HISTORY
This section considers Important events within Anglo-Sikh history such as early European accounts of Sikhs, the role ofSikhs in the armed forces and pre British Raj accounts.


 
 


The Sikhs And Their Country

By William Francklin 1798-1803


INTRODUCTORY NOTE

William Francklin (1763-1339), from whose writings the following extracts about the Sikhs have been taken, was a talented writer. He was the eldest son of Thomas Francklin and was born in 1763. He was educated at Westminster and Trinity College, Cambridge. Accepted as a cadet in 1781, and admitted on September 9, 1782, he entered the service of the East India Company as an Ensign on January 31, 1783, and was attached to the Bengal Native Infantry. In January 1786 he was granted furlough to travel to Persia and he published his journal on return from that country. On December 20, 1789, he became Lieutenant and was promoted to Captaincy on September 30, 1803.

It was during this period that he wrote his two well known books, History of Reign of Shah Aulum, published in 1798, and Military Memoirs of Mr. George Thomas, published in 1803. Both of these works, in several places, contain references to the Sikhs and their country. I have extracted such of them as contain continuous accounts of the rise and progress of the Sikhs and of their customs, manners and resources, and of the trade in the Panjab. Occasional references to their struggles and relations with the Mughals and the Marathas, and with George Thomas, have not been torn from their context. The inquisitive students of history may consult them in the original books.

As Francklin himself admits, he was not able to collect first hand information about the religion of the Sikhs. He had not even seen James Browne's book. Published ten years before his History of the Reign of Shah Au/urn was issued. His source of information in most cases was George Thomas who, much against his wish, had not been successful in planting the British flag on the bank of the Sutlej.

As an unsuccessful adventurer, frustrated in his political designs upon the Sikhland, Thomas could not have made an objective study of the Sikhs and their ways, to be conveyed to his biographer. In spite of it, as William Francklin and his informent were contemporary observers, their accounts have their own special value.

Becoming a Major in March 1810, Francklin rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Co1onel in December 1814 when he was transferred from the 19th Native Infantry to the 22nd. He was the Deputy Paymaster at chunar in 1805-08, and was appointed Regulating Officer of Invalid Tannah Establishments in 1808. He was transferred to Bhagalpur as Regulating Officer in 1814, and he stayed there up to December 1825 when he retired after forty-three years' service.

Although a soldier by profession, William Francklin was a man of letters and a distinguished scholar of oriental languages and 1iterature. He was for a long time a member of the Asiatic Society of Bengal and made several learned contributions in the form of translations and original papers to the Asiatic Researches. Besides his journal of Persian travels and The History of the Reign of Shah-Aulum and Military Memoirs of Mr. George Thomas, referred to above, he pub1ished his Inquiry Concerning the Site of the Ancient Palibothra, 1815-1822. After his retirement he returned to England where he became a member of the Council and Librarian of the Royal Asiatic Society, London. He died on April 12, 1839, aged 76.

Dr Ganda Singh
Patiala,
September 28, 1961.


The Sikhs And Their Country
(A)*
(1798-1803) By William Francklin

To the Seiks, among others, may be assigned an interesting station, obscure in their origin, in a remote part of the province of Lahoor, this tribe had nothing but novelty to recommend itself or attract notice.
In the reign of the Emperor Baber, Nanick Shah, founder of the tribe, was born at a small village named Tulbindee,1 in the province of Lahoor; at an early period of life, this extraordinary person, who possessed a good capacity and amiable manners, forsook the world, and devoted himself to a life of religious austerity. In this recluse state, aided by the effusions of a fervid imagination, Nanick framed a system of religion, composed from the speculative and contemplative theories of Mussulman divinity,2 which he delivered


FOOTNOTE
*
From William Franklin's' The History of the Reign of Shah Au1um.

1

Talwandi, nor called Nankana Sahib, in the district of Sheikhupura, West Pakistan.

2

Though he was born in a Hindu family and had spent his youth in Muslim atmosphere. Guru Nanak was an independent thinker. 'There is neither a Hindu, nor a Musulman,' said he, but they all belonged to one fraternity, brotherhood of man.
3
Beluchis or Baloch, people of Baluchistan

to his numerous followers as of divine origin. This book he termed Gurrunt,3 which, in the Punjabee dialect, implied scriptural. Nanick, after reaching his nintieth year, expired peaceably, and was buried at Amrit Seer, where his tomb4, to the present day attracts the attention, and animates the piety of his numerous disciples. He left two children, Lucsmi Dass and Sree Chund.

