Anglo Sikh War

Anglo Sikh War
Posted on 05-05-2022

Anglo-Sikh War: The two wars between the British and the Sikhs are referred to as the Anglo-Sikh War. These wars were fought between the years 1845 and 1849. These wars resulted at the end of the Sikh Empire in Punjab and the entire Sikh region came under British rule. Anglo-Sikh war notes for Govt Exam Preparation.

Background of the First Anglo-Sikh War

The British always looked greedily toward the fertile land of Punjab and wanted to dominate Punjab. We can understand this fact from the letters sent to Britain by the British officials living in India –

  • W. F. Ashburn wrote in his letter in the year 1838, “We must immediately conquer Punjab after the death of Ranjit Singh and make Sindh our border. The company has already eaten big camels, so what about this mosquito?
  • Lord Ellenborough wrote in a letter to Queen Victoria that "the time is not far when Punjab will be under our control. Not that it will happen next year only but it is mandatory”.

On the basis of the above facts, it can be said that the British Government wanted to bring Punjab under its control. In the year 1843, Major Broadfoot was appointed as the Agent of the Company at Ludhiana. As soon as he got there, the situation got worse. He declared that all the princely states beyond the Sutlej would not only be under the protection of the Company but would also be confiscated upon the death of Maharaja Dilip Singh.

In the year 1844, as the successor of Lord Ellenborough, Lord Hardinge, who was an eminent soldier, came as Governor-General, he immediately made necessary efforts to strengthen the army. The Sikhs took only one meaning of this preparation for the British they wanted to attack and fight.

Rani Jind Kaur also cooperated at the beginning of the Anglo-Sikh war, because after the death of Raja Ranjit Singh, the power of the Khalsa army had increased a lot and Rani Jind Kaur did not have much control over it, so Jind Kaur's interest was the same. It was believed that if the Khalsa army was defeated, then its power would end and if it was victorious, the eternal region would come under it.

First Anglo-Sikh War(1845-1846)

  • On December 11, 1845, the Sikh army crossed the Sutlej river between Harike and Kasur. On December 13, 1845, Lord Hardinge declared war and issued an order that "that part of the kingdom of Maharaja Dilip Singh, which is on the left side of the Sutlej, is now annexed to the English kingdom".
  • During this war, both armies came face to face 5 times.
    • Mudki's War
    • Firoz Shah's War
    • Battle of Badowal
    • Aliwal's War
    • Subhav's war
  • The Sikhs were decisively defeated in this battle on February 10, 1846, due to the betrayal of the commander-in-chief of the Sikh army, Lal Singh and Tej Singh.
  • After the war, the Treaty of Lahore was signed. This treaty was signed between Maharaja Dilip Singh and the British.
    The Treaty of Lahore was signed on 9 March 1846. Under this-
    • The Sikh state gave up all the territories beyond the Sutlej forever.
    • Completely left the authority over all the forts between Sutlej and Vyas.
    • The British had to pay a war compensation of 1.5 crores to the Sikh state.
    • The army of Sikhs was limited, foot soldiers - 20000 and cavalry - 12000.
    • The Sikh state will not employ any other European company person in its service.
    • The minor Dilip Singh was accepted as Maharaja and Rani Jind Kaur was made his guardian.
    • Lal Singh was made the Wazir of the Sikh state.
    • An English officer was appointed as a resident in Lahore. The entire cost of which will have to be borne by the Sikh state. Sir Henry Lawrence was appointed as the first resident.
    • The English army would remain in Lahore until the end of 1846 at the expense of the Khalsa court.
  • The famous Kohinoor diamond of the Sikhs was also sent to Queen Victoria after this war.

Background of the Second Anglo-Sikh War

Soon after the Treaty of Lahore, the real purpose of the British came to the fore. Lal Singh was convicted in an investigation and exiled outside the state and the rule of Lahore was handed over to a delegation. According to the Treaty of Lahore, the English army was to leave Lahore by the end of 1846, but Lord Hardinge wanted to keep the army there for some time. So there was another treaty, the treaty of Bhairowal –

  • The Treaty of Bhairowal – was done on 22 December 1846. according to -
    • For the protection of the minor Maharaja Dilip Singh, the army was accepted to remain in Lahore and for this, the Khalsa court had to bear the expenditure of 22 lakhs per year.
    • Civil and military powers were given to the British residents.

When Rani Jind Kaur started raising her voice against this, the Governor-General made a declaration on August 20, 1847, according to which, in the interest of Dilip Singh's education, Maharani Jind Kaur was separated from him. And Sheikhpura was exiled by giving 48000/- annual pension.

Now a council of 8 Sikh Sardars was formed, who would look after the governance with Maharaja Dilip Singh, but that council would be presided over by the English Resident.

After this, in the year 1848, the imperialist Lord Dalhousie took the post of Governor-General. He believed that we should not lose any opportunity to get new territories. Dalhousie got this opportunity from the rebellion of Mulraj, the governor of Multan province of Punjab.

Second Anglo-Sikh War(1848-1849)

  • The British army again attacked the Sikh Empire to suppress the rebellion of Mulraj, the governor of Multan.
  • Two main battles were fought during this war.
  • The first battle of Chillianwala was fought between the Sikh leader Sher Singh and the English commander Gough. This war was inconclusive but the British suffered heavy losses in it.
  • The second battle was fought in Gujarat on 21 February 1849 under the leadership of Charles Napier. The Sikhs were badly defeated in this "battle of cannons".
  • After this, the whole of Punjab was annexed to the British state by a declaration by Lord Dalhousie on 29 MarcDilip Singh and his mother Jind Kaur were sent to London with an annual pension of £50,000/-.


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