Sardar Milka Singh was one of the most powerful of the Sikh chiefs who lived during the latter half of the eighteenth century. His native place was Kaleke near Kasur, but leaving this he founded the village of Thepur (Lahore district) and took possession of Narwar, Jandhir, Dalen and other villages, some in the neighbourhood of Thepur and others in the Gujranwala and Gujrat districts. Not content with these possessions, he marched northward and seized Rawalpindi, then an insignificant place inhabited by Rawal mendicants. Milka Singh perceived how admirably Rawalpindi was situated, and fixed his headquarters there, building new houses and in some measure forlifying the town. Rawalpindi was at this time an undesirable possession. It was on the highway into India, exposed to the attacks of Afghan invaders, and the surrounding country was held by fierce and warlike tribes.
But Milka Singh held his own. He conquered a tract of country around Rawalpindi worth three lakhs a year; and even the tribes of Hazara had respect for his name and power. He had adopted the cognomen of Thepuria, from the village he had founded; but in the north he was known as Milka Singh Pindiwala, and this name still belongs to the family.
He died in 1804. Ranjit Singh, whom Milka Singh had joined in several expeditions, did not feel strong enough to seize the estates of his old friend, whom he used to call Baba or grandfather, and was compelled to confirm them to Jiwan Singh, his only son. Of this
‘Sardar there is little to record. He fought during the first Kashmir campaign of 1814, and died the next year.
Anand Singh, the eldest of Jiwan Singh’s three sons, succeeded to a portion of his father’s jagir. The Maharaja resumed Rs. 2,92,000, and left only Rs. 8,000 of the old estate, granting new jagirs to the value of Rs. 42,000 in the Ferozepore district near Zafarwal, subject to the service of one hundred horsemen. Ram Singh, who survived his father only one year, had a jagir assigned to him in Hazara, and Gurmukh Singh received Sultani and Kari, worth Rs. 2,000, in the Gurdaspur district. The force which Sardars Milka Singh and Jiwan Singh had kept up was transferred to the service of the State and placed under Bhatti Jat ruler Sardar Atar Singh Sandhawalia Of Raja Sansi, bearing the name of Dera Pindiwala, and Gurmukh Singh received an appointment in it. In December, 1840, shortly after General Ventura had taken the fort of Kamlagarh in Mandi, the people’s of Kulu rose in revolt, cut off and annihilated four companies of the Pindiwala, and killed Gurmukh Singh who was in command.
Anand Singh died in 1831. His only son, Fateh Singh, was then a boy of eight years of age, and in 1836 the Maharajah reduced his jagir to Bs. 13,000, subject to the service of twenty horse. The villages which were left were ten in number: -Thepur, Kila Sardar Daloki and Kaleka in the Lahore district; Keli and Raja Tal in Amritsar; Loli, Lohri and Duni in Sialkot; and Kasoki and Samobala in Gujranwala. On the annexation of the Punjab, the personal jagir of Fateh Singh, worth Rs. 8,000, was confirmed to him for life, one-quarter to descend to his sons. Rs. 5,100 were also confirmed to the two widows of Anand Singh and the widows of Gurmukh Singh and Jiwan Singh. On the death of these ladies their jagir holdings were resumed.
Sardar Fateh Singh died in 1886. One-fourth of the jagir was continued to his three sons: Sher Singh, Dhian Singh and Kehr Singh.
Sardar Sher Singh, who was a Divisional Darbari, died in 1900. Sardar Sher Singh’s son, Anup Singh, and his brother, Kehr Singh, were recruited as Jamadars and, in 1909, were serving in the I1th Lancers The former was granted the Coronation Medal at the time of the Darbar of 1911. Anup Singh rose to be a Risaldar and in 1914 was appointed an Inspector of Police. He won the King’s Police Medal and also the recruiting badge for his work in the Great War. His son, Gurdial Singh, is a Captain in the cavalry of the Patiala State. Kehar Singh died in 1924. He had a distinguished record of service in the Great War and served in France from 1914-17. He earned two medals and a special certificate from His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief for supplying recruits to the army. His eldest son, Narinder Singh, joined 1/12th F. F. Regiment as a Y cadet but resigned after serving for over three years.
Sardar Fateh Singh’s third son, Sardar Dhian Singh, was the head of the family. He was recruited as Naib-Tahsildar in 1904 and rose to be an Extra Assistant Commissioner by 1926. During the Great War he worked as an Assistant Recruiting Officer at Amritsar and earned a special sanad for recruiting muleteers and sarwans. He was working as Revenue Assistant at Jhang. He has been granted the Divisional Darbar seat of the family. His eldest son, Sardar Jatinder Singh was an elected member of the Lahore District Board, and the other two sons, Brijinder Singh and Harinder Singh, have obtained the Master’s degrees of the Punjab University.