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  1. Recently a member brought to my attention a thread on this forum which aims to denote the factual integrity of Saraghari as a myth. The essential crux, of this denotation, is that the British and Sikhs always re-wrote their losses in order to exhibit a sense of victory and self-proclaimed glory. In short, the initiator of the myths and facts analysis believes that the battle has been considerably hyped at the expense of his poor, yet silent suffering race. I could not resist going back to the history books again, and have written a rebuttal (if you may) to our doubting friend. I have used several significant military sources, all with proven credibility, and other verified texts in constructing the below article. If, however, some members feel I might have overstepped the mark then please inform me. 'Strength down to half but good news! Each one of us has now two rifles.' -Dispatch from the battle at Saraghari, 1897 A.D. (1) Leonidas and his 300 Spartans established a new and unique military doctrine at Thermopylae. Named after the locus of their last stand, the Thermopylean conflict is a sporadic occurrence in military pragmatism. Fundamentally it pits a much superior offence against an inferior defense (although anomalies exist). Leonidas and his 300 men themselves faced a much superior force of 100-150,000 Persians during their last stand. (2) Their main aim was to detract or delay the foe until a much poignant rival force could be collated from mainland Greece. In this they succeeded, although by forfeiting their own lives. A step-by-step surgical analysis of their strategy inaugurates the following: -The defense will often be an archetypal last stand. Its constituents will be foolhardy in the defense of their aims, but not to the extent of heedlessness. -The offence will be forced to blunt it's initial thrust, or establish a new stratagem, as the defense will occupy a much better strategically placed locus. At Thermopylae Leonidas placed his men in a narrow passage. The Persians were forced to re-vamp their initial tactic and faced a Spartan picket bristling to the teeth. -The offence will be forced to utilize a tidal technique, although this is not necessary. A well ensconced, and established defense, cannot be attacked with a straight-forward march and confront technique. Often attrition will have to be adopted as a principle Modus operandi, and the defense will be assaulted by different companies in a repetitive fashion. -The foremost aim of the defense is to either buy time for reinforcements or a collation of forces on an unprecedented scale. If it succeeds in this, despite forfeiting itself, it has succeeded in it's designs and desires. -Technological, geographical, intelligence and disciplinary ingenuity all play a pivotal role in a Thermopylean conflict. If possessed by the defense, then a plausible modicum of success is ensured although to what extent is determined by it's own subsequent conduct in the engagement itself. These doctrines were well established in the mind of Lt. Col John Haughton, of the 36th Sikhs, as he marched towards fort Lockhart in the Samana ranges of the Hindu Khush. An avid veteran of Afghani warfare his mission was clear. To neutralize any plausible ally of Czarist Russia, in the North-West Frontier, via utilizing several companies of his battalion efficiently and fluidly. His forward base was to be at Fort Lockhart, neighbored by it's sibling Fort Gulistan in the present day North-Western Frontier. Initial intelligence briefings indicated that local Islamic leaders had been whipping up a pandemonium in the regional Afghani Afridi and Orakzai tribesmen. Haughton ordered his officers to be on their guard whilst simultaneously dispatching a small task-force towards Saraghari. The latter was a military outpost, constructed for helicographic contact between Lockhart and Gulistan. Despite their immediate vicinity, both forts were separated by rugged and mountainous terrain and were not immune to elemental disruption. The helicograph became a pivotal tool for keeping both in contact, a fact which did not escape Afghani watchers. On September 3rd, 1897 A.D., 5,000 Orakazai horsemen attacked Gulistan. The 130 Sikhs, occupying the fort, under Maj. C.H. Desvoeux and Lt. A.K. Blair offered exceptional resistance forcing the Orakazais to retreat. (3) Five days later a more substantial force of tribesmen returned. Two days later they were forced to retreat via Haughton himself, who arrived with 150 Sikhs from Lockhart. (4) Realizing that Saraghari might be a potential target, Haughton