ZAIN KHĀN (d. 1764), an Afghān, was appointed governor of Sirhind in March 1761 by Ahmad Shāh Durrānī. Earlier he had acted as Faujdār of Chār Mahāl ---the four districts of Siālkoṭ, Gujrāt, Pasrūr and Auraṅgābād. This was from 1759 when Karīm Dād Khān was appointed governor of the Punjab by the Afghān invader. For his relentless campaign against the Sikhs and for his part in the Vaḍḍā Ghallūghārā (5 February 1762), or Great Carnage, at the village of Kup-Rahīṛā near Mālerkoṭlā, Zain Khān had become a special target of their vengeance. Within four months of the Ghallūghārā they attacked Sirhind with a strong force, inflicting upon him a severe defeat and laying him under tribute. In January 1764, the Sikhs under the leadership of Jassā Siṅgh Āhlūvālīā invaded Kurālī and looted Zain Khān's dīwān Lachhmī Narāiṇ. Zain Khān, apprehending an attack on his capital, opened negotiations with Ālā Siṅgh of Paṭiālā offering jāgīrs to Sikhs if they would withdraw from his country. Ālā Siṅgh, according to Ratan Siṅgh Bhaṅgū, Prāchīn Panth Prakāsh, deputed his agent Nānū Siṅgh Grevāl to the Sikh chiefs, who forthwith turned down the terms he had brought, saying, "Authority does not come by charity... The Gurū has assigned sovereignty to us. The Khālsā had won it by bargaining away their heads for it."

        On 14 January 1764, the Sikhs besieged Sirhind. Jassā Siṅgh Āhlūvālīā commanded 10,000 horse of his own misl or clan. As head of the Dal Khālsā, he had under him troops of seven misls, six of these belonging to the Buḍḍhā Dal and the seventh being the Bhaṅgī misl of the Taruṇā Dal. In the battle that took place at Pīr Jain about 10 km from Sirhind, Zain Khān was wounded. He fled the field on horseback and entered a mango grove to hide himself. A Sikh soldier, Tārā Siṅgh of Māṛī, who was pursuing him spotted him and cut off his head. The territory of Sirhind, a vast tract of plain country, 350 km long and 250 km wide, extending from the Sirmur hills and the River Yamunā in the east, to the borders of Rājasthān in the west, and from the River Sutlej in the north to Panīpat in the south, now fell into the hands of the Sikhs.


  1. Bhaṅgū, Ratan Siṅgh, Prāchīn Panth Prakāsh. Amritsar, 1914
  2. Giān Siṅgh, Giānī, Twārīkh Gurū Khālsā. Patiala, 1970
  3. Gaṇḍā Siṅgh, Sardār Jassā Siṅgh Āhlūvālīā. Patiala, 1969
  4. Gupta, Hari Ram, History of the Sikhs, vol. IV. Delhi, 1982
  5. Gandhi, Surjit Singh, Struggle of the Sikhs for Sovereignty. Delhi, 1980
  6. Bhagat Singh, Sikh Polity in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Delhi, 1978

Sardār Siṅgh Bhāṭīā