FATEHNĀMAH, by Bhāī Dyāl Siṅgh, is a versified account of the victory (f'ateh, in Persian) of the Sikhs in the battle fought on Sunday, 22 Baisākh 1854 Bk/30 April 1797, against Shāh Zamān's forces led by one of his generals Ahmad Khān, also called Shahāñchī Khān, in which the latter got killed and his forces fled the field. Nothing is known about the poet who, judging from his diction, belonged to the western parts of the Punjab. The poet showers special praise on the Sikh warrior, Sāhib Siṅgh Bhaṅgī, chief of Gujrāt, which indicates that he may have been a relation of his or a protege. Although there is no internal evidence to date the work, it seems from the details of the battle to be a near-contemporary work. The poem comprises 15 pauṛīs or stanzas followed by two savaiyyās, with two dohirās at the end. The opening stanza is by way of invocation to the Almighty "who at His will controls everything and by whose aid victory is achieved." The poem briefly touches upon Shāh Zamān's capture of Lahore and the adjoining areas of the Punjab and the Sikhs' dispersal towards the hills. However, the Sikhs reassembled as the Afghān king returned to Kābul to quell a revolt there. Shahāñchī Khān, whom Zamān Shāh had left behind to deal with the Sikhs, marched towards Gujrāt and camped on the bank of the River Chenāb. A fierce battle took place in which Sikhs were at a disadvantage at one stage but, inspired by Sāhib Siṅgh and "helped by the divine powers of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh" (11), they re-entered the field with redoubled zeal and won the battle. The poet attributes the Afghāns' defeat to their obliviousness of God (15).

Dharam Siṅgh