reinforced the communications outpost until at full strength it possessed one NCO and 20 OR's (other ranks). The ingenuity of the tribesmen was to however obfuscate him soon, and thrust him into dire straits. On 12th September, the 19 year oldhelicograph operator, Gurmukh Singh, reported a mass movement towards the outpost, to his superior Havildar Ishar Singh. Both men ascended to a higher platform and attempted to analyze the situation. The Havildar finally gauged that it was potent sign of war. Waves upon waves of Afridi and Orakzai tribesmen were marching towards Saraghari. Calmly ordering Gurmukh Singh to inform Haughton and request reinforcements, Ishar Singh prepared to be besieged. Haughton's reply has not been properly established. Two conflicting versions have been put into play. The initial states that he sent a reliving force towards Ishar Singh but it encountered marauding tribesmen, whereas another states that his resources were stretched. The former seems more likely. Under the aegis of Gul Badshah, the tribesmen were striving to conquer Gulistan. (5) The latter would have been a mass improbability if Saraghari had been reinforced by Lockhart. Thus it seems Haughton's substantiated refusal was justified not by a lack of manpower, but by a stringent blockading of his passage towards Ishar Singh. Ultimately, whatever the vindication Ishar Singh found himself solely confronting a murderous horde of blood thirsty tribesmen. Whilst Havildar Singh called a Chinese Parliament* and attempted to form a course of action, Gurmukh Singh repeatedly cast up to date minutes to Haughton. At 9.00 am he signaled the arrival of Afridis and Orakzais. Subsequently battle was joined. The 20 men under Ishar Singh refused to surrender to the foe. The ancestors of the latter had indulged in religious bigotry, and rapine on their sacrosanct land of Punjab. Their own ancestors had refused to give or take any quarter from them, and they too wanted to emulate this valorous tradition. By the time the first shot had been fired, all 21 men inside the post had determined to die defending their mission. The location of Saraghari prevented Gul Badshah from employing the tried and tested tactic of foolhardy charges. He was forced to adopt attrition as a means of achieving his goal. Organizing his men in batches of 150-180 companies (6) he dispatched them towards the communications post. The Havildar meanwhile had been witnessing these proceedings and gauged the inferiority of the tribal artillery. Armed with the newest Martini-Henry rifle, effective up to 600 yards, the 21 besieged waited until the tribal waves were in range and then fired. (7) Their murderous volley repeatedly dwindled the attackers until finally, before midday, Gul Badshah himself came to the fore. An astute negotiator, Badshah brought his entire skill set to the fore. He argued with Ishar Singh that resistance was futile and the deaths of his 20 men would achieve nothing. If all 21 emerged from the fort then he would let them leave unharmed, whilst Haughton would vindicate them due to the numerical foe they faced. Both Singh, and he, were leaders of men and thus knew the intricacies of the battlefield and leadership. The aphorism live to fight another day would serve them both well. Singh, with an emphasized candor, rebutted his offer word for word and a resigned Badshah summarily left. The battle then recommenced. Haughton meanwhile was attempting to gauge the numerical superiority of Badshah. Along with his men, veterans of earlier Afghan campaigns, he identified 14 religious ensigns. Bringing his past experience to the fore, he summarily concluded that Ishar Singh faced 10-12,000 tribal's out of which only less than 200 were able to engage the Sikhs at any given time. (8) The unequal locus of Saraghari was too narrow for an en-massed assault, and too open for a lightening skirmish. Ishar Singh, so far, had utilized the battlefield well but would he be able to hold out until a much superior relief arrived? The fate of Gulistan, and neighboring British protectorates, was no longer in his (Haughton's) hands. Only time would tell if a single NCO, and his 21 men, proved successful or not. Gurmukh Singh continually kept on relaying up-to-date briefings to Lockhart. By now more than 3-4 hours had elapsed since first contact and the 21 Sikhs had eaten no food or drunk water. They had fought off two assaults and suffered two casualties. Still, they continued to operate like clockwork fixedly targeting the offenders and either forcing them to retreat or killing them. Their own numbers were also beginning to dwindle. Bhagwan