11. Mutual Misl wars

Due to mutual jealousies, fights continued among the Sikh Sardars. In 1776, the Bhangis changed sides and joined Jai Singh to defeat Jassa Singh. His capital at Hargobindpur was taken over and he was followed from village to village, and finally forced to vacate all his territory. He had to cross the river Satlej and go to Amar Singh, the ruler of Patiala. Amar Singh welcomed the Ramgarhia sardar in order to make use of his bravery, fighting skill, and ruling experience. He gave him the areas of Hansi and Hissar which Jassa Singh handed over to his son. He himself joined Amar Singh to take control of the villages on the west and north of Delhi, now forming parts of Haryana and Western U.P. The Sikhs disciplined and brought to justice all the Nawabs who were harassing their non-Muslim population. Jassa Singh Ramgarhia entered Delhi in 1783. Shah Alam II, the emperor, did not dare face the Sikhs, rather he extended them a warm welcome. Ramgarhia left Delhi after receiving gifts from him. Because of the differences arising out of the issue of dividing the Jammu state revenues, long time friends and neighbors Mahan Singh, Jathedar of Sukerchakia Misl and Jai Singh, Jathedar of the Kanahya Misl, became enemies. This resulted in a war which changed the course of Sikh history. Mahan Singh requested Jassa Singh to help him. In the battle, Jai Singh lost his son Gurbakhsh Singh while fighting with Ramgarhias. His widowed daughter-in-law, Sada Kaur, though very young, was a great statesperson. She saw the end of the Khalsa power through such mutual battles. She could foresee that to rule Punjab, Sikh Misls must give up their mutual jealousies and unite to form one big power. She was able to convince Mahan Singh to adopt the path of friendship. For this she offered the hand of her daughter, then only a child, to his son, Ranjeet Singh (later the Maharaja of the Punjab), who was then just a boy. The balance of power shifted in favor of this united Misl. Some other sardars also joined them. This made Ranjeet Singh the leader of the most powerful union of the Misls. When the Afghan invader, Shah Zaman, came in 1788, the Sikhs, however, were still divided. Ramgarhia and Bhangi Misls were not willing to help Ranjeet Singh to fight the invader, so the Afghans took over Lahore and looted it. As soon as the Afghans went back, Ranjeet Singh occupied Lahore in 1799 but the Ramgarhias and Bhangis did not accept him as the leader of all the Sikhs. They got the support of their friends and marched to Lahore to challenge Ranjeet Singh. The forces, who were 12 miles outside the city, were finalizing their plans to attack, when the Bhangi leader died. This discouraged Jassa Singh and he returned to his territory. Jassa Singh was eighty years old when he died in 1803. His son, Jodh Singh, developed good relations with Ranjeet Singh and they never fought again. The critical decision of Jassa Singh to join the Khalsa and save the Ram Rauni fort changed the course of not only his own life but that of Sikh history as well. He was honored as Ramgarhia. His name will always remain alive as the founder of the Great Ramgarhia Misl, who played a major role in the battles of the Khalsa Panth.