Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa
Hari Singh Nalwa (1791–1837) was Commander-in-chief of the Khalsa, the army of the Sikh Empire. He is known for his role in the conquests of Kasur, Sialkot, Attock, Multan, Kashmir,Peshawar and Jamrud.
Hari Singh Nalwa was responsible for expanding the frontier of Sikh Empire to beyond the Indus River right up to the mouth of the Khyber Pass. In 1831, he opposed moves by Ranjit Singh to appoint Kharak Singh as his successor as Maharaja of the Sikh Empire.At the time of his death, the western boundary of the empire was Jamrud.
He served as governor of Kashmir, Peshawar and Hazara. He established a mint on behalf of the Sikh Empire to facilitate revenue collection in Kashmir and Peshawar. In Kashmir, however, early Sikh rule was considered oppressive and the taxes exorbitant.
Story Behind How Hari Singh Got Name of “Nalwa”
Killing a lion
At the age of 14 he was only with the Maharaja for a few months when one day he was asked to accompany the Maharaja for a hunt.
Hari Singh was completely caught unaware and did not even have the opportunity to draw his sword. But he got hold of the jaw of the lion and with great force flung the lion away, and withdrawing his sword, with one blow severed the lion’s head. The Maharaja and the other courtiers were extraordinarily amazed at this feat.
From that day onwards Hari Singh was given the appellation of “Nalwa” by the Maharaja, who acknowledged that Hari Singh had killed the lion similar to the way King Nall used to hunt (King Nall was a very brave king and was known for his audacity to kill lions and other dangerous animals with his bare hands, and hence the Maharaja adorned Hari Singh with that title i.e. “Nall-wa”- ‘like Nall’ )
Baron Hugel, a European traveller, writes in his book, “Travels in Kashmir & the Punjab”: – ” I surprised him by knowledge whence he had gained the appellation of Nalwa, and of his having cloven the head of a tiger, who had already seized him as its prey. He told the Diwan to bring some drawings and gave me his portrait, in the act of killing the beast.”
Qila Of Jamrud
The Battle of Jamrud between the Sikh Empire and Durrani Empire took place at Jamrud. Jamrud was a strategic location and served as a base for a cantonment of the British Indian Army during the period of the British Raj. During the military operations of 1878-79 Jamrud became a place of considerable importance as the frontier outpost on British territory towards Afghanistan, and it was also the base of operations for a portion of the Tirah campaign in 1897-1898. It was also the headquarters of the Khyber Rifles, and the collecting station for the Khyber tolls. The population in 1901 was 1,848.The place continues to be of strategic significance.
Kavishar Joga Singh Jogi