Singh was the first to be killed thus reducing the strength of the defenders to 20. Ammunition was also beginning to run out. Gurmukh Singh signaled to Haughton, asking for more ammunition, the Lt. Col attempted to disperse the masses swirling on the Lockhart-Saraghari rout with no success. He signaled back his inability. (9) By now Badshah himself was in desperate straits. Saraghari's location made his favored stratagem of a massed charge obsolete. The defenders were not willing to surrender, and his remaining numbers were becoming swiftly disgruntled as more time elapsed since the initial engagement. Despite breaching two pickets, the communication post still stood defiantly. Discipline was lacking among his men, who preferred the commands of different leaders simultaneously, and moral was low. Then, he spied a chance at victory. Sending his non-fighters to the scrub bordering the outpost, he had them set it on fire thus blinding the defenders (who, by now, it is believed had only less then eight men). He then sent two men to make a breach on the defender's wild side. Haughton, and his men, watched with increasing trepidation as the blinded defenders attempted to put out what they perceived as being an internal fire. This allowed several tribesmen to make a breach and enter the outpost. (10) With misery the Lt. Col watched as Ishar Singh took a last minute decision to continue fighting. Via Gurmukh Singh's relays, Haughton learnt of the Havildar's final decision. Ishar Singh ordered his men to fall back to the outpost's inner layer, whilst taking a bayonet and jumping into the mass of the bloodthirsty foe himself. In fierce hand-to-hand fighting he was wounded several times before finally being killed. His action, and sacrifice, allowed Gurmukh Singh enough time to relay to Haughton that the stampede which the defender's now faced itself was constrained by the outpost's size. Ultimately the inner layer itself was breached. The remaining Sikhs fought back with intense gusto until their last breath in an emulation of their Havildar. The 19 year old Gurmukh Singh, then himself jumped into the fray. According to Haughton, he signaled a request to enjoin the fray. The Lt. Col granted him his last desire with a heavy heart. (11) Saraghari had finally fallen. It is not known what subsequent course Badshah took next. His men, it seems, were mutinous and wanted to rest. His initial incentive had been to seize Gulistan but he had failed in this respect. Paramount discipline, and an efficient chain of command, was also lacking among his men. They preferred the commands of several different tribal chieftains at a time. Thus he was forced to give in and wait. By the next day however he found himself besieged. A potent relief force had been collated and attacked the resting tribesmen on the night of the 13th. Clockwork discipline again played a part, and Badshah was routed. Thus ended the Afghani attempt at conquering Gulistan. Havildar Ishar Singh, and his men, had succeeded in their mission. An Analysis. Despite more than a century elapsing since the battle of Saraghari, it is still being passionately debated in academic and military circles. The below points are often raised whenever the battle is studied: 1.) Did the Afghans gain a Phyrric victory? 2.) What was their ultimate goal? 3.) Is it possible for 21 men to face an onslaught by 10,000 men? 4.) What allowed Ishar Singh to hold out for the better part of a day? 5.) How accurate is Haughton's initial assessment of 10-12,000 attackers? 6.) How many casualties were incurred by the tribesmen on the 12th and the 14th? A.1.) Did the Afghans gain a Phyrric victory? A Phyrric victory is a victory gained at such a cost that any subsequent actions/courses are rendered obsolete by the reduction in the victor's forces. The Afghani incentive was to conquer Gulistan. They did not succeed thus a Phyrric victory is out of the question as they cannot be deemed as being the victors at Saraghari. A.2.) What was their ultimate goal? Gulistan, but what they intended to do subsequently is a mystery. Most historians promulgate that after Gulistan, Lockhart would have been the second target. Again, this might or might not be related to the factual truth. The swiftness with which Gul Badshah lead his men indicates that either he wanted to pursue a Fabian strategy, i.e. collate resources and men until they outnumbered Lockhart and thus force Haughton into submission; or launch a massed strike against it as well. A.3.) Is it possible for 21 men to face an onslaught by 10,000 men? Military history does not propose 'what happened' but 'what could, should or would have happened.' If we surgically analyze Saraghari we will see several different elements supporting the Sikhs. 