Bhangi Misl

Information

Dynasty

Dhillon

Kingdom

Bhangi

Hindi Name

भंगी मिस्ल

Time period

1716-1802 (independent state), 1802-1947 (jagir of Panjwar)

Capital

Panjwar (1716-1746), Gilwali (1746-1766), Gobindgarh (after 1766)

History

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Flag of Bhangi Misl

The Bhangi Misl was ruled by Dhillon Jat Dynasty. The Bhangi Misl was part of the 12 Sikh Misl(states) that were founded in the 18th century by Sikhs out of the Mughal Empire. The founder of Bhangi Misl is said to be Sardar Chhajja Singh,a Dhillon Jat warrior and leader . He was a born at Panjwar village of Tarn Taran District of Punjab. He was the first companion of Banda Singh Bahadur to receive Sikh baptism of Amrit. After the death of Banda Singh Bahadaur, Chajja Singh founded a jatha(bands) of 300 warriors and increased his wealth by plundering Mughal territory. Over time the jatha increased and Chajja Singh was joined by Mohan Singh and Gulab Singh of Dhoussa village (six miles north-east of Amritsar), Karora Singh of Choupal, Gurbaksh Singh a Sandhu Jat of Roranwala(see Waniaki),Agar Singh Khangora and Sawan Singh Randhawa, Natha Singh(ancestor of Rangarh family), Jagat Singh and Bhuma Singh( who succeeded him). Bhuma Singh Dhillon, was an inhabitant of Kasur ,he was related to Chajja Singh. He like his predecessor plundered Mughal territory . He was succeeded by his nephew, Hari Singh, son of Bhup Singh, zamindar of Patoh near Wadni, who was a man of great ability. He developed a band of plunderer into an organised army and overran a large portion of the Punjab. It was his addiction to bhang (an intoxicating preparation of hemp) that gave the name Bhangi’ to the state.

Hari Singh, made Sohal ( in present day Amritsar district) , and seized much of the neigbouring country, Sialkot,Karial and Mirowal and ravaged Chiniot and Jhang Sial, and attacked Jammu, which he rendered tributary, and Multan without success. In 1762 he attacked ilakas of Khawaja Sayad ka Kot, two miles from Lahore, where Khawaja Abad, the Afghan Governor, had his arsenal; and carried away with him much booty, arms and ammunitions. In 1763 he joined the Kanaiyas and Ramgarhias in their attack on Kasur, and the next year was killed in a fight with Amar Singh of Patiala; and Jhanda Singh and Ganda Singh, two Dhillon brothers of Panjwar who had served under him, succeeded to the commaud of the Bhangi Misal. Under them the oonfederacy becaiae very powerful. Associated with them were many famous cheifs; Bhag Singh Haluwalia(*not to be confused with Alhuwalia) , Tara Singh, Sher Singh of Buria, Rai Singh of Jagadhari,Sudh Singh of Dodia, Sahib Singh of Sialkot, Nadhan Singh of Atu, Gujjar Singh of Rangarh and Lehna Singh Roranwala(see Waniaki).

In 1766 Jhanda Singh with a large force invaded Multan. Shuja Khan, the Governor, and Mubarak Khan of Buhawalpur gave them battle on the banks of the Sutlej. Neither side could claim the victory, but a treaty was signed to Pakpattan should be the boundary between the Sikh and the Afghan States. After this, Jhanda Singh returned to Amritsar, where he employed himself in completing the Govindgarh fort which Hari Singh had begun, and the remain of which are still to be seen behind the Lunmandi Bazar. It was not long before Jhanda Singh broke the provisions of the treaty with the Multan chief, and invaded his country in 1771. He besieged the fort unsuccessfully for a montlh and a half, till the near approach of an Afghan force under Jahan Kban compelled him to retire.

