rajah would not come, Gulab Singh sent a man to 
call on him. The Rajah agreed to help in the con- 
quest of Khistwar. The Chenab was crossed^ and 
the camp was pitched at Doda. Instead qf directly 
attacking Khistwar he decided first to create poetical 
dissension in the State. Rajah Tej Singh, of Khist- 
war, was a suspicious man, but he was served by an 
able Minister, by name Wazir Lakhpat. Gulab 
Singh sent a letter to Lakhpat in the following 
words : * I have received your petition and under- 
stood the contents. You are ordered to present your- 
self before me without delay and to discharge the 
duties entrusted to you satisfactorily, in which case 
my kindness will always protect you.' 

Gulab Singh had taken good care that the letter 
should fall into the hands of the Rajah and not the 
Wazir. Not suspecting the stratagem of Gulab 
Singh, the Rajah imprisoned the Wazir, who, how- 
ever, escaped to Bhadarwah. Khistwar was con- 
quered, and this was Gulab Singh's first independent 

Wazir Lakhpat was taken into Gulab Singh's 
service, and till his death in Kashmir, in 1846, he 
was one of the Rajah's most trusted officers. He 
proved himself loyal to his master, and Gulab Singh 
sent him on many notable expeditions. 

An important expedition entrusted to Gulab 


Singh at this time was the reduction of Rajouri, 
which was under the rule of a local Mussulman 
dynasty of Rajput descent. The Rajah, whose name 
was Ajar Khan, had given Ran jit Singh more than 
one occasion for. enmity. It was his double-faced 
advice which brought disaster on Ran] it Singh in 
his expedition against Kashmir in 1813. Gulab 
Singh was entrusted with the duty of capturing him, 
in which he succeeded. 

These distinguished services to the Lahore Govern- 
ment were rewarded by the Maharajah with the 
grant to Gulab Singh and his successors of the prin- 
cipality of Jammu, with the hereditary title of Rajah. 
For this purpose the Maharajah moved in great state 
to Aknoor. The town of Aknoor is situated at the 
point where the Chenab debouches into the plain. 
Placed on the bank of the river, with a magnificent 
range of mountains as a background, the town pre- 
sents a most striking appearance. The fort at Ak- 
noor was built at the end of the eighteenth century 
by Mian Tej Singh, who was a feudatory of Rajah 
Ranjit Deo. Ranjit Singh took up his residence in 
the fort and made preparation for the ceremony of 
Rajtila\, or installation. 

Gulab Singh, who was away on an expedition in 
the hills, was summoned to the royal presence. On 
4th Ashad, 1879 (A.D. 1822), Ranjit Singh installed 
him on the Gadi and personally performed the Raj- 


tilaf(. When marking the saffron on the forehead, 
Ranjit Singh, instead of marking it upwards, as is 
the custom, marked it downwards. When a courtier 
asked him why he had departed from established 
usage, Ranjit Singh replied : ' I firmly sowed the 
seed in the soil that it may thrive well, hold its root 
strong in the earth, and last for ev^r.' On the same 
day he gave to Mian Suchet Singh the jagir of Ram- 
nagar with the title of Rajah. Gulab Singh was sur- 
prised that Dhyan Singh, who was then in high 
favour with the Maharajah, was not given any prin- 
cipality, and requested that, since both he and 
Suchet Singh had been so honoured, Dhyan Singh 
also might be granted a jagir. Ranjit Singh was 
highly pleased with this thoughtfulness on the part 
of Gulab Singh, and remarked that so far as Dhyan 
Singh was concerned, he did not propose to award 
him a jagir, as his intention was to make him a 
Raja-i-Rajagan, or a ' Rajah of Rajahs.' 

A copy of the sanad that Maharajah Ranjit Singh 
granted to Gulab Singh is given below in transla- 

On this auspicious occasion, with extreme 
joy and with heartfelt love, I grant to Rajah 
Gulab Singh, in recognition of his conscientious 
and loyal service, the government of the Chakla 
of Jammu, which from time immemorial has 
been in the possession of his family. He and 


his brothers, Dhyan Singh and Suchet Singh, 
appeared in my Court at a very early age and 
loyally and devotedly served me and the State. 
Their ancestors also served faithfully for a long 
time under my father Mahan Singh Ji of happy 
rremorv- They spared no pains to render their 
services to me promptly and submissively and 
to give me satisfaction. They have always 
been found faithful to me and loyal to the 
State, They have shed their blood freely in 
many campaigns such as the conquest of 
Kashmir, the reduction of Multan, the punish- 
ment of the rebels, the suppression of rebellion 
on the frontier and the fight with the forces of 
Kabul. In consideration of these and other 
services I grant the government of the Chakla 
of Jammu to Rajah Gulab Singh and his de- 
scendants, and I myself mark the forehead of 
this loyal and devoted servant of mine with the 
emblem of sovereignty. With great pleasure 
I also grant Rajah Suchet Singh the govern- 
ment of Ramnagar to be his own and his de- 
scendants' as a reward for the great services he 
has rendered to me. He and his descendants 
may dispose of its income on their own account 
provided that the Rajahs be as loyal to the 
State henceforward as they have been till now, 
that they receive our descendants with no less 



honour and submission and that their descend- 
ants be as loyal to us and our descendants. In 
witness of this I grant this Purwana of mine 
with my own hands together with a bunch of 
saffron. . c 

Dated 4th Ashad, 1879 (Vikram). 

* **~i rr *" 

Gulab Singh was just thirty years old. He had 
every reason to be proud of his achievements. With 
nothing but a name, a proud ancestry, and his own 
talents he had succeeded in getting back his heredi- 
tary possession and in being recognised by Ran jit 
Singh as the Rajah of Jammu. His fame as a warrior 
had reverberated through the Punjab. He had be- 
come an important grandee at the Lahore Court, 
where his brothers also stood high in favour. Dhyan 
Singh, though hardly more than twenty-seven, was, 
next to Aziz-ud-Din and Dina Nath, the most in- 
fluential man in the Lahore Government. He held, 
besides, the post of Deorhi Officer, which kept him 
in intimate touch with Ranjit Singh. Suchet Singh 
was reputed to be the most handsome man in the 
Sikh army, and he was also equally in favour with 
the Maharajah, 

After the conferment of Jammu, Gulab Singh 
was sent on an expedition against Azam Khan, of 
Tihri, .on the frontier. The army was nominally 
under the command of Prince Sher Singh, but to 


him were attached Gulab Singh and Hari Singh 
Nalwa. The latter was the noblest and the most 
gallant of the Sikh generals of his time, the very 
embodiment of honour, chivalry, and courage. His 
position at the Court was high, and he was the idol 
of the Sikhs. With these two commanders attached 
to him Sher Singh marched to the frontier. A 
moulvi by the name of Khalifa Saidulla had roused 
the religious fanaticism of the tribes, and the cam- 
paign was more difficult than was originally antici- 
pated. Immediate victory did not fall to the Sikh 
army, and the handsome but chicken-hearted Sher 
Singh proposed to retire. He was, however, dis- 
suaded from this disastrous course by Gulab Singh, 
whose brothers had also by this time joined the 

In 1823 Dost Mohammad, brother of Wazir Fateh 
Khan, became King of Kabul. The kingdom which 
he inherited had already lost Multan, Kashmir, 
Peshawar, Dera Ghazi Khan, and Dera Ismail 
Khan. The frontier was naturally the scene of 
further disturbance, and in 1826 Saidulla again 
raised the standard of revolt. 

Sardar Budha Singh, who was in charge of the 
frontier districts, was sorely tried, and Gulab Singh, 
who was in Jammu, received orders to go to his help. 
The Rajah immediately sent his forces under Dewan 
Amir Chand, and himself joined them later, by 


forced marches, at Peshawar. Hari Singh Nalwa 
also joined him there. The Pathans, on retreating, 
had destroyed the bridge at Attock, which made 
further advance difficult. Leaving the army behind, 
Gulab Singh crossed the Indus with a very- small 

force and attacked the enemy from behind a hill with 

f- **i * r *' 

only 300 men. While the fray was in progress Hari 
Singh Nalwa, who was not to be left behind in any 
act of valour, joined him. The enemy, not knowing 
the strength of the attacking force, retired. Gulab 
Singh was wounded in the arm on this occasion. 
For fifteen days the army halted there. The Sikh 
chief proposed the erection of entrenchments with 
a view to defending the position, but Gulab Singh, 
with superior wisdom, pointed out that in view of 
the strength of the enemy safety lay for the Sikhs in 
their mobility, and dissuaded Hari Singh from the 
course which he had suggested. The tribes sought 
the help of Dost Mohammad, who marched towards 
the Indus with a large force. Ranjit Singh, who 
realised the gravity of the danger, himself arrived at 
the scene of the operations with the leading nobles 
in his train. Before any fighting took place, Dost 
Mohammad's discontented brothers, Pir Mohammad 
and Sultan Mohammad, put themselves in touch 
with Gulab Singh. Sultan Mohammad requested a 
personal interview with Gulab Singh with the object 
of negotiating for his own safety. An interview was 


arranged between him and Ranjit Singh, who was 
well pleased at the collapse of the Afghan invasion. 
The Sikh ruler accepted the submission of Sultan 
Mohammad, 1 and agreed to invest him with Pesha- 
war This proposal made Hari Singh angry, and it 
was only at the personal intervention of Gulab Singh 
that Sultan JVloliammad k was not sent back to his 
brother. Furious at the desertion of his own 
brothers, Dost Mohammad marched back to 

In 1825 Gulab Singh made further conquests in 
the hilly tracts lying in the interior of Jammu. With 
Dewan Amir Chand and Mian Gulab Singh Dhul- 
patia he took the fort of Samarth and reduced the 
surrounding country. In the period between 1820 
and 1827 Gulab Singh brought under his effective 
control the numerous principalities lying between 
the Kashmir Valley and Jammu, except Poonch, 
which was the jagir of Dhyan Singh; Jasrota, which 
was given to Hira Singh, and Ramnagar, which 
belonged to Suchet Singh. Gulab Singh himself 
conquered Reasi, Khistwar, Rajouri, and Samarth, 
which, with Jammu, formed a very extensive 
dominion for a subordinate prince. 

To the management of his principality Gulab 

1 Sultan Mohammad became one of the leading sardars at 
the Lahore Court, and was esteemed by all parties as a noble- 
man of great courage. 


Singh devoted great attention. Other chiefs of the 
Lahore Court who held jagirs spent most of their 
time in Lahore in attendance on Ranjit Singh, and 
depended on their managers for their income a 
system that led to great abuses. The managers, 
not being under the control of their masters, were 
only concerned to squeeze out of tlie cultivators as 
much money as they could, and took no interest 
in their welfare. The chiefs were only interested in 
getting money regularly and the managers only in 
satisfying their masters and in enriching themselves. 
Gulab Singh, from the time that Jammu was con- 
ferred on him, followed a totally different policy. 
He stayed mostly in Jammu and appeared at Lahore 
only when summoned. He took great personal 
interest in the management of his property and the 
government of his dominions which, by their hilly 
nature and by the independent character of their 
people, called for personal attention. 

In this duty he was helped by a family of remark- 
able men, whose devotion to him and whose ability 
in his service he rewarded most munificently. This 
was the family of which Dewan Jwala Sahai, later 
the Prime Minister of the State and Gulab Singh's 
plenipotentiary in the negotiation of all confidential 
matters, was the most important member. Dewan 
Amir Chand, the father of Jwala Sahai, was "the 
managing agent of Gulab Singh in the Newal Ilaqa, 


and when Jammu was granted as an hereditary prin- 
cipality in 1823, Amir Chand was made Madar-ul- 
Maham, or Chief Minister, of Jammu. In 1836, 
when Dewan Amir Chand died, his eldest son, 
Dewan Jwala Sahai, became the chief adviser and 
Dewan of Gulab Singh. Jwala Sahai had two 
brothers, Dewan Hari Chand and Dewan Nihal 
Chand, both of whom were employed by Gulab 
Singh in important civil and military capacities. 

The attention which Gulab Singh devoted to the 
management of his fiefs and the good results that 
followed from it attracted the attention of Ranjit 
Singh. The ruler of the Punjab, who was quick 
to realise the value of such government, entrusted 
Gulab Singh with the management of the following 
areas at different times to be held as farms from the 
Lahore Durbar : 

Behra, Miani, Fadka, and the salt mines of 
Pinddadan Khan. 

Farms : Estimated Income. 

Chukh Huzara and Pukhlee R S . 

Dhumtour ... ... 150,000 

Djunnee, Kuttas, and Chak- 

kowall ... ... ... 100,000 

Sialkot ... ... ... 50,000 

Salt mines ... ... about 8 lakhs 


He was also given the following jagirs : 

Bhadarwah (part), Padar, Jammu, Chenai, 
Reasi, Khistwar, Aknoor, Rajouri.^ 

The following jagirs were held by the other 
members of the family : 

Estimated Income. 

Suchet Singh : R S . 

Besholi ... ... ... 75,000 

Jasrota ... ... ... 125,000 

Makkot, Bhuddo, and Bhad- 

Dhyan Singh : 

Samba, Bhimber, Poonch, Kottlee. 
Town duties at Amritsar and Lahore. 

Gulab Singh was able to follow this policy of 
staying on his estate and looking after its manage- 
ment only because he knew that his interest and 
the interests of his family were safe at Lahore. 
When the government is personal and is dependent 
on the whims of a ruler, a courtier, however able 
and useful, is likely to be forgotten unless he is 
present at Court and is in a position to compete for 
the favour of the sovereign. Fortunately, Gulab 
Singh had not to do this. The presence of his 
brother, Dhyan Singh, at Court as Lord 


lain and later as Prime Minister, and the favour 
to which Hira Singh, Dhyan Singh's son, attained, 
were sufficient guarantee for him. In fact, all the 
three brothers consciously followed as a policy the 
celebrated saying of a French Marshal : ' He who 
hurts my brother hurts me.' The political influence 
of Dhyan Singh left Gulab Singh free to look after 
the affairs of his territories, to raise and keep intact 
a reserve of money, and to train and equip an army. 
He was left free to consolidate his authority and to 
perfect a military machine with which to conquer 
new countries when occasion arose. He was shrewd 
enough to foresee that all these precautions would 
be required once the strong hand of Ran] it Singh 
was removed from the Punjab. 

By 1835 Gulab Singh had become the most im- 
portant feudatory of Ran] it Singh and the most 
powerful personality at the Lahore Court. Besides 
his own principality he held in farm some of the 
most productive lands in the Punjab. His army, 
which was under renowned commanders, had 
already attacked Ladak. Ranjit Singh, who never 
doubted Gulab Singh's loyalty, was in no way 
envious of the overgrown power of his dependent 
and continued to show favour to him and his family. 




ON the 27th June, 1839, Maharajah Ranjit Singh 
died at the age of 59. A few months before his 
death his powers had visibly declined and the govern- 
ment of the kingdom was in the hands of Dhyan 
Singh, the Dewan. Rajah Dina Nath had the 
control of finances, and Fakir Aziz-ud-Din was the 
Foreign Minister, but the authority of the State was 
in the hands of Rajah Dhyan Singh. Ranjit Singh 
was succeeded by his son, Kharrak Singh, an im- 
becile and a voluptuary, who was in the hands of his 
favourite, Chet Singh. This alienated the great 
officers of the Court, who were not willing to sur- 
render their power to a Court favourite. Forgetting 
their own quarrels, the leading rajahs and sardars 
joined hands, and on 8th October, 1839, the most 
important of them, with Nao Nihal Singh, the heir 
apparent, at their head, forced their way into the 
palace. Kharrak Singh was tying his turban. Gulab 
Singh killed the doorkeeper and broke open the 
door, though Kharrak Singh tried to lock it from 
inside. The Maharajah refused to yield up his 
favourite and held him in his arms, but Gulab Singh 
tore him away. Chet Singh ran into a dungeon, 
where Dhyan Singh followed him and killed him'. 



After this, Gulab Singh left the Lahore Court and 
went on a pilgrimage to Gaya, returning thence 
direct to Tammu, The death of Chet Singh had, 
however, not improved the prospects of his family. 
Nao Nihal Singh, Kharrak Singh's young son, was 
an able and ambitious prince, and it was his un- 
disguised object to work the ruin of Gulab Singh 
and his brothers. He decided to attack Jammu and 
reduce the too presumptuous subject, who by this 
time held Jammu, Reasi, Khistwar, Rajouri, and 
other hill principalities, besides numerous districts 
given on contract by the Lahore Government. To 
reduce him was not an easy affair. Nao Nihal Singh 
realised this and proceeded systematically to concen- 
trate a very strong force at favourable points. On 
the pretext of preparing for a campaign against 
Mandi, a large force under General Ventura was 
concentrated to the east of Jammu. Nao Nihal 
Singh was compelled, however, to postpone the 
campaign for a few months owing to Afghan 
troubles. When these were over, and before he 
could undertake the campaign, Kharrak Singh died 
on the 5th November, 1840. But the same day Nao 
Nihal Singh also died as a result of an accidental 
fall of an archway under which he passed on his 
return from the obsequies of his father, Gulab 
Singh's eldest son, Ootam (Randhir) Singh, rode 
with the prince and died as a result of the same 


accident. According to Dr. Honigberger, 1 who was 
present at Lahore and treated the Prince, Dhyan 
Singh himself was injured. These facts should dis- 
pose of the baseless suggestion of Cunningham 2 that 
the fall of the archway was not accidental, but was 
the result of design by the Jammu rajahs. 

The death of Nao Nihal Singh left the Lahore 
throne vacant. Dhyan Singh favoured Sher Singh, 
a reputed son of Ranjit Singh, but Gulab Singh, 
Khushal Singh, and Bhai Ram Singh declared them- 
selves in favour of Chand Kour, the widow of 
Kharrak Singh, who assumed the reins of govern- 
ment with the title of Regent. A compromise was 
for the time arranged, and Sher Singh accepted the 
position of Vice-Regent. Dhyan Singh kept aloof 
from this arrangement and returned to Jammu. 
From there he negotiated with Sher Singh, who 
also had withdrawn from the capital. Winning over 
some divisions of the army, Sher Singh declared 
himself King and attacked Lahore, where he had 
been promised support by Dhyan Singh. But the 
Prime Minister was away in Jammu, and Gulab 
Singh, who was in the fort, refused to surrender it. 
Sher Singh had, in fact, calculated without the host. 
Gulab Singh's loyalty to Mai Chand Kour upset all 

1 Dr. Honigberger, Thirty-five Years in the East, p. 103. 
(London, 1852.) 

2 History of the Sitys, p. 244. 


his plans. Sher Singh, who marched on the capital 
with a large force, was held up in front of Lahore. 
Gulab Sirgh advised Mai Sahib to offer resistance, 
and himself took command of the forces within the 
citadel. With him in the fort were Rajah Hira 
Singh, Attar Singh Sindhanwalla, and Mansul 
Singh Sindu. The city was put in a state of defence 
and guns were placed at all the city gates. Gulab 
Singh was indefatigable in his efforts to strengthen 
the defence, and gave four months' pay as gratuity 
to the garrison. He personally went round to every 
post, inspected the garrison, and encouraged them 
by promises and rewards. This unexpected deci- 
sion to hold the fort against the army which had 
gone over to Sher Singh created a difficult situation 
for that Prince. Sher Singh was now forced to lay 
siege 1 to Lahore and to declare war against the con- 
stituted authority of the State, while Gulab Singh 
stood forward as the champion of the Sikh Govern- 
ment. Sher Singh, however, found unexpected sup- 
port in Rajah Suchet Singh and General Ventura, 
both of whom acknowledged him as King. He 
had now under his command 70,000 troops. By 
bribing the gatekeeper, Sher Singh was able to gain 
access to the city, but Gulab Singh defended the 

1 This famous siege is described in many histories. The 
description given by Smyth, Reigning Family of Lahore, 
pp. 43-61, is the most detailed. 


citadel with heroism in the face of vastly superior 
numbers. The attack began against the Hazuri 
Bagh Gate. The gate was blown in, but the small 
force which entered the city was shot down by the 
Dogra soldiers of Gulab Singh placed behind the 
gate, and the attack was repulsed. Soon afterwards 
Sher Singh was forced to withdraw from Hazuri 
Bagh. Successive assaults were repulsed and Gulab 
Singh maintained himself in the fort for five days. 
At the end of the fifth day news arrived that Dhyan 
Singh was approaching Lahore. He was given a 
royal ovation by the populace and Sher Singh per- 
sonally went to receive him at the city gate. 

By this time Chand Kour was in a state of great 
fear, and she was anxious that peace should be 
restored on the condition of proper provision for 
herself. She accordingly wrote the following letter 
to Gulab Singh : 

To the wise and enlightened Rajah Gulab Singh, 
Chief Minister of the State. 

