Modern Indian History Notes


Anglo Sikh Wars

Guru Gobind Singh was the tenth in addition to the last Guru of Sikhs who had transformed the spiritual sect of Sikhism into a military brotherhood.

Following the invasion of Ahmed Shah Abdali and Nadir Shah, the Sikhs merged their military power in center of confusion and disorder after invasion. This resulted in emergence of Sikh power helped by strong military.

King Ranjit Singh (1792-1839)

He’s considered to be greatest Indian ruler in his period who based Sikh rule in Punjab. He occupied Lahore in 1799 to create Lahore his funds. Subsequently he conquered Amritsar, Ludhiana, Kangra, Multan, Kashmir, Attock, Hazara, Bannu, Peshawar and Derajat. After laying strong foundation of Sikh rule in large parts across Punjab, he died in 1839 which led to struggle for succession.

The Sikh Kingdom saw begining of process of disintegration when Kharak Singh, the eldest son and successor of Ranjit Singh and his sole son Naunihal Singh (grandson of Ranjit Singh) were murdered in 1840. Thereafter Sher Singh, another son of Ranjit Singh was powerful with help of the Sikh military in proclaiming himself that the Maharaja at January 1841 but he also was assassinated in 1843.

The First Anglo-Sikh War (1845-1846)

Since the British were carefully watching the developments in Punjab and had their eyes on the fertile plains across the opposite side of Sutlej, they began engaging Sikh troops. Together with the appointment Major Broad as Company’s Agent at 1843 at Ludhiana for Sikhs events afterward worsened Anglo-Sikh connections.

The British movements and trainings alerted the Sikh troops that spanned the Sutlej in December, 1845 and took offensive position against the English troops. Henceforth, conflicts were fought at Mudki, Ferozeshah and Aliwal. To settle the issue that the last battle of Sobraon (10 Feb, 1848) proved crucial in Anglo Sikh War.

After victory at Sobraon, the English army occupied Lahore and dictated peace provisions. At the treaty of Lahore, Dalip Singh, was known as Raja along with the Jullandur Doab was added to the British territory, it also restricted the Sikh military The British imposed a heavy war indemnity amounting half and one crores rupees on the Lahore durbar. Out of the, Half a crore was paid, and in lieu of the equilibrium war indemnity Lahore durbar offered to cede land of Kashmir.

The Secondly Anglo-Sikh War (1848-1849):

After a Couple of Months after the treaty of Lahore, Rani Jindan and Lai Singh realised that the true goals of the English Company. The Significant causes behind Second Anglo Sikh War were:

  1. The Sikh Sardars were dissatisfaction with the British control over Punjab,
  2. The Sikh army desired to avenge their humiliation in the early war
  3. The therapy of Rani Jindan from the British if she had been eliminated from Lahore to Shekhupura on charges of conspiracy against the British infantry.

At the next Anglo Sikh War a large army under control of Lord Gough fought an indecisive battle at Ramnagar at November 1848. Next, at conflict of Chilianwala in January, 1849 the Sikh soldiers won glory. The last and decisive battle at Gujrat close Chenab was acquired by the English at 1849. This war led to the annexation of Punjab.

In March 1849, Lord Dalhousie annexed Punjab under the Treaty of Lahore and pensioned off Dalip Singh into England with his mum Rani Jindan.

Sir John Lawrence became the first Chief Commissioner of Punjab to care for government of Punjab. Thus, Punjab became a British state. Even though Patiala and a few other tiny states kept their rulers following recognizing sovereignty of the British. The next Anglo Sikh War finished with British conquest of Punjab.


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