The next year, 1772, he was more successful. The successive governors of Multan, Shuja Khan, Sharif Khan Sadozai and Sharif Beg Taklu, had quarrelled, and the latter invited Jhanda Singh and Ganda Singh to his assistance. They were ready enough to accept the invitation, and, marching south with a large force, defeated Shuja Khan and his allies, the Daudputras of Bahawalpur, and seized Multan for themselves. Sharif Beg, thus fatally deceived, took refuge at Tal Amba, and then at Khairpur Tanwain, where he soon after died. Jhanda Singh then marched northwards, leaving Diwan Singh Chachowalia in charge of Multan with a strong garrison. He first went to Ramnagar, where he recovered the 2am-lam or Bhangi gun from the Chhathas(see Rasulpur) , and thence to Jammu where his ally and tributary, Raja Ranjit Deo, was defending himself against his son, Brij Raj Deo, and the Kanaiya and Sukarchakis chiefs(see Lahore). For some time the rival forces engaged with varying success, till Sardar Charat Singh Sukarehakia was accidentally killed and the Bhangis seemed about to gain the victory. This the Kanaiya’s averted by the assassination of Jhanda Singh, causing him to be shot as he was riding through the camp.

This was in 1774.Ganda Singh succeeded to the command of the misl; and, finding that no success could now be gained at Jammu, he retired to Amritsar, where he engaged himself in enlarging and strengthening the Bhangi quarter and in plotting against the Kanaiya ‘s ,who had caused his brother’s death. An opportunity for showing his enmity almost immediately occurred. Jhanda Singh had bestowed Pathankot on one of his associates, Nand Singh, otherwise known as Mansa Singh. This man died about the same time as his chief, and his widow gave her daughter and the jagir of Pathankot to Tara Singh, a near relation of Hakikat Singh Kanhaya. Ganda Singh exceedingly indignant at this, insisted that Tara Singh should give up the jagir, but the Kanaiyas refused; and Ganda Singh, collecting a large force, taking with him the Bhangi gun and with many of the Ramgarhia chiefe as allies, marched against Pathankot. Hakikat Singh, Tara Singh and Gurbakhsh Singh Kanhaiya and Amar Singh Bhaga marched to Dinanagar to oppose his progres, and here an indecisive engagement took place; but while encamped at Dinanagar, Ganda Singh fell ill aud died after ten days. Charat Singh, a nephew, was selected by the troops to sueceed him; but in the very first fight with the Kanaiya’s, Charat Singh was killed, and the Bhangi forces, left without a leader, returned to Amritsar.

Desa Singh now became head of the confederacy, and Gujar Singh of Rangarh acted as his minister. But the days of the great Bhangi Misl were numbered, and the power and intellect of a boy were unable to control the many unruly chiefs who had been proud to fight under Hari Singh and Jhanda Singh. Bhag Singh Halluwalia first declared himself independent; then Jhang ceased to pay tribute; and in 1779 Multan was lost.

It will be remembered that Sardar Jhanda Singh had left Diwan Singh in charge of Multan. He held his own for some years successfully; and in 1777 repulsed, tough only with great loss, an attack of the Bahawalpur Chief, and Muzaffar Khan, son of Shuja Khan. But in 1779 Taimur Shah, son of Ahmad Shah Abdali, marched against Multan with & large army, and Diwan Singh, having held out for more than a month, was compelled to capitulate, and was allowed to retire unmolested. Desa Singh had also a great enemy in the person of Sardar Mahan Singh, head of the Sukarchakia Misl(see Lahore) , which was now becoming very powerful; and in 1782, after holding the chiefship for eight years, he was killed in action, but whether before Chiniot, which he had marched to reduce, or in a skirmish with Mahan Singh, is uncertain. He was succeeded by his son, Gulab Singh; and of this chief there is little is to record. He was a weak man, and had not energy sufficient to keep together the possessions which his father had left him. Year by year these diminished, till at last the town of Amritsar and some villages in the Manjha alone remained. In 1800 a cabal was formed against Maharaja Ranjit Singh who had captured Lahore in July of the preceding year, and whose successes were beginning to fill all the Punjab chiefs with alarm. Chief in the cabal were Sardar Jassa Singh of Ramgarhia Misl, Sahib Singh and Gulab Singh of Bhangi Misl and Nizam-ud-din Khan of Kasur; and it was proposed to invite Ranjit Singh to a conference at Bhasin and there assassinate him. But the young chief was too wily to attend without a force large enough to secure his safety, and after two months passed in festivities he returned, to Lahore. But although Ranjit Singh escaped with his life, Gulab Singh was less fortunate. He had never missed an opportunity for drinking hard; and on this occasion, when every night ended in a debauch, he drank so deep that he killed himself. Some has asserted that he was poisoned; but there is no shadow of foundation for the story; and he was so incapable a man that no one could possibly think it worth his while to destroy him. Gulab Singh left one son, Gurdit Singh, a boy of ten years of age, married to the daughters of Sardars Sahib Singh of Rangarh, son of Gujar Singh, and Fateh Singh Kanaiya. But no powerful alliances were of use against Ranjit Singh, who was determined to gain possession of Amritsar. He in 1802, with the intention of picking a quarrel with the Bhangis, sent to demand from Gurdit Singh the famous Zam-Zam gun. But the glory and prestige of the confederacy was derived in great part from the possession of this; and although her chief advisers urged Sukhan, the mother of Gurdit Singh, to gave it up, she refused to part with it and prepared to fight. But such preparations were worse than useless. Maharaja Ranjit Singh with Fateh Singh Alhuwalia marched to Amritsar. attacked the Bhangi fort, and in five hours reduced it. Sukhan and her son took refuge with Sardar Jodh Singh Ramgarhia, and Ranjit Singh seized all the Bhangi possessions. Little more is known of Grurdit Singh. He laid at his ancestral village of Panjwar in the Tarn Taran pargana of the Amritsar district, where his descendants remained jagirdars .