This imperial Irshad is issued to you now. 
I thank you very much and Rajah Hira Singh 
Bahadur, Sardar Mangal Singh, Sardar Sultan 
Mohamad Khan, and other faithful nobles 
yvho helped you in the siege, for the devotion, 
loyalty and obedience which you displayed so 
heroically in holding your own against the 


usurper. For this I again thank you sincerely. 
You proved yourself most faithful to the Sircar 
and the Sircar's obligations to you are very 
great. You are now at liberty to put an end 
:o the fight in any manner you choose. The 
Sircar leaves the matter to your discretion. 
The only thing the Sircar wants is that you 
should settle the matter as quickly as possible. 
Settle the matter very soon and receive the 
Sircar's kindness. 

On this Gulab Singh opened negotiations. He 
made the following three conditions : (i) The Mai 
Sahib should be honoured and given a suitable 
position, (2) all the sardars on her side should be 
pardoned, and (3) Gulab Singh and other leading 
nobles should be taken into favour. 

Sher Singh accepted all these conditions and sent 
to Gulab Singh the following message, signed by 
himself and all the leading nobles on his side : 

To the wise and enlightened Rajah Gulab Singh, 
Minister of State. 

This imperial Irshad is issued to you now. 
Please stop firing the guns in the fort. Bhai 
Uttam Singh and Babu Blahyam Singh are 
appointed by the Sircar to come to you to the 
presence, and if you attend you will be treated 


with honour and titles. You can rest assured 
of it. We are very kindly disposed towards 
you. If you yourself do not liko, to come, 
kindly ask Mai Saheb to come out of the fort 
for Sri Granth Sahib's sake. She safe 
and welcome. Whoever prefers to die in the 
fort, keep him there, but come yourself. Your 
three conditions will be fulfilled if you come. 
Leave all anxieties aside and rest assured of our 
kindness and help. 

On a truce being arranged, Sher Singh sent a 
message praising the services which Gulab Singh 
and his brothers had rendered and promising to 
abide by the advice of the chiefs. His conditions 
were agreed to, the fort was surrendered, and Gulab 
Singh marched out at midnight on the ipth January, 

Although Gulab Singh was offered the position 
of minister under the new regime, he was in no 
mood to take part in the intrigues of Lahore, and 
preferred to return to his own dominions. It is said 
that when he left the fort he carried away with him 
the accumulated treasures of Ran] it Singh which 
were there. Sixteen carts were filled with rupees 
and other silver coins, while 500 horsemen were 
each entrusted with a bag of gold mohurs. With 
this vast treasure he returned to Jammu, where his 


presence was urgently required in support of the 
Ladak campaign, which was now in full swing, 1 

In 1841 disaster overtook the British arms in 
Afghanistan. The garrison at Jalalabad was being 
besieged, and to relieve it a British force was 
equipped at Peshawar. The co-operation of the 
Sikhs was necessary. To obtain this, Major (later 
Sir Henry) Lawrence was sent to Peshawar. His 
duty was to keep the Sikhs in good humour and 
to secure from them as much help as possible. To 
co-operate with the British expedition which was 
being organised on the frontier, the Lahore Govern- 
ment very reluctantly deputed Gulab Singh, who 
was at that time at Hazara. Gulab Singh's position 
was by no means easy. He knew well enough that 
the Lahore authorities were not in any way anxious 
to help the British in their Kabul expedition. At 
the same time, being gifted with farsighted views 
in politics, he knew that this was the occasion to 
secure the firm friendship of the British. He was 
therefore personally anxious to afford all help, pro- 
vided it was clearly understood that the obligation 
was to him and not to the Lahore Government. The 
position of the British was desperate. They had been 
driven out of Afghanistan. Their own base was far 
away, and on their line of communication was the 
Sikh State, whose neutrality, if not help, was essential 

1 See infra'. 



for success. The Lahore Government was reluctant 
to afford any help, and this was known to the British 
authorities. Gulab Singh realised the full strength 
of his position namely, that if effective help could 
be rendered to the British through his influence and 
authority, then their friendship towards him would 
be assured. 

Before Gulab Singh arrived on the scene all hope 
of co-operation with the Sikhs had come to an end. 
On the I9th January, 1842, the British force was 
beaten back at the Khyber Pass. As the British 
entered Khyber the Sikhs quietly marched back to 
Peshawar. 1 The Nuseeb battalions consisting of 
Mussulmans had mutinied at the suggestion of co- 
operation with the British against Afghanistan. They 
threatened to attack the retreating force in the rear. 
It was then that General Pollock was chosen for 
the command of the army, and he marched through 
the Punjab territory to the rendezvous at Pesha- 
war. Gulab Singh, who knew when not to hurry, 
also arrived in Peshawar, and struck his tents on 
the left bank of the river. His orders were 'to 
march to Peshawar, to coerce all mutineers, and co- 
operate with the English.' The Rajah, however, 
encamped on the left side of the river, and the first 
communication he addressed to Major Lawrence 

1 Edwardes and Merivalc, Life of Sir Henry Lawtencc, 
Third Edition, p. 223. * 


was a mild hint not to proceed by the direct road 
from Peshawar to Attock as he might be attacked 
by the Nuseeb battalions. 1 This advice was taken. 
Gulab Singh, however, managed to put the Nuseeb 
out of the way, and on the 3rd February, 1842, he 
moved on towards Peshawar in advance of the 
British troops. The Rajah took fully ten days from 
the Indus to Peshawar, a distance which he had on 
many former occasions covered in three days. 

The original intention of the British Government 
was to persuade the Lahore Government to send a 
Sikh contingent with them to Jalalabad. Previous 
to the arrival of Gulab Singh the command of the 
frontier force was entrusted to General Mehtab 
Singh, whose attitude towards the British was 
frankly hostile. 2 When Gulab Singh arrived on 
the scene he told Lawrence that it was not advis- 
able to take the Sikhs to Jalalabad. In their im- 
patience the British commanders urged on the 
Rajah the necessity of making an example and 
of disbanding the battalions which had mutinied. 
Gulab Singh replied that the Sikhs had already 
borne him ill-will enough, and that he would not 
be supported in measures of coercion. In this there 
was some truth. 3 He naturally asked the British 

1 Edwardes and Merivale, Life of Sir Henry Lawrence, 
Third Edition, p. 223. 
1 Ibid., p. 225. 3 Ibid. 


Chief to allow him to proceed in his own manner. 
To this Lawrence agreed and Gulab Singh set out 
quietly to undermine the opposition^ the Sikhs. 
Knowing the spirit and temper of the Sikh seldiers, 
he had no difficulty in dissuading them from sctive 
hostilities against the British army in Peshawar. 
If the Sikhs had turned against the British at -that 
time the whole expedition would have ended dis- 
astrously. He pointed out to the Sikh soldiers that 
it was wiser to lead the British to the Khyber Pass 
and safely across it : that if they were defeated by 
the Afghans the property they left at Peshawar 
would belong to the Sikhs, while if they defeated 
the enemy the Sikhs could claim that it was through 
their help that the victory was won. 

The Chiefs of the Khalsa army appreciated this 
wisdom. Gulab Singh was thus free to help the 
British with provisions and advice, and also to send 
some of his own troops with the British army. At 
this time news reached him of the debacle that had 
overtaken Zorawar in Central Tibet. He was 
naturally much grieved at this loss and sent Dewan 
Jwala Sahai on the iyth February, 1842, to Law- 
rence's camp with the request that the news of the 
disaster should not be made public, as it might 
cause a mutiny among his own troops. On the 
2oth February Gulab Singh paid a formal visit to 
General Pollock. The British commanders weie 


getting tired of the dilatory tactics of Lahore and 
were determined to use the opportunity to come to 
some explanation. They received Gulab Singh 
with full military honours, and after all were seated 
Captain Makeson, an officer of ' commanding 
countenance and stately form uniting the beau ideal 
of the soldier and the diplomatist/ 'advanced 
through all the preliminaries of courtesy and the 
exigencies of the situation to the inevitable climax n 
asking for what purpose had the Sikh army been 
sent to Peshawar and what orders had been received 
from Lahore. 

Gulab Singh was taken by surprise, but he was 
too experienced a diplomat to show it. His reply 
is thus described by the biographers of Lawrence : 

Those whose lot it has been to parley 
with that Ulysses of the Hills can call up 
before them the sweet deference of attention, 
the guileless benevolence, the childlike simpli- 
city, and the masterly prolixity of fiction, paren- 
thesis and anecdote with which Rajah Gulab 
Singh stroked his silver beard while listening 
to the question and then charmingly consumed 
the hours in avoiding a reply. Much had he 
to say about the past, the loyalty of his brothers 
and himself to the empire of their great master 
1 Life of Sir Henry Lawrence, Third Edition, p. 227. 


Ran] it Singh, and the wickedness of those who 
attributed to them schemes of an independent 
sovereignty. . . . But as to thgjuture and 
what had now to be done fo save the English 
garrisons still in Afganistan, Raj ah, Gulab 
Singh in all his flow of talk and illustration 
got no further than to remind the English 
that Dost Mohammad was a prisoner. But 
on being further questioned as to what were 
the orders of the Lahore Government, the 
Rajah produced a purwana in which he was 
ordered to consult General Pollock as to the 
objects the British Government had in view, 
what they proposed to effect and by what 
means, and to act in support of the British 
troops agreeably to the terms of this treaty. 1 

With this the Durbar terminated. 

The British authorities began to think that some- 
thing could not be had for nothing, and that unless 
Gulab Singh received an adequate quid pro quo, 
no help would be forthcoming. Lawrence had 
already suggested that a consideration should be 
offered to him. ' In plain terms, he explained, the 
troops should be paid extra batta, the Rajahs secured 
in their territory even with additions.' He added 
that ' if Gulab Singh assists the British efficiently 

1 Life of Sir Henry Lawrence, Third Edition, p. 227. ** 


they should assist him to get possession of the 
Valley of Jalalabad, and endeavour to make some 
arrangement to secure it and Peshawar to his 
family. 51 

These? inducements he did not want. He had his 
own reasons for rendering whatever help lay in his 
power. More, he secured the neutrality of the Sikh 
regiments which at one time were actively hostile 
to the British. General Pollock was therefore en- 
abled to enter the Khyber Pass on the 5th April, 

The British Government sent an appreciative 
Kharita, dated 8th April, 1842, to Gulab Singh, 
through Mr. Clerk, their agent at Lahore, in which 
they said that they wrote to him with the pen of 
love and appreciation. ' We heard from the Chiefs 
of our army how wisely you planned for the help 
of our troops and how kindly you rendered this to 
them. . . . The fruit of the long-sown seed of friend- 
ship between us which was concealed for a long time 
has now come to light . . . you who are the flower 
of the garden of this world . . . the most delicious 
fruit of the tree of hope, we remember your troubles 
and difficulties in rendering help to our army : we 
shall never forget that.' 

The basis of friendship between Henry Law- 
rence and Gulab Singh was thus well and truly laid. 

1 Letter to Clerk, 30th January, 1842. 


The offer of Jalalabad was renewed, but a condition 
was made by Lord Ellenborough, the Governor- 
General, that Gulab Singh should give up Ladak 
and take the Afghan province irrltsstead. , Gulab 
Singh was too shrewd a man not to see through this 
proposal. Ladak was in the vicinity of his own terri- 
tories and could not be attacked either by the British 
or by the Sikhs. He was thus the uncontrolled master 
of that area which, though barren, was his own by 
right of conquest. Jalalabad, on the other hand, was 
far away from his base and could not be held against 
an enemy. Naturally, he refused the offer and was 
content with the friendship of the British. 

The Lahore Government again fell into anarchy. 
Mai Chand Kour died in 1842. Relieved of the 
fear of usurpation, Sher Singh began to chafe 
against the authority of Dhyan Singh and sent for 
the Sindhanwalla sardars, Ajit Singh and Lehna 
Singh, to Lahore. Sher Singh had no love for the 
Sindhanwalla chiefs, but he hoped that their in- 
fluence with the Sikhs would be an effective counter- 
poise to the influence of Dhyan Singh. But Sher 
Singh was not the man to follow a consistent policy. 
He soon alienated his best friends. Lehna Singh 
was imprisoned, Khushal Singh was not in favour 
at Court, the Jammu rajahs were greatly in dis- 
favour. The idea that Sher Singh developed was 
to get hold of Gulab Singh and his brothers an'd 


kill all of them at one stroke. So in 1843 Gulab 
Singh was summoned to Kangra, where Sher Singh 
was camping at the time. Though he knew the 
object, Gulab Singh did not hesitate. Dhyan Singh, 
on the other hand, sent Hira Singh to Jasrota and 
went alone. Suchet Singh remained at Lahore. 
Failing to get all the brothers together, Sher Singh 
hesitated to act, treated Gulab Singh well and sent 
him back to Jammu. 

In 1843 tf 16 m^riage of Ranbir Singh to the 
daughter of Rajah Bijai Singh of Seeba was cele- 
brated with great pomp. Ranbir Singh was the 
third and youngest, and the only surviving, son of 
Gulab Singh. Gulab Singh married early in life in 
1809 a lady from the Rukwal Rajputs. By this 
lady he had three sons, Randhir Singh, Sohan 
Singh, and Ranbir Singh. Randhir Singh, as has 
been said above, died in company with Nao Nihal 
Singh as the result of an accident. Sohan Singh died 

Ranbir Singh, born in 1829 at Ramgarh, was at 
this time only fourteen years old. As a young boy 
he was adopted by Rajah Suchet Singh, who had 
no son of his own. He spent his boyhood mostly 
at Ramnagar, which was the jagir of Suchet 
Singh. 1 

1 Thakur Kashari Singh Bilawani, Life of Ranbir Singh in 
Urdu. (Jammu, 1890.) 


The whole family gathered at Jammu alas ! for 
the last time. Rajah Dyhan Singh, the wise states- 
man and the leading Minister of the Sikh king- 
dom; Rajah Hira Singh, the accomplished cpurtier 
and the favourite of Ranjit Singh; Rajah Suchet 
Singh, reputed to be the most handsome man in 
the Sikh army, and the numerous dependents of 
each, all came together on the auspicious occasion. 
Gulab Singh could well claim that he had laid the 
foundation of the greatness of each one of them 
all great and powerful men in the world now. 
He, the eldest, had spurned the life of the capital, 
and devoted himself entirely to the welfare of the 
family. He had raised armies, conquered king- 
doms, and laid the foundation of a future greatness 
for his family such as few could claim. The occa- 
sion was really one for thanksgiving. 

As soon as the marriage was over a messenger 
came from Lahore summoning Dhyan Singh. 
Against the advice of his brother he went. On 
his arrival he was received graciously by Sher Singh, 
but orders had already been issued to have him 
murdered. Dhyan Singh was advised of this by 
Sardar Ajit Singh Sindhanwalla. The sardars of 
Sindhanwalla played a double game in this matter. 
They hated Sher Singh and planned the fall of the 
Sovereign and Minister at one stroke. For this pur- 
pose they pursuaded the Maharajah that Dhyan 


Singh had determined to destroy him and his safety 
lay in having the Minister assassinated first. Sher 
Singh believed it and authorised the Sindhanwalla 
chiefs* in writing to get rid of Dhyan Singh. 
Having plotted Dhyan Singh's destruction, Ajit 
Singh went straight to him and informed him of 
the. conspiracy and advised him to strike the blow 
first. Ajit Singh, who was reported to be a bosom 
friend of Sher Singh, was himself conspiring to get 
rid of Sher Singh. The next day at the review of 
troops Ajit Singh shot his Sovereign dead. Lehna 
Singh killed the boy Pratab Singh, the son of Sher 
Singh, at his devotions. After this dastardly action 
Ajit Singh mounted his horse and galloped towards 
Lahore with 300 followers. 

Dhyan Singh, who was ignorant of the murder, 
was driving out at what is now the Badami Bagh 
when he was met by Ajit Singh and taken to the 
fort. As they ascended the fort, Ajit Singh, whom 
the Rajah, who had guessed the details of the 
tragedy, accused of treason, shot him dead (i5th 
September, 1843). 

Thus died Rajah Dhyan Singh, for over fifteen 
years Prime Minister of the Sikh State. As a states- 
man he had worked hard and successfully for the 
maintenance of the independence of the Punjab. 
He had resisted with all the means in his power 
the encroachment of the English Agent at Lahore 


on Sikh authority. 1 On one notable occasion he did 
not even hesitate to advise Sher Singh against a 
public interview with the Viceroy. 2 Polished and 
courtly, his personality was sueh as wou!4 have 
made a mark even in the Court of Shah Jehan or 
Louis XIV. Of his personal appearance, the follow- 
ing description is given by W. G. Osborne, Military 
Secretary to Lord Auckland : * Rajah Dheean Singh 
is a noble specimen of the human race; rather above 
the usual height of the natives, with quick and in- 
telligent eyes, high handsome forehead, and aquiline 
features ; dressed in a magnificent helmet and cuirass 
of polished steel, a present from King Louis Philippe 
of France, he looked a model of manly beauty and 
intelligence.' 3 

As soon as Dhyan Singh's death was known the 
partisans of the Jammu rajahs prepared for war. 
Hira Singh and Suchet Singh, who were in Lahore, 
immediately sent round word, and the whole aspect 
of Lahore changed. It became a city of rival camps. 
Rajah Hira Singh displayed unexpected calmness of 
mind on this occasion. He ascended the terrace of 
General Avitabile's house, and, having seated him- 
self there, sent messages to the several sardars, re- 
questing their immediate attendance. The call was 

1 Osborne, Court and Camp of Ranjit Singh, p. 75. 
(London, 1840.) 

3 J. D. Cunningham, History of the Si\hs, p. 267. 
3 Osborne, p. 74. 


promptly obeyed and the sardars, with their troops, 
assembled at the foot of Budhuka Awa. Placing 
himself in front and unsheathing his sword, the 
young Rajah said. 'You know the traitors have 
killed our Sovereign, his innocent son, and my brave 
father, who loved you as much as he loved me. 
We .are deprived of our Sovereign and I am father- 
less. I now trust your courage, your patriotism, 
and your loyalty to our lamented King. Either 
uphold me firmly or kill me with this sword, as 
it is better to die with honour than to live in dis- 
grace in the midst of enemies.' 1 

The response to this touching speech was im- 
mediate. The whole army agreed to follow him. 
Placing himself at the head of 40,000 troops, Hira 
Singh marched against the Sindhanwalla chiefs. 
Suchet Singh joined him in assaulting the fort, 
which fell into their hands. Ajit Singh met the 
fate of the murderer, and Lehna Singh also fell in 
the fight. The head of Ajit Singh was laid at the 
feet of the widowed rani of Dhyan Singh who, well 
content, declared : * I am now fully satisfied/ Then 
she addressed Hira Singh and said : * I will tell your 
father that you have acted the part of a brave and 
dutiful son.' After this she placed her dead hus- 
band's kulgee on Hira Singh's head and calmly 
ascended the pyre as sati. 

1 Syed Latif, History of the Punjab, p. 516. 


After this, Suchet Singh and Hira Singh put 
Dhuleep Singh on the throne, and Hira Singh 
became Prime Minister. After the situation had 
settled down Gulab Singh, whcr had kept kimself 
out of the intrigues of Lahore, came down from 
Jammu. He was requested by all to take up the 
post of Prime Minister. Especially was he pressed 
by Aziz-ud-Din, the Foreign Minister, who knew 
that a strong hand would be required to restore 
order and steer the ship of State through safe 
channels. But Gulab Singh, who knew the condi- 
tions at Lahore, refused to be inveigled into the 
whirlpool of Sikh politics, and returned to Jammu, 
taking Suchet Singh with him. He, however, left 
a body of his troops at Shahdara under Dewan Hari 
Chand, knowing well that Hira Singh might soon 
require help. 



HIRA SINGH had great difficulties to face as Prime 
Minister. The claims of the boy Dhuleep Singh, 
who was proclaimed Maharajah, were contested by 
Peshwara Singh, a reputed son of Ran] it Singh. 
Rajah Suchet Singh, who was jealous of the power 
of Hira Singh, declared himself in favour of Pesh- 
wara Singh and Kashmira Singh, both reputed 
sons of Ranjit Singh, who refused to acknowledge 
Dhuleep Singh as King. Kashmira Singh, who 
held Sialkot as jagir, continued in his rebellious 
attitude, and Gulab Singh was ordered to subdue 
him. The Sikh soldiers would not fight against 
Kashmira Singh, as he was a son of the great 
Ranjit Singh; but Gulab Singh, with the help of his 
Dogra forces, captured the city, though he allowed 
the Princes to escape. 

Suchet Singh had promised support to the rebel- 
lion, and the relations between uncle and nephew 
became strained. In March, 1844, Suchet Singh, 
who knew that the army was discontented, sud- 
denly made his appearance in Lahore and tried to 
raise a rebellion. But his efforts did not succeed. 
Hira Singh acted with vigour. Suchet Singh had 



left his forces at Shahdara and had crossed the Ravi 
.with only 400 men. But when he came to Lahore 
the regiments which had invited him refused to rise, 
and the next day Hira Singh surrounded his camp 
and he was overcome. He died fighting. 