1.) They were well entrenched and experienced soldiers. 2.) They could easily counter any decisive assault due to their location which would have been narrow for 200 men or more. 3.) They occupied higher terrain, thus they were well placed to witness any raid forming and counter it. 4.) They possessed a superior range in firearms. Their Henry Martini rifle reached up to 600 yards, thus giving them a longer reach. 5.) One has to remember that Haughton estimated there to be 10-12,000 attackers based on the banners and tactics of the tribesmen. How many actually attacked the outpost at a single time (the tidal wave theory) has not been established. Contemporaneous Afghani sources state 150-180, although these would probably have dwindled as the attackers reached the terrain on which Saraghari was situated. One also has to remember that the classic Charge-Trench ideologue did not exist at Saraghari. This was not Beersheba where horsemen charged trenches. Saraghari was a well fortified structure thus blunting the Afghani offensive. A.4.) What allowed Ishar Singh to hold out for the better part of a day? An able NCO, Singh was already a prior veteran of Afghanistan. Subsequently he was also well versed in military strategy and adaptive, essential traits which assist all military leaders. He utilized the high vantage of Saraghari, the instruments at his disposal and the training of his men. High Vantage- This would have considerably reduced the number of foes approaching, slowed their ascent and also given him time for a counter-offensive. Instruments at his disposal- The Martini-Henry rifle possessed an accurate range of 600 yards (548.64 m). Ishar Singh is said to have ordered 'fire'when the tribesmen passed the 300 yard (274.32 m) mark. Although the tribesmen possessed their own arsenal, this was not as advanced as the Sikh rifles. Combined with the clockwork precision of his men, the superior Martini would have played a cardinal role in Singh's strategy which was to delay the foe. Training of men- Via Gurmukh Singh's briefings, it has been theorized that Ishar Singh utilized a clockwork plan of action. This called for equal teams of soldiers firing upon the charging foe. Given his own prominence in the affair he would have divided his 20 men team (Gurmukh Singh was signalling) into either 4 lots of five or 5 lots of 4. The former would have seen three teams firing from their own respective positions in the outpost. One team would then have been replaced by another fresher team, while it reloaded and reinforced another. The fourth relieving team would have also reinforced another simultaneously, thus ensuring a rapidity in the assaulting fire. Via the 5 lots of 4 a similar pattern would have emerged although it's effectiveness is debatable. A.5.) How accurate is Haughton's initial assessment of 10-12,000 attackers? Valor aside, the British military was not as obdurate as is cast. It rapidly adapted to the foe's tactics and learnt lessons from near defeats and victories on the battlefield. The First and Second Anglo-Afghan Wars (ranging from 1839-1880 A.D.) had taught it several new principles of Afghani warfare. Haughton himself, a Lt. Col, would have engaged in the Second Anglo-Afghan war and thus observed the proceedings. Afghani tribes, and even military leaders, preferred an en-mass cavalry charge against strategic locations. The psychological effect of seeing a mass body of horsemen, bearing down upon them, would have petrified many opposing forces into surrender. Afghani cavalry tactics often called for 150 men or more (12) to line up in equal lines and charge the foe. Not only did this provide momentum but also immediate relief if required. Whilst confronting such a horde the British would often dismount and then engage. The massed attacks on the 3rd of September, and afterwards, corroborate Haughton's estimates. On the aforementioned date it was estimated that at least 5,000 tribesmen, or upwards, attacked Lockhart. Whilst engaging forts, Badshah would have been well aware of the need of continuous momentum, and rejuvenated men. Cast as crude, his strategy, if looked at from a new light makes profound sense. He would have utilized the tidal theory. 