The wild character and predatory habits of the Bhattis had strength and determination to wage a war against them. They used to carry on depredations over a very vast tract of territory. The records of the Patiala State and the Bikaner State are full of descriptions of raids by Bhatti Kataks on the poor inhabitants of the villages and towns.’ In view of the constant danger of their inroads every village had a mud fort for defence against these marauders.” One of the important towns, within the easy approach of the Bhattis, was Sunam, which had been subjected to Bhatti raids for many a time.’ Similarly the inhabitants of Longowal, the village founded by Raja Ala Singh, were also not safe from Bhatti attacks. The Bhattis were the hereditary enemies of Raja Ala Singh. Chaudhari Mohan Singh Of Mehraj, the grandfather of Chaudhari Phul Singh Of Mehraj, was killed in a scuffle against the Bhattis. Chaudhari Roop Chand, the father of Chaudhari Phul Singh Of Mehraj, also met the same fate.” After the foundation of Longowal Ala Singh was very closely watching the activities of the Bhattis and was on the lookout for some opportunity to stem back the ever rising tide of Bhatti aggression. He got this opportunity when the Khalsa Dals moved to the Cis-Sutlej territory owing to the ruthless persecution by the Lahore Governor, Zakaria Khan(1726-1745). Raja Ala Singh invited the Dals to this territory and with their help attacked the Bhatti Chiefs, Allahdad Khan Bohewala, Inayat Khan and Vilayat Khan of Budhlada and Bahar Khan of Hariaho. These Bhatti Chief were related to Mohammad Amin Khan of Bhatner.” who was the most powerful chief of his time. The Khalsa Dals exacted tribute from the Bhatti territory. The desultory warfare continued for more than ten years.” Maharaja Ala Singh was successful in breaking the spell of Bhatti power and ultimately founded several villages adjoining Longowal and Sunam. After his successful campeigns against the Bhattis, Maharaja Ala Singh undertook to colonize the land and found villages in the areas, which were previously under the influence of the Bhattis. He founded Chhajli,’ Dirba” and Sheron.” Ala Singh’s new villages served the purpose. After some years they proved tobe the source of income and also paved the way for his further conquest towards Sunarlo. Another important acquisition of Ala Singh during this period was Dodan”, modern Bhawanigarh, which, in the subsequent years proved to be the most important base for carrying on the war against the Bhattis. Dodan was originally founded by Sabha Singh’, the elder brother of Ala Singh. He died issue less in 1744 A.D.’ leaving behind his wife, Begi,and his daughter-in-law, Resan, wife of Jodha, his deceased son. Begi and Resan could not pull on together. When Ala Singh went ot condole the death of his brother, he found thatResan, the widow of Jodhe, was bricked up in a room by hermother-in-law’*. Ala Singh, therefore, encouraged Sardul Singh, his, son, to take Resan into wedlock. Sardul Singh hurried to Hadiaya'” and apporached Resan with the intention to establish the matrimonial alliance with her. She agreed to the proposal and their marriage was solernized by the Karewa custom’*, This marriage is significant in the territorial acquisition of Ala Singh. It brought him the estate of his brother, Sabha Singh. Dodan, Ralla, Hadiaya and Khuddi were the important villages annexed by Ala Singh’. Dodan proved to be an important base for the further conquest of Bhatti territory. Ala Singh, however, could not consolidate his newly-acquired possessions owing to changed political conditions at Sirhind.
- Sirsa District Settlement Report, p. 31.
- The Rajas of the Punjab, p, 17.
- Sakhian Bhai Mool Chand, p. S1.
- Tarlkh-l-SiddhuBraran, p. 19.
- Bikaner is modern Hanurangarh in Bikaner State.
- Shamsher Khalsa- Gianai Gian Singh- Vol, II, p. 3.