Conquest of Sialkot
In 1808, Sardar Jeevan Singh Sialkotia clashed with the fauj of the Lahore Darbar. Amar Singh recounted Hari Singh’s role in the conquest of Sialkot. Besides the information culled from Sitarama’s poetic rendition of Hari Singh’s life, this nineteenth-century author/poet also incorporated the narrative of an 85-year-old Sikh soldier. His referral had served as a Subedar of a paltan for 28 years in the Sikh Army. He had seen Hari Singh Nalwa many a time. He had also heard of the Sardar’s exploits from those who personally knew him (Amar Singh 1903: 2-3). According to this Subedar’s version, Sardar Hari Singh led the Lahore forces in the Battle for Sialkot. Both sides were evenly matched. On the second day, the Sardar stormed the Qila along with Hukma Singh Chimni. He scaled the wall and planted the Sikh standard atop the fort (Amar Singh 1903: 14-15).
Kadaryar confirms Hari Singh Nalwa’s participation in the conquest of Sialkot:
Ballad speaks …
ਕਾਫ਼ — ਕੋਈ ਜਹਾਨ ਤੇ ਨਹੀਂ ਹੋਨਾ, ਹਰੀ ਸਿੰਘ ਜੇਹਾ ਵੱਡੀ ਓਟ ਵਾਲਾ।
ਪਹਿਲਾ ਹਥ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਨੂੰ ਦਸਿਆਸੂ, ਕਿਲਾ ਫ਼ਤਿਹ ਕੀਤਾ ਸਿਆਲਕੋਟ ਵਾਲਾ।
ਦੂਜਾ ਹਥ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਨੂੰ ਦਸਿਆ ਸੂ, ਕਿਲਾ ਮਾਰ ਮੋਇਆ ਜਮਰੌਦ ਵਾਲਾ।
ਕਾਦਰਯਾਰ ਜਹਾਨ ਤੇ ਨਹੀਂ ਰਹਿਣਾ, ਲਸ਼ਕਰ ਮਿਲ ਗਿਆ ਜੇ ਮੁਲਕੁਲ ਮੌਤ ਵਾਲਾ।।੨੨।।
Kaaf — Koi jahaan te naahi hona, Hari Singh jeha vaddi oat wala,
Pehla hatth Sarkar nu dassya su, Qila fateh keeta Sialkot wala,
Dooja hatth Sarkar nu dassya su, Qila maar moya Jamrud wala,
Kadaryar jahaan te naahi rahena, lashkar milgeya je malkul maut wala. 
(Qadir Bakhsh urf Kadaryar 19th cent.: 139)
Kaaf — There is no one in the world who matches Hari Singh’s monumental stature. His career commenced with the conquest of the fort of Sialkot, and he died defending the fort of Jamrud. No one, however, lives on in this world when death beckons, said Kadaryar.
Family records maintained with the Pandas in Haridwar, an invaluable source of authentic historical information, list the years in which Hari Singh made dharamarth grants to the purohits of this place. It was commonplace to bestow a grant on priests, mendicants, religious institutions to mark a significant event in an individual’s life. Hari Singh’s first grant on record in Haridwar was in 1808; this marked the victory in Kasur and possibly the birth of his first son. The second grant in 1809, perhaps celebrated his victory in Sialkot. The Sardar’s third and fourth grant, in 1826 and 1836 respectively, coincided with his miraculous escape from death in 1824 and the occupation of Peshawar in 1834.
Nalwa, V. 2009. Hari Singh Nalwa (1792-1837)― Champion of the Khalsaji, New Delhi: Manohar.
ਡਾ. ਵਨੀਤ ਨਲਵਾ 2010 ਹਰੀ ਸਿੰਘ ਨਲਵਾ (ਸੰਨ ੧੭੯੧-੧੮੩੭) — 'ਖ਼ਾਲਸਾ ਜੀ ਦਾ ਚੈਂਪੀਅਨ', ਅਨੁਵਾਦਕ ਤੇ ਸੰਪਾਦਕ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਤਾਪ ਸਿੰਘ, ਨਵੀਂ ਦਿੱਲੀ : ਹਰੀ ਸਿੰਘ ਨਲਵਾ ਫ਼ਾਊਂਡੇਸ਼ਨ ਟ੍ਰਸਟ।
In her book Hari Singh Nalwa ― Champion of the Khalsaji, Vanit Nalwa observes:
Feminine apparel for Pashtuns
In accordance with the teaching of their Guru, the Sikhs
did not attack the defenceless or the weak. this included
children, women, mendicants and the elderly. Sardar Hari
Singh Nalwa advised the Pathans that one way they could
escape the wrath of an infuriated Sikh was to dress as
a woman. In the Punjab, the shalwar kameez is feminine
apparel. The shalwar is a loose trouser with a
stiff border at the ankle, while the kameez was
a loose shirt falling to the knees. In India, this dress
came to popularly be known as the 'Punjabi suit'. In Pakistan
and Afghanistan, men still wear its variant--the ''Pathan
The following is the gist
of an open letter written by Miangul Aurangzeb, the present
Wali of Swat, to the Taliban when the Taliban were preaching
and enforcing strict dress and conduct codes for the women
in the areas that fell under their control.
