TĀRĪKH-I-PAÑJĀB,TUHFAT UL-ALBĀB, a brief chronicle in Persian, by Maulawī Munshī 'Abd ul-Karīm 'Alawī, printed in Lucknow in 1849, gives a somewhat diffused account of Raṇjīt Siṅgh and his successors, mainly bearing upon the two Anglo-Sikh wars, the first of 1845-46, with actions fought at Mudkī, Ferozeshāh, 'Alīvāl and Sabhrāoṅ, and the second of 1848-49, with actions fought at Rāmnagar, Chelīāṅvālā and Gujrāt. It has two illustrative maps and a plan indicating the artillery positions, as also certain geographical and statistical details. Full versions of some of the manifestoes, proclamations, despatches and treaty engagements concerning the relations of Gulāb Siṅgh of Jammū with the Sikh kingdom are also provided. The author, well versed in literature, history, geography and astronomy, had many books to his credit, including Tarīkh-i-Ahmadī (Durrānī), and some translations from Arabic into Persian. He was also familiar with the English language. Though he was not an eye witness of the events he has recorded, he seems to have made a careful study of letters, despatches and declarations of the English and the newspapers in English and Urdu, having access additionally to oral information.
The book commences with a short account of the origin of the Sikhs, their religion, scriptures, usages and customs. Here Gurū Hargobind, the Sixth Gurū, has been confused with Bandā Siṅgh. The author then makes some very apt remarks on the able and strong administration of Raṇjīt Siṅgh, his faithful observance of treaties and engagements, especially with the English. He described the series of tragic events following the passing away in 1839 of the Mahārājā ---the deaths of Mahārājā Khaṛak Siṅgh and his promising son, Nau Nihāl Siṅgh, the murder of the tatter's mother Chand Kaur, the assassination of Mahārājā Sher Singh, the beheading of his 13-year-old son, Kaṅvar Partāp Siṅgh, the fatal end of the two of the intriguing Ḍogrā brothers, Dhiān Siṅgh and Suchet Siṅgh, and of the former's son, Hīrā Siṅgh and so on. Within a short space of five years, rulers, princes, ministers, their relatives and numerous sardārs fell victims, one after another, to conspiracy and murder. The only survivor was Raṇjīt Siṅgh's infant son, Duleep Siṅgh with his mother as his regent. The first Anglo-Sikh war is described as having begun with the Sikhs crossing the River Sutlej on 11 December 1845, and taking Hardinge and Gough by surprise. Then follow details of the four battles of Mudkī, Ferozeshāh, 'Alīvāl and Sabhrāoṅ. The latter part of the book, designated Tatimmā (supplement) Tarīkh-i-Lahore, deals mainly with the second Anglo-Sikh war, covering events such as the deportation of Mahārāṇī Jind Kaur to Banāras, the revolt of Dīwān Mūl Rāj at Multān and of Chatar Siṅgh and Sher Siṅgh at Hazārā, surrender of the Sikh army and annexation of the Punjab to the British dominions.
Syad Hasan Askarī