Skirmish of Chenab (1739)

The Skirmish of Chenab was a minor skirmish between the Sikh forces led by Ahluwalia Jat- Kalal Chief Jassa Singh Ahluwalia Of Kapurthala and the Persian forces led by Nader Shah. It occurred when Nader Shah was leaving India after looting Delhi.

Background :-

The Mughal Empire had become weakened from corruption and defeats by the Marathas. India was one of the wealthiest countries at that time which is what attracted Nader Shah to invade India. Of the 3 main Muslim empires at that time the Mughals were the wealthiest out of the three.The last attack of Nader Shah on his invasion was Delhi, the city with the most wealth. After looting the entirety of Delhi including the Koh-i-Noor and some slaves, Nader Shah decided to leave for Iran.

The raid:-

Nader Shah had decided to go through the mountains in Northern Punjab to leave India. Learning about this the Sikhs started gathering light cavalry bands, with the main objective of capturing Nader Shah’s booty.They managed to seize a large amount of the booty. The Persian troops were unable to pursue the Sikhs successfully because they were overloaded with booty and by the terrible heat of May.The Sikhs also released many slaves.


Nader Shah called a halt at Lahore where he got the news of his losses in the booty. He was extremely enraged and made enquires about the plunder. There he was accompanied by Zakariya Khan who asked him who were the troublemakers. Upon knowing about the Sikhs, he told Zakariya Khan that these rebels will rule the land one day.

Even though the Sikhs looted Nader Shah’s booty, there was so much left that it was enough to stop taxes in Iran for 3 whole years. After Nader Shah’s assassination in 1747, his successor Ahmed Shah Abdali later went on and attack the Sikhs for over 20 years.

References :-

    • Gupta, Hari Ram (1999) [1939]. History of the Sikhs: Evolution of Sikh confederacies, 1708-69. Munshiram Manoharlal. p. 54.
    • Vidya Dhar Mahajan (2020). Modern Indian History. S. Chand Limited. p. 57.
    • Paul Joseph (2016). The SAGE Encyclopedia of War: Social Science Perspectives. SAGE Publications.
    • Bhangu, Rattan Singh (1914). Panth Prakash Vol.2
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