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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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There is a spelling disparity evident in the 3rd paragraph. Should be own rather than won for contextual sense. :read:

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Should the esteemed author have written Rohilla instead of Ruhlia perhaps? They are mostly from the Afridi and Yousafzai castes. But a great article + really good site.

Edited by isingh1699

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Should the esteemed author have written Rohilla instead of Ruhlia perhaps? They are mostly from the Afridi and Yousafzai castes. But a great article + really good site.

There is always a linguistic disparity over sources, as long as the essential ideal is preserved either is acceptable via academia. :pluggedin: ;)

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There is always a linguistic disparity over sources, as long as the essential ideal is preserved either is acceptable via academia. :pluggedin: ;)

True bro, pronouncing the two terms probably has the same effect. Funny how these Rohilla Muslims are concentrated in Barelvi ilaqa :biggrin2:

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Very good write up. 1700s was one of the most interesting periods of Indian history. It was a clash between Mughals, Marathas, Afghans, Jatts and Sikhs. All these powers were locked in a struggle to control India. But to everyone's surprise, in the end it was a foreign power, the British who managed to out fox everyone and become the rulers.

They had foxes in everyone's dens.

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Although by the time of British ascendancy in Punjab, Afghanistan was mainly concerned with the blockade emphasized upon by the Khalsa, the Jatts were too busy paying obeisance to the British and Maratha selfishness ultimately brought about their demise. The mughals were pathetic puppets in the hands of these various prominent powers. First the Afghanis, than the Marathas, than the Khalsa, than the British and vice versa. After the Indian mutiny was quarantined from Delhi, the emperor had two of his sons shot by the British officers in command. Reminiscient of his ancestor's deeds. Ironic how roles reversed and from an adolescent viewpoint the bully became the bullied. As per their religious viewpoint (the mughals) the emperor was an autocrat wielding what was emphasized upon God and his messengers, unfortunately he was not insured against a "rainy day." :no:

Edited by 13Mirch
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Very good write up. 1700s was one of the most interesting periods of Indian history. It was a clash between Mughals, Marathas, Afghans, Jatts and Sikhs. All these powers were locked in a struggle to control India. But to everyone's surprise, in the end it was a foreign power, the British who managed to out fox everyone and become the rulers.

Should the esteemed author have written Rohilla instead of Ruhlia perhaps? They are mostly from the Afridi and Yousafzai castes. But a great article + really good site.

Part 2.

(continued from Part 1).

Furthermore the Khalsa chieftains pledged unconditional support in the formation of a national front against any non-resident power, parallel to this agreement the Khalsa also solemnly pledged to recognise the neutrality of the British and the Nawab of Oudh and not engage with them on a military basis. This treaty however did not endure beyond a month and the Khalsa soon re-penetrated the Gang Doab in order to collect it's annual tribute. In December 1785 A.D. as a catalyst of the said treaty's dissolving Khushal Singh Singh, scion of the Singhpuria confederacy occupied a portion of the Patiala territories, which were reconquered by Patiala's respective monarch on the behest of Maratha forces. In January 1786 A.D. the Maratha entity gained a foothold in Punjab via the successive infighting between the heirs to the Jind throne. In order to placate and thank the entity, Bhup Singh of Jind surrendered the domain of Safidori to them.

Subtle placating and decisive maneuvers on various fronts reassured Scindia that a treaty with the notable general Sardar Baghel Singh, chieftain of the KaroraSinghia misl and the scourge of Delhi, and his contemporary Diwan Nanu Mal would reinforce the particulars of the prior Maratha-Khalsa treaty. To this end he dispatched two diplomats, Rane Khan and Alt Bahadur to parlay with them. Baghel Singh however refused to parlay on the basis of a suspicion and summoned the aide of a 12,000 strong contingent. Nanu Mall however proved to be more amicable and presented himself before the diplomats. His action catalyzed in the form of a treaty which ordered him to surrender 600,000 Rupees as tribute to his Maratha allies on a yearly basis. Rane Khan than marched towards Patiala where he encountered a Sikh contingent. A skirmish was fought which ended in a stall mate with neither side winning or giving ground. Ultimately by applying political pressure on various levels Scindia managed to construct a new treaty with the Khalsa chieftains. Baghel Singh, who was identified as potential thorn in the Maratha anatomy, was granted an extensive area to preside over on the condition that he prevent his contemporaries from assailing Maratha domains. Baghel Singh agreed and subsequently the cis-sutlej states recognised Maratha supremacy. Simultaneously several other Khalsa chieftains were given specific portions of territory by their Maratha allies.

