KANWAR PASHAURA SINGH BAHADUR OF LAHORE,  (1821-1845), son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, was born in 1821 to Rani Daya Kaur. He emerged from obscurity to claim the kingdom of the Punjab after the assassination of Maharaja Sher Singh. After his escape from Baba Bir Singh`s camp, where his brother Kashmira Singh was killed, he reached Lahore to make up with Raja Hira Singh. It was the most opportune time for him to be in the capital, for relations between Hira Singh and his uncle Gulab Singh had then become strained on the question of the disposal of Raja Suchet Singh`s treasure.

Both of them vied with one another for his favour. But the Dogras soon made up their mutual differences, and Pashaura Singh was left in the lurch. After wandering over the Punjab for a few weeks, he crossed the Sutlej and arrived at the British camp in the middle of December 1844 to seek help against the Dogras. Finding the British unresponsive, he returned to Lahore soon after Hira Singh had been removed from the scene. As he appeared in the Darbar on 1 January 1845, there was much goodwill exhibited for him. A cry went up among the soldiers that he should be made the Maharaja in place of Duleep Singh.

This put Maharani Jind Kaur, mother of Duleep Singh, on her guard. Pashaura Singh was received with honour in the court, and was offered presents of jewels, elephants and horses. He was promised an increase in his Jagir, if he left Lahore immediately. Maharani Jind Kaur also asked Bhai Gurbakhsh Singh, with whom the prince was staying, to prevail upon him to retire to his estates. She, in the end, won over the army, who ordered Pashaura Singh to go back to his Jagir. On his appointment as Wazir on 15 May 1845, Jawahar Singh, brother of Maharani Jind Kaur, sent a force against him.

Pashaura Singh capitulated before the Lahore artillery, but was allowed by the troops to escape. After remaining in the wilderness for some time, he took the fort of Attock in July 1845, with just a handful of Pathan followers. With money that the fort yielded to him, he raised fresh levies and declared himself to be the ruler of the Punjab. He tried to secure help from the chiefs, from Jehlum to Khaibar. and even opened negotiations with Dost Muhammad. Raja Jawahar Singh Aulakh ordered Raja Chatar Singh Attariwala and Fateh Khan Tiwana to proceed against him.

They besieged Attock and reduced the prince to such straits that he agreed to surrender and place himself at the disposal of Chatar Singh on the promise of a safe conduct to Lahore and the retention of Sialkot. Having secured these assurances, he surrendered the fort on 30 August 1845 and proceeded to Lahore with the troops. Jawahar Singh had meanwhile sent instructions to the effect that Pashaura Singh be got rid of forthwith. The prince was sequestered from his personal bodyguard on 11 September 1845, and secretly taken back by Fateh Khan Tiwana to Attock where he was strangled to death.

References :-

  • Smyth, G.C., History of the Reigning Family of Lahore. Calcutta, 1847
  • Griffin, Sir Lepel, Ranjit Singh. Oxford, 1905
  • Chopra, Barkat Rai, Kingdom of the Punjab. Hoshiarpur 1969
  • Harbans Singh, The Heritage of the Sikhs. Delhi, 1983
  • Bhagat Singh, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and His Times. Delhi, 1990
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