10,000 men divided into 150 companies would have given him 66-67 attacking formations. Their large number would have allowed for continuous momentum, replacement of men and also simultaneous action if they would have been confronted by a joint task force from both Gulistan and Lockhart. He would have reinforced his initial 5,000 with double that number to be on the safe side. A.6.) How many casualties were incurred by the tribesmen on the 12th and the 14th? Upon capturing the field, the relieving force accounted 450 bodies. The latter were the tribesmen who had been killed on the 12th,13th and 14th. Gul Badshah would initially state that Ishar Singh and his men killed 150 of his tribesmen although he would soon change the number to 180. (13) British estimates varied. Given that the attacker often forfeits more men then the defender (14), it can safely be said that at least 30-40% of the casualties would plausibly have been inflicted by Singh and his men. The British estimated there to be at least twice as many wounded tribesmen. The latter never ventured to release the official number of their dead and wounded given their ironic defeat. Upon learning of their gallantry, the British government gloriously applauded the actions of the 21 deceased at Saraghari. Entranced by their valor Queen Victoria awarded each of the Sikhs the Indian order of Merit (the sub-continent's then highest military honor) and allotted a pension and land grant for their next of kin. Presently the battle has been reduced to military textbooks, but it's legend still abounds. These 21 men engraved an unique niche in historicity along with Leonidas and the countless others who engaged in a Thermopylean battle. In death they serve as an inspiration beacon, forever proclaiming 'duty onto death!' The deceased: Havildar Ishar Singh (regimental number 165). Naik Lal Singh (332). Lance Naik Chanda Singh (546). Sepoy Sundar Singh (1321). Sepoy Ram Singh (287). Sepoy Uttar Singh (492). Sepoy Sahib Singh (182). Sepoy Hira Singh (359). Sepoy Daya Singh (687). Sepoy Jivan Singh (760). Sepoy Bhola Singh (791). Sepoy Narayan Singh (834). Sepoy Gurmukh Singh (814). Sepoy Jivan Singh (871). Sepoy Gurmukh Singh (1733). Sepoy Ram Singh (163). Sepoy Bhagwan Singh (1257). Sepoy Bhagwan Singh (1265). Sepoy Buta Singh (1556). Sepoy Jivan Singh (1651). Sepoy Nand Singh (1221). Sources and footnotes: *Chinese Parliament- A military congregation where rank is not customary or obligatory. Any decision manifested is entirely democratic. 1.) Accessed from http://magellanclubforkids.com/2012/09/20/against-all-odds/ 2.) Cassin S.J; (1977) The Greek and Persian Wars 500-323 B.C. Osprey publishers, pg. 11. It is customary to acknowledge that whereas modern scholars give this figure, contemporaneous scholars estimated at least a million Persian soldiers to be present. 3.) Sidhu S.D, Virdi A; The Battle of Saraghari, The Last Stand of the 36th Sikh Regiment. Gyan Khand Media, India, pg. 3. 4.) ibid, pg. 3. 5.) ibid, pg. 4. 6.) Badsey S; (2008) Doctrine and Reform in the British Cavalry, 1880-1918, Barnes and Nobles, UK, pg. 150. Additionally see 3,000 years of Warfare for a profound exegesis of Attrition. 7.) Accessed from http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/LAND-FORCES/History/First150/238-Defending-Saragarhi.html 8.) Accessed from http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/military-history/12117-battle-saragarhi-21-sikhs-versus-10-000-pathans.html 9.) Accessed from http://khalsa-raaj.blogspot.co.nz/2011/09/battle-of-saraghari.html 10.) Accessed from http://swordarm.in/?page_id=21 11.) Accessed from http://magellanclubforkids.com/2012/09/20/against-all-odds/ 12.) Badsey S; (2008) Doctrine and Reform in the British Cavalry, 1880-1918, Barnes and Nobles, UK, pg. 150. 13.) Maj. Gen. Jaswant Singh Letter to H.M. Queen Elizabeth II Institute of Sikh Studies (1999). 14.) Singh; A (2010) The Last Sunset, Roli Publishing a division of Lotus Books. See sub-section titled First-Anglo Sikh War. http://tisarpanth.blogspot.co.nz/2014/08/21.html?view=magazine The question and answer component was done with the aid of a military historian. If you possess any questions on it then please post them below, and I will forward them to him. Thank you.