"At the outset I want
to record that you all must love me very much as you have
decided not to take over my property in Swat unlike those
you have taken over of other landed families. I am therefore
emboldened to believe that I have the privilege of sharing
some historical facts for you to know about and I urge you
to absorb the same before you continue your campaign of
moral policing, especially when it comes to the manner of
dressing and code of conduct for women.
The Sikh army of Maharaja Ranjit
Singh, under the leadership of Hari Singh Nalwa came to
the Frontier in the 1820's and swiftly conquered our ancestors.
It is the only time in recorded history that our people
were ruled over by foreigners. The locals were so utterly
terrified of the Sikh army that they used to hide every
time the Sikhs came into view. Those that decided to resist
were met with ruthlessness. During this time, the word was
spread around that the Sikhs did not harm elderly people,
women and children and that the local men who did not wish
to earn wrath of the Sikhs should wear the garb of Punjabi
women, which was the Salwar-Kameez. At that time in our
history both men and women alike, wore only a single-robe
garment (similar to that worn by the Arabs) and the Sikhs
would not harm any man either when wearing the Salwar-Kameez.
So you see, our men happily
adopted the garb of Punjabi women since they were too terrified
to stand up and they have adopted the garb as being theirs'
ever since. I am very intrigued to see that you are following
in the footsteps of your ancestors by wearing the adopted
Punjabi women's garb as your own, but now go around preaching
and coercing our women as to how they should be living their
lives! I suggest that take a deep look inside yourselves,
given this historical perspective."
Aurangzeb, Wali of Swat
from 'Nishaan Nagaara', a magazine published by The Nagaara
Trust, III/2009, p. 45.
In the course of this research, the author chanced upon
a photograph (left) supposedly showing Hari Singh Nalwa
in the company of Ranjit Singh. The legend accompanying
this photograph on display in a leading New Delhi gurdwara
read, "A rare photograph of AD1808 while doing war
between Maharaja Ranjit Singh and British Empire. Standing
bodyguard: Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, Faqir Azurrudin (Aziz-ud-din)
Sitting: Lord Jangi Laat, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Lord Ripin
(Ripon, Viceroy)." That this was not a photograph of
Hari Singh Nalwa was clear from chronology of events. Hari
Singh Nalwa died in 1837 at the age of 46. The supposed
Hari Singh Nalwa in the picture was a young man. Though
the earliest camera adapted to making a permanent image
was developed in the 1820s, photography was first used in
India in 1840. Moreover, the dress of those featured in
the photograph did not bear resemblance to the mode of the
Sikhs. The photograph in question features Sher Ali, son
of Dost Mohammed Khan, two of his advisors and four firangis.
Amir Sher Ali Khan ruled for two spells, from 1863-66 and
again from 1868-79. The two Afghans standing next to each
other, on each side of and behind Sher Ali were mistaken
for Hari Singh Nalwa and Fakir Aziz-ud-din.
Complicity of Gulab Singh
The year Hari Singh Nalwa was killed in the Battle of Jamrud,
the author of Tawarikh Guru Khalsa, Giani Gian
Singh, was aged fifteen. Ranjit Singh had appointed the
young lad to read out the Holy Scriptures to him.
Some people believed that there was antagonism between the
Jammu Dogras and Hari Singh. The revenue collection of Peshawar
was in the hands of Gulab Singh Dogra. Yar Mohammed of Peshawar
owed thirteen and a half lakh rupees to the Lahore Darbar.
Gulab Singh colluded with the Khan. In the Battle of Jamrud,
when Sardar Hari Singh was driving the enemy ahead of him,
one of Gulab Singh's men in the Sikh Army shot the Sardar
in the back, from behind. The Sardar stooped over the neck
of his horse. At the time people merely suspected Gulab
Singh, but when he forgave Yar Mohammed's dues--his
complicity became more apparent. Bijay Singh Dogra revealed
this information. The Sikhs were greatly pained. Following
this, at Gulab Singh's specific request Ranjit Singh granted
him Hari Singh's territory. On seeing the treatment meted
out to a great Sardar who had conquered so many lands for
the Lahore Darbar, many Sikh Sardars were disheartened.
Following the death of Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, no further
conquest was made in the direction of the North West Frontier.
(Giani Gian Singh 19th cent.: 390)