So far everything had gone well. Successful 
against Suchet Singh and others, Hira Singh tried 
to place himself in opposition to Gulab Singh. The 
immediate occasion was the claim to the property 
of Suchet Singh, which Gulab Singh had taken 
possession of on the latter's death. To proceed 
against Gulab Singh required some courage, but 
Hira Singh, whatever his other faults, did not lack 
that quality. Besides, he could claim that the pro- 
perties of Suchet Singh were forfeit to Lahore owing 
to his rebellion. Gulab Singh in taking possession 
of them had proceeded on the ground that Suchet 
Singh, who was childless, had adopted Ranbir 
Singh when the latter was still a child, and that 
therefore the dead Rajah's property was vested in 
him by right. Hira Singh also claimed that he 
was the legal heir. On Gulab Singh's refusal to 
yield, Hira Singh ordered that the towns and 
grants held by Gulab Singh in the Punjab on con- 
tract be forfeited, and he decided, further, to attack 
Jammu itself. Gulab Singh was prepared for this. 
But as a quarrel was likely to cause weakness to 
both, he agreed to give half of Suchet Singh's 


property to Hira Singh, and thereupon the towns 
and villages which had been taken away from him 
were restored. 

Hire Singh could legitimately claim that within 
a short time he had restored order, suppressed all 
rebellions, and had the authority of Lahore recog- 
nised even by Gulab Singh. But his star was on 
the wane. The dissolute Rani Jindan and her 
lover, Lai Singh, turned to Jawahar Singh, the 
brother of the Rani, who was a man of some capacity, 
for help against the power of Hira Singh. Jawahar 
Singh took the boy Maharajah to the army and 
asked them to get rid of Hira Singh in order to make 
Dhuleep their real Sovereign. The army demurred 
to this, as Hira Singh was popular with them, 
but agreed to request him to surrender Julia, his 
favourite. Refusing to surrender his friend and 
realising the danger that surrounded him, Hira 
Singh left Lahore on his famous horse, Burchi 
Bahadur. But on the way the party was overtaken. 
Hira Singh died, fighting to the last, on 2ist Decem- 
ber, 1844. 

The Lahore Durbar was not yet satisfied. Dhyan 
Singh, Suchet Singh, and Hira Singh were dead, 
but the oldest and most powerful of the Jammu 
family was still alive and well entrenched in his 
possessions. To get him into their power was not 
so easy. A pretext for a quarrel was soon found. 



Hira Singh's property was declared confiscated. 
Rani Jindan sent Lala Rattan Chand and Baba Mian 
Singh to Gulab Singh with the demand that the 
possessions of Rajah Hira Singh should r be sur- 
rended to Lahore and that the Rajah himself should 
pay a fine of three crores of rupees for his contu- 
macious conduct. She also asked for the surrender 
of Mian Jawahir Singh, the second son of Dhyan 
Singh. Gulab Singh was unwilling to hand over 
Jawahir Singh to those whose hands were still red 
.with the blood of Dhyan Singh. He sent Jawahir 
Singh to Jasrota, where Hira Singh had before his 
death collected an army to attack Chamba. He then 
ordered all his commanders to be ready with their 
forces mobilised for action. He recalled even Dewan 
Hari Chand, whose troops were at Uri, and Wazir 
Lakhpat, who had gone to Khori for the relief of 
Gulam Mohiudeen, was also asked to return in haste 
with the forces at his command. The position was 
indeed critical. The Lahore Court, which had 
always been friendly, had become hostile. The 
Sikh sardars, who never trusted the Jarnmu rajahs, 
were ready to wreak vengeance on their supposed 
disloyalty to Lahore. False rumours were spread 
and revolt engineered among the Rajputs them- 
selves. But Gulab Singh never lost heart. Sardar 
Chet Singh of Attari, who was at that time living 
in Jammu, where he had taken refuge from the 


hostility of Jindan and her courtiers, tried to placate 
the Sikh soldiers, but they were bent on attacking 
Jamniu. The Sikh army attacked Jasrota first. 
Jawahir Singh, who was in charge there, was 
betrayed by his Dewan, who, with a portion of his 
army, joined the enemy. Jasrota fell into the hands* 
of Sham Singh, and Jawahir Singh retreated to 
Jammu. The forces against Gulab Singh gathered 
strength every day. Faqir-Ullah of Rajauri threw 
in his lot with the Sikhs and sent a body of soldiers 
to conquer Poonch. The regiments of Rajah Jawa- 
hir Singh at Nowshara mutinied and went over to 
the enemy. Rajah Lai Singh, the Prime Minister 
of Lahore, himself took command of the attack, and 
the Sikh forces even occupied some of the jagirs 
which had been granted to Gulab Singh. So far 
the fight had gone against him. The Rajah, how- 
ever, maintained his courage and put Dewan Hari 
Chand in charge of the defence of his palace. Wazir 
Ratanu, who had earned fame in Ladak, and Jawa- 
hir Singh were given charge of the defence of 
Jammu, which was threatened by the Sikh army 
under Lai Singh. A regiment of Sikhs was at 
Jasrota, and a force marched down from Ramnagar. 
The Governor of Kashmir was also ordered by the 
Lahore Government to send his troops to Khistwar 
and raise rebellion in that area. Thus surrounded 
by dangers on all sides a smaller man would have 


lost heart, but Gulab Singh stood firm. Among 
those who stood loyally by his side were Dewan 
Jawala Sahai, his brother Dewan Hari Chand, and 
Wazir Lakhpat. 

Rajah Lai Singh's troops halted at a distahce of 
ten miles from Jammu. As there was no possibility 
of reducing Jammu, which from its position was 
considered impregnable, Lai Singh sent Sardar 
Fateh Singh as emissary to bring Gulab Singh to 
reason. Gulab Singh said that he was prepared 
to obey the mandates of the Lahore Government 
provided his territories were respected. When the 
emissaries left the palace, Gulab Singh sent Wazir 
Ratanu with them as escort. But on their way an 
accident occurred. Some over-zealous soldiers of 
Rajah Jawahir Singh, who recognised them as 
sardars of the enemy's camps, shot them while pass- 
ing the gate. On this, Rajah Lai Singh's troops 
marched on Jammu. They burnt the villages round 
about the town, and on the 3rd April, 1845, they 
invested the town itself. On the Plain of Satwari 
a battle took place in which the Jammu forces were 
commanded by Dewan Hari Chand. The Sikh 
army was defeated and five of their guns fell into the 
hands of Gulab Singh. But Ramgarh surrendered 
to the enemy, and though Devigarh was defended 
heroically by Arjan Mai, it had to yield to superior 
numbers. At Uttambhai an attempt was made to 


stop them, but it was not wholly successful. The 
encircling movement of the Sikh army left Gulab 
Singh with the option of either withdrawing into 
the interior or of opening negotiations. He pre- 
ferred the latter course. The Sikh soldiery was in 
no mood for peace, but the chiefs persuaded them 
to retreat to Sialkot. Sardar Sultan Mohammad 
Khan and Sardar Chattar Singh were deputed to 
discuss the terms of an armistice. It was suggested 
that Lai Singh and Gulab Singh should meet and 
settle the terms of a compromise, and the Lahore 
chiefs agreed that the Sikhs would return home if 
Jawahir Singh were surrendered. Gulab Singh 
agreed, but as soon as the Sikhs got hold of Jawahir 
Singh they imprisoned him. Bukshi Barkat Ram 
even then tried to induce the Sikhs to attack the 
fort, but this scheme was upset by Gulab Singh 
himself arriving in the Sikh camp with a large 
retinue. He entrusted Dewan Hari Chand with 
the government of his State, enjoining him never 
to yield the fort or city of Jammu. With great 
courage he then went personally among the Sikh 
soldiers and won over two regiments to his side. 
Dewan Jwala Sahai was sent beforehand to the 
camp of Sardar Mewa Singh Majeetha, who was 
well known to him. The regiments which Mewa 
Singh commanded declared themselves in his favour, 
Gulab Singh distributed money liberally among 


officers and men, giving to each soldier a present 
of Rs. 5, and to the general a cash gift of Rs.25,ooo 
and a magnificent horse with saddle of gold and 
silver. By the same policy he won over sbme of 
the minor sardars and a considerable section of the 
army, which swore on the Granth, the Scripture 
of the Sikhs, that no harm would befall him if he 
went with them to Lahore. The army chiefs were 
furious, but the soldiers, without taking any notice 
of them, returned to Lahore with Gulab Singh at 
their head. 

Rani Jindan was naturally angry when she heard 
what had happened. She had sent her army to 
reduce Gulab Singh; she had directed the entire 
resources of her great State towards this end. But 
the result was that the enemy whom she was anxious 
to capture was arriving at the capital at the head 
of her own army. She sent a message giving ex- 
pression to her disapproval of the army's conduct, 
and on this the temper of the soldiers again changed. 
But General Mewa Singh, with his four regiments, 
remained true to Gulab Singh, and for the time 
there was no danger to his life. When the camp 
reached Shahdara, General Mewa Singh, who went 
in advance, was imprisoned in the fort by orders of 
the Queen. Orders were also issued to the soldiers 
to attack Gulab Singh. The situation was af one 
time so serious that he thought that his end had 


come. However, before deciding to give up his life 
in battle, he decided to outwit the soldiers if possible. 
Reminding them of their oath on the Granth to 
bring him safely to Lahore, he asked that since they 
had arrived in Lahore he might be handed over to 
the Lahore soldiers. To this they agreed. Leaving 
Dewan Nehal Chand at Shahdara, Gulab Singh, 
accompanied by Jwala Sahai and Bakhshi Hari 
Singh, crossed the river and reached Lahore. As 
soon as the party had crossed, a letter was received 
ordering the army chiefs to arrest him and bring 
him under guard to the Durbar. When Gulab 
Singh reached Lahore a great popular demonstra- 
tion awaited him. He entered the city half in 
triumph and half in bondage. He knew that he 
was a prisoner, but such was the confidence that 
the masses had in him that they took it for granted 
that Gulab Singh would come out of all the trouble 
with flying colours. 

On reaching the Durbar he was ordered to be 
placed in solitary confinement. Dewan Jwala 
Sahai courageously went to the Durbar and pleaded 
for honourable treatment for his master. There 
was still hope left, as Jwala Sahai was free. The 
Lahore Government desired to obtain Gulab Singh's 
treasure, and, knowing Jwala Singh to be in the 
secret, thought of torturing him. But the Dewan 
was more than a match for the greedy sardars of the 


Lahore Court. He spread the news among the 
soldiers that what the Durbaries wanted was to 
get for themselves Gulab Singh's hoarded wealth, 
and to divide his vast possessions amongst them- 
selves. By this method he created an agitation 
among them. The army chiefs, led by Rattan 
Singh, waited on Lai Singh and demanded- the 
release of Gulab Singh. Others were also found 
to give vent to their opinions in open Durbar, The 
soldiers remembered their oath and declared that 
if anything happened to Gulab Singh they would 
take vengeance on the members of the Government. 
When the attitude of the soldiers came to be known 
the Government was naturally in a difficult posi- 
tion. They had still another card to play. They 
produced Dhuleep Singh before the army on the 
polo ground. But Rattan Singh, who had been well 
paid by Jwala Sahai, harangued the soldiers before- 
hand, and when Jawahar Singh appeared on the 
scene with the young Dhuleep Singh, the soldiers 
declared unanimously that Gulab Singh should be 
released. The Durbar was helpless to resist this 
demand, and Gulab Singh was immediately set free. 
He was restored to the lands which had been de- 
clared forfeited on paying a fine of 68 lakhs, and his 
lease of the salt mines was renewed. He stayed in 
Lahore till August, 1845, utilising his time to become 
popular with the soldiers. 


In September, 1845, Jawahar Singh was executed 
by the soldiers, and the State was again without 
a minister. Gulab Singh was requested to come 
and take charge, but the ruler of Jammu could not, 
after his recent experience and after the treatment 
meted out to his family, be persuaded to leave his 
mountain fastness to take part in what had proved 
for his brothers and nephews a fatal occupation. 

Such was the position immediately before the 
Anglo-Sikh War began. The Lahore Government 
had made every effort to root out the Jammu family. 
Only Gulab Singh had escaped from their thirst for 
blood, and that by sheer good luck. The Khalsa 
chiefs and Rani Jindan had shown that they bore 
no good will to Gulab Singh. 


TIBET, 1834-1842 

THE plateau of Ladak does not belong geographic- 
ally to India. It forms part of the Himalayan table- 
land and has for a very long time been ruled by 
a dynasty which was Tibetan in origin. The popu- 
lation of Ladak is predominantly Mongolian in 
type. Buddhism in its Lamaistic form is the pre- 
vailing religion. 

Ladak is bounded on the north by the Kara- 
korum Mountains as far as the Karakorum Pass. 
On the west it touches Gilgit and Astore. It is 
one of the most elevated regions in the world, the 
average height above the sea-level being about 12,000 
feet. Enormous mountain peaks ranging from 
25,000 to 28,000 feet lend majesty to the ice-clad 
mountain ranges which encircle it. 

The most important portion of Ladak proper is 
central Ladak, through which runs the River Indus. 
The climate of Ladak and Baltistan is dry and 
healthy. During the major portion of the year the 
weather is intensely cold. The rainfall is very slight 
and, naturally, vegetation is very scanty. Timber 
and fuel are the most difficult things to obtain. The 
population lives by agriculture. 



The general aspect of the whole country is thus 
described by Cunningham in his book Lada\ t pub- 
lished in 1854 : 

The general aspect of Ladak Is extreme 
barrenness. Seen from above it would appear 
a mere succession of yellow plains and barren 
mountains capped with snow, and the lakes 
of Pangkong and Tshomoreri would seem like 
bright oases in a vast desert of rock and sand. 
No trace of man or of human habitations would 
meet the eye, and even the large spots of culti- 
vated land would be but small specks on the 
mighty waste of a deserted world. But a close 
view would show many fertile tracts covered 
with luxuriant crops and picturesque monas- 
teries, from which the chant of human voices 
ascends high in daily prayer and praise. 1 

Though Baltistan and Ladak are geographically 
similar and their people ethnologically the same, 
they follow different religions. The people of 
Ladak are Buddhists while the people of Baltistan 
are mainly Mohammadans. 

Ladak formed originally a part of Tibet, but in 
the fifteenth century it became independent under 
a line of Tibetan kings who accepted the Grand 

1 Cunningham, Lada\, p. 16. 


Lama as their suzerain. This dynasty continued to 
rule till the nineteenth century. The last king of 
this Ladaki dynasty was Tsepal Namgyal, who 
inherited the throne from his brother. He was 
an eccentric man, and many stories are told of his 
peculiarities. He never slept at night nor were 
any of his servants allowed to do so. It was in his 
reign that Moorecroft visited Ladak. The English 
traveller, it would seem, offered to build a fort in 
Ladak, but Tsepal had wisdom enough to refuse 
it. Through Moorecroft the Rajah offered to the 
East India Company an alliance, but for communi- 
cating this wish Moorecroft was rebuked by the 
authorities in Calcutta. The Ladaki chronicles de- 
scribe the reign of Tsepal as follows : 

Although the land had to suffer much the 
king did not perceive it, and he never asked 
whether his subjects fared well or ill. He took 
an interest only in what concerned his pocket. 
At that time the royal treasure had increased 
so much that something had to be done with 
it and the king decided to use the money for 
building purposes. 

In 1834 Gulab Singh decided to attack Ladak. 
He made a confidential enquiry of the Company, 
and, on being informed that the British Govern- 


ment had no objection to his expedition, a well- 
equipped force was prepared under General Zorawar 
Singh. This force marched through Kishtwar and 
entered the Ladaki province of Purig. This province 
was' held by the tri-sultans, whose capital was at 
Kartse. There was no opposition at first, as the 
Ladakis were taken by surprise, but about 5,000 men 
were collected in haste and on the i6th August, 
1834, an attempt was made to stop the Dogra 
advance at Sanku. The Ladakis were heavily 
defeated. Kartse fell to the Dogras and Zora- 
war pursued a systematic policy of leaving small 
garrisons in the forts with a sufficient supply of 

From Kartse the invading army marched down 
the Suru River. On the plains of Pashkyum the 
Ladakis were again defeated. As winter was ap- 
proaching, Zorawar, anxious to return to a warmer 
climate, entered into negotiations. But the Ladakis, 
depending upon the extreme cold of the winter to 
drive away Zorawar 's men, refused to negotiate and 
took to guerilla warfare. Moreover, they also set 
themselves to collect an army with which to fight 
the Dogras. By the time their preparations were 
over winter had lost its rigours. The Ladaki army 
marched to Langkartse, where the Dogras had en- 
camped for winter. But the army that had been 
collected with so much difficulty did not fight. The 


Dogras watched for a few days the camps of their 
enemies, and, finding that they were not exerting 
themselves, attacked them. No effort was made by 
the Ladakis to defend their positions. They" merely 
ran away, and in their flight the snow of their country 
inflicted untold misery. After this Zorawar had 
but little fighting to do. The Ladaki army retreated 
to Leh. Tsepal lost heart and agreed to negotiate, 
and himself came to Bazgo, where a meeting took 
place between Zorawar and the King. After the 
terms were settled Zorawar went up to Leh and 
installed Tsepal as a ruler holding power from Gulab 
Singh. He was asked to pay an annual tribute of 
Rs.2o,ooo and a war indemnity of Rs.5o,ooo. After 
making peace Zorawar returned to Lamayura. 

The Sikhs, who were jealous of Gulab Singh's 
growing power, looked upon Zorawar's conquest 
with envy. At the instigation of Mihan Singh, the 
Governor of Kashmir, the Ladakis rose in revolt, 
and the Dogra garrison in Suru was put to death. 
The cold season had set in and snow had closed the 
passes. But Zorawar was not the man to wait. By 
forced marches he arrived at Leh, to the utter sur- 
prise of his enemies. The Gyalpo expressed remorse 
at what had taken place, but Zorawar inflicted 
exemplary punishment on die rebels. Placing suf- 
ficient garrisons in the forts and leaving an agent, 
DewanDaya Ram, with the King, Zorawar returned 


to Jammu for the winter. The next year Zorawar 
returned to Leh to find Tsepal at the head of a 
rebellion engineered by the Sikhs in Kashmir. 
Tsepal was deposed and was given merely the 
village of Stog, where his descendants sti: 1 ! live with 
the nominal title of Gyalpo. In his place Ngroub 
Stanzan, a relation of the old King, was made 
Governor of Ladak. This time, however, Zorawar 
did not want to take anything on trust. He fortified 
Leh and placed a garrison there. Next year Zora- 
war again appeared on the scene, deposed Ngroub 
Stanzan, who was accused of rebellion, and rein- 
stalled Tsepal at an increased tribute. 

The country, though conquered, had not yet settled 
down. By the end of 1840 the Ladakis found a 
leader in a man called Sukamir. Before the rebel- 
lion could mature Zorawar again appeared with a 
sufficient force. The rebel leader was caught and 
publicly executed. This created sufficient fear in 
the mind of the Ladakis, who have since peacefully 
accepted the rule of Dogras over their country. 

Having thus finally conquered Ladak, Zorawar 
turned his attention towards Baltistan. Though the 
people of Baltistan are of the same stock as the 
Ladakis, they are, as has already been mentioned, 
Mohammadans by religion. The leading chief of 
the Balti country was the Sultan of Skardo. Moham- 
mad Shah, the eldest son of the reigning ruler, 


requested Zorawar 's help to get his claims recog- 
nised. Zorawar organised a Ladaki army under 
their own generals, and with the help of this force 
invaded Baltistan. The Bait} army was defeated 
and the fort of Skardo was taken. M&ham'mad 
Shah, the disinherited son, was made sultan, but 
Zorawar was careful enough to leave a Dogra gar- 
rison to support his authority. In this campaign the 
Ladakis played a notable part, and King Tsepal, 
who had never before fought a campaign even to 
save his own kingdom, accompanied Zorawar. On 
his return from the campaign the old King died 
and a grandson of his, a boy aged eight years, was 
acknowledged as Gyalpo. 

