The Bhangis then elected Desa Singh, the minor son of Ganda Singh who had been passed over owing to his tender years. The Misl now got out of control because of the imbecility and cowardice of its leader. Many Sardars became independent. The tribute from Jhang was stopped and Multan was lost soon after. Muzaffer Khan, the son of Shuja Khan, assisted by his ally, the Bahawalpur chief, made an attempt to recover Multan in A.D. 1777. He was, however, repulsed by Diwan Singh the governor of Jhanda Singh .

And now a greater calamity was awaiting the Sikhs. Timur Shah, son and successor of Ahmad Shah Abdali, made up his mind to recover his lost territories in the Punjab. His attempt failed because his general Faizullah turned seditious. In the second attempt (1779-80) he achieved considerable success. His general Zaqi Durrani led a chosen force of 18000 men consisting of Qizalbash, Yusafzeis and Durranis to attack the Sikhs who had taken shelter in the fort of Rohtas. After a bloody fight, the Sikhs gave way. About 3000 of Sikhs were killed in the battle, while 2000 were drowned in their attempt to cross the river. After this victory, Timur Shah directed his forces to capture Multan. In the process, the Afghan forces led a severe attack upon the Sikhs near Multan. The Sikhs left their positions and suffered very heavy casualities. After this the Sikhs took up their positions in the fort of Multan and closed the city gates. Early in January 1780, Timur’s forces laid siege to town of Multan. Just then Jassa Singh, Gujjar Singh, Hakikat Singh, Lehna Singh, Bhanga Singh and other Sikh chiefs from Lahore at the head of 10000 horsemen marched for the relief of Multan against the Afghan forces. They fought a severe battle against the Afghan forces on 8th February, 1780 from morning till afternoon but ultimately they were defeated and had to flee back towards Lahore. After this, Multan was occupied. The Sikh army consisting of 7000 horse capitulated. They were allowed to depart for their homes in safety fully armed and in possession of their belongings. Muzaffer Khan was appointed governor of Multan at the head of 20000 horse; whilst Shujat Khan, Azam Khan and several other Afghan chiefs were appointed to assist him to consolidate and operate the administration of the province. Timur Shah also subdued Bahawal Khan the Abassi chief of Bahawalpur.’ After this incident the decline that had started earlier became more. After this incident the decline that had started earlier became more pronounced. Even then, Desa Singh continued to receive revenue to the tune of fifty thousand rupees annually from the Sials.

The greatest enemy of Desa Singh was Mahan Singh Of Sukerchakia. Both were often engaged in mutual warfare. Many of his parganas were seized by Mahan Singh. Desa Singh was killed in 1782 in an engagement with Mahan Singh Of Sukerchakia at Chiniot.

Mahan Singh Of Sukerchakia expelled the Bhangi military posts from Pind Bhattan, Sahiwal, Isa Khel, Musa Khel and Jhang. The total span of the rule of Desa Singh was eight years.


  • History of the Sikhs
  • Sayyad Muhammad Latif, op. cit., p. 299
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