RĀJPŪT-SIKH RELATIONS During his preaching tours, Gurū Nānak (1469-1539), founder of the Sikh faith, is believed to have visited Pushkar and Kulāyat, two important Hindu pilgrimage centres in Rājputānā (now Rājasthān),the land of the Rājpūts. While under detention in Gwālīor Fort, Gurū Hargobind came in contact with some Rājpūt chiefs similarly held in custody there, and was instrumental in their eventual release from captivity. Mirzā Rājā Jai Siṅgh of Āmber (1605-67), his queen, and his son, Rājā Rām Siṅgh, were devotees of the Gurūs. Gurū Har Krishan (1656-64) and Gurū Tegh Bahādur (1621-75) stayed in their palace in Rāisīnā, a Delhi suburb. According to some accounts Gurū Tegh Bahādur, during his journey towards the eastern provinces, was arrested near Delhi, but was soon released through the intervention of the Āmber prince. The Gurū later accompanied Rājā Rām Siṅgh, at the latter's request, during the Assam expedition. Gurū Gobind Siṅgh (1666-1708) travelled widely across Rājputānā in 1706-08. When Mātā Sundarī (d.1747) moved from Delhi to Mathurā, the then Rājā of Jaipur, Savāī Jai Siṅgh, provided her with suitable residence and maintenance. Earlier during Bahādur Shāh's expedition against Bandā Siṅgh Bahādur in 1710-11, while princes of Mevāṛ and Kīshangaṛh joined the imperial camp at the royal summons; Mahārājā Ajīt Siṅgh of Jodhpur and Rājā Savāī Jai Siṅgh of Jaipur, despite the emperor's pressing orders, marched leisurely and came to the Punjab ten months after Bahādur Shāh's campaign was over.
During the period after Bandā Siṅgh, Sikh jathās or sub-units of the Dal Khālsā, adopting guerilla tactics against the Mughal and Afghān regimes, took refuge on several occasions in the desert of Rājputānā. We have it on the authority of Ratan Siṅgh Bhaṅgū, Prāchīn Panth Prakāsh, that Bhāī Mahitāb Siṅgh Mīrāṅkoṭīā and Bhāī Sukkhā Siṅgh of Māṛī Kambo went to Jaipur and joined the service of its ruler. Bhaṅgū also records a Sikh force assisting the ruler of Bikāner in his attack on Jaisalmer. According to Giānī Giān Siṅgh, Shamsher Khālsā, the jathā of Buḍḍhā Siṅgh and Shām Siṅgh of Nārlī had at one time been in the service of Bikāner.
In December 1765, Rājā Jawāhar Siṅgh of Bharatpur was at war with Rājā Mādho Siṅgh of Jaipur. He hired 25,000 Sikhs under Sardār Jassā Siṅgh Āhlūvālīā while Mādho Siṅgh invited the Marāṭhās for help. The Marāṭhās had also been engaged by Jawāhar Siṅgh's step brother, Naval Siṅgh, who was in possession of Dholpur. Jawāhar Siṅgh decided first to deal with Naval Siṅgh. He, therefore, made his peace with Mādho Siṅgh and dismissed the Sikhs after paying them their subsidy. In December 1767 Mādho Siṅgh attacked Jawāhar Siṅgh. The latter engaged 10,000 Sikhs to fight for him, but was defeated on 29 February 1768. He hired another Sikh force making a total of 20,000 at 7,00,000 rupees per month. He advanced again to meet Mādho Siṅgh, but the latter retired without giving a fight. The Sikhs and Rājpūts seem to have had no mutual contact of any kind thereafter.
Harī Rām Gupta