section provide a UK geographical representation of places
of particular interest to Anglo-Sikh History.
British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and
one of the world's greatest libraries.
The Oriental and India Office Collections
of the British Library were brought together in 1991. The new department
has taken over, from the old Department of Oriental Manuscripts
and Printed Books, responsibility for the British Library's holdings
in the languages of Asia and of north and north-east Africa covering
the humanities and social and political sciences. The collections
of the India Office Library and Records reflect the territorial
interests and activities of the East India Company and the India
Office, and include literature and documents on India, Pakistan,
Burma, Bangladesh and neighbouring countries, Iran and the Gulf
states, South Africa, St Helena, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia,
China and Japan.
The Oriental and India Office Collection contains the official records
of the India Office (1784-1947), The East India Office (1600-1858),
The Board of Control (1784-1858) and the Burma Office (1937-1948).
Carefully preserved and fairly well catalogued the India Office
Library contains the best English Language material on India. Sikh
material includes photographs, military records and accounts, anthropological
studies and numerous gazetteer entries.
The India Office Records are the documentary archives of the administration
in London of the pre-1947 government of India. They comprise the
archives of the East India Company (1600-1858), of the Board of
Control or Board of Commissioners for the Affairs of India (1784-1858),
of the India Office (1858-1947), of the Burma Office (1937-1948),
and of a number of related British agencies overseas. The India
Office Records are administered by The British Library as part of
the Public Records of the United Kingdom, and are open for public
consultation under the provisions of the Public Record Acts and
in accordance with regulations established by the Lord Chancellor.
In the department of Prints and Drawings are a large number of original
paintings and studies of Sikhs in the period 1820-1930, both by
Sikh and western artists.
correspondence and letters of Lord Auckland, governor-general of
India (1836-42), now available in the British Library and Museum,
London, provide interesting sidelights on political affairs in the
Punjab (1836-1841), Sindh and Afghanistan, and also furnish useful
information on the military power of the Sikhs, and persons and
politics at the court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Some of these letters
were used by L J.Trotter in his Earl of Auckland (Oxford, 1893),
and quite a few of them were published in the Journal and Correspondence
of William Lord Auckland (London, 1861-62).
Of a total of eight volumes,
six deal essentially with events leading to the first Anglo-Afghan
war, the tripartite treaty among Ranjit Singh, Shah Shuja' and the
British Government, and dispatches of Wade and other British officers
who accompanied a British auxiliary force through the Punjab; under
the nominal command of Shah Shuja's eldest son, Prince Taimur, to
Afghanistan (MS. Volumes No. 37689-94).
The other two volumes
contain Lord Auckland's private correspondence with Sir John Hobhouse,
President of the Board of Control, revealing the rising tension
between the Sikhs and the English, and tracing the course of events
which ended in the disaster in Afghanistan. Detailed information
is provided about the Russo-Persian threat to India and the measures
taken to counteract it; Sikh designs on Sindh ; Sir Henry Fane's
visit to Lahore; the Sikh-Afghan disputes and the British attitude;
Ranjit Singh's war and peace aims; French influence at Lahore; Burnes'
negotiations at Kabul and Ranjit Singh's reactions; danger of Sikh-Afghan
conflict; various schemes for the subversion of Dost Muhammad's
power and rehabilitation of Shah Shuja' with Sikh help; Auckland-Ranjit
Singh meeting; Wade's transactions at Peshawar; Clerk's reports
from Lahore; death of Ranjit Singh; Wade's recall from Ludhiana;
death of Kharak Singh and Nau Nihal Singh; Sher Singh's overtures
and conditions of British support; and Macnaghten's accusations
against the Sikhs.
Variously titled as Twarikh-i-Sikkhan, Kitab-i-Tarikh-iSikkhan
and Guzarish-i-Ahwal-i-Sikkhan, by Munshi Khushwaqt Rai, is a history
in Persian of the Sikhs from their origin to AD 1811.
Khushwaqt Rai was an official news writer of the East India Company
accredited to the Sikh city of Amritsar. It was written at the request
of Col (afterwards General Sir) David Ochterlony, British political
agent at Ludhiana on the Anglo-Sikh frontier. Opinion also exists
that it was written at the suggestion of Charles Theophilus Metcalfe.
Henry Prinsep and Capt Murray based their accounts of the Sikhs on
The British Library preserves a manuscript (No. Or. 187) under the
title Kitab-i-Tarikh-i-Sikkhan ( in the Preface it is designated Guzarish-i-Ahwal-i-Sikkhan).