Zorawar was not satisfied with these conquests. 
He now undertook a more difficult, and as it 
turned out a disastrous, expedition. During the 
long history of India no army from Hindustan had 
attacked Tibet. No Indian ruler had thought of 
conquering it and no Indian general accustomed to 
the heat of the plains had ever dared to face the 
rigour of the Tibetan climate. Zorawar conceived 
the idea of conquering the central Tibetan province 
for his master and prepared an expedition for that 

In May, 1841, he advanced up the Indus and 
conquered Rudok and Garo. From them he 
advanced into the district of Mansarawara. So 


there had been no opposition. His army consisted 
only of 5,000 soldiers, most of whom were Balti 
and Ladaki recruits, stiffened by a small Dogra 

The country was overrun. Zorawai* himself 
camped at Tirthapuri while Colonel Baste Ram, 
who is the chronicler of the campaign, was stationed 
at Takla Gor on the Nepal frontier. Zorawar had 
not expected that any serious attempt would be made 
by the Tibetans during the winter, but in this he 
was wrong. It was in November, 1841, when the 
cold of Tibet had already become unbearable, that 
Zorawar heard that a Lhassa force was approaching 
to meet the invaders. A small detachment which 
he had sent to oppose the enemy forces and to find 
out their strength was cut to pieces by the Tibetans. 
A second force, which was sent under Gulam Khan, 
met with no better fate. 

It was then that Zorawar realised the danger. 
Retreat through the snows was impossible, and the 
enemy who was facing him was more than twice 
the number he had under his command. Accept- 
ing the Napoleonic maxim that attack was the best 
form of defence, he advanced with his whole avail- 
able force to meet the enemy. The battle com- 
menced on the loth December, 1841, and continued 
for three days. On the I2th Zorawar was wounded 
by a bullet, and, though he fought like a lion even 



after this, a Tibetan warrior pierced him through 
the breast with his lance. 

Thus died Zorawar Singh, perhaps the finest 
soldier that India produced ki the nineteenth cen- 
tury. Besides being an intrepid commander, as the 
Ladak and Baltistan campaign had shown him to 
be, he was also gifted with considerable political 
ability. His settlement of the newly conquered 
provinces bears witness to this. To have marched 
an army not once or twice, but six times over the 
snow-clad ranges of Ladak and Baltistan, 15,000 
feet above sea-level, where the air is so rarefied that 
people from the plains can hardly live with com- 
fort, is a wonderful achievement. To have con- 
quered that country after successive campaigns and 
reduced it to a peaceful province is an exploit for 
which there is no parallel in Indian history. His 
greatness will shine through the pages of Indian 
history as that of a great and noble warrior. 

'The Indian soldiers of Zorawar Singh/ says 
Cunningham, * fought under very great disadvant- 
ages. The battlefield was upwards of 15,000 feet 
above the sea and the time mid-winter, when even 
during the day the temperature never rises above 
the freezing point and the intense cold of night can 
only be borne by people well covered with sheep- 
skins and surrounded by fires. For several nights 
the Indian troops had been exposed to all the bitter* 


nesses of the climate. Many had lost the use of 
their fingers and toes; and all were more or less 
frost-bitten ... on the last fatal day not one-half 
of the men could handle arms.' 1 

When Zorawar marched into Tibet the British 
Government became anxious. The King of Lahore, 
Sher Singh, was therefore asked that Gulab Singh 
should be requested to evacuate Lhassa territories. 
The date was actually fixed (loth December, 1841), 
and Captain Cunningham, the historian of the Sikhs, 
who was assistant to the British Agent, was selected 
to proceed to Ladak in order to witness the evacua- 
tion of Tibetan territory. But before the orders 
reached Zorawar disaster had overtaken him. 

After Zorawar's death the Dogra army suffered 
untold hardship and a great portion of it was anni- 
hilated. Of the 5,000 men not more than 1,000 
escaped. The political reaction on Ladak was great. 
The Ladakis rose in revolt, and the Tibetans sent 
a force to help them. But though Zorawar was 
killed and a whole army was destroyed, Gulab 
Singh did not lose heart. Misfortune only steeled 
him to greater efforts. A new army was imme- 
diately raised and despatched under Dewan Hari 
Chand and Wazir Ratanu. This was even better 
equipped than the army of Zorawar. With the 
approach of the Dogra force the Tibetans fled in 

1 Cunningham, Ladal^, p. 353. 


the direction of the Shyok. The Dogra leaders 
occupied Leh. 

The Tibetans, however, were not prepared to 
give in without a fight. A- strong Tibetan^ force 
of 3,000 men was sent by the Lhassa authorities to 
help the Ladakis. The contending armies met at 
Drangtse, where the Tibetans had entrenched -them- 
selves. Finding them occupying positions which 
it was difficult to carry by assault, the Dogras 
dammed up a river and flooded their entrench- 
ments and thus forced them out of their strong posi- 
tions. A fierce battle took place outside the en- 
trenchments and the Tibetans were defeated. Their 
general was captured and killed on the spot. On 
this, the Lhassa Government agreed to seek peace 
and the following treaty 1 was signed : 

Whereas we the Officers of the Lhassa 
country, viz., firstly, Kalon Sukanwala, and, 
secondly, Bakhshi Sapju, Commander of the 
Forces of the Empire of China, on the one 
hand, and Dewan Hari Chand and Wazir 
Ratanu, on behalf of Rajah Gulab Singh, on 
the other agree together and swear before 
God that the friendship between Rajah Gulab 
Singh and the Emperor of China and the 

1 Translation of the Persian copy, reproduced in Gulab- 
nama, p. 264. 


Lama Guru Sahib Lassawalla will be kept and 
observed till eternity; no disregard will be 
shown to anything agreed upon in the pres- 
ence of God; and we will have nothing to do 
with the countries bordering on the frontier 
of Ladak. We will carry on the trade in 
Shawl, Pasham, and Tea as before by way of 
Ladak; and if any one of the Shri Rajah's 
enemies comes to our territories and says any- 
thing against the Rajah we will not listen to 
him, and will not allow him to remain in our 
country, and whatever traders come from 
Ladak shall experience no difficulty from our 
side. We will not act otherwise but in the 
same manner as it has been prescribed in this 
meeting regarding the fixing of the Ladak 
frontier and the keeping open of the road for 
the traffic in Shawl, Pasham, and Tea. We 
will observe our pledge to God, Gaitri, and 
Pasi. Wazir Mian Khushal Chu is witness. 

Written on the second day of Assuj, 1899 (about 
I5th August, 1842). 

The Tibetan version of the treaty is as follows : 

Kalon Surkhan and investigating officer 
Depon Pishi on behalf of His Holiness the 
Dalai Lama and his officials, and Shri Khal- 


saji Absarani Shri Maharajah, Lala Golana, 
the representative of Khashur Shag Golam 
Mohammed through an interpreter Amirshah 
(on behalf of Gulab Singh) have .artrivjd at 
Ladak and discussed the terms of the peace 
treaty. In the first place the two contracting 
parties have decided to sink all past differences 
and ill-feeling and to consider the friendship 
and unity between the two Kings re-established 
for ever. This peace treaty between Shri Maha- 
rajah Gulab Singh and Shri Guru Lama of 
Lhassa has been restored and there will be 
no cause for enmity in future in the two 
nations regarding their respective frontier. 
Shri Maharajah Sahib has declared, invoking 
God as his witness, that he will not deviate 
from the terms of this agreement. It is 
agreed that the two brothers Kings of Ladak 
and the Queen shall remain peacefully in 
Ladak and shall not indulge in any intrigue, 
besides trying to promote the friendly relations 
between the two nations. The Ladakis shall 
send the annual tribute to His Holiness the 
Dalai Lama and his Ministers unfailingly as 
heretofore and the Shri Maharajah Sahib will 
not interfere with this arrangement. No 
restriction shall be laid on the mutual export 
and import of commodities e.g., tea, piece 


goods, etc. and trading shall be allowed 
according to the old-established custom. The 
Ladakis shall supply the Tibetan Government 
traders with the usual transport animals and 
arrange for their accommodation ar hereto- 
fore, and the Tibetans will also do the same 
.to the Ladakis who come to Tibet with the 
annual tribute. It is agreed that no trouble 
will be occasioned to the Tibetan Government 
by the Ladakis. We invoke God to bear 
witness to this agreement whereby the friendly 
relations between the Shri Maharajah Sahib 
and the Lhassa officials shall continue as 
between members of the same family. This 
is sent on the second day of the month of 
Assuj, year 

As this treaty was between Gulab Singh and the 
Lhassa Government and did not bind the suzerains 
of both, a further treaty on behalf of the Govern- 
ment of Lahore and the Emperor of China seems to 
have been negotiated almost immediately. 

The following is the translation from the Tibetan 
of that treaty : 

In these auspicious days we the officials of 
Shri Maharajah Sahib, the Commander-in- 
Chief of the Western area in the Court of Shri 


Rajah Gulab Singh, and we the trusted and 
selected and the faithfully loyal Itamad-ud- 
Dowlah Nizam-ul-Mulik Sheikh Ghulam 
Mohiyuddin Subedar (Governor) of Kashmir, 
met together on the second of Assuj, 1899, 
the officials of the Lama Guru Sahib of Lhassa, 
one of them Kalan Sokan and the other Depon 
Shabeho Ea\shi in Ladak and, having settled 
differences, a treaty was recorded as in the past 
(to the following effect) : 

Now that in the presence of God the ill- 
feeling created by the war which had inter- 
vened, has been fully removed from the hearts, 
and no complaints now remain (on either side), 
there will never be on any account in future, 
while the world lasts, any deviation even by 
the hair's breadth or any breach in the alli- 
ance, friendship, and unity between the King 
of the World (Sher Singh) Sri Khalsaji Sahib 
(and Gulab Singh) Sri Maharaja Sahib Raja- 
i-Rajgan Raja Sahib Bahadur, and the Khagan 
(Emperor) of China and the Lama Guru Sahib 
of Lhassa. We shall remain in possession of 
the limits of the boundaries of Ladak and the 
neighbourhood subordinate to it, in accord- 
ance with the old customs, and there shall be 
no transgression and no interference in the 
country beyond the old-established frontiers. 


We shall hold to our own respective frontiers, 
relations of friendship and the bond of com- 
mon interests shall grow closer from day to 
day, There are several kinds of witnesses to 
this agreement. The Rajah Zadas shall, if 
they remain faithful, loyal, and obedient 
receive greater consideration. Traders from 
Lhassa when they come to Ladak shall, as 
of old, receive considerate treatment and a 
supply of begar (transport and labour). In 
case the Rajahs of Ladak should [desire to] 
send their usual presents to the Lama Guru 
Sahib of Lhassa, this will not concern us and 
we shall not interfere. From the other side 
[arrangements] shall continue in accordance 
with the old custom and the traders who 
proceed to Janthan (Cheng Thang) country 
shall receive considerate treatment and a 
supply of begar in accordance with the old 
custom and shall not be interfered with. The 
traders from Ladak shall in no case interfere 
with the subjects of Janthan (Chang Thang). 
Written on the second of the month of 
Assuj, year 1899. 



IT is not necessary for the purpose of this memoir 
to describe the reasons of the Anglo-Sikh war -and 
the campaign on the Sutlej. 

On the 8th November, 1845, Lai Singh assumed 
the post of Prime Minister of the Lahore State and 
Tej Singh was appointed Commander-in-Chief of 
the Sikh army. The Sikh soldiers did not like 
the appointment of Tej Singh and clamoured for 
Gulab Singh to lead them. 1 But the ruler of Jammu 
was away in the hills and Lai Singh was anxious 
that he should be sent to the Afghan frontier. The 
Sikhs crossed the Sutlej, as they had become con- 
vinced that the British Government intended to 
annex the Punjab. The campaign which opened 
was not so easy as the British Government had 
expected. In the open field the Sikhs proved their 
prowess, but if they had hoped for victories they 
were soon disillusioned. If there had been unity 
of command or vigour of action on the Sikh side 
the British would have been faced with a grave 

1 Governor-General to the Secret Committee. Dated 
4th December, 1845. Parliamentary Papers. Papers respect- 
ing the late hostilities on the North- West Frontiers. 



danger to their Empire. The only person who 
could have given the Sikhs the lead they required 
at the time was Gulab Singh, Unfortunately, after 
his< own experience and the fate that overtook the 
rest of his family, that chief was in no hurry to 
come to the help of the Lahore Government. As 
soon as the war broke out the Lahore Government 
ordered Gulab Singh to proceed to Peshawar and 
hold the frontier. In reply, Gulab Singh urged 
the Queen not to interfere in the affairs of the 
British. Gulab Singh wrote also to the Council of 
Regency as follows : 

The British authorities have not acted 
contrary to the agreement. Neither have they 
broken their word. So to fight them without 
any reason is wrong. Though you killed my 
brothers and their sons without reason, who 
had been loyal subjects and faithful servants 
of the departed Majesty, I have the same feel- 
ing of loyalty to His present Majesty. I cannot 
question your right to do whatever you please 
within your territories in his name. But do 
not interfere in the affairs of the British. 

This advice was not heeded and the Regency 
rushed headlong into war. When it was found 
that the campaign would be arduous and, if the 


sovereignty of the Punjab was not to be lost, 
sustained efforts would be required, the Regency 
invited Gulab Singh to come and take charge of 
the Government as Prime Minister. Gulab Singh, 
knowing that the time had not come for- his effec- 
tive intervention, went on a pilgrimage to Trikuti 
and from there went to Reasi. His excuse was that 
he had not been summoned by the Queen. 

When the campaign was going against the Sikhs 
and the demand for his return was unanimous, 
Gulab Singh arrived in Lahore. When his forces 
arrived near Lahore the Queen sent Bhai Ram 
Singh and Dewan Dina Nath to receive and escort 
him to the capital. On 2j\h January, 1846, he 
was installed as Prime Minister. Gulab Singh re- 
proached the Sikh leaders for entering on so serious 
a campaign without securing unity at home, and 
advised that an effort should be made to secure as 
honourable a peace as possible before it became too 
late. With this object he immediately entered into 
negotiations with the British Government. The 
Governor-General and the British Army chiefs, who 
had underestimated the strength and skill of the 
Sikh army, welcomed Gulab Singh's effort to settle 
the issue by diplomacy. All their ideas of dictating 
a treaty at Lahore had vanished when it was found 
that there was a difficult campaign before them. 
In agreeing to negotiate they made a condition that 


the army should be disbanded. To this Gulab 
Singh would not agree. Cunningham accuses the 
Sikh leaders of a secret agreement that the army in 
the field would be abandoned when the fight began 
and th^t the passage of the Sutlej would be un- 
opposed and the road to Lahore left open. There 
is nothing to prove this allegation of disgraceful 
treachery on the part of the Sikh commanders. 

On the loth February, 1846, the Battle of Sobraon 
was fought. This was the most fiercely contested 
battle that the English had ever fought in India. 
The Sikhs fought with undaunted courage, and the 
victory of the British, though decisive, was dearly 
bought. Their casualties numbered 320 killed and 
2,083 wounded. 

After this Gulab Singh was given full powers 
to negotiate with the British. He sent three 
messengers Lala Chouri Mai Harkara, Haski, 
and Lala Anant Ram to the camp of the British 
Governor-General . 

The necessity of conciliating Gulab Singh, at this 
critical time was realised by the British. His army 
was intact, and if he had decided to put his 
resources and force at the disposal of the Lahore 
Government the issue would again have become 
doubtful. It was reported that Gulab Singh had 
advised that the British could have been kept in 
check if the Sikhs, instead of trying to force issues 


by open pitched battles, had crossed the Sutlej with 
a few picked cavalry regiments and had attempted 
to strike at Delhi. The British authorities, wjio 
knew the force of this advice, were naturally anxious 
to conciliate Gulab Singh, and when his emissaries 
reached the. British camp the following letter was 
sent by Sir Henry Lawrence, whose friendship with 
the Rajah was well known : 


Please accept my best wishes and kindest 
regards. I received your kind letter. Let me 
explain the matter to you. I appreciate all 
that you have written wisely and prudently. 
Although it is difficult to know the rebels and 
non-rebels, the British Government wants to 
show forbearance to the Lahore Durbar. The 
Government does not at all feel happy at the 
anarchy and misgovernment of the Lahore 
State. The intention of the Company is only 
to punish the rebels so that in future there 
should be no misdeeds. I have explained the 
situation to Anant Ram, who will himself 
relate it to you. In case of delay matters will 
grow worse. You know that every time the 
Sikhs encountered the British they were 
defeated. If even now they are left un- 
punished, and there be any such trouble again, 


it will then be worse for the Durbar of Lahore. 
You will, I believe, know from this letter that, 
in spite of all that has occurred, we have still 
the same feeling and sympathy for the Lahore 
Durbar. I hope you will always favour me 
with your kind letters and friendly communica- 

This communication was a diplomatic one meant 
to assure Gulab Singh of the personal friendliness 
of the British Government without committing the 
authorities to any proposal beyond that of sympathy 
to the Lahore Durbar. But other questions were 
being discussed behind the scenes with a view to 
securing the co-operation of Gulab Singh, as will 
be evident from the following letter written two 
days later by Sir Henry Lawrence (i3th February, 


Receive my regards and let it be known to 
you that I want to say to you a word which 
will be to your utmost good. So I hope you 
may manage to hear it from me personally. 
Do this please, and do this without delay. I 
hope you will remember me with your friendly 


This cryptic and mysterious note, it need not be 
said, was the invitation to consider proposals in- 
tended to separate Gulab Singh from his allegiance 
to the Lahore State. The private proposals which 
Lawrence wanted to place before Gulab SiAgh were 
that he should be recognised as independent and 
Kashmir be added to his territory if he withdrew 
his support from the Lahore Government. A con- 
ference was held, and, when the general proposals 
with regard to the treaty with Lahore were being 
discussed, Lawrence took Gulab Singh aside for a 
private conversation. The following version of 
what occurred is that of Dewan Kripa Ram, who 
was a trusted servant of Gulab Singh and, later, 
occupied the position of Prime Minister of Jammu 
and Kashmir. 

Lawrence reminded Gulab Singh of his troubles 
with the Lahore Durbar, how he had lost his 
brothers and his nephew in the anarchy that 
followed Ranjit Singh's death, and expressed 
astonishment at the devotion which the Rajah was 
showing. He told him that the Governor-General 
had promised to grant him the hilly district, 
together with the country of Kashmir, after having 
separated them from the Government of the Punjab, 
and that Gulab Singh would be recognised as an 
independent ruler. c 

Gulab Singh, in reply, said that if the Lahore 


Government had treated his brothers and nephew 
badly they were, after all, the subjects of Lahore, 
and that in no case could any blame attach to 
Dn^leep Singh, who was at the time a child, and 
that, as he came as envoy, he could not negotiate 
about his own possessions. This was reported to 
the Governor-General and the matter was dropped 
for the time. The negotiations on behalf of the 
Lahore Government were continued, and Gulab 
Singh was able to secure for his Sovereign what was 
in the circumstances a reasonably moderate treaty. 
This treaty recognised Dhuleep Singh as ruler, 
but required that the country between Beas and 
Sutlej should be handed over to the British and 
that ^1,500,000 sterling should be paid as in- 
demnity. The conditions were agreed to by Gulab 
Singh on behalf of the Lahore Government, and 
on the 2oth February, 1846, the British Army 
reached Lahore. The success of Gulab Singh in 
negotiating this treaty infuriated Lai Singh, who 
persuaded the Regent to withdraw his authority 
and to appoint himself as Wazir. It was then that 
Gulab Singh realised the precariousness of his posi- 
tion. He had not accepted the British proposal of 
independence but had remained loyal to the Lahore 
Government. But the dissolute Regent and her 
paramour, though they sent for him at the time of 
Disaster, still cherished that violent animosity 



towards the Jammu family which had been respon- 
sible for the murders of Dhyan Singh, Suchet Singh, 
and Hira Singh. He was deprived of the wazirat 
by the elevation of Lai Singh to the post, 

Lai Singh, in accepting the treaty negotiated at 
Kasaur, protested his inability to pay the .1,500,000 
sterling demanded as indemnity in cash,- and 
offered to hand over Jammu and Kashmir. His 
idea was to deprive Gulab Singh of his territory 
and give the British the option either of holding 
Kashmir, which would have been impossible at 
that time, or of accepting a reduced indemnity. 
This offer of Lai Singh suited the Jammu ruler, and 
the original proposal to make Gulab Singh the in- 
dependent ruler of Jammu and Kashmir was 
revived. This time, however, there was a condition 
attached to it namely, that Gulab Singh should 
pay the indemnity which had been made a charge 
on the territory by the cleverness of Lai Singh. 

Gulab Singh agreed to pay the money, and the 
Governor-General on his side agreed to recognise 
him as an independent Sovereign. When the 
Queen Regent heard of this, she sent Dewan Dina 
Nath, Fakeer Anwaruddin, and Bhai Ram Singh 
to Sir Henry Lawrence and told him that if it was 
intended to implement this proposal she would 
appeal to Queen Victoria direct. This intervention 
of the Regent had no effect and the Treaty of 


Lahore was signed as originally negotiated by 
Gulab Singh. 

