NICHOLSON, JOHN (1821-1857), political assistant at Fīrozpur (1844-45), was born in Dublin on 11 December 1821, the son of Dr Alexander Nicholson. He obtained cadetship in Bengal Infantry in 1839 and in December the same year was posted to the 27th Native Infantry at Fīrozpur. In 1844, he became political assistant at Fīrozpur in which capacity he was found indulging in intrigues against the Sikh State and Lord Hardinge felt inclined to remove him from the frontier. After the first Anglo-Sikh war (1845-46), Nicholson became assistant to Sir Henry Lawrence, resident at Lahore, who sent him in 1846 to effect the settlement of the Sind Sāgar Doāb. In 1848, he was deputed to Hazārā to conduct an inquiry into the revolt by Chatar Siṅgh Aṭārīvālā.

         Captain Nicholson took part in the second Anglo-Sikh war at Rāmnagar and Chelīāṅvālā. On the annexation of the Punjab he was appointed deputy commissioner under the Board of Control of which Sir Henry Lawrence was president. He continued to serve in the Punjab till 1857. In the 1857 uprising, Nicholson (now brigadier-general) commanded the movable column in the Punjab. He was nicknamed Nichol Siṅgh by the Sikhs. Later he was moved to Delhi to reinforce General Wilson and, in the assault on Delhi on 14 September 1857, he was mortally wounded. He died on 23 September 1857. A memorial was raised in his memory in Nicholson Park, near Kashmīrī Gate, in Delhi.


  1. Hasrat, Bikrama Jit, ed., The Punjab Papers. Hoshiarpur, 1970
  2. Buckland, C.E., Dictionary of Indian Biography. London,1906

B. J. Hasrat