At his death, Nanick Shah, with a view to render permanent his new system, ordained that the succession should be elective and not hereditary, an ordination which, as it precluded the supreme authority from remaining in one family, placed the benevolent and disinterested views of the founder in a light truly amiable. Sree Chund, who found means to secure his election5, presided over the tribe for several years, and, at his death, Angad jee6 succeeded. But this custom, though it obtained for some time, was at length set aside, and Gooroo Ram was the first who established an hereditary succession.

The tribe continuing to increase by the vast number of converts which it had acquired, had not hitherto attracted the notice of the neighbouring powers; occupied in paying a scrupulous adherence to the laws and ordinations of their founder, the Seiks were looked upon as harm1es, inoffensive devotees; but the period was at hand when they were to act a different part, and to contend with vigour against imperial authority. Tegh Bahadur, whose actions and misfortunes render his name memorable, was the first who took up arms against the officers of Aurengzeb, till after many bloody encounters with the king's troops, he was at length overcome, taken prisoner, and put to death.7 His successors, animated by revenge, continued a predatory war with the descendants of Aurengzeb, and, during the struggle, the Seiks acquired a considerable addition of territory.8 Among the most memorable of these chiefs, was Bundah, who, after a long and fevere contest, was taken prisoner, carried to Delhi, and there suffered with heroic fortitude an ignominious death.*


FOOTNOTE
3
Granth, called Guru Granth Sahib by the Sikhs.
4
On his death in 1539, Guru Nanak' was cremated on the right bank of the river Ravee at a place called Kartarpur, now in Pakistan, apposite to the town of Dera Baba Nanak, India, which lies on the other side of the river. The Sikh temple at Amritsar does not contain any tomb either of Guru Nanak or of any other Guru. Guru Nanak at the age of 70.
5
Sri Chand, son of Guru Nanak, took to the life of an ascetic and never sought election to Guruship.
6
Guru Angad (1539-1552) succeeded Guru Nanak, and not Sri Chand, who never acted as Guru.
7
It was Guru Hargobind (1606-45), and not Guru Tegh Bahadur (1664-1676) who for the first time took up arms against the officers of Shahjahan.
8
The Sikh Gurus conquered or acquired no territory during their struggle against Shahjahan or Aurangzeb.
*
See particular account of this enterprising chief in Captain Scott's second volume of the History of Deccan, Article Furrok Seer.
Banda Singh was not one of the Gurus, but only a commander of the forces, of Sikhs after the death of the tenth and the last Guru Gobinda Singh. G8]

In the reign of Ahumud Shah9 the tribe became very formidable. Profiting by the disturbances which then prevailed in every part of the empire, the Seiks again made head against the government, and with far better success. They conquered the whole of the Punjab, (or country included within the five rivers which fall into the Indus) and even pushed their arms beyond it.

In the last reign (Aulum Geer, the Second)10 their dominions were bounded on the west by the country of Cabul, and extended eastward to the vicinity of Delhi, north by a range of high mountains, and to the southwest they embraced the province of Moultan and the city of Tatta, situated on the banks of the Indus, Lahoor, the capital of Punjab, was selected as their chief city of residence, and as such has since continued. They possess many large towns, and among the principle are those of Puttiali, Hurrial (Kamat), Loeh Ghur (?) Serhind, Shahabad, and Tanasser. The Seik territories are said to contain prodigious quantities of cattle, horses, oxen, cows, and sheep; and grain of various kinds is produced in abundance. The precious metals are very scarce; and their trade is for that reason chiefly carried on by barter, especially in the manufacturing towns.

At Pattiali they make excellent cloth, and fire arms superior to most parts of Hindostan. The collected force of the Seiks is immense, they being able to bring into the field an army of 250,000* men, a force apparently terrific, but, from want of union among themselves, not much to be dreaded by their neighbours. Divided into distinct districts, each chief rules over the portion appropriated to him with uncontrolled sway; and tenacious of his authority, and jealous of his brethren, it seldom happens that this nation makes an united effort.