On Gurdit Singh’s death, Thakur Singh was recognized as the head of the family. He was a Zaildar, a member of the Local Board of Tarn Taran and of the District Board of Amritsar and had a seat in Divisional Darbars. He along with his brother, Hakim Singh, enjoyed a jagir yielding Rs. 240 per annum and owned about 2,000 bighas of land. He was granted ten squares in the Lyallpur district and seven squares in the Montgomery district, and was also given the title of Sardar Bahadur in 1914.

On his death in 1926, his son, Harnam Singh, became the head of the family. He was married to a daughter of Sardar Lakha Singh, member of the family of Sardar Atma Singh of Padhana. He was a Divisional Darbari and was appointed a Zerldar, but resigned the latter post in 1936. Of his two sons the elder, Autar Singh, was maried to the daughter of Sardar Bhagwan Singh, Raes of Fateh Singh Wala in Muzaffargarh district; and the younger, Kirpal Singh, was married to the daughter of Sardar Balwant Singh Man of the Sheikhupura district.

Sardar Hakim Singh, brother of Sardar Sahib Thakur Singh, was an Honorary Magistrate. He received the title of Sardar Bahadur in 1920, and a gentry grant of seven rectangles of land in the Montgunery distriot. On his death in 1921 he was succeeded by his son, Aardit Singh, who was married to the daughter of Vir Singh, son of Sardar Hira Singh of Khamanun in Patiala. and also a grand-daughter of one of the Sirdhanwalia family. He was an Honorary Magistrate and a member of the Debt Conciliation Board, Amritsar. He received the Silver Jubilee Medal in 1935. He had three sons. The eldest, Gurbakhsh Singh, is married to the daughter of Sardar Bahadur Sardar Jiwan Singh, 0.B.E., of Padhana and the younger, Shiv Singh, is married in the family of Sardar Jaswant Singh of Ranyala in the Gujranwala district.

References :-

  • Sir L.H Griffin, The Punjab Cheifs,
  • Sir L.H Griffin, Chief and Families of Note in Punjab
  • Harid Ram Gupta, The Sikh Commonwealth or Rise and Fall of Sikh Misls
  • Jaspreet Kaur Sandhu (2000). Sikh Ethos: Eighteenth Century Perspective

