In the year 1791, one of the fiercest Sikh warriors was born in the town of Gujranwala, Punjab and was named Hari Singh.
At an early age of 7, Hari Singh lost his father and soon after that he got involved in a property dispute with the relatives, which was quite obvious.
Although he was too young to represent his case but his mother sent him to the Maharaja’s court to rest his case which he did intelligently, considering that his father and grandfather had worked under the royal highness.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh got so impressed with the kid that not only he decided the case in his favour but he also offered him a position of personal attendant in the royal court. A boy with no experience and no selfishness, but perhaps there was something else at work that day, something beyond simple understanding.
It was in 1804, he accompanied the royal courtesans on a hunting trip when a tiger attacked his horse and left him weapon less. Mind you, he was just 14 years old at that time, but he not only fought the beast but also killed him tearing his jaw with his bare hands, and thus nicknamed “Baagh Maar” (Tiger killer).
On his return, Maharaja crowned him with the designation of “Sardar” and gave him the command of 800 horses and footman.
In 1807, when he was 17 years old he commanded his division along with Maharaja Ranjit Singh in his first battle at Kasur and showed remarkable bravery and won the night for the Sikhs.
In coming years he fought and won many battles for the Maharaja. He knew no fear, he didn’t know the meaning of backing-down.
When he was given the charge of the infantry, Afghans controlled both sides of the Khyber pass, Jamrud, Peshawar, Kashmir and many more important cities of that time. But in less than 3 decades he threw them out of every region, and all they had was Kabul. It was him that Sikh empire had expanded from Khyber Pass in the west to Kashmir in the east present day Punjab and Sindh region in South with Lahore as their capital.
In March 1837, the grandson of the Maharaja was to get married in Lahore. Troops were withdrawn from all over Punjab to put up a great show of strength to the British commander-in-chief who was invited to the wedding. The invitation was also sent to Sardar Hari Singh and the enemy, Dost Mohammed Khan.
Hari Singh was supposed to be in Amritsar at that time, but owing to illness he was stationed in Peshawar with little troops.
Dost Mohammed Khan got the news of troop movement towards Lahore and decided to do what any intelligent enemy would do. He along with his 5 sons and chief advisors and an army of 25,000 crossed over Khyber Pass and marched towards Jamrud, the first fort down the pass under Sikh Empire.
Now Jamrud had a small army unit of little less than 500 men inside the fort under the control of lieutenant Mahan Singh.
As soon as the news of Afghan army reached Mahan Singh, he sent an informer to Peshawar to notify Hari Singh about the surprise and unprovoked attack by the Afghans.
Hari Singh who was on bed-rest in Peshawar immediately left for Jamrud with a small contingent of 100 men and ordered the informer to go Lahore and ask for reinforcement for Jamrud.
But the time he reached, the Afghan army had already surrounded the fort and cut off the water supply to the fort.
Even with 25,000 men and outnumbering Sikhs by a huge number, the news of the arrival of Hari Singh put Afghans in total panic, such was his aura in his enemy’s minds.
Hari Singh simply charged towards the fort gates tearing the Afghan army like a sheet of paper. Such was the chaos that they shooting arrows without knowing his position. But in this melee, Hari Singh got grievously wounded.
He lay there inside the fort walls in high fever and deep cuts, but still in senses. He ordered his men to wash and hang his clothes every day and hang them over the fort walls just to let the Afghans know that he is still alive and healthy.
But he knew that he won’t survive for long, so he ordered his lieutenant not to let the news of his death out until the reinforcements arrives, which is what he did.
Every day he brought food inside the room where lay the mortal remains of Hari Singh, and everyday he washed his clothes and hanged them over the wall.
Imagine the fear of the name Hari Singh that the Afghan army just couldn’t gather the courage to even shoot an arrow at the fort.
They knew he was injured, so they just waited for his death news, so that they can attack the strategically important fort. So they waited for a week, but by that time, it got too late, as the Sikh Khalsa army arrived.
The news of the death of their beloved general did get out, but instead of getting demoralise, every single men in the Sikh army got so pumped up that they butchered the entire Afghan army and dedicated the victory to their beloved general SARDAR HARI SINGH NALWA, the man who not only won every battle, every war when he was alive but even after his death.