CHET SIṄGH BĀJVĀ (d. 1839), Mahārājā Khaṛak Siṅgh's distant relation and old tutor who wielded considerable influence at the Sikh court. The Ḍogrā minister, Dhiān Siṅgh, looked upon Chet Siṅgh as a potential rival to his position. The latter aligned himself with the Bhāīs and the Misrs at the court and sought the support of General Ventura and other Feringhee officers in open rivalry with the Ḍogrā faction. The Ḍogrās, on the other hand, won over Kaṅvar Nau Nihāl Siṅgh, the heir-apparent, to their side. They spread rumours that Mahārājā Khaṛak Siṅgh and his favourite Chet Siṅgh had decided to disband the Khālsā army and place the kingdom of Raṇjīt Siṅgh under British protection. Forged letters supposed to have been written by them to the British were produced in support of their contention. Nau Nihāl Siṅgh, determined to assume supreme authority in the State, urged his father to dismiss Chet Siṅgh. But Khaṛak Siṅgh would neither abjure authority in favour of his son nor would he agree to dispense with his favourite. Dhiān Siṅgh in concert with Kaṅvar Nau Nihāl Siṅgh plotted to finish off Chet Siṅgh. In the early hours of 9 October 1839, Dhiān Siṅgh and Nau Nihāl Siṅgh, accompanied by 15 other sardārs including Gulāb Siṅgh, Suchet Siṅgh, Misr Lāl Siṅgh and Atar Siṅgh Sandhāṅvālīā, entered the palace in the Fort and forced their way into the royal chambers where Mahārājā Khaṛak Siṅgh and Chet Siṅgh used to sleep. Chet Siṅgh hid himself in an interior gallery, but the glint of his shiny sword in the dark corner gave him away. Rājā Dhiān Siṅgh fell upon him and plunged his dagger into his heart. The assassination of Chet Siṅgh was the prologue to a long-drawn drama of intrigue and murder at the Sikh court.


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Sardār Siṅgh Bhāṭīā