The Seiks are armed with a spear, scimitar, and excellent matchlock. Their horses are strong, very patient under hardship, and undergo incredible fatigue. The men are accustomed to charge on full gallop, on a sudden they stop, discharge their pieces with

a deliberate aim, when suddenly wheeling about, after performing three or four turns, they renew the attack. The shock is impressive when offered only to infantry, but against artillery they cannot stand. It is a fact wen known and established, that a few field pieces is sufficient to keep in check their most numerous bodies. Inured from their infancy to the hardships of a

FOOTNOTE
9
Emperor Ahmed Shah, 1748.1754.
10
Alagmir II, 1754-1759
*
The following table, which was delivered to the author by a Seik chief when at Pannepat in 1793-4, will exhibit the situation of the different chiefs at that period.
Beejee Singh [Bhagel Singh]
Tarah Singh
Jessah Singh
Kurrum Singh (of Shahabad)
Jessah Singh (of Ramghur)
Jundut Singh [Charhat Singh Bhangi] (of Amritsar)
Khosal Singh (of Fuzoolah Pore)
Herri Singh (on the confines of Moultan)
Runjet Singh (of Loeh Ghur)
Shahur Singh [Sahib Singh] (of Pattiali), Lall Singh,
Juswaunt Singh (of Nawbeh), [Nabha] Gujput Singh (ofChunda) [ Sind], and other chiefs
12,000
22,000
14,000
12,000
12,000
24,000
22,000
40,000
70,000


20,000
TOTAL:
248,000

a deliberate aim, when suddenly wheeling about, after performing three or four turns, they renew the attack. The shock is impressive when offered only to infantry, but against artillery they cannot stand. It is a fact wen known and established, that a few field pieces is sufficient to keep in check their most numerous bodies. Inured from their infancy to the hardships of a military life, the Seiks are addicted to predatory warfare, in a manner peculiar to themselves alone. When determined to invade a neighbouring province, they assemble at first in small numbers on the frontier, when having first demanded the raki11 or tribute, if it be complied with, they retire peaceably, but when this is denied, hostilities commence, and the Seiks in their progress, are accustomed to lay waste the country on all sides, carrying along with them as many of the inhabitants as they can take prisoners, and all the cattle.* The prisoners are detained as slaves, unless redeemed by a pecuniary compensation. But though fond of plunder, the Seiks, in the interior parts of their country, pre- serve good order, and a regular government: and the cultivation of their lands is attended with much assiduity. Their revenues are collected at two stated periods of six months each; and by an equitable adjustment between the proprietor and cultivator, the latter is allowed a fifth12 part as the reward of his labour.

Of their religion much information has not as yet been acquired; but it has been remarked by an ingenious and spirited historian, that in the act of receiving proselytes, they compel them to the performance of an act equally abhorrent to the principles of the Hindoo or Mahommedan faith. Yet, notwithstanding the nature of their ceremonies, it is certain they continue to gain numerous converts.

The Seiks, in their person, are tall, and of a manly erect deportment; their aspect is ferocious, their eyes piercing and animated; and in tracing their features a striking resemblance is observable to the Arabs who inhabit the banks of the Euphrates. The dress of the males consists of a coarse cloth of the "blue cotton, thrown loosely over the shoulders, and coming down between the legs, is confined round the waist by a belt of cotton. An ample turban of blue cloth covers the head, and over this is frequently wore a sash of silk and cotton mixed,. resembling both in colour and pattern a Scotch Tartan. They speak the Aufghaun or Poosh to language,13 with prolific additions of Persian, Arabic, and Hindoovee.+


FOOTNOTE
11
Protection money.
*
The alarm once excited in the British government of the formidable power of this nation, might be obviated by observing that the discordant and clashing interests of the respective Seik chiefs prevent almost the possibility of a general union; and even if disposed to attack the territory of our ally, the vizir they would be necessitated to keep a watchful eye over their own territories, which would be left open to invasion from the north. It is well known that Zemaun Shah, the king of Cabul, is desirous of sharini in the fertile province of Punjab, and especially of getting possession of Lahoor. emphatically termed the key of Hindostun. His late attack at the end of 1796, is a proof of this assertion.
12
Not one fifth, but two fifths, known as Panj Dowanji
13
Except in the Afghan territories beyond the Indus, the Sikhs spoke the Panjabi language
+
In the Year 1793-4, The author was at Panneput in company with Makor Charles Reynolds, of the Bombay establishment, employed by the British government on a survey through the Doab the result of which, when communicated to the public, will no doubt prove a valuable addition to the geaography already acquired. At that time he saw a body of Seiks then in the service of the great Sindiah; they were about one thousand in number, under the command of Doolchee Sing, from whose brother most of the information above mentioned was received. The author has to apoligise for giving a sketch so imperfect, though he is happy to learn there is another and far better account already before the public from the late Colonel James Browne, of the Bengal Establishment, but which account the Author has not seen. The account here stands merely on his own researches