The name of the author is not mentioned. Copies of the manuscript
are also preserved at Punjab State Archives, Patiala, and at Khalsa
The manuscript (No. M/ 800) entitled Twarikh-i Ahwal-i-Sikkhan at
the Punjab State Archives has 194 folios. The account begins with
the birth of Guru Nanak in 1469, followed by lives of the succeeding
Gurus, of the career and exploits of Banda Singh, the chiefs of the
Ahluvalia, Phulkian and Kanhaiya mists, the hill chiefs of Kangra
or the Katoch dynasty, and of the Sukkarchakkia misl. Events of the
reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. up to 1811 such as Holkar's arrival
in the Punjab in 1805 and the conquests of Pathankot and Daska are
described in some precise detail. The account closes with the arrival
in 1811 of the Afghan embassy for a meeting with Ranjit Singh. Khushwaqt
Rai's work furnishes considerable information on the early history
of the Sikhs though it is not exempt from inaccuracies or personal
prejudices. The account of Sikhs' rise to power is however factual
The manuscript remains unpublished. An Urdu translation, the only
one known to exist, was discovered by Dr Ganda Singh in the armoury
from under the debris after an accidental gunpowder explosion in Qila
Mubarak at Patiala on 1 May 1950. The first 16 pages of the manuscript
were missing. A Punjabi translation of the manuscript made by Milkhi
Ram Kishan is preserved at the Department of Punjab Historical Studies,
Punjabi University, Patiala. The manuscript awaits publication.
B40 Janam Sakhi
B40 JANAM SAKHI
derives its name from the number attached to the manuscript in the
catalogue of the India Office Library, London (MS. Panj B40). It
consists of a unique collection of sakhis or anecdotes concerning
the life of Guru Nanak, and, although it shares common sources with
the Puritan and Adi Sakhiah traditions, it constructs a different
sakhi sequence and incorporates a substantial block of stories which
are to be found in none of the other major traditions. This cluster
of anecdotes was evidently drawn from the oral tradition of the
compiler's own area and includes all the principal janam sakhi forms
such as narrative anecdote, narrative discourse, didactic discourse,
and heterodox discourse. Another feature of particular interest
and value is the inclusion of fifty-seven illustrations.
The manuscript is also
distinguished by the unusually clear description which is provided
of its origins. Two notes appended to the manuscript (folios 84b,
230b) relate that the Janam Sakhi, commissioned by a patron named
Sangu Mall and written in the hand of Daya Ram Abrol and illustrated
by Alam Chand, a mason, was completed on Bhadon sudi 3, 1790 Bk/
31 August 1733. The manuscript is said to be a copy of some other
now non-extant manuscript which might have originally been written
subsequent to Guru Tegh Bahadur's martyrdom (1675). This assumption
is based on the fact that the manuscript makes no reference to Guru
Gobind Singh or to his founding the Khalsa (1699) and historically
the latest event to be mentioned is Guru Tegh Bahadur's martyrdom.
The manuscript comprises
231 folios (with five folios numbering 15-18 and 23 missing) and
has two apocryphal works entitled Madine di Gosti and Makke di Gosti
conjointly entered under the title Makke Madine di Gosti after the
table of contents which follow the text. Since the entry on Gosti
is in a different ink and three more sheets have been added to complete
the text of this Gosh, it clearly, is a later interpolation.
According to internal
evidence, the manuscript may have been recorded in Gujranwala district
or near about although there is no clear indication about its provenance.
Nothing is known of the manuscript's history since its completion
in AD 1733 till 1907, although there is evidence which possibly
indicates that the manuscript or a copy of it, may have been used
in preparing Bhai Santokh Singh's Sri Gur Nanak Prakash. In 1885,
Professor Gurmukh Singh of Oriental College, Lahore, referred briefly
and cryptically to a "Lahore Janam Sakhi" which had been
recorded in 1790 Bk and in 1913 Karam Singh, historian, reported
having once seen an illustrated Janam Sakhi bearing the same date
"in the possession of a Muslim bookseller of Lahore."
Both reports evidently refer to the B40Janam Sakhi which had meanwhile
found its way to London. There it was purchased in 1907 for 10 pounds
by the India Office Library from its owner, Hafiz 'Abd ur-Rahman.