Yet even this treaty did not endure for a prolonged period. Maratha subtlety once again saw it's revoking in 1790 A.D. Once again the Khalsa commenced it's territorial raids and only once suffered a retreat at the hands of Begam Samru's extensively disciplined artillery in 1794 A.D. On 12th February of the said year Mahadji Scindia met his demise and was succeeded by Daulat Rao Scindia. This Scindia was a political genius and pressed in his service a British adventurer, George Thomas. After the humiliating expulsion of one of his tribute collectors, Scindia deputed Thomas to Punjab with his significant artillery. After establishing a headquarters, Thomas unleashed a bloody barrage upon the Khalsa confederacies resulting in a prolonged blood bath on both sides. Despite being devoid of any artillery the Khalsa extensively combated Thomas's superior firepower until 1798 A.D. when their foe retired. Yet a few remnant spasms still occurred. After declaring himself as a 'Sirdar' (chief) Thomas engaged his neighbours on various fronts until ultimately by 1801 A.D. the Khalsa enrolled a French man in their ranks. Perron, the adjutant commander of the Maratha domains in the northern regions of the sub-continent. The latter's artillery and the Khalsa's spirit soon forced Thomas to retreat and ultimately disperse from Punjab, yet even this was a short lived victory as Perron's heavy taxation soon became a bone of contention between him and his Khalsa allies.

Yet war was avoided with the ascendancy of the British in the non-Punjab regions of the sub-continent. Via decisive engagements and political check mating the East India Company had proved itself to be a master of sub-continental affairs and soon engaged the Maratha entity in open combat. Daulat Rao Scindia suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of his colonial foes and surrendered to them an extensive part of Maratha domains. In this the Khalsa solidified it's lordship of Punjab, and watched the historic events unfolding in the rest of the sub-continent from a safe haven. Bombarded and flabbergasted at the British supremacy, the various Maratha chieftains duly laid their arms at the feet of the white masters. Only one rebellious element remained to be annihilated, Jasvant Rao Holkar. After the betrayal of his various allies Holkar entered Punjab and appealed to Fateh Singh Alhuwalia for assistance. The latter granted him an audience with Maharajah Ranjit Singh, who on due pressure from his uncle and courtiers ultimately decided to discard the notion of a military campaign against the British, and ultimately adopted a referendum which established peace between both Holkar and the British. Thus the Maratha entity was extinguished from the sub-continent and the Khalsa along with the British emerged as the sole sub-continental superpowers on the veritable political chessboard.

http://tisarpanth.blogspot.co.nz/2013/07/the-khalsa-confederacies-and-maratha.html

What we have established so far is the chain of events leading to the emergence of two independent, yet intertwined sub-continental powers. Now we have to dispel the myths regarding Sikh maratha relations.

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Forget the marathas. No discussion about the Khalsa raj and coalitions is complete without mentioning the French. The Sikh raj had no closer freind than France. The French influence was strong and growing stronger by the day. Heck, even our greatest hero of recent times is named after a French army rank : Jarnail. The King of France, Louis Phillipe, in his letter sent from the place of Versailles to the Sikh raj said : "Although long distances and oceans part the kingdoms of the Panjab from that of France, this is no bar to the love that binds

our hearts together."

In the last days of Ranjit Singh plans were under way to bound the two nations together even closer. I have no doubt that if Ranjit Singh had not unexpectadly died France and the Khalsa Raj would have formed a coalition to invade British India to the south. Thats what France wanted and all indications show the Sikhs did too in the end.

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Forget the marathas. No discussion about the Khalsa raj and coalitions is complete without mentioning the French. The Sikh raj had no closer freind than France. The French influence was strong and growing stronger by the day. Heck, even our greatest hero of recent times is named after a French army rank : Jarnail. The King of France, Louis Phillipe, in his letter sent from the place of Versailles to the Sikh raj said : "Although long distances and oceans part the kingdoms of the Panjab from that of France, this is no bar to the love that binds

our hearts together."

In the last days of Ranjit Singh plans were under way to bound the two nations together even closer. I have no doubt that if Ranjit Singh had not unexpectadly died France and the Khalsa Raj would have formed a coalition to invade British India to the south. Thats what France wanted and all indications show the Sikhs did too in the end.