(B)*
Geographical Description of The PUNJAB, and an Account of
The SEIKS, Their Manners, Customs, Forces and Resources
The extensive and fertile country, described by Arrian and other ancient Historians, as comprehended within the five great rivers, the Hydaspes, the Hydraotes, the Acesines, the Hyphasis and the Sutledge, is, by modern geographers, denominated Punjab.


FOOTNOTE
*
Extacted from Military Memoirs of Mr. George Thomas.
26
The use of bhang and opium is not religiously forbidden to the Sikhs but it is not encouraged. In fact. it is positively discouraged.

On the north it is bounded by the mountains inhabited by the tribe called Yoosuf Zey ; on the east by the mountains of Naun,1 Serinnaghur and Jumbo; on the west by the river Sind or Attock*; and on the south by the districts of Panniput, and the province of Harrianah. It is 250 cosses from north to south, and nearly 100 from east to west. Notwithstanding the state of warfare in which the chiefs of Punjab are constantly involved, the country is in a state of high cultivation; and though the population be great, grain is cheaper than in any other part of India. This advantage in a great measure, is derived from the numerous rivers, by which it is watered. Advancing from the south, a traveller meets, in rapid succession, the Sersooty, the Cugger, the Chowah and the Sutledge.2
The Sersootyafter passing the towns of Moostufabad, Shahabad and Tehnasser, and overflowing the country on each of its banks, joins itself to the Cugger to the north- west of Kaythul.

The Cugger, on the contrary, after passing the towns of Bunnoor, Seyfabad,3 Puttialah, Jowhana and Jomalpore, enters the country of the Batties at the town of Arwah,4 formerly the capital of the district. The Chowah, in like manner, after passing through an extensive tract of country which it fertilizes and enriches, is finally lost in the sands of Sonaum.

The Punjab yields to not part of India; in fertility of soil, it produces in the greatest abundance sugar cane, wheat, barley, rice, pulse of all sorts, tobacco and various fruits, and it is also well supplied with cattle. The principal manufactures of this country are swords, match-locks, cotton cloths, and silks both coarse and fine.

This nation, if united, could bring into the field from fifty to sixty thousand cavalry, but it is Mr. Thomas's opinion that they will never unite, or be so formidable to their neighbours as they have heretofore been. Internal commotions and civil strife, have of ate years generated a spirit of revenge, and disunion among the chiefs, which it will take a long time to overcome.


FOOTNOTE
1
Nahan.
*
This river above the city of Attock is called by the Natives ABASBEN.
2
Ghaggar, Choah (which literally means a stream) and Sutlej
3
Sairabad, which was situated inside the fort of Bahadurgarh, near Patiala, is no longer in existence.
4
The names of somo of the places are not clear.

The number of cavalry, which it is supposed, this nation was able to assemble, has been considerably overrated, in consequence of a custom, which formerly obtained among the Seiks, of forming an association of their forces, under a particular chief. From this association of their forces, they had the general interests of the community in view. To those who were ignorant of the secret causes of the association, this junction of forces, was frequently mistaken for the army of an individual; and this error, was perhaps increased by the natural partiality of the Seiks themselves, to magnify the force, and enhance the character of their own nation.

It has been remarked, that the Seiks are able to collect from 50 to 60 thousand horse; but to render this number effective, those who do not take the field, or who remain at home to guard their possessions, must be included.

