JAṄG SIṄGHĀṄ TE FIRAṄGĪĀṄ, by Maṭak, is a versified account, in Punjabi, of the first Anglo-Sikh war (1845-46) by a contemporary or near-contemporary poet about whom no biographical details are available. The poem, in its present incomplete form, is included in Pañjāb dīāṅ Vārāṅ (Amritsar, 1946) edited by Dr Gaṇḍā Siṅgh who got the manuscript of this poem from Nauraṅg Siṅgh Tāṅghī of Amritsar. It was first published in the Phulvāṛī (1938). Since the two opening stanzas and the concluding parts of the poem are missing, it has not been possible to date the work though it can be presumed to have been written soon after the war. The poem presents the appeal for help made by the oppressed people from the regions below the River Sutlej which had then been annexed by the East India Company as the main reason for the Sikhs' ire against the British (3). Beginning with the Sikhs' march towards Fīrozpur and subsequent battle at Pherū Shahr, which according to the poet started on Thursday (no year is mentioned perhaps because it was not needed in a contemporary or near-contemporary account), and goes to describe the fierce action but only in general terms, without supplying any specific names or details. However, he denounces in very unequivocal terms the treachery of Tej Siṅgh (22) and Lāl Siṅgh (19), and praises Shām Siṅgh of Aṭārī for his resolution and chivalry (28-33).


    Gaṇḍā Siṅgh, ed., Pañjāb dīāṅ Vārāṅ. Amritsar, 1946

Dharam Siṅgh