The treaty with the Lahore Durbar, which was 
sigked on the 9th March, 1846, had a clause to the 
following effect : 

In consideration of the services rendered 
by Rajah Gulab Singh of Jammu to the Lahore 
State towards procuring the restoration of the 
relations of amity between the Lahore and 
British Governments, the Maharajah (Dhuleep 
Singh) hereby agrees to recognise the indepen- 
dent sovereignty of Rajah Gulab Singh in such 
territories and districts in the hills as may be 
made over to the said Rajah Gulab Singh by 
separate agreement between himself and the 
British Government with dependencies thereof 
which may have been in the Rajah's posses- 
sion since the time of Maharajah Kharrak 
Singh and the British Government in con- 
sideration of the good conduct of Rajah Gulab 
Singh also agrees to recognise his indepen- 
dence in such territories and to admit him to 
the privilege of a separate Treaty with the 
British Government. 

On the 1 6th March, 1846, seven days after the 
Treaty of Lahore, Maharajah Gulab Singh of 


Jammu signed the Treaty of Amritsar, By which 
he became the Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir. 
The Valley of Kashmir, famous all over the world 
and sacred in Hindu mythology, becamfc again 
subject to Hindu rulers. 

The 'sale' of Kashmir to Gulab Singh has of 
late been attacked as a foolish and short-sighted 
policy by men who now realise how that cool and 
temperate valley could have been utilised as a British 
Colony. But in discussing this question there has 
been much misunderstanding of historical facts. 
The view that Kashmir was sold for a paltry sura 
by a Government whose main interest was to fill 
its coffers is a travesty of facts and a misreading of 

The following letter written by Lord Hardinge 
to Lord Ellenborough in justification of his action 
gives in detail the considerations that led the 
Governor-General to conclude the Treaty of 
Amritsar. Lord Hardinge writes : 

Gulab Singh was never Minister of Lahore 
for the administration of its affairs. Early in 
1845 Jowahir Singh persuaded the army to 
march against Jammu. Gulab Singh, despair- 
ing of being able to defend himself, threw 
himself into the hands of the Panchayats and 
was brought a prisoner to Lahore. He was 


there treated with great severity; and, subse- 
quently, when the army offered him the 
Wazirship, he repeatedly declined the offer. 
When the invasion took place he remained at 
Jammu and took no part against us, but 
tendered his allegiance on condition of being 
confirmed in the possession of his own terri- 
tories. This was neither conceded nor refused, 
as the Paramount Power did not think it 
becoming, while the armies were in presence 
of each other, to show any doubt as to the 
result by granting terms. I merely referred 
him to the terms of the Proclamation of 
December, when the Sikhs crossed Sudej. 
Nevertheless, it was clearly to be understood 
by the terms of that Proclamation that if Gulab 
Singh took no part against us he was entitled 
to consideration whenever the affairs of the 
Punjab came to be settled. It was evident 
that he had no cause for gratitude or attach- 
ment to the Lahore Durbar, by whose orders 
and intrigues his own family had been nearly 
exterminated, his possessions taken, and his 
sons slain. During the whole of the campaign 
he had purposely kept aloof; not a single hill 
soldier had fired a shot against us, so that the 
Government had every right to treat with him. 
They had their own interest, also, to attend 


to, which required that the Sikh State should 
be weakened and that the hills should be 
separated from the plains. 

Were we to be deterred from doing what 
was right and what had been previously deter- 
mined upon, because the Lahore Durbar, 
knowing he had not participated in their 
crime, chose to employ him for a particular 
object as being the man most acceptable to 
us? Was he not the Minister, and were not 
four other Commissioners associated with him 
for settling the terms of peace? After Mudki 
and Feroz Shah, the Rani had implored him 
to come to Lahore and bring his troops to her 
aid. He sent evasive answers. After the 
battle of Aliwal more pressing invitations were 
sent, as he alone, in their opinion, could settle 
aflfairs with the English, because he had not 
taken part against them. He came to Lahore 
protesting publicly in Durbar against all that 
had been done. He accepted the responsibility 
of attempting a settlement, but required the 
Rani to sign a paper that she would accede 
to the terms which he and the other four 
Commissioners should agree upon. He had 
been told by Major Lawrence on the 3rd 
February in a written document that c he 
appreciated his wisdom in not having taken 


up arms against us and that his interests would 
be taken into consideration. The words of 
the Proclamation, dated i4th February, were 

4 The extent of the territory which it may 
be advisable to take will be determined by 
the conduct of the Durbar and by consideration 
for the security of the British Frontier/ 

These words were meant to include any 
arrangements which would render the hills 
independent of the plain, which arrangement 
had been well considered before the battle of 
Sobraon. It was always intended that Gulab 
Singh, whose troops had not fired a shot, 
should have his case and position fully con- 
sidered. What act of treason, then, had he 
committed against the Lahore State? He had 
done good service to us, which we had recog- 
nised before he was a Sikh Commissioner, 
After the war commenced were we to abandon 
our policy and to treat the only man who had 
not lifted up his arms against us with indiffer- 
ence because he came to Headquarters specially 
deputed by the Lahore Durbar to confer with 
us as one who had not joined in their un- 
provoked invasion? His forbearance was 
rewarded because his forbearance was in ac- 
cordance with an intended policy, and because 


the charge of treachery could not be sub- 

In discussing this questiou of the transfer' of 
Kashmir, it is also important to remember the 
following points : 

Firstly: There was no sale of Kashmir at all. 
Clause 12 of the Treaty of Lahore with Maharajah 
Dhuleep Singh, then an independent ruler, shows 
clearly that even before the treaty with Lahore was 
signed it was agreed that the areas surrendered by 
the Lahore Government between Ravi and the 
Indus were to be transferred to Gulab Singh. What 
Lai Singh did was to make over Jammu, Kashmir, 
and all the territories betwen the Ravi and the Indus 
to the Company, thus giving away Ladak, Baltistan, 
and other areas which belonged to Gulab Singh 
instead of paying ^1,500,000 sterling demanded as 
war indemnity. By doing this he cleverly created 
a charge on the territory which was already pro- 
mised to Gulab Singh for his services in procuring 
the restoration of the relations of amity between the 
Lahore and British Governments. It should clearly 
be understood that the Treaty of Amritsar does not 
stand by itself. It is to be read along with the 
Treaty of Lahore, which will make it clear 
Kashmir was not sold. 

Secondly: It is clear from the narrative 


negotiations given in this chapter that the cession 
of Kashmir was the price paid for Gulab Singh's 
efforts to bring about a speedy peace which, if he 
had thrown in his weight with the Lahore Durbar, 
would not have been an easy matter to achieve. 
The ease with which the peace was concluded was 
due to the agreement reached with Gulab Singh 
by which Kashmir had already been promised to 

Thirdly: It would have been impossible at the 
time for the East India Company to conquer Kash- 
mir. It should be remembered that the British 
boundary in 1845 was the Sutlej. The Lahore king- 
dom had not been annexed and it would not have 
been possible to annex it at that time without a more 
arduous campaign. Though they had been defeated 
at Sobraon, the spirit of the Khalsa was not yet 
broken, and if there had been any attempt to annex 
the Punjab another campaign would have been re- 
quired, for which the Company was not yet pre- 
pared. With their base at Firozepur, a hostile 
Punjab on the line of communications, and the Sikhs 
ready to rise, it would have been impossible for the 
British in 1845 either to undertake the conquest of 
Kashmir or to hold it if conquered. It is purely a 
vain retrospective regret which sees in the acquisi- 
tion of Kashmir by Gulab Singh a short-sighted 
policy meant to enrich the coffers of the Company. 


Fourthly: It should be remembered that in the 
eighteenth century and long after it Kashmir was 
not considered a part of India. Till Ranjit Singh 
conquered it, Kashmir was, an Afghan province, 
and in all the schemes for the partition of the 
Punjab which were discussed, there were many 
proposals which allotted Peshawar and other areas, 
now considered to be integral parts of India, to 
Afghan princes. Kashmir was also considered 
foreign territory. Therefore the Government of 
India, even if we could impute nationalist motives 
to it at the time, could not feel any difficulty on 
that score. 

Fifthly: One of the main objects which the 
Government of India had in view was to reduce 
the area and resources of the Sikh empire, which, 
when it extended from Multan to Gilgit, was 
indeed a serious power. By the dismemberment 
of the empire this object was realised. 

Writing to a near relative, Lord Hardinge gives 
the following reason for the transfer of Kashmir, 
which makes the above point of view clear : 

It was necessary last March to weaken the 
Sikhs by depriving them of Kashmir. The 
distance from Kashmir to the Sutlej is 300 
miles of very difficult mountainous country 
quite impracticable for six months. To keep 


a British force 300 miles from any possibility 
of support would have been an undertaking 
that merited a strait-waistcoat and not a 
peerage. The arrangement made was the 
only alternative. The Government took away 
with one hand and gave with the other as the 
exigencies of the case required ; and as regards 
the honesty of the transaction, the names of 
Currie and Lawrence are a sufficient guaran- 
tee. Gulab Singh's character was not without 
reproach; but where was the native chief or 
minister to be found without similar blots on 
his escutcheon. 1 

Sir George Clerk, who was for a very long time 
the Agent to the Governor-General at Lahore, wrote 
to Sir Charles Napier as follows in March, 1849 : 

I have been under the necessity on more 
than one occasion of testing rather severely 
Goolab Singh's loyalty to us. My belief is 
that he is a man eminently qualified by char- 
acter and surrounding territorial possessions for 
the position of ruler there, that all his interests 
lie on the side of friendship with us, that he 
will always desire and sometime or another 
may need our countenace of his authority 
1 Life of Lord Hardinge, p. 133. (Oxford, 1891.) 


against enemies. Their aggressions, whether 
Chinese or Goorkhas on one side of him or 
Afghans on the other, will be retarded rather 
than precipitated by his. proximity to them in 
that form instead of our being in more direct 
contact with them. 

Sir George added that Ran] it Singh ' fostered in 
the north of his kingdom a Rajput power because 
it could have no affinity with his turbulent Khalsa 
on one side or with malignant and vindictive Islam 
on the other. Had proof of the wisdom of this 
measure been wanting, it has been signally shown 
in his time and in ours on four important occa- 
sions. Lord Hardinge gave still greater substance 
to that Hill ruler. The measure was provident and 
wise. There are those who now would disregard 
his policy and who seem to be utterly ignorant of 
the motives of it/ 

That the Government of India was fully alive to 
these considerations may be seen from the fact that 
the Governor-General in his despatch to the Secret 
Committee discusses these points in detail. 1 It was 
not without a full examination of all the relevant 
facts that the agreement by which Gulab Singh 
received the addition of Kashmir to his territories 
was signed, and it is not for those who benefited by 
1 See Appendix I. 


his action in 1845 to express regret now and allege 
that the agreement was not a fair bargain. Retro- 
spectively, it is easy to brush aside these considera- 
tions by a facile confusion of thought and to state 
how much better it would have been for the British 
to have kept Kashmir and not to have ' sold ' it for 
cash. But this is merely the vulgar view of self- 
interest which, as we have shown, would not bear 
a moment's examination. 

It is possible to hold two views about Gulab 
Singh's attitude during the Sikh war. It is un- 
doubtedly true that he had been for years cultivat- 
ing the friendship of the British Government. It 
is also equally true that when the war broke out 
between the Company and the Sikhs he did not 
hasten with his forces to the standard of his Sove- 
reign, but held back in Jammu and even went on 
a pilgrimage to Trikuti. It is also undeniable that 
when he did take charge of the Lahore Govern- 
ment in January, 1846, he could, by his ability and 
prestige and the resources at his command, have 
prolonged the war and caused infinite trouble to 
the British. In fact, at Kassur he actually gave out 
that he knew the strength of his position. 

There is, therefore, a prima jade case for the 
belief that Gulab Singh had already agreed with 
the British authorities that he would remain neutral 
in the conflict. Considering the treatment meted 


out to him and his family, few will condemn Gulab 
Singh's action. His brothers and nephews had 
been mercilessly done to death. Only a few months 
before he himself was publicly humiliated 2nd im- 
prisoned. The persistent hostility of the Lahore 
Durbar towards him and his family had been clear 
for many years. That even under this provocation 
he had not been actively hostile to the Lahore 
Government but had remained neutral speaks well 
for Gulab Singh's loyalty to the memory of Ranjit 
Singh. Up to the very last he endeavoured to 
secure the best terms possible for Dhuleep Singh. 
It is, therefore, impossible to accuse him of anything 
like active treachery to the Sikhs. 



THE. text of the Treaty of Amritsar is as follows : 

the one part and MAHARAJAH GULAB SINGH OF 
JAMMU on the other concluded on the part of 
LAWRENCE, acting under the orders of the RIGHT 
sions of the EAST INDIA COMPANY, to direct and 
control all their affairs in the EAST INDIES and by 
MAHARAJAH GULAB SINGH in person 1846. 


The British Government transfers and makes over 
for ever in independent possession to Maharajah 
Gulab Singh and the heirs male of his body all the 
hilly or mountainous country with its dependencies 
situated to the eastward of the River Indus and the 
westward of the River Ravi including Chamba and 
excluding Lahul, being part of the territories ceded 



to the British Government by the Lahore State 
according to the provisions of Article IV. of the 

Treaty of Lahore, dated 9th March, 1846. 




The eastern boundary of the tract transferred by 
the foregoing article to Maharajah Gulab Singh 
shall be laid down by the Commissioners appointed 
by the British Government and Maharajah Gulab 
Singh respectively for that purpose and shall be 
defined in a separate engagement after survey. 


In consideration of the transfer made to him and 
his heirs by the provisions of the foregoing article 
Maharajah Gulab Singh will pay to the British 
Government the sum of seventy-five Lakhs of 
Rupees (Nanukshahee), fifty lakhs to be paid on 
ratification of this Treaty and twenty-five lakhs on 
or before the ist October of the current year, 


The limits of the territories of Maharajah Gulab 
Singh shall not be at any time changed without 
concurrence of the British Government. 



Maharajah Gulab Singh will refer to the arbitra- 
tion of the British Government any disputes or 
questions that may arise between himself and the 
Government of Lahore or any other neighbouring 
State, and will abide by the decision of the British 


Maharajah Gulab Singh engages for himself and 
heirs to join, with the whole of his Military Forces, 
the British troops, when employed within the hills 
or in the territories adjoining his possessions. 


Maharajah Gulab Singh engages never to take 
or retain in his service any British subject nor the 
subject of any European or American State without 
the consent of the British Government. 


Maharajah Gulab Singh engages to respect in 
regard to the territory transferred to him, the provi- 
sions of Articles V., VI., and VII., of the separate 
Engagement between the British Government and 
the Lahore Durbar, dated nth March, 1846.* 

1 Referring to jagirdars, arrears of revenue and the property 
in the forts that are to be transferred. 




The British Government will give its aid to 
Maharajah Gulab Singh in protecting his territories 
from external enemies. 


Maharajah Gulab Singh acknowledges the 
supremacy of the British Government and will in 
token of such supremacy present annually to the 
British Government one horse, twelve shawl goats 1 
of approved breed (six male and six female) and 
three pairs of Cashmere shawls. 

This Treaty of ten articles has been this day 
settled by Frederick Currie, Esquire, and Brevet- 
Major Henry Montgomery Lawrence, acting under 
directions of The Right Honourable Sir Henry 
Hardinge, G.C.B., Governor-General, on the part 
of the British Government and by Maharajah Gulab 
Singh in person, and the said Treaty has been this 
day ratified by the seal of The Right Honourable 
Sir Henry Hardinge, G.C.B., Governor-General. 

(Done at Amritsar the sixteenth day of March, 

1 On the i3th March, 1884, it was arranged by mutual con- 
sent that in future the Maharajah should present, instead of 
12 goats, 10 Ibs. of pashm in its natural state as brought to 
Kashmir from Leh, 4 Ibs. of picked and assorted black wool, 
4 Ibs. grey wool, 4 Ibs. white wool, and i Ib. of each of the 
three best qualities of white yarn. 


in tiie year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 
and forty-six, corresponding with the seventeenth 
day of Rubee-ul-Awal 1262 Jijree). 

(Signed) H. HARDINGE (Seal). 

(Signed) F. CURRIE. 
(Signed) H. M, LAWRENCE. 

By Order of the Right Honourable the Governor- 
General of India. 

(Signed) F. CURRIE, 
Secretary to the Government of India, 
with the Governor-General* 

This treaty stands on a different footing from 
other treaties with Indian States. The territories 
of which the Maharajah was recognised as ruler 
were handed over to him in independent possession. 
While the supremacy of the British Government 
was acknowledged there was no agreement on the 
part of the Company to guarantee the internal 
security of the State, Article 9 merely binding the 
British authorities to give aid to Maharajah Gulab 
Singh in protecting his territories from external 

The sum to be paid by the Maharajah was fixed 
at one crore of rupees (10,000,000). Out of this sum 
he was exempted from the payment of Rs,25,oo,ooo 
because the Company retained possession of the 


trans-Beas portion of Kulu and Mandi. This is how 
the Governor-General describes the transaction in 
his letter, dated I4th March, 1846, to the Secret 
Committee : 

It is highly expedient that the trans-Beas 
portion of Kulu and Mandi with the more 
fertile district and strong position of Nurpur 
and the celebrated fort Kangra the key of 
the Himalayas in native estimation with 
its districts and its dependencies should be in 
our possession. These provinces lie together 
between the Beas and Chukkee Rivers and 
their occupation by us will be attended with 
little cost and great advantage. ... In con- 
sideration of the retention by us of the tract 
above described a remission of 25 lakhs from 
the crore of rupees which Rajah Gulab Singh 
would otherwise have paid will be allowed. 

Of the 75 lakhs, 50 lakhs were to be paid on 
ratification and 25 lakhs before the ist October, 
1846. The Maharajah had considerable difficulty 
in finding this large sum in cash. Of the 75 lakhs 
the British Government was already in possession 
of 15 lakhs, being the treasure of Suchet Singh 
buried in Firozepur which on the death of that 
chief the British Government had refused to hand 


over to the Lahore Durbar on the ground of there 
being another claimant in the person of Gulab 
Singh. This sum of 15 lakhs was accepted in part 
payment of the indemnity charged to Gulab Singh. 
Though Gulab Singh became by this treaty the 
Maharajah of Kashmir he was not yet in possession 
of it. It was only its legal title that was transferred 
to him. Wazir Lakhpat, who was sent to Kashmir 
to take possession of the country from the Sikh 
Governor, found it no easy task. Sheikh Imam 
Uddin, the Sikh Governor/ acting on the instruc- 
tions of Rajah Lai Singh, the Minister of the Lahore 
Government, refused to surrender the province. 
After some trouble the Wazir seized Hariparbat, 
the fort that commands Srinagar. But as his posi- 
tion was critical the Maharajah sent him reinforce- 
ments under Wazir Ratanu. The Sikh army of 
occupation attacked the Maharajah's forces. Wazir 
Lakhpat was killed and the small force sent to take 

1 Sheikh Imam Uddin is described as follows by a con- 
temporary in an article in the Calcutta Review of July, 1847 : 
'The Sheikh is perhaps the best-mannered and the best- 
dressed man in the Punjab. He is rather under than above 
the middle height, but his figure is exquisite, " as far as it 
goes," and is usually set of? with the most unrivalled fit which 
the unrivalled tailors of Kashmir will achieve for the Governor 
of the province. His smile and bow are those of a perfect 
courtier whose taste is too good to be obsequious; his great 
natural intelligence and unusually good education have en- 
dowed him with considerable conversational powers.' 


over the country was itself in imminent danger. 
Moreover, rebellion broke out at the instigation of 
the Lahore Durbar in the province of Rajouri and 
Rampur. Faiz Talib of Rajcmri, who had clierished 
the feud to which his father had fallen a victim, 
was specially active in raising a rebellion. Gulab 
Singh was sorely beset on all sides. Wazir 
Ratanu was holding out in Kashmir, but he had 
already been reduced to desperate straits. The 
Maharajah then called upon the British Govern- 
ment to give him possession of Kashmir, as he had 
fulfilled his part of the contract. Dewan Jwala 
Sahai, his Chief Minister, was sent to the British 
Government to press this point of view. He was 
received by the Governor-General, who undertook 
to help him in getting possession of the territory 
and sent Colonel Lawrence to assist him. The 
Sikh Government was called on by the British to 
compel their Governor to yield the territory, and 
Lai Singh was forced to send an army against his 
own agent. Sardars Tej Singh, Sher Shah, Mangal 
Singh, and Generals Kahan Singh Man and Lai 
Singh Moraria were asked to proceed to Kashmir. 
This force marched through Bhimber. A small 
British force led by Lawrence also marched into 

The Jammu force was under Maharajah Kumar 
Ranbir Singh. Colonel Edwardes also joined the 


Maharajah at Reasi. Sheikh Imam Uddin was in- 
formed of the view of the British Government. 
When he was thus forced by the united authority 
of the British, Lahore, and Jammu Governments 
he surrendered personally to Lawrence, He 
declared then that he had acted according to the 
written instructions of Lai Singh, and proved his 
bona fides by producing the Purwana of the Wazir. 
On this the British Government required the dis- 
missal of Lai Singh from the control of affairs at 

With the surrender of Imam Uddin, Kashmir 
and its dependencies passed quietly into the hands 
of Gulab Singh. The Maharajah entered Srinagar 
on the 9th November, i846. 1 Imam Uddin had 
left two days before and in order to avoid a meeting 
with him the Maharajah made a detour on his 
route. He entered Shergarhi at 8 a.m. 