Estimating the force of the different districts the aggregate will be seen in the subjoined Schedule.*

By this statement it will appear that the entire force of this nation (exclusive of the district held by Zemaun Shah, eastward of the Attock) can amount to no more than 64,000 men, and of these two thirds might probably take the field, were a chief of experience and enterprize to appear amongst them; but this in Mr. Thomas's opinion is highly improbable. The chief of most consequence at present is Runjeet Sing. He, having possession of Lahore, which may be termed the capital of the Punjab, has acquired a decided ascendancy over the other chiefs, though he be frequent1y in a state of warfare with his neighbours, who inhabit that part of the country situated between the Beyah and the Rawee. This chief is deemed by the natives as the most powerful among them. He possesses 1,000 horse which are his own property.

The repeated invasion of the Punjab by small armies of late years, affords a convincing proof that the national force of the Seiks cannot be so formidable as has been represented. Several instances occur in support of this assertion. Not many years since Dara Row Scindia invaded it at the head of 10,000 men, though not more than 6,000 of that number deserved the name of troops, the remainder being a despicable rabble. Tho joined on his march by two chiefs Buggeel Sing and Kurrun Sing, he was at length opposed by Sahib Sing, the


FOOTNOTE
*
The districts south of the Sutledge
The Dooab, or country between the Sutledge and Beyah
Between the Beyah and Rowee
Force of Bugheel Sing, chief of Patialah
The countries above Lahore, the inhabitants of which are
chiefly under the influence of Runjeet Sing
To which may be added the force of Nizmaddeen Khan
Rey Elias
Other Patan chiefs, in pay of the Seiks
15,000
8,000
11,000
12,000

11,000 5,000
1,300
800
Grand Total:
64,000

chief of Fyzealpore. That chief was encamped under the walls of Kussoor* having the river Cuggur in his front, was defeated in an engagement, and the ensuing day the fort surrenderd. Sahib Sing then agreed to pay the Mahrattas a sum of money and most of the chiefs south of the Sutledge having by this time submitted to Dara Row, opposition was at an end.

It was successively invaded by the armies of Ambajee, Bala Rowand Nana Furkiah, who drove the Seiks repeatedly before them.
In 1800 Mr. Thomas himself entered their country at the head of 5,000 troops and 60 pieces of artillery, and though by the instigation of enemies who promised them assistance, the chiefs south of the Sutledge, and in the Dooab (or country between the two rivers# combined against him, yet he penetrated as far as the Sutledge; during that campaign he never saw more than 10,000 Seiks in one army: he remained in their country six months, two of which were passed without competition, and he finally compelled them to purchase peace.

Of late years the Rajah of Serinnagur has likewise made some conquests in Punjab, chiefly between the Beyah and the Sutledge, and Nizamuddeen Khan, the Patan before... mentioned, has also acquired territory yielding a revenue of three lacks of rupees per annum.

The Seiks though united, have never made any considerable opposition against the, force of Zemaun Shah who has frequently attacked them, but it may be urged, that a great difference is to be expected from a formidable army of 60,000 men, led on by the Shah in person and the princes the blood, compared with the detached bodies already described. Hence it would appear that this nation is not so formidable us they have been represented, and in all probability they never will be formidable when opposed by regular troops.

The Seiks are armed with a spear, matchlock and scymetar, their method of fighting as described by Mr. Thomas is singular; after performing the requisite duties of their religion by ablution and prayer, they comb their hair and beards with peculiar care, then mounting their horses, ride forth towards the enemy, with whom they engage in a continued skirmish advancing and retreating, until man and horse become equally fatigued; they then draw off to some distance from the enemy, and, meeting with cultivated ground, they permit their horses to graze of their own accord, while they parch a little gram for themselves, and after satisfying nature by this frugal repast, if the enemy be near, they provide forage for their cattle, and endeavour to procure a meal for themselves. Seldom indulging in the comforts of a tent, whilst in the enemy's country, the repast of a Seik cannot be supposed to be either sumptuous, or elegant. Seated on the ground with a mat spread before them, a Bramin appointed for the purpose, serves out a portion of food to each

FOOTNOTE
*
Kusseer, a Fort south of the river Sutludge. [This is not correct. There is no fort by this Name to the south of the river]
#
They were not called Khatri but Sikhs after they adopted the religion of Baba (Guru) Nanak. Khatri or Kshatri is the name of a Hindu caste.

individual, the cakes of flour which they eat during the meal serving them in the room of dishes and plates.*

The Seiks are remarkably fond of the flesh of the jungle Hog, which they kill in chance, this food is allowable by their law. They likewise eat of mutton and fish, but these being deemed unlawful, the Bramins will not partake, leaving those who chuse to transgress their institutes to answer for themselves. In the city or in the field the Seiks never smoke tobacco; they are not however averse to drinking spirituous liquors, in which they sometimes indulge to an immoderate excess; and they likewise freely take opium, Bang5 and other intoxicating drugs. In their convivial parties each man is compelled to drink out of his own vessel.

