ZAFARNĀMAH-I-RAṆJĪT SIṄGH (A Chronicle of the Victories of Raṇjīt Siṅgh), by Dīwān Amar Nāth, is a contemporary account in Persian of the events of Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh's reign from AD 1800 to AD 1837. Amar Nāth, born in 1822, was the son of Dīwān Dīnā Nāth, the Mahārājā's finance minister, and grandson of Bakht Mall, a noted scholar of Persian and Arabic and author of the Khālsā Nāmah. Amar Nāth held the position of Bakhshī or paymaster of the irregular cavalry forces of the Sikh government of Lahore and was personally acquainted with most of the influential men at the Sikh court. The Zafarnāmah-i-Raṇjīt Siṅgh, as edited by Professor Sītā Rām Kohlī, was published by the University of the Pañjāb, Lahore, in 1928. The work, three manuscripts of which were accessible to the editor, was given no specific title by the author, though the text was towards the end referred to as a Zafarnāmah. On the author's own family copy the copyist gives it the name of "Twārīkh-i-Khālsā." This title is inappropriate inasmuch as the work is limited to Raṇjīt Siṅgh's reign alone. The manuscript which was then in the possession of Rāi Sāhib Paṇḍit Wazīr Chand of Jhaṅg bore a pencil scrawl, "Zafarnāmah Akbarī." Akbarī was the nom de plume of Dīwān Amar Nāth. This name also bears no reference to the contents of the book. The current title was supplied by the editor.

        The text is divisible into four parts. Part I, i.e. the first forty chapters, forms historically the most important section. It embraces events of Raṇjīt Siṅgh's reign up to the close of the Bikramī Sammat 1893/AD 1836-37. In most cases these are eye-witness accounts. For events of the period prior to his being asked to write the book by the Mahārājā, the author ascertained the facts from official sources or from persons directly involved. Part II contains descriptions of the principal gardens around Lahore. This section was, as the author tells us, included in the book at the express wish of the Mahārājā himself. Part III is mainly a love poem and alludes to episodes in the lives of Mirzā Akram Beg and Ilāhī Bakhsh, the latter of whom rose to the rank of general in the Sikh artillery. Part IV is a long dedicatory poem in honour of the Mahārājā.

        A Punjabi translation of the book was published by Punjabi University, Paṭiālā, in 1983. A typical entry from the work is quoted below :

        [Of the conquest of Kāṅgṛā in Sammat 1866 Bikramī corresponding to 1225 Hijrī (AD 1809)]

        The King [Raṇjīt Siṅgh] marshalled his army; taking an army of boundless force and numberless men, he advanced and encamped at Pathānkoṭ. Having received tribute from the chiefs of Jasroṭā and Nūrpur, he went to Amritsar and having performed offerings put his forehead at the doorstep of that house of prayer. Having received the wealth of holy glimpse and having made large offerings, he supplicated for [divine] assistance in overcoming those evil mischief makers, the Gorkhās. They all fell upon the heads of [the Gorkhās]. The Gorkhās having known the resolve of that Jamshaid-like King trembled like a cane shoot. They dropped the shield of bravery and became desirous of fleeing with only their heads and two ears (i.e. empty handed).

        

BIBLIOGRAPHY

    Amar Nāth, Zafarnāmā-i-Raṇjīt Siṅgh (Punjabi edition) Patiala, 1983

Bhagat Siṅgh