Genealogy

  • Sardar Chajja Singh, 1st Chief of the Bhangi jatha, he was from the village of Panjwar, 13 kms from Amritsar and was the founder of the jatha (band of warriors), that later became the Bhangi misl, he had taken 'amrit' from the hands of Guru Gobind Singh.
  • Sardar Bhuma Singh Dhillon, 2nd Chief of the Bhangi jatha -/1746: after the death of Chajja Singh, Bhuma Singh Dhillon of village Hung in Parganah Wadani near Moga succeeded him, he was a competent organizer and commandant of his troops and enhanced the power of the misl, and was succeeded by his nephew and adoptive son. He was killed in 1746 during the Chhota Ghallughara.
    • Sardar Hari Singh Dhillon (qv)
  • Sardar Hari Singh Dhillon, 3rd Chief of the Bhangi Misl 1746/1765 and Commander of Taruna Dal; he was the son of Bhup Singh, a Zamindar of Pattah near Wadni, he was the first to be called Bhangi, at the formation of the Dal Khalsa in 1748, he was acknowledged the head of the Bhangi misl as well as leader of the Taruna Dal; he vastly increased the power and influence of the Bhangi misl which began to be ranked as the strongest amongst its peers, he captured Panjvar in the Tarn Taran parganah and established his headquarters, first at Sohal and then at Gilwali, both in Amritsar district; in 1763, he and the Kanhaiya and Ramgarhia Misls, sacked the Afghan stronghold of Kasur, the following year he sacked Bahawalpur and Multan, on his way back home, he reduced Jhang, Chiniot and Sialkot; married and had issue, three sons. He was killed 1765 in a battle with Baba Ala Singh of Patiala.
    • Sardar Jhanda Singh Bangi (qv)
    • Sardar Ganda Singh Bhangi (qv)
    • Nand Singh Bhangi, married and had issue.
      • Sardar Charat Singh Bhangi(see below)
      • Sardar Desa Singh Bhangi(see below)
  • Sardar Jhanda Singh Bangi, 4th Chief of the Bhangi misl 1765/1774, after his succession he was soon involved in the internal feuds of the warring misls, but under his leadership the Bhangi misl reached the zenith of its power, in 1766, he had invaded Multan and Bahawalpur, but failed to drive out the Afghans, he marched on Multan again in 1772, this time forcing the Nawab to flee and Multan was declared Khalsa territory, he next subdued Jhang, Kala Bagh and Mankera, he built a brick fort at Amritsar and laid out fine bazars in the city, married and had issue. He was killed in 1774 in a battle with the Kanhaiya and Sukerchakia misls at Jammu, where he had marched to settle a succession issue.
  • Sardar Ganda Singh Bhangi, 5th Chief of the Bhangi misl 1774/1775, he engaged himself in enlarging and strengthening the Bhangi quarter and in plotting against the Kanhaiyas who had caused his brother's death, later with his Ramgarhia allies he marched to Dinanagar to engage the Kanhaiyas in battle, but he fell ill and died after ten days, married and had issue. He died about 1775. Successed by his nephew Charat Singh
    • Sardar Amar Singh Bhangi, married Bibiji Karam Kaur, daughter of Sardar Nar Singh Randhawah of Chamyari, left no issue.
    • Rani Ratan Kaur, married (as his first wife) 1787, Raja-i-Rajgan Maharaja Sahib Singh, Maharaja of Patiala.
  • Sardar Charat Singh Bhangi, 6th Chief of the Bhangi misl, 1775, he successed his Uncle for a short time, died 1775 fighting against the Kanaiyas. Successed by his brother
  • Sardar Desa Singh Bhangi, 7th Chief of the Bhangi misl 1775/1782, he succeeded his brother as a minor, and was unable to control the rebellious chiefs, and under his weak leadership, the decline of the misl began, several Bhangi sardars set themselves up as independent chiefs within their territories, Bhag Singh Halluwalia was first to declare himself independent, then Jhang ceased to pay tribute and Multan was lost in 1779, married and had issue. He was killed in action against Sardar Mahan Singh Sukarchakia in 1782.
    • Sardar Gulab Singh Bhangi (qv)
    • Karam Singh, married and had issue.
      • Jassa Singh, married and had issue, two sons.
