In April 1819 Sultan Khan of Bhimbar agreed he would cooperate with Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s army in its advance to the valley of Kashmir. Pandit Birbaldhar with his son Raj Kak on behalf of Pandit community in Kashmir reached Lahore to persuade Maharaja Ranjit Singh to conquer Kashmir. This news leaked out to Jabbar Khan, Afghan governor of Kashmir. He attacked Birbal’s house. His wife committed suicide, but the young bride of Raj Kak was sent to Azim Khan at Kabul.

Ranjit Singh set up his camp at Wazirabad. Missar Diwan Chand was invested with the supreme command of the invading army numbering 12,000 with heavy artillery. It was divided into three parts forming one whole body. The main force was under Diwan Chand. The supporting column under Prince Kharak Singh and Hari Singh Nalwa marched behind him. The Maharaja with a reserve force was in the rear. He also took up the duty of supplying ammunition, food stuff and transport.

Diwan Chand was accompanied by Sultan Khan of Bhimbar, but the real duty of guiding the Missar through Toshamaidan Pass (foot of Pir Panjal range) all the way was assigned to Birbaldhar. Diwan Chand reached Rajauri early in June 1819. Raja Aghar Khan fled away. Aghar Khan’s younger brother Rahimullah Khan was installed as Raja. Aghar Khan was joined by Ruhullah Khan of Punchh. They attacked the Missar in the passes of Dhakideo and Maja. They were repulsed and the road to Pir Panjal lay open and clear. Kharak Singh marched behind him to Sardi Thana. Ranjit Singh established his camp at Bhimbar.

Missar Diwan Chand crossed the Toshamaidan Pass without any mishap over the Pir Panjal and descended into the valley at Serae Ali on the road to Shupian. Jabbar Khan had taken up his position at Shupian. Fresh supplies of food and ammunition were constantly reaching the Missar from Ranjit Singh. The Sikh army reached Shupian on 5 July 1819. In a sharp engagement lasting for a few hours the Afghans were repulsed. While fording a rivulet the Sikh army was attacked again by Jabbar Khan, causing confusion among them. In a fierce fight Jabbar Khan was again defeated. He fled to Muzaffarabad, but its governor turned him away. He escaped to Peshawar and then to Kabul. The victorious Sikh army entered Srinagar on 15 July 1819 and Kashmir was annexed to Sarkar e Khalsa.

References :-

  • Hari Ram Gupta – History of the Sikhs Vol. V The Sikh Lion of Lahore (Maharaja Ranjit Singh,1799-1839)
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