BIJAY BINOD, a chronicle in Punjabi verse of the turbulent period following the death in 1839 of Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh, the sovereign of the Punjab, written according to internal evidence in 1901 Bk/AD 1844. The only known manuscript of the work, still unpublished, is preserved in the private collection of Bhāī Haridhan Siṅgh of Bāgaṛīāṅ. The manuscript, which comprises 84 folios, with 495 stanzas, is dated 1921 Bk/AD 1864. The poetic metres used include Doharā, Soraṭhā, Bhujaṅg Prayāt and Kabitt. The work was undertaken by the poet, Gvāl, at the instance of Paṇḍit Jalhā, a close confidant of Hīrā Siṅgh Ḍogrā, prime minister to Raṇjīt Siṅgh's son, Mahārājā Duleep Siṅgh, and that explains much of his bias in favour of the Ḍogrās.

         The work begins with verses eulogizing Raṇjīt Siṅgh who is deified as an incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Rājā Dhiān Siṅgh, the Ḍogrā minister, is presented as the incarnation of Arjuna (25). The author dwells at length on the qualities of Dhiān Siṅgh (26-36) and is at pains to establish that Dhiān Siṅgh and his son Hīrā Siṅgh were the real well wishers of the Sikh state and personally loyal to the Mahārājā which was not true of the Sandhāṅvālīās, especially Atar Siṅgh, Lahiṇā Siṅgh and Ajīt Siṅgh. Ajīt Siṅgh Sandhāṅvālīā visits Calcutta to seek the help of the British against Mahārājā Sher Siṅgh (269-71), but, when he fails in his mission, he asks for royal forgiveness which he obtains through the intercession of Dhiān Siṅgh and Bedī Bikram Siṅgh. Dhiān Siṅgh is also stated to have secured, on Ajīt Siṅgh's request, the release of Lahiṇā Siṅgh Sandhāṅvālīā. The poet casts the Ḍogrās as the benefactors of the Sikh state and Sandhāṅvālīās as traitors. The work concludes with Hīrā Siṅgh's protestation of loyalty to the new king, Duleep Siṅgh. The poet's object obviously was to clear the Ḍogrās of the slur that had accrued to them because of their betrayal of the trust the Mahārājā had reposed in them. This has led to severe distortions of historical fact.

Dharam Siṅgh