NIDHĀN SIṄGH PAÑJHATTHĀ (d. 1839), soldier, minor commander and jāgīrdār under Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh. He acquired the epithet Pañjhatthā, the "five-handed," for his gallantry in the battle of Ṭerī hill (1823). He single-handed made five Paṭhāns prisoners and captured their weapons. This act of valour earned him the title of Pañjhatthā. In every battle, Nidhān Siṅgh was among the first to advance and the last to retreat, and his body was covered all over with the marks of his courage. His great-grandfather, Dulchā Siṅgh, had been in the service of Rājā Ranjīt Deo of Jammū, and his grandfather, Rām Dat Siṅgh, is said to have served the Sukkarchakkīā family under Mahāṅ Siṅgh. Rām Siṅgh, Nidhān Siṅgh's father, joined the service of Mahārājā Ranjīt Siṅgh in 1798, and took part in the occupation of Lahore by Ranjīt Siṅgh in 1799. Nidhān Siṅgh himself joined as a sowār in the Sikh irregular horse. He distinguished himself in the battle of Jahāṅgīrā (1823), under General Harī Siṅgh Nalvā and Prince Sher Siṅgh. The Afghān force, defeated in the battle, retreated owards Ṭerī hills, west of Aṭṭock. Muhammad 'Azīm Khān, the Amīr of Afghanistan, reinforcing it marched upon Nowsherā. A strong detachment of Sikh troops under Nidhān Siṅgh Paňjhatthā and Mahāṅ Siṅgh Akālī was posted behind the Ṭerī hills, but it suffered a reverse in the fierce action which followed. Phūlā Siṅgh Akālī, who made a headlong charge, was killed. Nidhān Siṅgh valiantly held out, rallying his troops till the Gorkhā and Najīb battalions kept in reserve by the Mahārājā came to his rescue and routed the Afghāns.

         Nidhān Siṅgh was a member of the Sikh goodwill mission which called on Lord William Bentinck in Shimlā in 1831. In 1834, he joined Kaṅvar Nau Nihāl Siṅgh, Sardār Harī Siṅgh Nalvā, General Ventura and General Court in their expedition to Peshāwar. Peshāwar was occupied by the Sikhs and Nidhān Siṅgh's troops were stationed there under the command of Sardār Harī Siṅgh Nalvā. Nidhān Siṅgh also took part in the battle of Jamrūd in 1837. He died in May 1839.


  1. Sūrī, Sohan Lāl, 'Umdāt ut-Twārīkh. Lahore, 1885-89
  2. Griffin, Sir Lepel, The Punjab Chiefs. Lahore, 1890
  3. Harbans Singh, Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Delhi, 1980
  4. Prem Siṅgh, Bābā, Khālsā Rāj de Usraiyye. Lahore, n.d.

B. J. Hasrat