Accustomed from their earliest infancy to life of hardship and difficulty, the Seiks despise the comforts of a tent; in lieu of this, each horseman is furnished with two blankets, one for himself, and the other for his horse. These blankets which are placed beneath the saddle, with a gram bag and heel ropes, comprize in time of war, the baggage of a Seik. Their cooking utensils are carried on tattoos.6 Considering this mode of life, and the extraordinary rapidity of their movements, it cannot be matter of wonder if they perform marches, which to those who are only accustomed to European warfare, must appear almost incredible.

The Seiks among other customs singular in their nature never suffer their air, or beards, to be cut, consequently, when mounted on horseback, their black flowing locks, and half naked bodies, which are formed in the stoutest and most athletic mould, the glittering of their arms, and the size and speed of their horses, render their appearance imposing and formidable, and, superior to most of the cavalry in Hindoostan.

In the use of their arms, especially the matchlock, and sabre, they are uncommonly expert, some use bows and arrows. In addition to the articles of dress which have been described in recent publications# of the times, Mr. Thomas mentions that the arms and wrists of the Seiks are decorated with bangles of gold, silver, brass and iron, according to the circumstances of the wearers, but among the CHIEFS, of the respective tribes the horse
FOOTNOTE
*
* Does not this circumstance recall our ideas to the situation of AENEAS and his companions, shortly after their landing on the Coast of Italy? The condition of Aeneas exhibits a specimen of primeval simplicity of manners among the Romans, no less singular than the coincidence of customs existing in Punjab at the present day appears strikingly interesting.
Consumtishic forte aliis, utvertere morsus
Exiguam in Cererem penuria adegit edeadi,
Et Viealare manu malisq audac bus orbem
Fatilis crusti, patulis nec parcere quadris,
Heus! Etiam mensas consumimus inquit Iulus.
5
no intoxicants are encouraged among the Sikhs. It is unfortunate that most of the Nihangs have taken to the use of Bhang.
6
Ponies
#
Consult the History of the Shah Aulum

furniture, in which they take the greatest pride, (and which with the exception of the inlaying of their fire arms, is their only luxury), is uncommonly splendid, for, tho' a Seik will scruple to expend the most trifling sum on his food, or clothing, be will spare no expence in endeavouring to excel his comrades in the furniture of his horse and in the richness and brightness of his armour, a circumstance, which appears to bear no inconsiderable resemblance to the customs of the ancient Spartans.*

Considerable similarity in their general customs may be traced with those of the Jauts; though these, in some districts, apparently vary, the difference is not material, and their permitting an interchange of marriages with the Jauts of the Dooab and Harrianah amounts almost to a conclusive proof of their affinity of origin.
The Seiks allow foreigners of every description to join their standard, to sit in their company, and to shave their beards, but excepting in the instance of the Jauts, they will not consent to intermarriages, nor will they eat or drink from the hands of an alien, except he be a Bramin, and for this cast they always profess the highest veneration.7
If indeed some regulations which are in their nature purely military and which were introduced by their founder NANICK, be excepted, it will be found, that the Seiks are neither more or less than Jauts in their primitive state.

Women amongst them, are held in little estimation, and though ill treated by their husbands, and prohibited from accompanying them in their wars, these unhappy females nevertheless attend to their domestic concerns with a diligence and sedulousness deserving of a better fate!
Instances indeed, have not unfrequently occurred, in which they have actually taken up arms to defend their habitations, from the desultory attacks of the enemy, and throughout the contest, behaved themselves with an intrepidity of spirit, highly praiseworthy.

In the Seik army, the modes of payments are various, but the most common is at the time of harvest, when every soldier receives the amount of his pay in grain and other articles, the produce of the country; to some is given money in small sums, and to others lands are allotted for their maintenance. Three fifths of the horses in the Punjab are the property of the different chieftains, the remainder belong to the peasantry who have become settlers.

