Azim Khan, Prime Minister of Afghanistan was displeased with his brother Yar Muhammad Khan, Governor of Peshawar, for his submission to Ranjit Singh. He declared a holy war against the Sikhs. Ranjit Singh rushed from Lahore at the head of a strong army and heavy artillery. He crossed the Indus on 13 March 1823, and advanced to Naushahra.

The Yusafzais and Khataks took up their position at Tihri on the left bank of the Kabul river, 2 km from Naushahra towards Peshawar on 14 March 1823. Azim Khan at the head of a strong force encamped on the right bank of the Kabul river a few km from Tihri. His brothers Jabbar Khan and Dost Muhammad Khan organized the tribals and assumed the duty of leading them.

Ranjit Singh divided his army into two parts. One division under him, MissarDiwan Chand, Balbhadra Singh Gorkha and AkaliPhula Singh, took up their position against Yusafzais and Khataks. The other half under Hari Singh Nalwa, Jamadar Khushhal Singh, Sher Singh, Budh Singh Sandhanwalia and General Ventura engaged themselves against Azim Khan with the object to prevent his crossing the river and joining the Ghazis. Azim Khan was kept tied down to his camp and he could not come to help his Ghazis.

Heavy bombardment forced the tribals to leave the mound. No sooner did they come down than AkaliPhula Singh led the attack. They were given no quarter. They were driven back three times by Ranjit Singh himself. Leaving 3,000 men dead and wounded in the battlefield they slipped away to their homes. The Sikhs also suffered their two notable commanders, AkaliPhula Singh and General Balbhadra Singh Gorkha, with about 2,000 men lost their lives. Azim Khan was so much frightened that leaving his guns, tents and other equipage, fled to Peshawar and then to Kabul, a most dejected and broken-hearted man and died a month and a half afterwards. The mound on Naushahra-Mardan road marks the site of this battle. A gurdwara and a tomb was erected in honour and memory of AkaliPhula Singh. This battle established the Sarkar e Khalsa supremacy to the west of the Indus.

References :-

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