  • Sardar Gulab Singh Bhangi, 8th Chief of the Bhangi misl 1782/1800, he enlarged and beautified the city of Amritsar, but he was a debauched, weak man and progressively lost his family's possessions, till only some villages in the Manjha and Amritsar were left; he captured the city of Kasur, then held by Pathan Chiefs, but lost it in 1794, married Mai Sukkhan, died after 1802, a daughter of Sardar Fateh Singh Kanhaiya, and had issue. He drank himself to death in 1800 (some say poisoned).
    • Sardar Gurdit Singh Bhangi (qv)
    • Mul Singh, married and had issue.
      • Wasawa Singh
    • Ganda Singh
  • Sardar Gurdit Singh Bhangi, 9th and last Chief of the Bhangi misl 1800/1802 , Jagirdar of Panjwar and Head of the Family 1802/-, born 1790, in 1802, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, on a pretext, marched to Amritsar and reduced the fort in five hours, and all Bhangi possessions were seized, married (a), a daughter of Sardar Sahib Singh Gujratia (see below), married (b), Bibiji (name unknown) Kaur, daughter of Sardar Fateh Singh of Chitorgarh (see Fatehgarh), and had issue. He died at his ancestral village of Panjwar in the Taran Taran pargana of Amritsar district, where his descendants were still living (in 1865).
    • Sardar Bahadur Sardar Thakur Singh (qv)
    • Sardar Bahadur Hakim Singh, an Honorary Magistrate, he was granted the title of Sardar Bahadur in 1920; married and had issue. He died 1921.
      • Sardar Hardit Singh Dhillon, born 1886, an Honorary Magistrate, Member of the Debt Conciliation Board of Amritsar; he was awarded the Silver Jubilee Medal in 1935; married Bibiji (name unknown) Kaur, a daughter of Sardar Vir Singh (son of Sardar Hira Singh of Khamanun in Patiala), and his wife, a member of the Sandhanwallia Family, and had issue, three sons.
      • Sardar Gurbakhsh Singh, married Bibiji (name unknown) Kaur, a daughter of Sardar Bahadur Sardar Jiwan Singh Padhania O.B.E. of Padhana.
      • Sardar Shiv Singh, married in the family of Sardar Jaswant Singh of Ranyala in Gujranwala district.
      • Sardar Gurdial Singh Dhillon, parliamentarian, diplomat and statesman, born 6th August 1915 at Sarhali, in Jalandhar district of the Punjab, educated at the Khalsa Collegiate School, Amritsar and at Government College, Lahore, from where he graduated in 1935, he took the Law degree from the University Law College in 1937 and went into private practice, later he became the editor of two newspapers, and made a number on important political contacts, at the First general elections in Independent India, in 1952, he was elected a member of the Punjab Legislative Assembly, he was elected Deputy Speaker and then Speaker, later elected a member of the Lok Sabha, appointed as India's High Commissioner in Canada, he was awarded the Medallion of the Parliament of Canada, he was elected acting president of interparliamentary Union Conference at Geneva in 1973 and president at Tokyo in 1974, he was awarded (amongst others) a D. Litt. (honoris causa) from Punjabi University, Patiala, member of the board of governors of the Punjab Public School, Nabha, a trustee of Guru Nanak Engineering College, Ludhiana, member of the managing committee of Bir Baba Buddha College and a trustee of the Shahid Pheruman College. He died 23th March 1992 at Delhi, following a heart attack.
  • Sardar Bahadur Sardar Thakur Singh, Jagirdar of Panjwar, Head of the Family -/1925, a Zaildar, Divisional Darbari and Member of the Local Board of Tarn Taran and of the District Board of Amritsar, he was granted the title of Sardar Bahadur in 1914; married and had issue. He died 1925.
    • Sardar Harnam Singh (qv)
  • Sardar Harnam Singh, Jagirdar of Panjwar, Head of the Family 1925/- , born 1873, a Zaildar and Divisional Darbari (the latter he resigned in 1935), married Bibiji (name unknown) Kaur, a daughter of Sardar Lakha Singh Padhania, and had issue, two sons.
    • Sardar Autar Singh, born 1912, married Bibiji (name unknown) Kaur, a daughter of Sardar Bhagwan Singh, Rais of Fatehsinghwala in Muzaffargarh district.
    • Sardar Kirpal Singh, born 1913, married Bibiji (name unknown) Kaur, a daughter of Sardar Balwant Singh Mann of Sheikupuria.