Forget the marathas. No discussion about the Khalsa raj and coalitions is complete without mentioning the French. The Sikh raj had no closer freind than France. The French influence was strong and growing stronger by the day. Heck, even our greatest hero of recent times is named after a French army rank : Jarnail. The King of France, Louis Phillipe, in his letter sent from the place of Versailles to the Sikh raj said : "Although long distances and oceans part the kingdoms of the Panjab from that of France, this is no bar to the love that binds

our hearts together."

In the last days of Ranjit Singh plans were under way to bound the two nations together even closer. I have no doubt that if Ranjit Singh had not unexpectadly died France and the Khalsa Raj would have formed a coalition to invade British India to the south. Thats what France wanted and all indications show the Sikhs did too in the end.

I am not doubting you but are there any sources which depict this relationship?? There must be a whole anthology of Maharajah Ranjit Singh's letters lying somewhere. If found it can be revolutinary in changing perspectives and criticisms held on the Khalsa empire of the said century.

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W already possess evidence of the Khalsa empire's connection with Russia, China and even America but this French component is worthy of separate consideration.

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There is also a letter the Maharajah addressed to Queen Victoria stating that the Khalsa is the rightful overlord of Punjab, as Akal-roop Guru Gobind Singh Ji granted it sovereignty over the said religion. Can this letter be accessed online??? It is only now we are infiltrating the inner corridors of the immensly psychological Lahore polity. Already I have addressed a few queries on this forum which remain unanswered. Maybe these letters can answer them??? Especially the role of Tarna Dal during this period. By the way is 'Jarnail' an indigenous corruption of the French term for general??? I investigated today and discovered that it is not a specific French term.

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Forget the marathas. No discussion about the Khalsa raj and coalitions is complete without mentioning the French. The Sikh raj had no closer freind than France. The French influence was strong and growing stronger by the day. Heck, even our greatest hero of recent times is named after a French army rank : Jarnail. The King of France, Louis Phillipe, in his letter sent from the place of Versailles to the Sikh raj said : "Although long distances and oceans part the kingdoms of the Panjab from that of France, this is no bar to the love that binds

our hearts together."

In the last days of Ranjit Singh plans were under way to bound the two nations together even closer. I have no doubt that if Ranjit Singh had not unexpectadly died France and the Khalsa Raj would have formed a coalition to invade British India to the south. Thats what France wanted and all indications show the Sikhs did too in the end.

The French were a good empire to forge relations with. They were a super power at the time rivaling the British. That is why Tipu Sultan in South India also tried to forge relations with the French. He realized the danger the British posed when no one else in India did. He tried his best to make an alliance with the French against the British, he even invited the Afghans to invade India in order to make an alliance with them against the British. The Brits realized the danger Tipu Sultan could pose, so they in turn convinced the Marathas and Nizam of Hyderabad to invade and destroy Tipu's power in Mysore. Once Tipu was finished, the British then finished off the Marathas and turned the Hyderabad state into a British protectorate. The British were way too crafty for anyone in the Sub continent to handle.

During Maharaja Ranjit Singh's time, the only other independent states other than Punjab were Sindh and Nepal. Maharaja should have come to some kind of understanding with these two states and formed a strategic defensive front against the British.

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. By the way is 'Jarnail' an indigenous corruption of the French term for general??? I investigated today and discovered that it is not a specific French term.

Oh it is indeed 13mirch, and so is the common Sikh name of Karnail' (taken from the French for colonel).

Its actually extremely interesting from a linguistics and history of language point of view. You see the substuting of the 'l' for an 'r' and the subsequently shifting back to it again does a nice job of summarizing the history of old French to middle French to modern French. Indeed not just French, this phenonema was common to the main 3 romamce languages of French, Spanish and Italian.

Starting at the beginning then, old Italian carried on with the latin term of 'colonello' for the officer we know in English as colonel. The original latin tells us what that officer was and did as we recognise the word 'column'.....i.e he was a line commander. I don't know why but during the late 1500's, 1600's and 1700's the Spanish language experienced a shift of the letter 'l' in words and so colonell became 'coronel'. France followed suit and the word in French changed to 'coronaille' (pronounced Karnail) . During the 1600's the British started using the word for the first time and although they spelt it the old way i.e with the 'l' (colonel) it is noticable how the English pronounciation shows respect to the word in vogue among the French at that time i.e Kernal. Not long after, for modern French, the French actually go back to basics and shift back to colonelle. But, you can be sure that the French officers in the Khalsa army were using the 'r' in both general and colonel.....i.e generaille was pronounced 'Jarnail' and colonaille was prounounced 'Karnail'. Over the last 100 years 2 of the most common first names among Sikhs.

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