KaroraSinghia Misl

KARORSINGHIA MISL was named after Karora Singh, a Virk Jatt of Barki in Lahore district. The founder of the jatha or band of warriors that subsequently acquired the size and power of a misl, was Shiam Singh of Narli who had battled with the invading forces of Nadir Shah in 1739. He was succeeded by Karam Singh, a n Uppal Khatri of the village of Paijgarh in Gurdaspur district. Karam Singh fell fighting against Ahmad Shah Durrani in January 1748 and was succeeded by Karora Singh. Karora Singh confined his activities to the tract lying south of the Kangra hills in Hoshiarpur district, and had seized several important towns such as Hoshiarpur, Hariana and Sham Chaurasi before he died in 1761.

Baghel Singh who succeeded Karora Singh as leader of the Karorsinghias is celebrated in Sikh history as the conqueror of Mughal Delhi. A Dhalival Jatt, Baghel Singh arose from the village of Jhabal, in Amritsar district, to become a formidable force in the cis-Sutlej region. According to Syad Muhammad Latlf, he had under him 12,000 fighting men. Soon after the Sikh conquest of Sirhind in January 1764, he extended his arms towards Karnal, occupying a number of villages including Chhalaudl which he later made his headquarters. In February 1764, Sikhs in a body of 40,000 under the command of Baghel Singh and other leading warriors crossed the Yamuna and captured Saharanpur. They overran the territory of Najib ud-Daulah, the Ruhilla chief realizing from him a tribute of eleven lakh of rupees. In April 1775, Baghel Singh with two other sardars, Rai Singh Bhangi. and Tara Singh Ghaiba, crossed the Yamuna to overrun the country then ruled by Zabita Khan, son and successor of Najib ud-Daulah. Zabita Khan in desperation offered Baghel Singh large sums of money and proposed an alliance jointly to plunder the crown-lands.

The combined forces of Sikhs and Ruhilas captured villages around the present site of New Delhi. In March 1776, they defeated the imperial forces near Muzaffarnagar. The whole of the Yamuna-gangetic Doab was now at their mercy. When in April 1781, Mirza Shafi, a close relative of the Mughal prime minister, captured the Sikh military post at Indri, 10 km south of Ladva, Baghel Singh retaliated by attacking Kahl Beg Khan of Shahabad who surrendered with 300 horse, 800 foot and two pieces of cannon. When on 11 March 1785, Sikhs entered the Red Fort in Delhi and occupied the Diwan-i-Am, the Mughal emperor, Shah Alam II, made a settlement with them agreeing to allow Baghel Singh to raise gurdwaras on Sikh historical sites and realize six annas in a rupee (37.5%) of all the octroi duties in the capital. Baghel Singh stayed in area called Sabzi Mandi, with 4,000 troops, and took charge of Chandni Chowk. He located seven sites sacred to the Sikhs and had shrines raised thereon within the space of eight months from April to November 1783.

Another Karorsinghia scion, Rai Singh, son of Mahtab Singh who had killed the notorious Masse Khan Ranghar, seized a number of villages in Samrala in the Ludhiana district after the Sikh conquest of Sirhind in 1764. Gurbaksh Singh, a Sandhu Jatt of the village of Kalsia in Kasur tahsil of Lahore district, who was a prominent companion of Baghel Singh, shared the exploits and conquests of the Karorsinghia sardar and occupied parganahs of Chhachhraun, Sialba, etc. Karam Singh and Dial Singh, also from Kalsia, took possession of the Bilaspur parganah, now in Jagadhari tahstl of Ambala district, and the parganah of Dharamkot in Firozpur district, respectively. Dulcha Singh, another member of the misl, took possession of Radaur and Damla in Karnal district. In October 1774 Dulja Singh Bahadur, "along with five other Sikh chiefs, was requested by the Mughal emperor to enter imperial service at the head of 1,000 horse and 500 foot, but he declined the offer.

The last of the prominent Karorsinghia leaders was Jodh Singh (1751-1818), son of Gurbakhsh Singh of Kalsia. Jodh Singh made considerable additions to his otherwise small inheritance. In 1807, he joined Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the attack on Naraingarh in Ambala district and later fought for him in many a battle in the Punjab. The Maharaja granted him the tracts of Garhdivala in Hoshiarpur district, and Charik in Firozpur district as rewards for his services. Jodh Singh died in the battle of Multan in 1818, and his son, Sobha, Singh, who succeeded him ruled over Kalsia state for 40 years until his death in 1758. Sobha Singh's son, Lahina Singh, who died in 1869, was followed in the chiefship by his son, Bishan Singh (d. 1883) and grandsons Jatit Singh (d. 1886) and Ranjit Singh (d. 1908). The chief figure in Kalsla during the twentieth century was Raja Ravi Sher Singh (1902-1947) who succeeded his father, Ranjit Singh, on the gaddi in 1908. The Kalsia state acceded to the Indian Union on the lapse of British paramountcy in August 1947 and joined the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU) in 1948.


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