  2. The clash and progression of titans. In the bloody struggle to gain a political precedent over the various domains of the sub-continent, in the aftermath of the mughal empire's fall, three forces came to the fore. The Marathas, the Afghanis and the Khalsa. All three were hell bent on carving extensive domains for themselves and eradicating all vestiges of any foreign state and it's subsequent polity. In this struggle the mughals were reduced to nothing more than depleted forms of their past selves, and forced to tolerate strains of vengeance and exploitation on all fronts. Whether under the Khalsa, the Marathas or the Afghanis, the mughals suffered bitter humiliation reminiscent of their parent emperor's tortures launched against their wards in past eras. Whereas the Afghanis were seen as a foreign entity vying for an Alexandrian conquest of the sub-continent, specifically Punjab; it was the Khalsa and it's contemporary Maratha entity which emerged as the home team and the potential hope of the sub-continent's sovereignty. The Maratha polity was a catalyst of it's father Shivaji's political ambition amalgamated with his subsequent humiliation at the hands of his mughal employers. He commenced his crusade in 1681 A.D. and ofught bitterly with the mughals for the succeeding 27 years. Parallel to his crusade, Guru Gobind Singh Ji manifested the Khalsa and unleashed widespread rebellion against the larger sub-continental polity, composed of various Hindu and Islamic chieftains, in the territorial domains surrounding Delhi and composing the Punjab region. Despite both the Guru and Shivaji earning numerous accolades and notable victories over their foes, they never interacted. Shivaji aimed to create a fundamental Hindu state with Hindu acting as the byword for domination, and control. The Guru aimed to strengthen the Khalsa and give it the instruction required to garner power and carve a territorial entity for itself, devoid of any non-Sikh influence. Both the Maratha and the Khalsa entity possessed views which were an essential antithesis of their parallels. Both entities, despite retaining an extensive knowledge of each other, only came in contact with each other with the success of the Maratha campaign in Delhi. The subsequent actions and operations of the Marathas soon saw an extension of their conquering precincts into Punjab, which at the time was facing an onslaught of Islamic extremism amalgamated with a political catalyst. The decisive conjuncture of the contact manifested itself during Ahmad Shah Abdali's fourth invasion of the sub-continent. Noticing the extension of the Maratha territories, and the troublesome guerrilla tactics of the Khalsa he ordered his son, Timur Shah, and general, Jahan Khan, to govern Lahore and it's surrounding precincts. An extensive number of the mughal polity's remnants submitted to their command, but a few resisted despite facing imminent eradication from their bloodthirsty foes. Adina Beg, the governor of Lahore, after taking the hasty step of defying Timur decided to call on the Khalsa for assistance. Knowing that this was a potential chance to birth and plug a power-vacuum, the Khalsa entity readily agreed and started the arduous march towards Lahore. Adina Beg however had second thoughts and it was not long before he dispatched a request for aide to the Maratha chiefs in Delhi, who in a parallel fashion to the Khalsa commenced their arduous march towards Lahore. Raghunath Rao, the foremost Maratha chieftain and a subtle politician in his own right, readily agreed on the condition that Adina Beg pay him 100,000 rupees for each day's march and 50,000 for every subsequent halt. Adina in a bid to preserve his won skin eschewed his bitterness at such an extensive demand, and readily agreed to pay. On 8th March 1758 A.D. Raghunath and his forces finally arrived at Sirhind, where he joined the Adina-Khalsa coalition. Sirhind was besieged and it's doors soon fell prey to the Khalsa-Adina-Maratha forces which indulged in widespread loot of it's treasury. In the aftermath disparities soon became evident, the Khalsa which would have sacked Sirhind with a coalition or without demanded an extensive share of the loot due to it's geographical knowledge. Raghunath and his forces, enlivened and emboldened by Adina's pay, demanded a greater share of the loot whereas Adina's own troops expressed mutinous tendencies at the evident reduction of their own share. Knowing that a clash of steel was evident due to the bitter rivalries plaguing the coalition Adina defined a new precedent for the triple alliance. The Khalsa would remain two paces ahead of it's partners. This availing of inter-coalition frictions soon saw Adina's joint entity besiege Lahore and subsequently enter it on 20th April 1758 A.D. Timur and his contemporaries had fled the region. Raghunath struck a subtle blow at the heart of the Khalsa ambitions when he appointed Adina as governor of Lahore and after discarding his Khalsa allies, extended the Maratha domains onto the precincts of Afghanistan itself. The subsequent alienation of his potential allies, the Khalsa, the Jatts and the Rajputs, soon saw him stratify himself into a corner. A situation exploited by Abdali who annihilated the Maratha influence in Punjab in 1759 A.D. The subsequent