The death of Haqiqat Singh was a great loss to Jai Singh. Besides Haqiqat Singh’s son Jaimal Singh whom he had recently married to Sahib Kaur, daughter of Maharaja Amar Singh, instigated Jai Singh to acquire from Mahan Singh his share in the loot of Jammu; Jai Singh demanded from Sardar Mahan Singh Of Sukerchakia half of the booty for Jaimal Singh, a part of which he wished to offer to the Durbar Sahib. Mahan Singh replied it was the fruit of his own labour, and he would not part with it. Jai Singh and Jaimal Singh began to plunder Mahan Singh’s territory and laid waste the parganahs of Mansurpur and Mandiala. Afterwards they attacked Nakais who were Mahan Singh’s allies, and seized Chunian, Dipalpur, and Raiwind from them. They also attacked Jandiala whose chief was attached to Sardar Mahan Singh Of Sukerchakia.
On the Diwali day in 1784 all the Sikh Jat sardars gathered at Amritsar. Mahan Singh with a tiray of sweets called on Sardar Jai Singh Of Kanhiya in his Katra. He was sitting on a cot. On seeing Mahan Singh he stretched himself covering all over and loudly shouting : “Be off, you bhagatia” (a dancing boy). Mahan Singh who was the richest Sikh sardar at the time took this insult to heart. He attacked the Kanhiya camp outside Amritsar. Jai Singh pursued him. A further engagement took place near Majitha, 20 kms from Amritsar. Sardar Jai Singh Of Kanhiya was forced to seek shelter inside the town, which was besieged. Jai Singh escaped into the Jalandhar Doab and collected a large army and stores of munitions. Mahan Singh could not face him single-handed. He retired to Gujranwala.
Sardar Mahan Singh Of Sukerchakia invited Raja Sansar Chand Katoch and Jassa Singh Ramgarhia, both enemies of Jai Singh, to join him. The response was immediate. Jassa Singh Ramgarhia left Tosham early in February, 1785 and encamped at Jagraon. Ramgarhia’s enemy Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was dead. His successor Bhag Singh promised neutrality. Jai Singh sent a force to check Ramgarhia’s advance. An engagement took place between them on the right bank of the Satluj in which the Kanhiya force was repulsed. Jassa Singh advanced and crossed river Beas without any difficulty.
Raja Sansar Chand lay encamped at Dinanagar, 82 kms north of Amritsar. Jassa Singh Ramgarhia and Mahan Singh joined their forces in the neighbourhood of Amritsar. Amar Singh Bagga formerly a personal] attendant of Jai Singh and a member of the Kanhiya misl deserted Jai Singh and united with Mahan Singh. They advanced towards Batala, 38 kms north or Amritsar. Jai Singh met the allies at Randpura village near Achal 1 3 kms away from Batala. It was a fiercely contested battle which lasted six hours. Jai Singh’s eldest and ablest son Gurbakhsh Singh was struck by an arrow shot by a soldier of Guru Sundar Das of Jandiala and instantly killed him. 1 For a while the old man was paralysed with grief. The world became dark in his eyes. He threw away his sword, arrows and matchlock and shouted to his enemies that he should also be killed. Tara Singh and Jaimal Singh took him away from the field to a place of safety. Gurbakhsh Singh’s widow, Sada Kaur, who was present in the battlefield escaped in disguise barefoot to her fort of Sohtan, 3 kms from Majitha and 15 kms from Amritsar.
- Kanhiya Lai, Panjab, 96-98.
- Muhammad Hasan, 104-5, 104 fn, 105 fn, 106 fn, 107 fn.
- Muhammad Latif, Sayyid, Panjab meh Lahore, 211. Nawazish Ali Sayyid, 625-28, 630-31.
- History of Sikhs vol 5 by Hari ram Gupta