In 1847 the tribes of Hazara rose in rebellion. 
Dewan Hari Chand, who was sent to put down the 
rebellion, was unable to cope with it. Finally, 
Dewan Jwala Sahai himself had to go, and he 
succeeded in suppressing it. The Maharajah, how- 
ever, decided to ask the British Government to 
exchange Hazara with Mandir and Garhi which 
had been given as jagir to Captain James Abbot for 

1 Report of Lawrence to Sir Frederick Currie, dated 
I2th November, 1846. 


his services in marking the boundary lines. Nego- 
tiations were opened for this purpose and Jwala 
Sahai was sent to Lahore to negotiate the agreement. 
After much preliminary conversation an agreement 
was signed by which Hazara was assigned to 
Lahore and the Jammu boundary between Muazaf- 
farabad and the town of Jhelum became the River 

The Maharajah by this received Kathua and 
Suchetgarh with part of Minawar. The boundary 
was further altered in 1847, when the State handed 
over the district of Sujjanpur and part of Pathankot 
in lieu of an annual payment to the disinherited 
rajahs of the hilly districts who took up their abode 
in British territories and to whom the Maharajah 
agreed to pay a perpetual pension amounting in 
aggregate to Rs.62,2oo per annum. The most 
important of these pensioners were the Rajahs 
of Rajouri, Jasrota, Ramnagar, Besohli, and Khist- 
t war. 

By the second Treaty of Lahore the Sikh Govern- 
ment was for the time placed under the complete 
control of Sir Henry Lawrence, and through his 
intervention the agreement was signed on the 
5th May, 1847. The settlement of the boundary 
between Tibet and Kashmir was entrusted to Vans 
Agnew and Alexander Cunningham. They left 
Simla on the 2nd August, 1846. Nothing was done 


during the year and Cunningham was again sent 
with Henry Strachey and Dr. Thomson. The 
boundary as it now exists was fixed by them. 

New troubles arose in connection with other 
areas within the State. The district of Poonch had 
originally been given to Rajah Dhyan Singh by the 
Lahore Government as a fief. On the death of 
Rajah Dhyan Singh and his eldest son, Rajah Hira 
Singh, the jagir was confiscated by the Lahore 
Government on the ground that the holders died 
in rebellion against the State. It was then conferred 
on Faiz Talib Khan of Rajouri. When the area 
between Ravi and the Indus was given in sovereignty 
to Gulab Singh, Poonch also passed to him. The 
Maharajah then conferred it on Jawahir Singh, the 
eldest remaining son of Dhyan Singh. Jawahir 
Singh now put forward a claim to Poonch as the 
Raj of his father, to Jasrota as the jagir of Hira 
Singh, to a part of the income of Kashmir, and to 
a share in Gulab Singh's private property on the 
ground that they were the joint family property of 
all the brothers. He and Moti Singh also claimed 
that they should be included by name in the Treaty 
of Amritsar. The matter was referred to the British 
Government and the Maharajah deputed Jwala 
Sahai as his agent. It came up first before Henry 
Lawrence on the nth August, 1847. Through 
Mohur Singh, who represented Jawahir Singh, 


Lawrence advised the Mian to come to Lahore and 
have a personal interview with him. The Mian, 
however, hesitated. He was peremptorily asked to 
go to Lahore on the 3rd Jamjar y, 1848. The Mian 
put oft the appointment on the ground that 
there was an earthquake which was inauspicious. 
Jawahir Singh was really playing for time. He was 
hoping that Lawrence, whose friendship for the 
new Maharajah was well known, would not con- 
tinue at Lahore. This happened as he wished, and 
when Sir Frederick Currie was appointed Resident 
the Mian came to Lahore and placed the matter 
before him. The matter was submitted to arbitra- 
tion and an agreement was effected. Jawahir Singh 
and Moti Singh were given two jagirs, Chalayar 
and Watala, with the tide of Rajah. They were 
to give to the Maharajah one horse with gold trap- 
pings every year and they were bound to consult 
him in all matters of importance. Their claim to 
be included in the Treaty was dismissed as being 
preposterous. The following are extracts from Sir 
Frederick Currie's judgment, dated i2th May, 1848 : 

That whereas the rights, titles, and interests 
in the hilly countries possessed by the Sikh 
Government passed into the hands of the 
British Government and whereas in pursuance 
of the provisions of the treaty executed by the 


latter with the Maharajah Sahib Bahadur, all 
these rights, titles and interests in the said 
hilly country have been completely and abso- 
lutely transferred to the Maharajah Sahib 
Bahadur and whereas it is incumbent to main- 
tain the old and established rights of all rightful 
persons it is directed that the Mian Sahibs will 
have no power or authority to dispose of in 
their own holding any important matter with- 
out personal consultation .with and advice of 
the Maharajah Sahib Bahadur. 

And the Maharajah Sahib Bahadur is 
assured that the entire administration of the 
whole country whether in the possession of 
the Maharajah Sahib Bahadur or his officers 
shall remain the Maharajah's sole concern. 

Jawahir Singh and Moti Singh quarrelled in 
1852, when the matter was again referred to the 
Punjab Government, who awarded Poonch to Moti 
Singh as a jagir on the same conditions. 

Jawahir Singh fell into the hands of an intriguing 
adventurer, Maulvi Mazar Ali, whom he appointed 
his Dewan. The Maulvi was sent to Swat to recruit 
an army, but the British authorities stopped him 
and he was expelled from the Punjab. Then Jawa- 
hir Singh personally went to Colonel Lawrence and 
asked that he should be made independent. His 


intrigues and disloyalty having come to light his 
estate was confiscated. 

It will be remembered that the treaty of 1846 
included Chamba but excluded Sapti as the territory 
of Gulab Singh. The Rajah of Chamba claimed 
Bhadarwah, which had been granted to him as 
jagir by Ranjit Singh, and as by the 5th Clause of 
the Treaty of Lahore the British Government had 
agreed to respect the bona fide rights of the jagir- 
dars in the territories transferred to it, the Rajah of 
Chamba's claim to Bhadarwah was strong and un- 
impeachable. But the position was anomalous, in- 
asmuch as Chamba had been transferred to Gulab 
Singh and Bhadarwah, which was within the geo- 
graphical limits transferred, was the possession of 
the ruler of Chamba. The matter was settled by 
the arbitration of Henry Lawrence, ,who awarded 
Bhadarwah to the Maharajah, together with Lak- 
hanpur and Chandgraon, while Chamba ceased to 
be a part of the territories of Jammu and Kashmir 
and became a State in subordinate alliance with the 
British Government. 

The State thus assumed its present shape. An 
area consisting of more than 80,000 square miles, 
including part of Tibet as well as a part of the 
Pamirs, besides the genuinely Indian kingdoms of 
Jammu and Kashmir, came into Gulab Singh's pos- 
session. This area had never been effectively united 


under one ruler before and much of it, with, of 
course, the exception of the Valley of Kashmir, had 
never known settled government. The work of 
acquisition was finished. The work of consolidation 
and of government remained, and this, in view of 
the diversity of population, interests, climate, and 
lack of continuity in the past, was by no means an 
easy task. It is to the great credit of Gulab Singh 
that to this all-important task he now bent his 
energies, and though he was already fifty-three when 
he became a Sovereign Ruler, his efforts in this 
direction were crowned with success. 



THE State that was thus created differed from the 
other internal States of India in that it was totally 
independent in its internal affairs. No control was 
exercised by the British Government in the adminis- 
tration, and no Resident was appointed. In fact, 
the political position in the Punjab made any such 
intervention impossible. The hostility of the Sikh 
population and the strained relations with Afghan- 
istan made it necessary for the British Government 
to cultivate the friendship of Gulab Singh and to 
treat him as a specially valued ally. If at any time 
they had other ideas, the crisis to which affairs in 
the Punjab were fast moving showed them in which 
direction their true interests lay. 

1848 saw the outbreak of the second Sikh War. 
Sardar Chattar Singh allied himself with Dost 
Mohammad Khan, and the whole of the Punjab rose 
up in arms against the establishment of British 
authority in Lahore. Chattar Singh sent an agent 
to the Maharajah at Srinagar, but Gulab Singh 
advised him against his schemes. Dost Mohafti- 
mad also sent an agent, but the Maharajah refused 



to receive him. At the beginning of the war Gulab 
Singh wrote to the Government of India expressing 
his readiness to help. The Simla authorities were 
in a suspicious mood and even thought that the 
Maharajah was not to be trusted. But when the 
situation became serious, Gulab Singh was requested 
to help the British by closing the passes and to 
despatch an army to fight the rebels. The bound- 
aries of Kashmir were closed and a strong force 
under Syed Ghulam AH Shah and Wazir Zorawar 
was sent to Lahore with instructions to act under 
Sir John Lawrence's orders. The Maharajah also 
kept three divisions at Munabir, Bhimber, and 
Mirpur to prevent the rebellion from spreading to 
his territories. 

An attempt was made by Sir Lepel Griffin at 
a later time to connect Gulab Singh with the second 
Sikh War. He says : * Although the proofs of 
Gulab Singh's complicity in the rebellion might fail 
to satisfy a court of law, yet there is sufficient evi- 
dence for history to decide against him.' What 
this evidence is that Sir Lepel Griffin considers to 
be sufficient for history will be seen from his views 
given below: 

In the first place, there is the universal 
belief, shared by the late Dost Mohammad 
Khan, that Gulab Singh was* the instigator 



of the rebellion and that against his will 
Chattar Singh would not have raised his hand. 
The evidence given by Hiranand, the agent 
sent by Chattar Singh to the Maharajah, re- 
corded in October, 1849, though in many parts 
exaggerated and contrary bears the general 
stamp of truth. . . . No documentary, evi- 
dence of any kind was discovered; but the 
most wily of men was not likely to commit 
himself by writing what might be verbally 
explained, or expressed by a sign or by the 
pressure of a finger. 1 

This is the evidence which the imagination of 
Sir Lepel considers to be sufficient for history to 
decide against Gulab Singh. It consists of a 
common belief, which it is said was shared by 
Dost Mohammad, and is merely rumour. In the 
circumstances of the rebellion it was clearly to the 
advantage of the rebels to spread the rumour that 
the powerful sovereign of Kashmir was going to 
join them. The friendship with Chattar Singh, 
the second piece of evidence, does not mean any- 
thing. The Maharajah maintained friendly rela- 
tions with almost all the chiefs at the Sikh Court, 
and to infer from it that none of them would have 
1 raised his hand' without the approval of Gulab 

1 Punjab Chiefs, Second Edition, p. 511. 


Singh is obviously absurd. The third point on 
which Sir Lepel Griffin makes his allegation is the 
deposition of Hiranand, the agent of Chattar Singh, 
which definitely tries to implicate the Maharajah. 
But Sir Lepel himself agrees that his evidence is 
exaggerated and contradictory. Why it should be 
believed only when it goes against Gulab Singh does 
not seem clear. 

Griffin, writing two generations after the event, 
wishes to implicate Gulab Singh in the second Sikh 
War on no evidence, while we have the evidence of 
Sir George Clerk, 1 who, writing in March, 1849, 
immediately after the rebellion, stated that he had 
tried very severely the loyalty of Gulab Singh on 
many occasions and found him true. 

In fact, Gulab Singh did everything in his power 
to help in the suppression of the rebellion, as we 
have pointed out above. 

The strength of the Sikh army was broken at 
Gujrat, where Ram Singh met an heroic death. 
Says the author of Gulabnama: 'Ram Singh 
Chuppuwalla, who was very brave, not likely to 
run away from the field, drank very boldly of the 
cup of death and proved the manly valour which 
he possessed.' 

When Lord Dalhousie came to Lahore, Gulab 
Singh was invited to go down and meet him. He 

1 Life of Sir Henry Lawrence, Third Edition, p. 388. 



came down from Srinagar to Jammu but did not 
go to Lahore. The Maharajah had good reasons 
for avoiding the interview. It was well known 
that Lord Dalhousie not only disliked GulatT Singh, 
but carried his prejudice to the extent of quarrelling 
.with Sir Henry Lawrence on that account. The 
Commander-in-Chief, Lord Napier, however, fixed 
a day for a visit and they met at Sialkot. Sir 
John Lawrence came to Jammu to escort the Maha- 
rajah to the meeting place. Another attempt was 
made by the Governor-General to meet the Maha- 
rajah, It was suggested that he should visit Jammu, 
and Dewan Jwala Sahai jvas sent to settle the cere- 
monials. As no agreement could be reached with 
regard to the formalities of a visit to Jammu, it was 
finally decided that the Governor-General should 
come up to Wazirabad. The Maharajah, accom- 
panied by the heir-apparent, Ranbir Singh, Rajahs 
Jawahir Singh and Moti Singh and other leading 
sardars went to Wazirabad. Sir John Lawrence, 
who was then the President of the Board of Control 
in the Punjab, came with Sir Robert Montgomery 
and Lord Napier to receive the Maharajah, who was 
accorded military honours. 

The interview between the Maharajah and Dal- 
housie had to be postponed for a few days owing 
to the indisposition of the latter. When it actually 
took place the Maharajah was escorted to the camp 


of the Governor-General. Dalhousie himself came 
to the door and took the Maharajah by the hand 
and seated him on his right. Salutes were fired 
and presents were exchanged. 

In 1850 Sir Henry and Lady Lawrence came to 
Kashmir by the Banihal route. They were received 
at Anantnag by the heir-apparent, Prince Ranbir 
Singh. During their stay at Srinagar they met 
Gulab Singh several times. Lawrence went from 
there to Skardu and Ladak. The object of his 
mission, of course, was to see what were the pos- 
sibilities of the Central Asian trade. 

European visitors had already begun to come in 
large numbers to Kashmir, and as early as 1847 
Gulab Singh was complaining of their irregularities. 
Dr. Honigberger, who visited him in that year, 
records the following conversation with the Maha- 
rajah on the subject : 

At the period when I was in Cashmere the 
Maharajah had several English visitors whom 
he treated with the greatest hospitality. . . . 
In a conversation, however, which I had with 
the Maharajah, he complained that many of 
the servants of European visitors had abused 
the hospitality displayed towards them, for 
they had frequently taken with them very large 
quantities of saffron and other products of the 


country, much beyond what they could really 
use during their sojourn. 1 

Among the prominent , visitors who were the 
Maharajah's guests were Lord Grifford, brother-in- 
law of Lord Hardinge, Sir Henry Lawrence, and 
Colonel King. 

In spite of the personal cordiality between the 
Maharajah and high British officials, diplomatic 
relations at this time were not wholly friendly. In 
1848 Lord Hardinge wrote to the Maharajah stating 
that the nature of his internal administration aroused 
misgiving in the minds of the British Govern- 
ment, and claiming the right on the part of the 
Company to interfere in his affairs. The object of 
this communication was to get a Resident appointed 
at Srinagar, for which no provision had been made 
in the treaty of 1846. The Maharajah claimed that 
a promise had been given to him that no Resident 
would be appointed in his State. The matter was 
again raised in 1851 on the ground that every year 
there was an increasing number of British visitors 
to the valley whose interests should be looked after 
by a Resident. The Maharajah strongly resisted 
this claim, protesting that the appointment of a 
political officer, as in other Indian States, was 

1 Honigberger, Thirty-five Years in the East, pp. 178-179. 
(London, 1852.) 


against the degree of independence guaranteed to 
his State, and that as the European visitors fre- 
quented the valley in summer it would be sufficient 
if an officer were appointed for the season only. 
On this, the Government of India withdiew the 
claim to appoint a Resident and agreed to the 
deputation of an officer in Srinagar for this duty 
during the summer only. The following letter from 
Sir John Lawrence, dated I4th January, 1852, to 
Dewan Jwala Sahai, will show the purpose of the 
appointment : 

On account of certain excesses committed 
by some European visitors in the past year, 
I intend to appoint some responsible European 
official at Srinagar to stay there till the return 
of the said visitors in order that he may put 
a stop to the occurrence of such excesses. As 
the Maharajah is well acquainted with the 
good intentions and sociability of Major Mac- 
Gregor, I wish he may be allowed to stay at 
Srinagar till the end of the hot season to super- 
vise the conduct of European visitors to Kash- 
mir. As this arrangement is also for the benefit 
of His Highness it is hoped it will be gladly 
accepted by His Highness. 

The officer so appointed enjoyed no powers of 


political supervision. The proposal to appoint a 
Resident was revived in 1873, w ^n Maharajah 
Ranbir Singh was on the throne. In a well-reasoned 
communication the Maharajah pointed out that 
there was no provision in the treaty which gave 
authority to the British Government to appoint a 
Resident, and quoted as a precedent the proposal 
of 1851. The British Government then withdrew 
the claim. 

The administration of Kashmir called forth all 
the statesmanship of Gulab Singh. In the later days 
of Sikh administration the affairs of the province 
had been sadly neglected. The shawl industry, 
which is the mainstay of the population of Kash- 
mir, was weighed down by heavy and capricious 
taxation; reckless Governors, especially Sheikh 
Imam Uddin, had given away much of the land 
in the valley as rent-free concessions; an oppres- 
sive system of begar, or forced labour, made the 
life of the peasantry miserable; sati and infanti- 
cide were common; the hilly areas were infested 
with robbers. 

Almost immediately on taking up the reins of 
administration Gulab Singh determined to make 
his power felt through the length and breadth of 
his vast kingdom. He put down rebellion with 
a strong hand. Order was restored in every part 
of the country and every effort was made to render 


trade and commerce safe for all The result was 
immediately visible. Nicholson notes as follows in 
his official Diary on the igth November, 1847 : l 

Had some conversation with a party of 
Kabul merchants taking tobacco and snuff to 
. Kashmir whence they intend returning with 
pattoo and tosh, which last fetches a very high 
price in Kabul. They complained of the 
oppressive duties in their own and Maharajah 
Gulab Singh's territories but remarked that in 
the latter their goods were protected whereas 
they frequently ran great risks from the 
plundering tribes between Kabul and Pesha- 

The great difficulty that the Maharajah experi- 
enced was with regard to jagir grants. There were 
no less than 3,115 jagir s granted in Dharmuth 
besides numerous alienations of other kinds. A 
large number of them were unregistered. The 
Sikh Governors, Sheikh Goolam Mohi Uddin and 
Shiekh Imam Uddin, were extremely lavish in their 
grants, especially the latter, who for the sake of 
popularity signed away large tracts of land at the end 
of the Sikh regime. As soon as the Maharajah took 
charge of his country he instituted an inquiry of 

1 Lahore Political Diaries, vol. vi., p. 321, 


quo warranto. The jagirdars and other grantees 
were greatly agitated and loudly complained that 
the Maharajah was resuming their ancient posses- 

Tyler, who conducted an independent enquiry, 
states 1 that the Maharajah was inclined to be just 
and reasonable. His point was that people who 
began as revenue farmers should not claim the land 
they held in farms to be jagirs; that grants when 
made should be strictly adhered to; that grantees 
who were given one acre should not be allowed to 
possess two on the same sanad, and that in cases 
of treason, rebellion, and gross misbehaviour the 
jagirs should be liable to resumption. 

The question of begar, or forced labour, which 
was at that time widely prevalent and which caused 
the inhabitants a great deal of avoidable inconveni- 
ence, was also taken up by the Maharajah. His idea 
was to determine a certain number of men in each 
village who would be considered liable to do labour 
when called upon by Government. For this they 
were to be paid one kharwar of rice per month and 
their food when employed. Men not called upon to 
do begars in the course of the year were only to be 
paid six kharwars for the year. An officer was 
appointed to take charge of this work. 

Another important reform undertaken by the 

1 Punjab Political Diaries, vol. vi., p. 60. 


Maharajah was the rationing of rice in the valley, 
Kashmir, owing to its extreme inaccessibility and 
the insurmountable difficulties of heavy transport, 
was always liable to sudden famine owing either to 
failure of the rice crops or the cornering of the 
grain market. In order to meet this situation the 
Maharajah established a rigid monopoly of rice and 
had it sold at a fixed price to the people. Though 
this system gave rise to vociferous complaints, especi- 
ally from the grain dealers, its wisdom was obvious. 
It is worthy of note that immediately after the recent 
Great War the State had to revert to this old practice 
of Gulab Singh and re-established the system of 
grain control. 

Another serious question to which the Maharajah 
had to devote his earnest attention was the re- 
organisation of the shawl department. 

