Akali Phula Singh
|Akali Phula Singh|
Shinh, near Amritsar, Punjab, India
Battle of Naushera, Attock, Punjab, Pakistan
|Known for||Sikh General, Leader of the Nihangs, Adept in kirtan, Extended the boundaries of Sikh Raj, Jathedar of the Akal Takht|
|Parents||Father: Bhai Ishar Singh, Mother: Unknown|
The Jathedar of Amritsar
Born in 1761 into a Kamboj Sikh family in a village called Shinh around the city of Amritsar,His surname was Jhand,Akali Phula Singh joined an order of nihang at an early age. At the age of eighteen, Phula was transferred to the fort of Gobindgarh. There, he formed a band of nihang separate from the others serving at the fort. When Phula Singh returned to Amritsar later that year with his band of nihang, he had found the Maharajah to be the new ruler of the city. He and his band of nihang joined the Maharajah and in 1807 he was elevated to the position of the Jathedar of Amritsar. He died in 1823 in battle of Nowshera at Pir sabaq battle fied and his tomb is also located here.
Conflicts with the Maharajah
Europeanisation of the Khalsa Army
Despite what some may say, Phula Singh was extremely loyal to Maharajah Ranjit Singh, however he respected his religion much more. On the day of Muharram on February 25, 1809 A.D., Shia Muslims of British army under Metcaulf, a British military officer (captain) who was visiting Amritsar along with his forces, decided to take out a procession in the streets of Amritsar, even though in Amritsar among Muslims, majority were Sunni Muslims. It also happened to be the day of Holi, when Nihangs were celebrating Hola Mohalla along with their celebrated leader and Jathedar of Akal Takth, Akali Phula singh. The Shia procession wended its way through the streets of Amritsar, beating their breasts to the chants of "Hassan, Hussein, Ali" They came in front of Golden Temple, where the Akalis were in prayer. The Akalis remonstrated with the processionists to go elsewhere. Arguments led to scuffle and Shia Seopys under Metcaulfe came to a head on collision with Akalis. It is not known who were the aggressors. Even Metcalfe was doubtful and conceded that the first shot was probably fired by one of his Shia escorts. There were about 50 casualties on both sides. In the end this riot stopped when Ranjit Singh who happened to be in the city personally came forwarded and helped to quell the riot. He also went to Metcalfe and apologized for this riot. Ranjit Singh was impressed by the discipline shown by the Shia Sepoys under Metcalfe and Ranjit Singh promptly decided to Europeanise his Army.
Phula Singh was against the Europinisation of Punjab and had argued with the Maharajah for this as he believed that Khalsa forces should moreover follow the fighting styles of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The Maharajah then signed a treaty with the British marking the border between the British Raj and the Sikh Empire as the River Sutlej. Angered, Phula Singh threatened to quit as he had wanted for the Sikh Empire to retake all of India from the British and wanted the Maharajah to tear the treaty. The Maharajah then calmed the warrior by telling him they would first subdue the Punjab, Kashmir and Tibet before taking on the British.
- "The Heritage of the Sikhs" by Sardar Harbans Singh, ISBN 81-7304-064-8
- "Umdat-ut-twarikh" by Sohan Lal Suri
- "History of Sikhs" Part 1 and Part 2 by Khushwant Singh