SIKHS' RELATIONS WITH JĀṬS OF BHARATPUR. Hindū Jāṭs, who have ethnic affinity with the Sikh Jaṭṭs of the Punjab, had emerged, like the Sikhs, as a new political power in the region south of Delhi. Their first revolt in 1669 under their leader Gokul was ruthlessly suppressed by the Mughal authority, but they soon found another leader in Rājā Rām who continued the struggle till his death in July 1688. Chūṛāman (d. 1721), his younger brother and successor to leadership, was an astute politician. He professed allegiance to Emperor Bahādur Shāh-I (1707-12) and received from him mansab of 1500 zāt and 500 sowār. He joined the imperial campaign against the Sikhs at Saḍhaurā and Lohgaṛh in 1710.
Sūraj Mall, the adopted son of Chūṛāman's son, Badan Siṅgh, was the real founder of the Jāṭ state of Bharatpur. He was killed on 25 December 1763 in a battle near Delhi against Najīb ud-Daulah, the Ruhīlā chief who had been appointed Mīr Bakhshī and Regent at Delhi by Ahmad Shāh Durrānī after the battle of Pānīpat (1761). Sūraj Mall's son and successor Jawāhar Siṅgh (d. 1768), appealed to the Sikhs for help. The latter responded immediately. 40,000 of them under the overall command of Sardār Jassā Siṅgh Āhlūvālīā crossed the Yamunā on 20 February and plundered the country around it. Najīb ud-Daulah rushed back to save his own territories and the immdediate pressure on the Jāṭs was removed.
Jawāhar Siṅgh now made preparations to avenge his father's death. Besides his own army, he hired 25,000 Marāṭhā cavalry and decided to engage some Sikhs also, and fixed an interview with the Sikh sardārs encamped at Barārī Ghāṭ on the east bank of the Yamunā, 20 km north of Delhi. He forded the Yamunā on an elephant and was led on foot into an assembly of about 100 Sikh sardārs. The meeting began with ardās, the supplicatory Sikh prayer, in which they pleaded, "Jawāhar Siṅgh, son of Sūraj Mall and a devotee of Gurū Nānak, has sought refuge with Khālsā jīo desiring redress for his father's blood. So help us God !" Jawāhar Siṅgh, enlisted 15,000 Sikhs. The fighting went on for 20 days. Najīb was defeated and forced to retire into the Red Fort on 9 January 1765. Within a month the Ruhīlās of Najīb ud-Daulah suffered another defeat at the hands of the Sikhs in the Nakhās or horse-market and in Sabzī Maṇḍī. Just at this time news arrived of a fresh invasion of the Punjab by Ahmad Shāh Durrānī, the Sikhs hastening back to protect their own homeland.
Jawāhar Siṅgh's Marāṭhā allies later went over to aid his western neighbour, Rājā Mādho Siṅgh of Jaipur, taking sides also with his stepbrother, Nāhar Siṅgh, who was in independent possession of Dholpur. Jawāhar Siṅgh engaged 25,000 Sikhs under the command of Jassā Siṅgh Āhlūvālīā to help him in his campaign against Jaipur, but the Rājpūt ruler made his peace with him. He then took into his pay a fresh force of 7,000 Sikhs and attacked Nāhar Siṅgh, who called in the Marāṭhās to his help. The Sikhs defeated the Marāṭhās in a fierce battle fought on 13-14 March 1766. Nāhar Siṅgh took refuge with Mādho Siṅgh of Jaipur. Jawāhar Siṅgh seized Dholpur and the Sikhs captured several hundred horses of the defeated Marāṭhās. Mādho Siṅgh of Jaipur attacked Bharatpur in December 1767. Jawāhar Siṅgh again engaged 10,000 Sikhs to fight for him, but was defeated on 29 February 1768 with a heavy loss of life. He enrolled another 10,000 Sikhs making a total of 20,000 at 7,00,000 rupees per mensem. As he again advanced to meet Mādho Siṅgh, the latter retired without giving a fight.
Jawāhar Siṅgh was assassinated in June 1768. His younger brother, Ratan Siṅgh, was also murdered in April 1769. His two brothers, Naval Siṅgh and Raṇjīt Siṅgh, contested the succession. The former occupied Bharatpur while the latter invited the Sikhs for help. The Sikhs arrived near 'Alīgaṛh on 26 January 1770. Naval Siṅgh proceeded to check their advance, but fled in panic without firing a shot. The Sikhs chased him as far as Chunār where Walter Reinhard (1720-78), a European adventurer commonly known as Samrū, tried to bring about peace. A fortnight's negotiations commencing on 8 February 1770 ended in smoke and the Sikhs marched back plundering Jāṭ villages on the way. Naval Siṅgh, regrouping his troops, followed them. The Sikhs suddenly turned back on 24 February 1770 and surrounded the Jāṭ advance guard under Rene Madec (1736-84), another European adventurer, and Gopāl Rāo Marāṭha. In the battle that followed, almost the entire Marāṭhā cavalry was cut to pieces and Gopāl Rāo was wounded. Three of Rene Madec's six companies were completely wiped out. On the approach of the main body of the Jāṭs, the Sikhs withdrew.
Harī Rām Gupta