Extract from a letter from Major Poller
at Delhi to Colonel Ironside at Belgram, May 22, 1776
The king's dominions are bounded on the north, NW. and WNW,
by the Siques: to the NE. and within the Doab Zabita Chan possesses
a large tract of country which heretofore belonged to the king,
but is now, by the late treaty, finally made over to him.
As for the Seikhs, that formidable aristocratic republick, I may
safely say, it is only so to a weak defenceless state, such as this
is. It is properly the snake with many heads. Each zemindar who
from the Attock1 to Hansey Issar,2and
to the gates of Delhi lets his beard grow, cries Wah gorow3,
eats pork,4 wears an iron bracelet,
drinks 'bang', abominates the smoking of tobacco and can command
from ten followers on horseback to upwards, sets up immediately
for a Seik Sirdar, and as far as is in his power aggrandize himself
at the expense of his weaker neighbours; if Hindu or Mussulman so
much the better; if not, even amongst his own fraternity will he
seek to extend his influence and power; only with this difference,
in their intestine divisions, from what is seen everywhere else,
that the husbandman and labourer, in their own districts, are perfectly
safe and unmolested, let what will happen round about them. as people
used to do, not long ago, at the mention of Mahrattas. But what
is more to be admired is that those Seik Sirdars, whose territories
border on the King's were but very lately of the Jauts and of their
caste and tribe, under which domination had they remained, no one
would have thought of them; but now that they have put on their
iron bracelet, fifty of them are enough to keep at bay a whole battalion
of the King's forces, such as they are. This shows the force of
prejudice and the value of military reputation. Such are the immediate
neighbours of the King.
Five hundred of Nujhaf Khan's horse dare not encounter fifty Seik
horsemen; and yet the last are as despicable a set of creatures
as any that can be imagined! On the whole, was it not Sombre's party,
and Letafet's forces, Nujhaf Khan would not be able to stand his
ground half an hour; and yet this is The Mighty Chief!
|Attock or Atak is the
local name of the river Indus (Sindh) in the north-western frontier
province of Pakistan. There is also a town with a fort of the
same name on the eastern bank of the river at a point where
the Grand Trunk Road crosses it.
|Wah-Gorow, or Wahiguru.
a name of God, meaning the Wonderful Lord.
|Eating of pork or any
other kind of meat is not particularly encouraged amongst the
Sikhs, much less considered an essential part of the Sikh diet.
The use of bhang prevalent amongst the majority of Nihang Sikhs
is positively looked down upon as undesirable.
|Ahmad Shah Abdali or