At first sight the B40
manuscript appears to follow the Puritan tradition because its first
eight sakhis have been drawn from a source which presented its material
in the characteristically Puritan style; the source appears , in
fact, to have been the same manuscript as the Hafizabad Janam Sakhi
compiler used when recording his Puratan collection. From Sakhi
9 onwards, however, the B40 compiler chooses selectively from at
least five different sources, four of them apparently in manuscript
form and the fifth his local oral tradition. In addition to the
manuscript which he shared with his Puratan analogue, he also shared
a separate manuscript with the Adi Sakhian compiler. A Miharban
source provided him with a small cluster near the end of his work
and through the manuscript he has scattered six discourses of the
The narrative structure
imposed by its compiler is, for the most part, a rudimentary one.
It retains its consistency for as long as he remains with his first
source (the first eight sakhis), but little heed is paid thereafter
to systematic order or chronology apart from the introduction of
the death sakhi at the very end. The manuscript written in Gurmukhi
script, has been edited by Piar Singh and published under the title
Janam Sakhi Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji (Amritsar, 1974). An English translation
by W.H. McLeod has also been issued as The B40 Janam-Sakhi (Amritsar,
BENGAL SECRET AND POLITICAL CONSULTATIONS (1800-1834)
BENGAL SECRET AND POLITICAL CONSULTATIONS
(1800-1834), a manuscript series of Indian records at the India Office
This series contains, in full, correspondence and despatches on the
early British relations with the Sikhs. Among the more important documents
are despatches of the Resident at Delhi concerning the Sutlej region
and Lord Lake's correspondence with the Malva Sikh chiefs (1804);
correspondence relating to Holkar's intrusion into the Punjab, cis-Sutlej
Sikhs, and general principles of British policy in the trans-Yamun
aregion (1805); correspondence concerning Holkar and Ranjit Singh
and the Anglo-Sikh treaty of 1806; correspondence relating to Ranjit
Singh's Malva expeditions; Sutlej Sikh mission to Delhi; Ranjit Singh
Minto correspondence; Metcalfe's despatches from Lahore; Treaty of
Amritsar (1809); and despatches of Edmonstone, Ochterlony and Seton
(1807-09). The correspondence on Sikh affairs after 1809 fades out
in this series, but opens up again in 1831 and contains all relevant
correspondence and despatches regarding the Anglo-Sikh relations till
1834 when this series was discontinued to be replaced by another named
India Secret Proceedings.
BROUGHTON PAPERS are
official and private papers of Sir John Cam Hobhouse (Lord Broughton)
in numerous bound volumes in the British Library. Lord Broughton,
British administrator, who served as President of the Board of Control
of the East India Company from 1835-41, and again from 1846-52,
was responsible for the Home Government's major policy decisions
on the Punjab and the Sikhs.
The relevant volumes in
the Broughton Papers dealing with the Punjab and the Sikhs,
in general, are:
(1) MS. vol. XIV containing papers concerning
the British attitude towards the Russo-Persian menace in 1836-38,
which led to the signing of the Tripartite treaty between the British
government, Shah Shuja and Ranjit Singh,in 1838.
(2) _MSS. vols. 36473-74 containing private
correspondence of Lord Auckland with Sir John Hobhouse from 1835-41
throw fresh light on the British policy towards Afghanistan, Sindh
and Lahore. The correspondence shows how Auckland was influenced
by men like Macnaghten, Burnes and Wade to accept the scheme of
resuscitating Saddozai power in Afghanistan with Ranjit Singh's
help. Included in the correspondence is a report on the military
strength of the Sikhs by Sir Henry Fane, the British commander-in-chief,
who visited Lahore in March 1837 on the occasion of the marriage
of the Maharaja's grandson, Kanvar Nau Nihal Singh.
The background to the Burnes Mission to Kabul
in September 1837, its ultimate failure, and Ranjit Singh's suspicions
that the British would appease the Afghans at the cost of the Sikhs
are clear from the letters dated 5 August, 8 September and 9 October
1837. Schemes for the subversion of the authority of Dost Muhammad
Khan, Auckland's decision in May 1838 to send a mission to the court
of Ranjit Singh and the signing of the Tripartite treaty, furnish
fresh data not found in the public records of the period.