power vacuum which became evident was readily filled by the de-facto master of Punjab. The Khalsa. The Marathas dispatched various orders for assistance to their subjects but were readily refused, their alienating policies ultimately struck back at their bosom until only a few Jatt chieftains agreed to assist them out of empathy. For a year the Maratha forces danced ahead of Abdali who readily followed them until in 1761 A.D. at Panipat, he annihilated an army of 60,000 pitched Maratha warriors and their subsequent families. This parallel bloodbath was a blessing to the Khalsa, who readily exploited it and reversed the Maratha influence until ultimately it possessed Punjab and campaigned up to and into Delhi. Five years later, the remnant Maratha vestiges once more came into contact with the now dominant Khalsa. This time they were invited by Jawahar Singh of Bharatpur, the Jat monarch, to birth a coalition which would aim to annihilate Najib Ud'Dula, his father's murderer and one of the influential Ruhlia chieftains. A 15,000 strong Khalsa legion, under the command of Sardar Jassa Singh Alhuwalia easily erased the Ruhlia forces from the battleground, yet it was a bitter victory for Jawahar Singh who was soundly betrayed by Malhar Rao; the Maratha general. Rao and various Jatt chieftains negotiated a subtle treaty forcing Jawahar Singh to accept Najib Ud'Dula's influence over him. Such a decisive maneuver however inflamed Jawahar against the Maratha polity, and after a minimum conjuncture, he took 8,000 Khalsa warriors into his pay to crush the traitorous Marathas. Not only had they stalled his desire for vengeance they had also birthed a blood feud by announcing his rival sibling, Nahar Singh, as the rightful monarch of Bharatpur. A year later, at the head of his Khalsa battalion, Jawahar Singh succeeded in ousting the Maratha-cum-Nahar coalition from Dholpur and occupied it as an extension of His Bharatpur domains. In the aftermath he led his battalion to aide the Jatt prince of Gohad against a Maratha legion, an action which catalyzed in the Khalsa extensively raiding Maratha domains in central India. The dawning of 1768 A.D. saw widespread hostility which catalyzed in the assassination of Jawahar Singh and his heir Ratan Singh, the subsequent year. Their remaining heirs Ranjit Singh and Naval Singh soon birthed a bloody civil war, and battle lines were drawn once more. Ranjit Singh approached the Khalsa chieftains for aide whereas Naval summoned the Marathas, who were eager to visit vengeance upon their Khalsa foes. Twenty-fourth February 1770 A.D. saw the commencement of a bloody engagement in which the Maratha's famed cavalry clashed with the Khalsa forces. Despite the victory of Naval Singh, the Maratha cavalry was heavily mauled and was never able to garner the prominence it once held. Subsequently the Khalsa forces retreated to Punjab, safe with the knowledge that the Marathas would not mount any attack against them. 1771 A.D. saw the reassertion of Maratha dominance over an extensive portion of the sub-continent, exclusive of Punjab, and the rise of Mahadji Scindia as paramount chieftain of the Maratha entity. The following year the exiled mughal monarch was restated in his place and Mahadji entrusted with the mission of returning peace to the sub-continental domains. A ruthless exploiter Mahadji pulled his employer's strings from the commencement of his mission and settled his eyes on the Khalsa territories. Under it's various chieftains the Khalsa had been involved in the extensive plunder of the various tributaries which symbiotically supported the mughal coffers. As a result of the raids, the economic stability of the mughal entity had fallen into disarray and even the Marathas were forced to conclude that finance was a paramount issue. As a result Scindia deputed various ambassadors to parlay with the Khalsa confederacies and negotiate a peace-treaty, which would prevent them from launching their decisive raids even on Delhi itself. On the other front he gained the allegiance of Samru Begum, who possessed the sub-continent's finest artillery. The catalyst of these political brokering resulted in a joint treaty being signed on 9th May 1785 A.D. which granted the Khalsa one million rupees, on the behest of the Marathas, in exchange for the Khalsa's surrendering of the Yamuna and Gang tributaries. (Continued in Part 2). http://tisarpanth.blogspot.co.nz/2013/06/the-khalsa-confederacies-and-maratha.html Please post a successive comment on this blog with your contemporary comment on the forum. Thanks!
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