Final Frontier—Jamrud (1837)

The Battle of Jamrud (30 April, 1837) was a milestone in the history of the Indian subcontinent. It not only reflected how far the power of the Sikhs had progressed in 38 years of Ranjit Singh’s rule, but was a complete reversal of eight centuries of its history. This battle confirmed the new boundary of the Sarkar Khalsaji at the mouth of the Khyber Pass, the foothills of the Hindu Kush Mountains — striking terror in the heart of the Kingdom of Kabul.

When Hari Singh Nalwa was born, the word ‘Afghan’ was a terror in the Punjab. At the time of his death, each Sikh was a match for a multitude of Afghans. Following Hari Singh Nalwa’s demise, despite the paucity of troops, the terror of Hari Singh Nalwa’s name alone had kept the entire army of the Kingdom of Kabul at bay for over a week — the time it took reinforcements to reach Jamrud from Lahore.

The Afghans retreated from Jamrud without achieving any of their stated objectives. “Even if the victory had been more decided”, observed the author of the British Peshawar Gazetteer 60 years later, “it would have been dearly purchased by the Sikhs, with the loss of so brave a warrior as Hari Singh.”

Gazetteer of the Peshawar District 1897-98, Lahore: Punjab Government.(Peshawar 1897-98: 73-4).

Source: Nalwa, V. 2009. Hari Singh Nalwa ― Champion of the Khalsaji, New Delhi: Manohar.

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