VIJAI VINOD, also called Bijay Binod, is an account of the events at Lahore Darbār after the death of Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh. This work was composed in 1844 by Gvāl, the court poet at Lahore Darbār, at the orders of Paṇḍit Jallā, the mentor and most influential adviser of Rājā Hīrā Siṅgh Ḍogrā. Hīrā Siṅgh became the prime minister after his father, Dhiān Siṅgh, was murdered. But because of the minority of the sovereign, Mahārājā Duleep Siṅgh, he was the de facto ruler of the Sikh empire. Since the book was written to please Hīrā Siṅgh and Paṇḍit Jallā, it is full of praise for the Ḍogrā clique of Lahore Darbār.
The poet starts with the praise of goddess Shārdā, Lord Rāma and Gurū Gobind Siṅgh. Then he gives a brief account of the exploits and victories of Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh (up to stanza 24) whom he describes as the incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and Prime Minister Dhiān Siṅgh Ḍogrā is compared to the legendary hero, Arjuna (up to stanza 42). Special mention is made of the celebrations at the birth of Hīrā Siṅgh (57). He gives a detailed account of events beginning after the death of Raṇjīt Siṅgh in AD 1839. The succession to the throne of Khaṛak Siṅgh (111-13), his death (124); the death on the same day of the heir apparent and promising youth, Prince Nau Nihāl Siṅgh (127-34) and brief reign of Mahārāṇī Chand Kaur are described in detail The poet deals with even leading to the succession of Sher Siṅgh (1942-50). Then follow details about the flight of Sandhāṅvālīās to British territory, their reconciliation with the Mahārājā and their readmission to the Darbār (274-84), and the treacherous assassination of Mahārājā Sher Siṅgh and his son, Kaṅvar Partāp Siṅgh. The poet tries to paint a rosy picture of the administration of Hīrā Siṅgh and Paṇḍit Jallā.
He praises them in high-flown language (472-85). The last historical event narrated in the Vijai Vinod is concerning the attack of the Lahore army on the Ḍerā of the famous Sikh saint Bhāī Bīr Siṅgh of Nauraṅgābād, where Atar Siṅgh Sandhāṅvālīā was staying with his contingent. Atar Siṅgh was defeated and beheaded, but during the fierce battle Bhāī Bīr Siṅgh was also killed, though he himself and his followers did not take part in the strife. The death of this saint ultimately became the main cause of the downfall and assassination of Hīrā Siṅgh and Jallā. But the poet does not narrate this last event, because he had fled from Lahore and taken shelter in Nābhā Darbār just after the murder of his patrons.
Vijai Vinod is a large composition consisting of 487 stanzas of varying length. Since the poet was an eye witness to all the happenings, the account he provides is very detailed and is of considerable historical value. But it is not linear narration of history. The poet does not provide even a remote hint of the intrigues of the Ḍogrā trinity behind all these tragic episodes. His work, therefore, is more a panegyric of the Ḍogrā family than objective history.
Vijai Vinod no doubt is a commendable literary work. Gvāl was a poet of merit and recognition in his time, who has written a number of poetic works in addition to Vijai Vinod. He was a native of Mathurā and his language was Braj Bhāṣā. He entered the court of Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh when he was still very young.
The poet has used eleven different poetic metres including kabit, savaiyyā, soṛathā, dohā, pādhaṛī, etc. The author has himself given full statistics of the chhands (metres) used, and their total number. The book was completed on Sāvan sudī 8, 1901 Bk/August 1844.
The work was first published by Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee in 1950 in the collection entitled Prāchīn Jaṅgnāme edited and compiled by Shamsher Siṅgh Ashok. Again it was published by the same committee in 1977 in the collection called Prāchīn Vārāṅ te Jaṅgnāme.
Shamsher Siṅgh Ashok