Sardar Lehna Singh Sandhawalia Of Raja Sansi (d. 1843),Also Spelled Lahina Singh Sandhawalia was son of Bhatti Jat Jagirdar and Maharaja Of Lahore Cousin Sardar Amir Singh Sandhawalia, enjoyed at the court of Ranjit Singh the title of “Ujjal-didar, Nirmal-buddh, Sardar-i-bawaqar (Resplendent presence, pure of intellect, the Sardar with prestige marked) Sardar Lahina Singh Sandhawalia Bahadur.” Like other collaterals of the Maharaja, Lahina Singh was rich both in wealth and intrigue;he first became a partisan of the Dogra faction at the court, but changed sides when Kunwar Nau Nihal Singh came to power. When Kunwar Nau Nihal Singh fell out with Col Wade, the British political agent at Ludhiana, Lahina Singh was deputed along with Faqir `Aziz udDin to go to Shimla in September 1839 to call on Lord Auckland and demand Wade`s removal from Ludhiana.

During the struggle for power between Rani Chand Kaur and Prince Sher Singh, Lahina Singh, along with Alar Singh and Ajit Singh, supported the former. The Sandhawalia’s continued their intrigues against their sovereign despite the latter`s offers of conciliation. In March 1841, the Darbar intercepted a letter from Atar Singh Sandhawalia, then in British territory, to Lahina Singh and Kehar Singh Sandhawalia, both of whom commanded troops in Mandi, to retire with their force to the south of the Sutlej. The troops, apprehending treachery on their pan arrested both of them and brought them to Lahore where Maharaja Sher Singh kept them under surveillance.

In January 1842, they were imprisoned under the orders of the Maharaja and were set at liberty in September 1842 when he granted Atar Singh Sandhanvalia and Ajit Singh Sandhawalia amnesty and allowed them to return to the Punjab from the British territory where they had taken asylum. Lahina Singh Sandhawalia was one of the principal actors in the triple murder on 15 September 1843 which shook the kingdom of Lahore. On the morning of that fatal day, Lahina Singh and Ajit Singh rode out of their mansion with 150 horse and 300 footmen. Lahina Singh hid himself near the garden of Javala Singh, and Ajit Singh went forward to the Baradari of Shah Bilawal, and shot Maharaja Sher Singh dead, pretending to show him the carbine he had received as a gift in Calcutta.

The shot was the signal for Lahina Singh to rush with his troops into the garden where the young heir apparent, Kunwar Partap Singh, was engaged in a ceremony distributing alms and, despite the woeful entreaties of the prince, cut off his head with his sword. Lahina Singh fastened the severed head of Partap Singh to his saddle, and hastened to join his nephew, Ajit Singh. Both of them then proceeded towards the Fort, where, after finishing off Wazir Dhian Singh, they proclaimed minor Duleep Singh as the new Maharaja and Ajit Singh Sandhawalia as Iris Wazir.

The Khalsa army were aroused to anger and, led by Hira Singh, son of Wazir Dhian Singh, they stormed the Fort early next morning (16 September 1843). Ajit Singh was shot dead while attempting to escape by lowering himself by a rope from the Fort ramparts. Lahina Singh, who had hidden himself in a vault, was seized and gored to death. His mutilated body was, at Hira Singh`s orders, fastened to a rope and dragged through the streets of Lahore. Later, it was quartered and pieces of flesh were hung on the gates of the city.

References :-

  • Sun, Sohan Lal, `Umdat ut-Twarikh. Lahore, 1885-89
  • Griffin, Lipel, and C.F. Massy, Chiefs and Families of Note in the Punjab, Lahore, 1909
  • Smyth, G. Carmicheal, A His/my of the Reigning Family of Lahore. Patiala, 1970
  • Harbans Singh, The Heritage of the Sikhs. Delhi, 1983
  • Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, vol.11. Prince-ton, 1966
  • Hasrat, BikramaJit, Anglo-Sikhs Relations. Hoshiaipur, 1968
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