Jahandad Khan Governor of Attock willingly submitted to Maharaja Ranjit Singh in February 1813 when his real brother Ata Mohd Khan, Governor of Kashmir was defeated and removed by Wazir Fatah Khan of Kabul. This led to yet another battle between Afghans & Sarkar e Khalsa.

Diwan Mohkam Chand encamped on the eastern bank of River Ravi with 10,000 horse and foot and several cannon. He arrived at Rawalpindi on 7 June. On knowing of Mohkam Chand’s arrival at Rawalpindi, the Wazir declared a holy war against the Sikhs. Thousands of fanatics Yusafzai and Khatak Pathans flocked to fight the infidels. From Kabul a strong contingent under princes Ayub and Abbas arrived on the banks of the Indus but could not cross it for want of sufficient boats.

The Diwan organised his cavalry into four divisions in the form of a square, each side containing 2,000 men. The infantry battalion of 2,000 men was in the centre of the square. He was at the head of the infantry on an elephant, on whose back on both sides of the Diwan two light cannon were tied with gunners to fire. Ghaus Khan with his artillery corps was lingering in the rear away from the battlefield. He had been won over by Wazir Fatah Khan in the name of Islam.

The Ghazis delivered a ferocious assault on the front division of the Sikhs who met with a tremendously heavy fire, causing confusion in the enemy’s vanguard. Then Dost Muhammad’s cavalry rushed yelling and shouting. The Sikhs began to flee. Just then Ghaus Khan arrived on the scene. The Diwan asked him to order his artillery to fire. He ignored the command. The Diwan ordered Ghaus Khan’s assistants Aziz Khan and Shaikh Budha to discharge their artillery. Ghaus Khan prohibited them from firing.

The experienced Diwan kept his presence of mind and loudly asked the Sikhs to hold their ground and follow him. He ordered his two guns to be fired intermittently and he rushed forward. The clouds of smoke and dust filled the whole atmosphere. A strong fiery wind was blowing from cast to west blinding the Afghans and choking their nostrils. The midday heat of July proved terrible for the dwellers of the mountains. Dost Muhammad fell back. Fatah Khan took him for dead. His Ghazis and cavalry fled towards the river. Wazir Fatah Khan realized that discretion was the better part of valour. He did not push his rear guard into the jaws of death. A flotilla of boats was kept ready. The survivors escaped to Khairabad, and many men and horses were drowned in the Indus. As this battle was fought near the village of Haidru, it is called the battle of Haidru. It took place on Friday 9 July 1813 (11 Asarh, 1870 Bikrami) from 4am to 1pm.

References :-

  • History of the Sikhs Vol 5 The Sikh Lion of Punjab – Maharaja Ranjit Singh by HR Gupta
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