The shawl department was carried on under a 
controller, who had under him the Nukdee kar- 
khandars. A Nukdee karkhandar, or master of 
a factory, is in general a man of property. He 
has under him the shagirds, or workmen, whom he 
pays individually, and their materials are provided 
by him. He is responsible to the State. 

Before 1833 the duty on shawls was levied accord- 
ing to the number made and stamped in the year 
at the rate of 3 annas in the rupee. 1 This was found 

1 Tyler's Report, Punjab Political Diaries, vol. vi., pp. 44-45, 


unsuitable, and in 1835 General Mian Singh estab- 
lished the Baj, or fixed amount of tax, to be paid 
by each shop. The Baj was fixed at Rs-96 per 
annum and extended to 1,000 shops. This system 
was continued by Sheikh Ghulam Mohiudeen, 
though the tax itself was increased to Rs.i2O per 
shop. When the Maharajah took over the adminis : 
tration he improved the system and renumbered the 

For new shops Gulab Singh charged only half the 
tax for the first few years. In 1847 the karkhandars 
requested the Maharajah that there should be a 
yearly numbering of workmen, that the Nuzzerana 
should be reduced, that the wages of the workmen 
should be definitely fixed and that a settled Ayeen 
should be established for them. The other most 
important reforms that the Maharajah introduced 
as soon as he arrived in Kashmir were, firstly, the 
abolition of the Moulut, by which the accounts were 
continued to the i4th month, and, secondly, the 
cancellation of unnecessary taxes like the Chuttinia. 

By the system which was in force the workmen 
were not free to change their masters. They were 
also paid very low wages ; in fact, the wages which 
were fixed at Mian Singh's time were still in force 
when the Maharajah took control. When the 
Maharajah came to Kashmir complaints were heard 
that the karkhandars were not paying the workmen 


properly. He therefore raised their pay to 5^ annas 
in the rupee, binding, at the same time, the work- 
men to do a fixed minimum of work. 

On 6th June, 1847, the workmen struck work 
and about 4,000 of them set out for Lahore, The 
Maharajah told them that their complaints would 
be enquired into if they returned to work. This 
they did, and the Maharajah enquired into their 
case in open Durbar, and in July, 1847, p romu l- 
gated a new system of control for the shawl de- 
partment. By this the Kaid, or the law which 
bound the shagirds to work for the same master, 
was abolished and the workmen became free. The 
minimum salary for the workmen was fixed at 
4 annas in the rupee, and the Baj system was abol- 
ished, the tax being imposed on the finished article. 
Very liberal arrangements were made for the Baj 
due to Government during the year. 

The reorganisation of the shawl department was 
a great achievement, as the system had the follow- 
ing advantages : 

(1) The baft system ensured that the tax should 
be regulated by the price of the shawl in market, 

(2) The karkhandar had to pay only according 
to the work done in the shop. 

(3) The shagird was no longer a serf. 

These great administrative reforms restored the 
prosperity of the country, and Gulab Singh was in 


a position to devote his attention to the reorganisa- 
tion of his army. The efficiency, contentment, and 
training of his forces were always matters of deep 
concern to him. As soon as he was estaBlished 
firmly on the throne he devoted his attention to 
these matters. Foundries and arsenals were estab- 
lished in the State; the forts were repaired and 
garrisoned; the hill levies, which formed his main 
strength, were organised into regiments, and a code 
of military instructions and orders was drawn up. 
It is of special interest to note that instead of copying 
English words of command the Maharajah had the 
same coined in Sanskrit. The names of his regi- 
ments were also taken from Hindu tradition. Thus 
there were the Gobardhan Regiment, the Raghu- 
nath Regiment, and the Lachhman Regiment. The 
military efficiency of his forces was recognised by 
all observers and stood the test of more than one 
difficult campaign on the Gilgit frontier. Indeed, 
events on this frontier took a critical turn soon after 
his accession. After the second Sikh War his atten- 
tion was mainly devoted to troubles in that area. 
To a discussion of the course of events in that region 
we must now turn. 

The Gilgit frontier occupies to-day a position of 
importance in the defence of India. But in the 
middle of the last century, when Russia was still far 
away from the Indian frontier, no importance was 


attached to this hilly country on the roof of the 
world. The area on the northern and western sides 
of the Indus has long been under the occupation of 
independent and unruly Mohammadan tribes. These 
tribal communities, who are often at feud w ; th one 
another, acknowledge no master. The most im- 
portant among them are the tribes in the Khushwaqt 
country, whose chief is now the Mehtar of Chitral. 
Other important chiefs are the Mirs of Hunza and 
Nagar, and the Rajah of Punial. 

In 1841 this frontier witnessed one of those 
sudden convulsions which are not rare in tribal 
communities of a warlike character. Gaur Rah- 
man, the eldest son of Mulk Imam, the ruler of 
Yasin, and brother-in-law of Imam-ul-Mulk, the 
Mehtar of Chitral, attacked and conquered Gilgit 
and killed its ruler. Karim Khan, the brother of 
the dead Rajah, thereupon called upon the Sikh 
Governor of Kashmir for help. The Sikhs, not 
loth to extend their territory into Central Asia, 
deputed Syed Nathu Shah of Gujranwalla, a 
capable commander, with a strong force to the help 
of Karim Khan. In 1842 Astore was occupied by 
Nathu Shah and Gaur Rahman was defeated. 
Though recalled for a short time, during which 
Gaur Rahman inflicted a defeat on the Sikhs, Nathu 
Shah was sent back again, and successfully pacified 
the border, taking in marriage the daughters of 


Gaur Rahman, and of the Mirs of Hunza and 
Nagar. Karim Khan, who had asked for Sikh aid 
to get himself restored, received nothing. Gilgit 
was permanently occupied by the Sikhs, 

When Gulab Singh acquired Kashmir, though 
the Treaty of Amritsar gave him only the hilly 
country between Ravi and the Indus, it was under- 
stood that he had inherited all the claims that the 
Sikh Government had over these areas. Nathu 
Shah also transferred his services to Gulab Singh 
and was entrusted with the Government of the 

In 1847 Nathu Shah, with the permission of 
Gulab Singh, allowed Lieutenants Agnew and 
Young of the Bengal Engineers to visit Gilgit. 
Among Agnew's other exploits may be mentioned 
the fact that, being refused permission by the chief 
of the place to enter Nagar territory, he wrote to 
the Mir that the British Government, knowing that 
Gulab Singh's conquest of Baltistan and Ladak had 
caused him to be looked upon with apprehension 
by the people of those countries, had sent him to 
reassure them. 1 The Mir of Hunza accused Nathu 
Shah of having allowed Europeans to come to the 
country, and on this ground attacked him. In the 
fight that ensued Nathu Shah was killed. Gaur 
Rahman, the stormy petrel of the Gilgit frontier, 

1 Lahore Political Diaries, vol. v., p. 297. 


also rebelled at the same time, and the whole 
frontier was up in arms. The Maharajah, however, 
sent a strong force and peace was restored. 

In 1851 the frontier rose again in rebellion. The 
Chilasis began plundering the possessions of the 
Maharajah in Hazara. As the Maharajah was 
then in Jammu and winter was approaching te 
confined himself to making preparations for a puni- 
tive expedition. A powerful force under Dewan 
Hari Chand, Colonel Buji Singh, Colonel Jowahir, 
and Dewan Thakurdas was despatched in the 
spring of 1852. As soon as the winter was over 
Chilas was surrounded and besieged. The fort of 
Chilas is placed in a naturally impregnable posi- 
tion and the Maharajah's forces found great diffi- 
culty in besieging it. The country is very barren 
and the army had to depend on provisions taken 
from Kashmir. These, however, were soon 
exhausted. Over 1,500 men died in the course of 
a few weeks. Colonel Buji Singh was seriously 
wounded. Confusion prevailed in the ranks, and, 
according to the author of Gulabnama, the soldiers 
were forced to eat c the leaves of trees and barks of 

The endurance of the Dogra soldier shone out 
under these trying circumstances. The Maharajah 
wks at that time in very bad health and suffering 
from dropsy, and anxiety concerning the fate of 


his army on the frontier was having visible effects 
on him. But, even in that state of health, when 
the news of the dangerous position of the army 
before Chilas was conveyed to him, he ordered 
that preparations should be made for him to start 

While these preparations were in progress -the 
Court astrologer appeared before him and said: 
4 Your Highness, the fort has already been taken; 
the soldiers have plenty of food and drink.' 

The Maharajah, who was furious at what he 
considered to be an untimely jest, said : * You have 
eaten well, but my soldiers are hungry and dying. 
How shall I trust in your word?' 

The astrologer replied : * If I am a Brahmin and 
the legitimate son of my father you will hear the 
news soon.' 

The astrologer did not wait. He went home. 
The prophecy turned out to be true and the Maha- 
rajah was pleased and granted him jagirs which his 
descendants still enjoy. 

The story of how the Dogra army, which was 
put to such straits, conquered the Chilas fort is 
interesting. The fort is on a high hill, and its 
water supply depends on one well. The Dogra 
commander ordered a big hole to be made and 
drained all the water from the well. Thus deprived 
of their only source of water the Chilasis sur- 


rendered. Their leaders were brought to Srinagar, 
where they accepted the Maharajah's authority and 
left their sons as hostages. 

Hostilities were not, however, confined to Chilas. 
In Gilgit also trouble soon broke out. The Kashmir 
forces on the frontier were posted at three points : 
at Gilgit, at Bunji, and at Astore. The main force 
at Gilgit was under Bhup Singh. Gaur Rahman 
surrounded the two forts at Bunji and Astore. The 
garrison, which made a sortie, was cut up, and Bhup 
Singh's reserve, which was sent in relief, was totally 
destroyed. Of Sant Singh's main force at Astore 
only a Gurkha woman escaped. This brave lady 
threw herself into the river which flows below the 
Gilgit fort and, swimming across the Indus, arrived 
in Kashmir to tell the mournful tale. She was 
rewarded with a pension by Maharajah Gulab 

In 1851 troubles arose on the Tibetan frontier 
also. The trade missions from Tibet were by old 
custom, which the Maharajah had undertaken 
to maintain, entitled to free transport. The 
Zamindars of Ladak, no longer afraid of the 
Tibetans, refused to render the mission free service. 
The Grand Lama protested against this breach of 
the agreement and deputed two Garpons, or Pro- 
vincial Governors, to settle the question. The 
following is a translation of the agreement which 



was entered into by the representatives of the Maha- 
rajah and the Dalai Lama in this connection : 

This is dated the third day of the month 
of the Water Bull Year [apparently 1852], 

The Ladakis refusing to supply the Tibetan 
Government trader Ke-Sang Gyurme with the 
usual transport animals on account of the 
decreased tea trade, the Nyer-pass of the 
Garpons were deputed to enquire about this 
matter and to investigate the boundary dispute 
between Ladak and Tibet. A meeting was 
accordingly arranged between Ladak Thana- 
dar Sahib Bastiram and Kalon Rinzin accom- 
panied by his servant Yeshe Wangyal and an 
agreement was made as follows : 

In future the Ladakis will supply the 
Tibetan Government traders with the usual 
transport requirements without any demur. 
The joint Te-Jis 1 will request their Government 
to appoint only intelligent and capable men to 
take the annual tribute to Tibet. The Ladakis 
shall provide the Tibetan Government traders 
with accommodation and servants as usual and 
render them any further assistance according 

to the old-established custom. The Garpons 

1 *>., the Garpons of Sartok. 'Teji' is a Tibetan title 

which the then Garpons might have held. 


will issue orders to the effect that tea and 
woollen goods arriving at Nagari shall only 
be sent to Ladak and not to any other place. 
The boundary between Ladak and Tibet will 
remain the same as before. No restriction 
shall be laid by the people of Rudok on the 
export of salt and woollen goods and the im- 
port of barley flour and barley. Neither party 
shall contravene the existing rules and the 
rates of Customs duties and market supplies 
shall be fixed by both parties concerned. The 
above rules shall apply also to the Rongpas 1 , 
who export salt. The travellers from North 
and West who come through Rong are given 
passports by the Thanadar. They are liable 
to Customs duties as prescribed in their pass- 
ports. Should any of them be unable to pro- 
duce his passport, he shall be made to pay 
fifty times the amount ordinarily recoverable 
from him. No case will be heard against 
such recoveries made by the Customs Officer. 
In deciding all important matters the ruler 
shall take into consideration the manners and 
customs of both sides and observe the old- 
established rules regarding supply of transport, 
etc. There shall be no restriction in grazing 
animals in the pasture reserved for the animals 
1 i.e., people inhabiting the valley countries. 


of the Government traders, but the people 
shall not be allowed to abuse this privilege by 
bringing animals from outside to graze on it. 
Both parties shall adhere strictly to the agree- 
ment thus arrived at between Tibet and 
Singpas (Kashmiris), and the two frontier 
officers shall act in perfect accord and co-opera- 

Drawn in duplicate and sealed by Thanadar 
Sahib Bastiram and Kalon Rinzin Two Nyer- 
pass of the Garpons. Witness Yeshe Wangyal, 
Private servant of Kalon Rinzin. 

We have already described the adminstrative re- 
forms of Gulab Singh. His methods were no doubt 
medieval, but he took great pains in governing the 
country justly. As Sir Henry Lawrence has said, 
his government was 'mild, conciliatory, and even 
merciful.' He himself personally looked into all 
affairs, great and small. 

An English writer who knew the conditions of 
the State well has thus described Gulab Singh's 
method of administration. 

He was always accessible and was patient 
and ready to listen to complaints. He was 
much given to looking into details so that the 
smallest thing might be brought before Him 
and have his consideration. With the custom- 


ary offering of a rupee as Nazar anyone could 
get his ear; even in a crowd one could catch his 
eye by holding up a rupee and crying out, 
* Maharaj, Arz Hai,' that is, * Maharaja, a peti- 
tion.' He would pounce down like a hawk 
on the money, and having appropriated it 
would patiently hear out the petitioner. Once 
a man, after this fashion making a complaint, 
when the Maharaja was taking the rupee, 
closed his hand and said : ' No, first hear what 
I have to say.' Even this did not go beyond 
Gulab Singh's patience; he waited till the 
fellow had told his tale and opened his hand, 
then taking the money, he gave orders about 
the case. 1 

The Maharajah suffered from dropsy for a long 
time and had proposed to Dr. Honigberger that 
he should enter his employment and stay in Srinagar 
as his physician. The doctor, however, was unable 
to stay. The disease became worse with time, and 
in 1856 Gulab Singh's health began to fail. As a 
result he decided to entrust the administration to his 
only surviving son, Ranbir Singh, and to retire 
completely from the affairs of this world. In 
February 1856, he formally installed Ranbir Singh 
on the gadi and himself accepted the position of 
1 Drew, fammoo and Kashmir Territories, p. 15. 


Governor of Kashmir, and left for Srinagar to lead 
a quieter life. But even in the seclusion of Srinagar 
he was rudely awakened by the news of the great 
Indian Mutiny. As soon as this news reachedhim, 
though he was on his death-bed, he ordered Dewan 
Jwala Sahai to proceed immediately to Rawalpindi 
and offer all the resources of the State to the British 
Government in his name. He was specially ordered 
to offer free hospitality to all European women who 
might like to leave the plains. The offer of military 
and financial help was accepted, and Maharajah 
Ranbir Singh, together with Dewan Hari Chand, 
was ordered to go with a large force to help in the 
siege of Delhi. This was the last public act of 
Maharajah Gulab Singh. Soon afterwards his ill- 
ness became worse and he died on the 25th Sawan, 
1914 (Samvat), or August, 1858, at the age of sixty- 



IT will be seen from what has been said in the pre- 
ceeding pages that Gulab Singh was one of the most 
remarkable men that India produced in the nine- 
teenth century. There had been others in the 
eighteenth century, such as Haidar-Ali and Maha- 
rajah Scindia, who, beginning their life in obscurity, 
founded kingdoms and dynasties. But his is the 
only case in nineteenth-century India where a man 
beginning as a petty official in a Court conquered 
kingdoms and territories and established himself as 
a Sovereign. In a century barren of historical 
achievement in India Gulab Singh stands out as 
a solitary figure of political eminence. 

This is not his only claim to India's recognition. 
He is the only ruler in India's long history who could 
be said to have extended the geographical boundaries 
of India. His conquest and annexation of Ladak, 
which we have described in a previous chapter, is 
an achievement which writes his name for ever in 
the history of India. No previous Indian ruler, not 
even Samadra Gupta or Akbar, had even dreamed 
of invading Tibet; and though Zorawar, who ven- 
tured too far, paid the penalty for his adventure, 
the Maharajah's forces routed the Tibetan army 


and extended the border of India to the other side 
of the Himalayas. 

It is not claimed that the Maharajah achieved 
these results by methods which were always beyond 
criticism. Gulab Singh was no saint, and where his 
interest required he did not hesitate to resort to tricks 
and stratagems which would in ordinary life be con- 
sidered dishonourable. He was trained in a hard 
school, where lying, intrigue, and treachery were all 
considered part and parcel of politics. 

He was undoubtedly an opportunist, ready to 
stand out boldly or to withdraw as the occasion de- 
manded, not committing himself irretrievably with- 
out making sure of his ground. He was willing 
to yield with grace when there was no other course 
open; to negotiate when that was suitable, even to 
part with money when that would serve his purpose. 
He was not one of those who rushed to arms at the 
first quarrel. As a skilful commander and a good 
soldier he knew that war was only the arm of policy, 
and -he would not embark on conflict unless he was 
certain of success. Though he was chary of coming 
out into the open field on his own behalf, his courage 
was never in doubt. His brilliant defence of Lahore 
in the face of Sher Singh's army, his ride in the 
face of heavy fire at Multan, and numerous other 
instances given in the previous chapters, prove this. 
But he had great faith in his diplomatic skill, and it 


was on this, rather than on his army, that he depended 
for the success of his plans. At the same time it 
is recognised even by his enemies that he was not 
worse than others at the Lahore Court. Captain 
Cunningham, to whom Gulab Singh's name was 
anathema, says : 

In the course of this history there has, more 
than once, been occasion to allude to the un- 
scrupulous character of Rajah Gulab Singh; 
but it must not, therefore, be supposed that he 
is a man malevolently evil. He will, indeed, 
deceive an enemy and take his life without 
hesitation, and in the accumulation of money 
he will exercise many oppressions; but he 
must be judged with reference to the morality 
of his age and race and to the necessities of 
his own position. If these allowances be 
made, Gulab Singh will be found an able and 
moderate man, who does little in idle or 
wanton spirit, and .who is not without some 
traits both of good humour and of generosity 
of temper. 1 

Sir Henry Lawrence, who knew Gulab Singh 
intimately, formed the following impartial estimate 
of his character : 

1 Cunningham, History of the Sitys, p. 332. 


I have no doubt that Maharajah Gulab 
Singh is a man of indifferent character; but 
if we look for perfection from native chiefs we 
shall look in vain. Very much but not all that 
is said of him might, as far as my experience 
goes, be so of any sovereign or chief in India. 
He has many virtues that few of them possess 
viz., courage, energy and personal purity. 
. . . The way in which he has been doubted, 
denounced, and vilified in anonymous journals 
is very disgraceful to us. 1 

In fact, Sir Henry Lawrence stood so firmly by 
him that he did not even hesitate to quarrel with the 
Governor-General on this account. Sir Henry's 
defence of Gulab Singh ruffled the temper of Lord 
Dalhousie and led to a heated controversy which 
was finally set at rest only by the Governor-General's 
letter of i8th February, 1849, in which it was agreed 
to treat the question as a matter of honest difference 
of opinion. 

Sir George Clerk, who had also unique oppor- 
tunities of knowing Gulab Singh, held the same 

That he was noble and generous will be con- 
ceded by all who read his life carefully. He re- 
warded his servants liberally; the grants and jaglrs 

1 Life of Sir Henry Lawrence, Third Edition, p. 389. 


that he gave to all who served him bear witness to 
this even to-day. That he was able to inspire 
loyalty and confidence in men like Jwala Sahai, 
Zorawar Singh, Dewan Hari Chand, and others, 
who were devoted to him until death, shows what 
hold he had on men. In spite of his intense selfish- 
ness, he remained loyal at heart to the Lahore 
Government. He had, it will easily be granted, 
sufficient justification for the lukewarmness which 
he exhibited towards the Lahore Durbar, but when 
they went to war he remained at their side, and 
even Cunningham agrees that what Gulab Singh 
would have liked at the conclusion of the war, even 
more than an independent principality, was to 
remain as the Vice-Regent of Dhuleep Singh. It was 
only when the intrigues of Lai Singh made that 
altogether impossible that he turned to the alterna- 
tive of independence. 

His justice was rude, but it was expeditious. 
He toured his State often, and was relentless in his 
punishment of corrupt and tyrannical officials. His 
summary methods in dealing with them made him 
a terror to the tribe of petty functionaries. 