A Seik soldier has also his portion of the plunder acquired in the course of a campaign: this is set aside as a reward for his services, and in addition to it, he sometimes increases his gains, by secreting part of the public plunder.
FOOTNOTE
*
See Cornelius Nepos, and Pausanias.
7
The Sikhs are forbidden to observe any caste distinctions among themselves. It was only due to the persistence of Hindu influence that at times the caste made its appearance amongst them.

The nature of the Seik government is singular, and probably had its origin in the unsettled state of the tribe when first established in their possessions. Within his own domains each chief is lord paramount. He exerts an exclusive authority over his vassals, even to the power of life and death; and to increase the population of his districts, he proffers a ready and hospitable asylum to fugitives from all parts of India. Hence, in the Seik territories, tho' the government be arbitrary, there exists much less cause for oppression, than in many of the neighbouring states, and, hence likewise, the cultivator of the soil being liable to frequent change of masters, by the numerous revolutions that are perpetually occuring, may be considered as one of the causes of the fluctuation of the national force.*

An open trade with this country from every part of Hindoostaun has long since Iceased, but petty merchants by applying for passports from the respective chiefs of the Seik territories previous to entering their boundaries, are generally supplied with them and by this means still continue a trifling commercial intercourse.

Their exports to the countries West of the Attock consist of sugar, rice, indigo, wheat, and white cloth. Their imports from those countries are swords, horses, fruit, lead and spices. The exports to Cashmere may be considered nearly the same as into Persia... Their imports from Cashmere are shawls and a variety of cloths, saffron, and fruit.
With the inhabitants of the mountains they exchange cloths, matchlocks, and horses, for iron, and other inferior commodities from the Deccan are imported, sulphur, indigo, salt, lead, iron, Europe-coarse-broad-cloth, and spices; their exports are horses, camels, sugar, rice, white cloth, matchlocks, swords, and bows and arrows.

This trade is not carried on by any particular route, but depends on the character of the chiefs of those districts, through which they pass, the most considerable part of the trade is, however, carried on from Amrut Seer, by way of Machaywara to Puttyala; southward by way of Hansi, Rauge Raj Ghur and Oreecha into the western part of the Rajepoot country by of Kythul, Jeind, and Dadery, and finally by Karnaul towards Delhi and the Ganges.

This nation, so obscure as hardly to be mentioned, even as a tribe, at the beginning of the present century, have within these last 30 years, raised themselves in such reputation, as not only to attract the notice but excite the alarm of their neighbours, on both sides of their government.
They possess the whole of the Punjab, and it is very probable will one day or other, have an eye to a participation of the Viziers provinces; I propose, therefore, to obtain every possible information of their tribe, manners, customs, and spirit of government,
FOOTNOTE
*
In the above sketch of the situation and resources of the Seik nation, Mr. Thomas does not include the territories of Zemaun Shah lying east of the Attock, part of which were during the reigns of the Emperors included in the Punjab and may therefore be considered as belonging to it.

and, should we be able to penetrate into the Punjab, to describe the face of that country and the natural and commercial productions.

The Punjab or country of the Seiks is composed of the province of Lahore and the chukla or division called Sirhind. The inhabitants in general are Seiks, though the cultivators of the soil are many of them Jauts.

Force Cavalry 60,000, Artillery 4O, Pieces.
Infantry 5,000, Revenue 5, Crores.


Capital LAHORE, N. W. by N. 300 Miles.
The Hurrianah country is included in the Sirkar of Hissar, it is called in the map the Lesser Baloochistaun. The inhabitants are chiefly Jauts with the exception of a few Rajpoot, and Rungur villages, which last application is given to such of the Rajpoots who have embraced the Mahomedan religion. Does not Rungur imply coloured, or stained, or, of mixed blood?

Capital HISSAR, W. N. W. 108 miles.
The country called Thanessar, consists of the western parts of Pahnessar, Karnaul, Kythul, Panniput, Sefeedoo, Jeind, Kosohan and Dehatarut. The inhabitants are chiefly Jauts, though some have become Seiks, and a few are Rajpoots, but of a low caste.


Source:Early European Accounts of the Sikhs, Dr Ganda Singh




 
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