(3) MS. vol. 36475 containing Lord Hardinge's
private correspondence with Sir John Hobhouse relates to the period
from May 1846 to February 1848. This correspondence is of particular
relevance to understanding Hardinge's "political experiment"
in the Punjab. It reveals that his avoidance of annexation after
the first Anglo-Sikh war was really motivated to destroy the Sikhs
as a political and military power. Also fresh light is thrown on
Lal Singh's administration and the Kashmir revolt, which led to
his expulsion from the Punjab. Hardinge's defence of his questionable
deal with Gulab Singh regarding the sale of Kashmir, which aroused
vehement Whig criticism in England is found in his letter of 7 June
1846. Events leading to the second treaty of Lahore (December 1846),
which transformed the kingdom of Ranjit Singh into a British protectorate,
are described with extraordinary candour.
(4) MSS. vols. 36476-77 include Lord Dalhousie's
private correspondence with Sir John Hobhouse from 20 January 1848
to 3 March 1853. These volumes deal with the main events of Multan
and Hazara revolts, the details of the second Anglo-Sikh war and
the annexation of the Punjab. Sundry letters of the years 1849-53
refer also to events connected with the life of Maharaja Duleep
Singh after his deposition. This correspondence proves beyond any
doubt that Dalhousie allowed the Multan revolt to spread for five,
months, refused any help to Herbert Edwardes to suppress the rebellion
and, linking up the isolated Hazard uprising in the
northwest with it, indicted the Sikhs for a conspiracy to overthrow
British power in the Punjab. He had already ordered Lord Hugh Gough,
the British commander-in-chief, in April 1848, to assemble a large
army for a full-scale invasion of the Punjab.
It is abundantly clear from these documents
that the second Anglo-Sikh war was fought and precariously won without
a formal declaration and the Punjab was annexed to the British empire
without any positive directions from the government. The correspondence
concerning the Sikhs and the Punjab in the Broughton Papers has
been published vide B J. Hasrat (ed.), The Punjab Papers, Hoshiarpur,
An unpublished Persian manuscript preserved
in the British Library, London, under No. Or. 1870, is an account
of the victories of Abd us-Samad Khan. Nawab Saif ud-Daulah Abd
us-Samad Khan Bahadur Diler Jang was appointed governor of the Punjab
by the Mughal Emperor Farrukh-Siyar on 22 February 1713, with the
specific object of suppressing the Sikhs who had risen under Banda
Singh commissioned by Guru Gobind Singh himself, shortly before
his death, to chastise the tyrannical rulers of Punjab and Sirhind.
Abd us-Samad Khan immediately marched out and
besieged Banda Singh in his stronghold of Lohgarh Fort, in the Sivalik
foothills. The latter stood his ground for six months and then escaped
into the hills in the beginning of October 1713. After destroying
the Fort of Lohgarh, the Nawab turned his attention to the supression
of the recalcitrant Kharal, Gondal, Bhati and Ranjha tribes of the
bar area modern Faisalabad and Sheikhupura districts of Pakistan.
He had hardly started his campaign, when Banda
Singh reappeared in the plains and captured Pathankot and Gurdaspur.
As he was operating around Batala, north of Amritsar, Abd us-Samad
Khan, with a 25,000 - strong force sent from Delhi and Sirhind to
reinforce him, set out against him. Abd us-Samad's son, Zakariya
Khan, then faujdar of Jammu, advanced from the north. Their combined
troops moved swiftly. Banda Singh, unable to retire to the Fort
of Gurdaspur, which he had lately strengthened and provisioned,
took up position in a haveli, or walled house, with a large compound
at Gurdas-Nangal, a village six kilometre west of Gurdaspur. The
imperial army invested the house, blocking all possible routes of
escape and cutting off all supplies of food and fodder. The siege
continued for eight months, from April to early December 1715. Reduced
to desperate straits, Banda Singh was captured on 7 December 1715.
The author of Fatuhat Namah-i-Santadi, Ghulam
Muhiy ud-Din, who had taken part in the siege of Gurdas-Nangal,
gives an eye-witness account of several such happenings covering
the period 1713-22. The work, according to the chronogram given
in the preface, is dated AH 1135/AD 1722-23. What makes the manuscript
especially relevant to Sikh history is the space devoted in it to
the last phase of Banda Singh's struggle against the Mughals. Excluding
the 14-page preface, the first 117 pages of the 175-page document
deal with the Sikhs.
The author is no admirer, not even sympathizer,
of the Sikhs. He is clearly hostile as is evident from his pejorative
phraseology and invective. Yet the overall picture of Sikhs' character
and of their political and social ideas and practices that emerges
from his narrative is far from discreditable.