Personality

Dr. Sardar Gurdial Singh Dhillon Of Panjwar

DR. SARDAR GURDIAL SINGH DHILLON OF PANJWAR (1915-1992),Was born into a Dhillon Jat family, He was a parliamentarian, diplomat and statesman, was a scion of the Bhangi Sardars who had ruled over the central Punjab…

Jaimal Singh Of Panjwar

Jaimal Singh Of Panjwar was born into a Dhillon Jat family he was the only son of Sardar Fateh Singh Bhangi Of Panjwar, was for some time in Sardar Sham Singh’s force, and served on…

Sahib Singh Bhangi

SAHIB SINGH BHANGI (d.1811), was son of Gujjar Singh Of Lahore of the Bhangi Jat clan, one of the numerous principalities into which Punjab was divided during the latter part of the 18th century, ruled…

Gulab Singh Bhangi

Desu Singh Bhangi was succeeded by his minor son, Gulab Singh Bhangi, who looked after the affairs of the Misal with the help of his cousin, Karam Singh Dulu. Gulab Singh enlarged the city of…

Desu Singh Bhangi

Desu Singh Bhangi, the ruler of the Bhangi Misl , appointed one Gujjar Singh Bhangi as his minister with whose intercession he concluded peace with Kanaihyas and returned to Amritsar. The fort of Pathankot remained…

Jhanda Singh Bhangi

After the death of Maharaja Hari Singh Dhillon, his eldest son Jhanda Singh succeeded him. He appointed his younger brother Ganda Singh as the commander-in-chief of the forces of the Bhangi Misl. The army was…

Ganda Singh Bhangi

After Jhanda Singh’s death, his brother, Ganda Singh, succeeded to the Sardari of the Misal. Ganda Singh completed the works of improvement which had been undertaken by his deceased brother at Amritsar. He strengthened the…

Chajja Singh Bhangi

The founder of the Bhangi Misal, Chaudhari Chajja Singh (later Sardar Chajja Singh Bhangi), a Jat, was a native of Panjwar village, eight km from Amritsar. He was the first companion of Banda Singh to…

Sirdar Gujjar Singh Bhangi Of Lahore

Gujar Singh of Lahore was the son of Natha Singh, a Sandhu Jat Zamindar of village Bhuri Asal also called Borahsal situated near Khem Karan on the western border of district Firozpur. Natha Singh had…

Maharaja Hari Singh Dhillon Of Bhangi

MAHARAJA HARI SINGH Dhillon or Hari Singh Dhillon Of Bhangi, was one of the most powerful, admired and famous of all the royal Punjabi Jat sikh warriors of the 18th century. He was Maharaja of…

Articles

Restore Bhangi Misl Baradari, say activists

Braving the ravages of time

Battles

Conquest of Rohtas Fort by Sardar Gujjar Singh Bhangi in 1767

The Rohtas Fort which Sardar Gujjar Singh Bhangi and his best friend Sardar Charat Singh Sukerchakia conquered from the maternal uncle of Ahmad Shah Durrani Nawab Sarbuland Khan enabling them to conquer Jhelum and the…

Battle of Pathankot – 1775

The murder of Dhillon Jat Chiefs Sardar Jhanda Singh Of Bhangi was rankling in the mind of Ganda Singh who was watching for an opportunity which soon presented itself to him to declare war upon…

Khwajah abed defeated by the Routed By The Jat Sikhs at Gujranwala , September 1761

The recent victories of the Sikhs emboldened them to infest the very neighbourhood of Lahore. Their violence increased so much that the collection of the revenues stopped at every place. Khwajah Abed Khan in view…

Sack Of Kasur, C. May 1763

The whole body of the Sikhs gathered together atAmritsar to celebrate the Baisakhi festival which fell on the roth April 1763. At Amritsar some Brahmins of Kasur came and made a bitter complaint against the…

Conquest of Gujrat by Gujjar Singh Of Bhangi, 1765

On the other side of river Chenab, 8 kms distant from the river and 114 kms from Lahore lay the town of Gujrat. It was an old city. It stood like a gem in the…

Battle of Sirhind (1764)

The Battle of Sirhind was fought between Durrani Empire and Misldars in 1764. Date :- 26 February 1764 Location :-Sirhind Result :- Misls victory (Misldars capture Sirhind). Belligerents :- Misls Vs Durrani Empire Commanders and…

Battle of Gujranwala (1761)

The Battle of Gujranwala was fought between the Durrani Empire and the Misldars in September 1761 Date :- September, 1761 Location :- Gujranwala Result :- Misls Victory. Belligerents :- Misls Vs Durrani Empire Commanders and…

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