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Author: Prof. Azizuddin Ahmed
The First Punjabi War was the result of a conspiracy in which, apart from the head of the Punjabi government, Tej Singh, the commander-in-chief of his army, was involved. For the Punjab Darbar, the Punjabi army had become such a genie from Allah Din’s bottle that it could not be put back in the bottle. It had become an army facing ruin even as its wishes were met and its discontents resulted. Rani Jindan thought that the disobedient and rebellious army should be weakened by fighting with the British and thus try to keep it under control. To achieve this goal, it was first spread that the British were preparing to attack Punjab. Anyway, the British were busy with these preparations long ago. Therefore, it was not difficult for Jindan to prove it. The Punjabi army had also longed to escape from its stronghold as there was nothing left to return to the interior. So the army soon became eager to face the British. An ordinary soldier had no idea of the military might of the British, but the Panch of the Punjab Army was aware of this. He was initially against clashing with the British. But Rani Jindan used the same propaganda tactics that Panch used earlier. He launched a campaign of whispers that the war was opposed by those who were agents and traitors of the British, forcing the military panchayats to fight against the British.
War was declared against Ranjit Singh’s Samadhi. There all the Panch Committees of the army gathered and vowed to destroy the British and die. On 11 December 1845, the Punjab Army crossed the Sutlej River border and entered British territory. Neither the people of Punjab were ready for this war nor the government had the necessary equipment for the fight. In this first Punjabi war, many small battles and skirmishes took place. But 3 major battles are worth mentioning.
Battle of Madki:
The first encounter between the Punjabi army and the British army of the East India Company took place on 16 December 1845 at Madki, 20 miles from Ferozepur. The number of Punjabi army was 30 thousand and it was commanded by Wazir Lal Singh who himself was involved in the conspiracy to defeat Punjab. So the army was betrayed by its commanders. After crossing the river Sutlej, Lal Singh wrote to the English officer, Captain Nicholson, that he would hold back the cavalry for two days so that he could not be joined by the infantry, provided he and Rani Jindan obtained the permission of the British. Government. To be considered a friend.
Despite the treachery of the commanding general, the common soldier attacked with such gallantry that the British army was thrown into disarray. The legs of the European regiment were swept away by the shelling of the Punjabi artillery. But the British won. Because the Punjabi commander left the army and ran away as soon as the battle started. Two British generals were killed in this battle. One was Major General Sir Robert Bell and the other was Major General Sergeant McCaskey. ( to be continued )
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