Ghulam Mohiy ud-Din has not divided his narrative
into chapters, but has given separate headings to the events narrated.
The introduction, consisting of 29 pages, from 14 to 42, furnishes
a background to the rise of the Sikhs under Banda Singh Bahadur,
highlighting the circumstances leading to the estrangement between
the Sikhs and the Mughals during the time of Guru Gobind Singh.
Further, some of the information provided by the author regarding
the early victories of the Sikhs under Banda Singh over the Mughal
officials is at once new and pertinent.
Wazir Khan's garrisons from thanas everywhere," writes
the author, "and brought the entire
countryside right up to the cities and towns of Sirhind under their
control." Elated with the victory attained, they erected
a khamba, or wooden tower, on the other side of the plain of Thanesar
touching the north western boundary of the Delhi empire. "The
implication of their claim [by setting up a khamba],"
he explains, "was that if the Emperor
of Hindustan with all his victorious armies and conquering hordes,
chose to direct his attention to this part of the land, this tower
should, like a cloud of dust, serve to remind him that he had to
cry a halt to his march and that his jurisdiction ended there."
The implication is clear that Banda Singh's was not merely a predatory
campaign, as some historians have tried to depict it; he clearly
aimed at establishing a sovereign Sikh State.
Another point the author makes is that while
upper class urban Hindu population was by and large loyal and faithful
to the Mughal government, the low-caste Hindus, whom he terms as
khas-o-khashak-i-hanud-i jahanami wajud, i.e. the dregs of the society
of Hindus condemned to hell, volunteered to become Sikhs. Hindus
even from distant Iran, Turan, Kabul, Qandahar and Multan embraced
the faith in large numbers.
These people after joining the ranks of the
"Nanak-prastan" or worshippers of Nanak, became so powerful
that the author considers them a terrible calamity and exclaims:
"Taqat-i-insani ba afat-i-asmani
kuja hampanja shawad? (How could human power contend with calamity
from the heavens?)
In a poem inserted in the prose narrative, lie
praises the Sikhs for their mastery over the arts of archery and
swordsmanship. At another point, he applauds their skill in manufacturing
guns from hollowed trunks of trees. Moral values the Sikhs uphold
are scarcely slurred by the contumelious epithets used for them
by the author. To quote an instance,
"They [Sikhs] are dirty, wretched,
unclean and verily devils incarnate, a calamity on earth descending
from the heavens, but they never take a woman except for a mother.
INDIA SECRET PROCEEDINGS
series of Indian records at the India Office Library, London, succeeding
Bengal Secret and Political Consultations (1800-34). It includes
the entire range of despatches and correspondence of the North-West
Frontier Agency from the heyday of Sikh political power in the Punjab
down to the annexation of the Punjab in 1849.
Among the more important documents are the correspondence relating
to the Anglo-Sikh Scindia affairs; Sikh designs on Sindh and Shikarpur
(1834-37); the Indus Navigation Scheme (1838); despatches concerning
Macnaghten's mission to Lahore and the Tripartite Treaty (1838)
; correspondence, despatches, newsletters, intelligence reports,
minutes and memoranda relating to the first Anglo-Afghan war and
the Sikh co-operation in the British military operations on the
Khaibar, especially the despatches of Wade from Peshawar, and of
Clerk from Lahore (1839); despatches of Wade, Clerk, Mackeson and
other British functionaries dealing with the political affairs at
Lahore, Anglo-Sikh relations, the Sikh-Afghan boundaries, passage
of the British troops and convoys through the heart of the Punjab
and the Punjab Intelligence Reports (1840); despatches of the Agent,
North-West Frontier, about the political affairs at Lahore and British
policy towards the Sikhs, the passage of Captain Broadfoot with
the royal Afghan families through the Punjab, Anglo-Sikh tension
on the Sikh boundaries in the Yusufzali territory beyond the Peshawar
Valley, political anarchy at Lahore and the Punjab Intelligence
Reports (1841); correspondence about the events at Peshawar, particularly
the British offer of jalalabad to the Sikhs and its evacuation afterwards,
and Clerk's despatches and reports from Lahore (1842); correspondence
relating to the termination of the Tripartite Treaty and proposals
for a new Anglo-Sikh treaty and Intelligence Reports on Punjab affairs
and statistical data on the Sikh army and its dispositions (1843)
; reports on the events in Lahore, especially the assassination
of Sher Singh, accession of Maharaja Duleep Singh, and other events
which led to the Anglo-Sikh war (1845-46).