Gulab Singh was of a very religious bent. He 
remained an orthodox Hindu at the Sikh Court, 
where, if he had followed the example of Khushal 
Singh, he could have gained greater favours from 
Ranjit Singh. Numerous are the temples he built 


in Jammu. He undertook many pilgrimages, visit- 
ing almost all the holy cities of the Hindus in 
Northern India, including Gaya, Prayag, Benares, 
and Muttra. He was so orthodox that he pro- 
hibited the killing of cows through the length and 
breadth of his State. On his death-bed he dis- 
tributed over RSI 00,000 in antya dan, or last gifts 
of charity. 

On the whole, Gulab Singh led a pure life. The 
Court of Ranjit Singh was dissolute in the extreme, 
and the Sikh ruler did not hesitate to exhibit himself 
in public in a drunken state. The morals of the 
Lahore Durbar were such as to shock even a corrupt 
age. But Gulab Singh was not given to these 
excesses. For the age and the circumstances of his 
time he led a life which could in no sense be con- 
sidered dissolute. 

Gulab Singh knew well enough the value of gold 
in such unsettled times and considered great ex- 
penditure on palaces and buildings to be mere 
waste of money. He has left no monuments that 
are artistically worthy of him. 

In appearance Gulab Singh was highly distin- 
guished. A contemporary who was not biassed in 
his favour says : c In manner Gulab Singh is most 
mild and affable; his features are good, nose 
aquiline, and expression pleasing though rather 
heavy. Indefatigable in business, he sees after 


everything himself; hardly able to sign his name 
he looks after his own accounts and often has the 
very grain for his horses weighed out before him. 51 
He was free, humorous, and intimate with all 
classes of his subjects. Even Major Smyth, who 
4 was violently prejudiced against him, states : 

With all this he was courteous and polite in 
demeanour and exhibited a suavity of manner 
and language that contrasted fearfully with his 
real disposition. 2 

Another authority, who knew him well, gives 
the following description of Gulab Singh as a 
soldier : c Still with all this he must be accounted 
the very best of soldiers, and for an Asiatic and an 
unlettered and uneducated man, he is an able, 
active, bold, energetic, yet wise and prudent com- 
mander. He is anything but strong-headed and hot- 
blooded prudently making slow but resolute and 
judicious movements ; thinking more of his resources 
and reserves than most of his countrymen are wont 
to do. Looks more to the future, its wants and 
requisites, than either to the present or past. Slowly 
goes on and feels his way as he goes always ensur- 
ing supplies and resources; quick in taking oppor- 

1 Punjab Adventurer, chapter xiii., p. 75. 

2 Smyth, Reigning Family of Lahore, p. 257. 


(unities, fond of the defensive though ready to take 
the offensive when opportunity offers or requires 
always considering arms as his last resource. 51 

The strength of will, the deep insight into 
human affairs, and the persistence with which he 
held to his objects are such as to deserve admiration. 
His ideas of administration were, of course, primi- 
tive, but he was essentially the type of man who 
conquered and welded together kingdoms, and not 
one whose greatness lay as in the case of his son 
in administration. But his achievement as a states- 
man was by no means insignificant. He succeeded 
in establishing peace and settled government in an 
area which, excepting for Kashmir, had never 
known it from the beginning of history. The hilly 
province which is now known as Jammu consisted 
of numerous petty principalities, each ruled by a 
rajah whose pretensions were no doubt great but 
whose resources were indeed small. To have united 
all these under a single Government, to have reduced 
Baltistan and Ladak, and to have held his own in 
the political field against the trained diplomatists of 
the East India Company, go to show that as an 
historic personality dominating the stage of con- 
temporary events Gulab Singh had few equals in 
his time. 

The Court of Ranjit Singh contained many r'e- 
1 Quoted in Smyth, Reigning Family of Lahore, p. 259. 


markable men: the valiant Hari Singh Nalwa; 
Dina Nath, the Colbert of the Punjab, of whom 
it was said that his sagacity and far-sightedness were 
such that ' when the historical sky was clear he could 
perceive the. signs of the coming storm'; Aziz-ud- 
Din, the courteous and polished Foreign Minister; 
JamadarKhushal Singh, the Lord Chamberlain; and 
Attar Singh Sindhanwalla, head of a powerful clan 
and himself a noble, courageous, and chivalrous 
warrior; and not the least of all, Rajah Dhyan 
Singh; but all of them acknowledged Gulab Singh 
as their superior in statecraft and wisdom. It was 
only when these statesmen were replaced by the 
minions of Rani Jindan that Gulab Singh lost his 
influence at the Court; but even Jawahir Singh and 
Lai Singh had in their turn to depend upon the 
ruler of Jammu. When Ranjit Singh died Gulab 
Singh was easily the most influential person in the 
Sikh kingdom, and though the genuine Sikh sar- 
dars, like the Sindhanwalla and Attari chieftains, 
did not trust him, they recognised his loyalty to 
Ranjit Singh and his family, and his ability to 
control the aflairs of the State. One who could be 
acclaimed as their leader alike by Aziz-ud-Din, Dina 
Nath, Attar Singh Sindhanwalla, and others who 
never saw eye to eye with him, was surely no ordinary 
man. The same may be said of the English states- 
men who came into contact with him. With the 


Lawrences he formed a lifelong friendship. Sir 
Frederick Currie, Lord Napier, and all others who 
had to deal with him considered him a courageous 
foe, a loyal friend, a wise and far-seeing statesman. 

It would not be right, of course, to judge him by 
the standards which we now apply to leaders of men, 
but if we take the moral and political standards of 
the time, Gulab Singh may well be said to have 
been not only a great but also a good man. He was 
intensely pious, devoted to his family and friends, 
and never given to oppressing people or pursuing his 
enemies with vengeance. His religious foundations 
in the State are many, though not as numerous as 
those of Ranbir Singh. 

Thus, when everything is considered, Gulab Singh 
will appear as one of the few great Indian figures of 
the nineteenth century, one who in his ambition 
even as a youth dreamed of states and kingdoms, 
svhose iron will neither domestic calamity nor per- 
sonal humiliation could bend, and whose physical 
and moral courage, tried on many a battlefield and 
many a crisis, won for him a throne and a place in 
the Valhalla of India's great men. The present 
Jammu and Kashmir State is his monument. As 
long as that exists his name will have a place in the 
memory of men. 



IT will be seen by the draft of Treaty now forwarded 
that, in consequence of the inability of the Lahore 
Government to pay the sum stipulated as indemni- 
fication for the expenses of the war, or to give suffi- 
cient security for its eventual disbursement, the Hill 
territories, from the Beas River to the Indus, includ- 
ing the provinces of Kashmir and Hazarah, have 
been ceded to the British Government. 

It is not my intention to take possession of the 
whole of this territory. Its occupation by us would 
be, on many accounts, disadvantageous. It would 
bring us into collision with many powerful chiefs, 
for whose coercion a large military establishment at 
a great distance from our provinces and military 
resources would be necessary. It would more than 
double the extent of our present frontier in countries 
assailable at every point, and most difficult to defend 
without any corresponding advantages for such 
large additions of territory. Now, distant and con- 
flicting interests would be created and races of 
people, with whom we have hitherto had no inter- 
course, would be brought under our rule, while the 

161 n 


territories, excepting Kashmir, are comparatively 
unproductive, and would scarcely pay the expenses 
of occupation and management. 

On the other hand, the tract now ceded includes 
the whole of the Hill possessions of Rajah Gulab 
Singh and the Jammu family. Its possession by us 
enables us at once to mark our sense of Rajah Gulab 
Singh's conduct during the late operations, by re- 
warding him in the mode most in accordance with 
his desires, to show forth as an example to the 
other chiefs of Asia the benefits which accrue from 
an adherence to British interests, and to meet the 
expenses of the campaign, which we declared our 
determination to exact, and which, excepting by the 
cession of territory, the Lahore Government is not 
in a condition to afford. 

Rajah Gulab Singh has engaged to pay the crore 
of rupees demanded from the Lahore State, on 
being put by us in possession of the territory ceded 
by the 4th Article of the draft Treaty, on such 
terms and conditions as we may approve. 

It is highly expedient that the trans-Beas portion 
of Kulu and Mandi, with the more fertile district 
and strong position of the Nurpur and the cele- 
brated Fort Kangra the key of the Himalayas 
in native estimation with its district and depend- 
encies, should be in our possession. These provinces 
lie together, between the Beas and Chukkee Rivers, 


and their occupation by us will be attended with 
little cost and great advantage. The Chukkee 
River in the Hills will hereafter be our boundary 
to its source and thence a line drawn to the Ravee 
River, and along its course, and across the Chenab 
to the snowy ridge on the confines of Lahool. This 
line will be laid down by officers sent for the 
purpose according to mutual agreement and will be 
accurately surveyed. 

In consideration of the retention by us of the 
tract above described, a remission of twenty-five 
lakhs from the crore of rupees, which Rajah Gulab 
Singh would otherwise have paid will be allowed, 
and the Rajah will pay the remaining seventy-five 
lakhs, of which fifty lakhs are to be made good at 
once, upon the ratification of the Treaty and the 
remaining twenty-five lakhs within six months from 
that date. 

Of the remaining portion of the territory ceded 
by Article 4 of the draft Treaty, the greater part, 
with the exception of the Provinces of Kashmir and 
Hazarah, is already in the possession of Rajah Gulab 
Singh and his family, for which he had been bound 
hitherto to render military service to a small extent 
to the Lahore Government and to present annually 
a horse, with gold trappings, as a heriot to the State. 

The conditions which may be stipulated with 
Rajah Gulab Singh and the Treaty to which he 


may be admitted, will be reported in my next letter. 
Those conditions will be so drawn as to bind us to 
the least possible interference in his affairs, consis- 
tently with the maintenance of our paramount posi- 
tion over the Rajah and his country. 





Dewan Jwala Sahai, C.S.I., who was associated 
with the Maharajah from his early youth, was the 
son of Dewan Amir Chand. Amir Chand entered 
the service of Gulab Singh and served him faith- 
fully on numerous occasions. It was mainly owing 
to his exertions that the siege of Reasi by Dewan 
Chand was raised (see Chapter II.). When Gulab 
Singh was made Rajah of Jammu in 1823, Amir 
Chand was elevated to the position of Madar-ul- 
Maham. Amir Chand died in 1836. He had three 
sons, Jwala Sahai, Hari Chand and Mihal Chand, 
all of whom achieved great distinction under Gulab 
Singh. On the death of Amir Chand, Jwala Sahai 
became the Maharajah's chief officer, which posi- 
tion he continued to hold till 1865. Under Ranbir 
Singh he retired from the post of Prime Minister 
of the State as a result of paralysis. Owing to the 
Maharajah's constant absence from Jammu on mili- 
tary expeditions, the duties of administration fell 
mainly on Jwala Sahai. He was the Maharajah's 

confidential agent in all diplomatic business and 



was mainly responsible for the negotiations in con- 
nection with the transfer of Kashmir. For this 
service he was granted extensive jagirs and a Rasum 
of Rs4 in every 1,000 on all State income in 
perpetuity. Among his other achievements may 
be mentioned the liberation of Gulab Singh from 
imprisonment at Lahore in 1845, the arrangement 
with regard to the boundary question in collabora- 
tion with Major Abbot, and the settlement of the 
Poonch troubles. As mentioned before, he con- 
tinued to serve the State even after the death of 
Gulab Singh. 


Dewan Hari Chand was mainly employed in 
military expeditions. After the death of Zorawar 
Singh in Tibet he was sent to reconquer Ladak and 
to meet the Tibetan invasion. He was successful 
in both, and the Tibetan Treaty bears his name. 
In 1845, when Jammu was besieged, he was put 
in charge of the main forces, and it was to him the 
Maharajah handed over charge of the city when he 
himself accompanied the Sikh army to Lahore. 
After the Treaty of Amritsar the Dewan was 
sent on many important expeditions notably to 
Hazara, where the tribes had risen in revolt. He 
was also sent to Gilgit. When the Mutiny broke 
out and Maharajah Ranbir Singh was sent by Gulab 


Singh to the help of the British at Delhi, Hari 
Chand accompanied him. He died during the 


Wazir Zorawar, who earned undying fame by 
his conquest of Ladak and his invasion of Tibet, 
was a native of Kussal near Reasi. He began his 
career as a private soldier at Reasi. Being energetic 
and brave and well acquainted with the country 
round about, he came under the notice of the Com- 
mandant, who sent him with messages to Gulab 
Singh. On one such occasion he brought to the 
notice of the Maharajah the waste occurring in the 
Commissariat Department and placed before him a 
scheme by which considerable saving could be 
effected. Gulab Singh, who was quick to appre- 
ciate merit, accepted his proposal and entrusted him 
with the task of carrying out the scheme. He was 
so successful in this that he was soon raised to the 
post of the Commandant at Khistwar. The history 
cf his campaigns has already been related, 

Zorawar was remarkable among his contempor- 
aries for his absolute financial honesty. He never 
accepted a present from anybody, and whatever was 
given to him was sent to Gulab Singh. He carried 
this principle to such a length that he only wore 
the clothes that the Maharajah gave him and was 



content always with a very meagre salary. He 
had another peculiarity. He never used to send 
despatches of any kind about his expeditions. The 
tributes and revenue collected were sent down post 
haste to Jammu, and the Maharajah had to discover 
from it what new country his general had con- 
quered. By these conquests he and his family did 
not benefit to the extent of a single penny. 


Colonel Basti Ram, who was one of Zorawar's 
chief officers in the conquest at Ladak and the 
expedition to Tibet, was a Rajput from Khistwar. 
He accompanied Zorawar in his first expedition 
and was present on the occasion of the surrender of 
Skardu. He was one of the few who survived the 
disaster in Tibet. He was then made Commandant 
at Zanskar, where he greatly distinguished himself. 
Afterwards he was appointed Governor of Ladak 
and the Tibetan expedition. His chronicle appears 
as a part of Cunningham's Lada{. 


Wazir Lakhpat was originally the Chief Minister 
of the Rajah of Khistwar. When that principality 
was conquered by Gulab Singh, Lakhpat was taken 
into his service. He was sent on many important 
military expeditions and served his master well. In 


1846 he was sent to take possession of Kashmir and 
to quell the resistance of Sheikh Imam-ud-Din. The 
Wazir took possession of Hariparbat but was killed 
in a subsequent action. He was a very loyal and 
competent officer of the Maharajah. 


Nathu Shah was a Sayed of Gujranwala. He 
was the Sikh Commandant on the Gilgit frontier 
and was mainly responsible for the reduction of 
Junza and Nagar, the daughters of whose chiefs he 
married. When Kashmir was transferred to Gulab 
Singh, Nathu Shah accepted service under him. 
The visit of Vans Agnew to the Gilgit frontier in 
company with Nathu Shah alienated the frontier 
chieftain from him, and in the rebellion that ensued 
he was killed. 


ABBOTT, Capt. James, 119 

Afghanistan, 49 

Agnew, Lt. Vans, 120, 142 

Ajar Khan, 21, 31 

Aknoor, 31 

Amir Chand, 25, 37 

Amritsar, Treaty of, 2, 100, 104 

Attock, 51 

Aziz-ud-Din, 34, 42, 159 

Baltistan, i, 74, 75 
Baste Ram, 81, 168 
Bhangi, n, 16 
Brij Lai, n, 12, 15 

Chamba, in, 124 

Chand Kour, 44, 45, 46 

Charrat Singh, n 

Chattar Singh, 126, 127-129 

Chet Singh, 42 

Clerk, Sir G., 55, 107, 108, 129, 

Cunningham, A., 3, 75, 120, 

Cunningham, J. D., 3, 13, 19, 

93, 153 ^ 

Curne, Sir F., 107, in, 114, 

Dalhousie, Lord, 129, 131, 154 
Dedo, Mian, 27-29 
Dhrov Deo, 10, 12, 14 
Dhuleep Sing, Maharajah, 63, 

6 5 9 6 > 97 9 s * II0 
Dhyan Singh, Rajah, 15, 19, 23, 

33 37> 

57-60, 65, 98, 121, 159 

> 44> 5 6 > 

Dina Nath, Dewan, 34, 42, 98, 

Dost Mohammad, 35, 36, 37, 

54, 126, 127, 128 
Dyal Chand, Rajah, 29, 30 

East India Company, 76, 104, 

105, 109, 115, 158 
Edwardes, Col., 3, 4, 118 
Ellenborough, Lord, 56 

Fateh Khan, 21, 35 

Gaur Rahman, 141-142 
Gilgit, 74, 140-145 
Griffin, Sir Lepel, 127-129 
Gulab Singh, ancestry of, 12- 
15; character of, 152-160; 
encounter with Dedo, 27-28; 
loyalty of, 107, 127-129; posi- 
tion with Ranjit Singh, 19- 
41; Rajah of Jammu, 29-34; 
relations of, with Lawrence^ 
50-56; relations of, with 
Jindan, 68-71; relations of, 
with the British during the 
Sikh war, 90-104, 109; sie^e 
of Lahore, 44-48; treaty with, 

Haider Ali, 151 

Hardinge, Lord, 106, in, 114, 

J 3 2 
Hari Chand, 39, 67, 68, 83, 84, 

143, 150, 165, 166 
Hari Singh Nalwa, 35, 36, 159 




Hira Singh, Rajah, 24, 41, 45, 

57, 58, 60-66, 98, 121 
Honigberger, 3, 4, 44, 131, 149 
Hukam Singh, 17, 18 
Hunza, Mir of, 141, 142 

Jalalabad, 49, 51, 55, 56 
Jammu, i, 9, 12, 14, 16, 17, 18, 

20, 29, 33, 44, 58, 66, 67, 73, 

.94, 96, 100, 108 
Jawahar Singh, 65 
Jawahir Singh, 69, 73, 121-123, 


Rani, 65-68, 70, 73, 159 

Jwala Sahai, Dewan, 2, 25, 38- 
39, 52, 68, 69-73, 118, 119, 

121, 130, 155, 165-166 

Kabul, 33, 37, 49, 135 

Kaneihya, 10, u, 12 

Kashmir, i, 2, 9, 20, 21, 33, 35, 
78, 96, 100; administration 
of, 134-148; European visi- 
tors in, 132; sale of, 104-110 

Kashmira Singh, 63 

Kharrak Singh, 22, 23, 42-43, 

9 8 

Khistwar, 10, 29, 67 

Khushal Singh, 23, 27, 56, 155, 


Khushwaqt Rai, 17 
Khyber Pass, 50, 52, 55 
Kishore Singh, 13, 14, 19, 22, 

25, 29 
Kripa Ram, 2, 96 

Ladak, 56; boundary troubles, 

145-149, 158; conquest of, 74- 


Lakhpat, 30, 117 
Lai Singh, Rajah, 65, 67, 72, 

90-97, 98, 117 
Lawrence, Sir Henry, 4, 49, 52, 

53> 54> 55> 94> 95> 9 6 > 6 > 

in, 114, 118, 122, 124, 128- 

130, 153-154, 160 
Lawrence, Sir John, 127, 133 
Leh, 78, 84 
Lhassa, 81, 84, 86, 87, 88, 89 

Macgregor, 133 
Mahan Singh, n, 12, 33 
Mahdaji Scindia, 151 
Mahmud, 20, 21 
Makeson, 53 
Mewa Singh, 69, 70 
Mihan Singh, 78 
Mokam Chand, 21 
Mota, Mian, 12, 18, 22, 23 
Moti Singh, 13, 121-123, 
Multan, 20, 25, 35, 106 

Nadir Shah, 10 
Nao Nihal Singh, 42-43 
Napier, Lord, 107, 130 
Nathu Shah, 141 
Nazar, Mir of, 141 

Osborne, W., 3, 60 

Peshawar, 20, 35, 49, 50, 51, 91, 

1 06 

Peshwara Singh, 63 
Pollock, General, 50, 52, 54-55 

Ramdyal, 22 

Ranbir Singh, 57, 130, 134, 149, 

150, 1 60, 165 
Randhir Singh, 43, 57 
Ranjit Deo, 10, n, 12, 14 
Ranjit Singh, Maharajah, i, 13, 
15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 31-32, 
41, 42, 106, 124, 155, 156 
Ratanu, Wazir, 67, 83, 84, 117 
Reasi, conquest of, 24, 25 

Shah Shuja, 17 

Sher Singn, 34, 44-56, 60, 152 

172 INDEX 

Smyth, 3, 1*7 

Suchct Singh, 15, 32, 33, 57, 58, 

60, 63, 64, 98 
Sultan Mohammad, 36, 37, 46, 


Tej Singh, 90 

Tibet, 74, 75, 87, 120, 124 

Ventura, 45 
Young, 142 

Zaman Shah, 21 

Zorawar Singh, Mian, 13$ 17, 

Zorawar Singh, General, 24, 

77-89, 155, 167