JAṄGNĀMĀ, by Qāzī Nūr Muhammad, is an eye-witness account in Persian verse of Ahmad Shāh Durrānī's seventh invasion of India, 1764-65, for which it is the only major source of information. A copy of the manuscript in the hand of one Khair Muhammad of Guñjābā was preserved at the District Gazetteer Office at Queṭṭā in Balūchistān from where Karam Siṅgh, state historian of Paṭiālā, made a transcript which was utilized by Dr Gaṇḍā Siṅgh in producing an edited version of the Persian text, with a preface and a brief summary in English. The work was published by the Sikh Historical Research Department, Khālsā College, Amritsar, in 1939.

         Ahmad Shāh had planned his seventh invasion as a jīhād or crusade against the Sikhs, who had, since his previous invasion, not only captured Sirhind (January 1764) but had also threatened Lahore and ravaged twice during that year the territories in the GaṅgāYamunā Doāb of Najīb udDaulah, his ally and agent at Delhi. Ahmad Shāh invited Mīr Muhammad Nasīr Khān, ruler of Kalāt in Balūchistān (175095), to join him. Qāzī Nūr Muhammad, son of Qāzī Abdullah Kilāwar of Guñjābā, accompanied Nasīr Khān, who at the head of 12,000 Balūchīs, met the Shāh at Eminābād, 50 km north of Lahore. The combined force, 30,000 strong, did not meet any opposition up to Lahore, where it arrived towards the end of November 1764. The Shāh was holding a council of war the next morning when a fast riding messenger came to report that the Balūchī vanguard was under surprise attack from a strong Sikh force. Mīr Nasīr Khān immediately went to the help of his troops. Qāzī Nūr Muhammad, relating the events of this first encounter with the Sikhs, describes the tactics adopted by the latter thus: "A troop advances and, firing a volley from some distance, retires to reload their muskets while another troop starts firing from another flank. Thus, while they can relax somewhat by turns, they do not allow any respite to their enemy." The battle raged throughout the day and came to an end only at the fall of darkness. The Sikhs did not resume the attack the following morning. The Shāh marched upon Amritsar whither the Sikhs had been reported to have withdrawn. But when he reached there on 30 November 1764, not a single Sikh was to be seen. Next day, a band of 30 Sikhs sallied from a fortified house (buṅgā, in Punjabi) and attacked the, Shāh's camp. "These dogs [as the author disparagingly calls the Sikhs] were only thirty in number. They were not in the least afraid. They had neither the fear of slaughter nor the dread of death. They grappled with the ghāzīs or crusaders and, in the engagement, spilt their blood and sacrificed their lives for their Gurū" [This small Sikh contingent was led by Gurbakhsh Siṅgh Shahīd]. Ahmad Shāh returned to Lahore where he held another council of war at which Mīr Muhammad Nasīr Khān expressed the opinion that they should advance to Sirhind where they should stay awaiting further news from Najīb udDaulah, who had been besieged in Delhi by Rājā Jawāhar Siṅgh of Bharatpur and his Sikh allies of the Buḍḍhā Dal under Jassā Siṅgh Āhlūvālīā. Ahmad Shāh Durrānī resumed his march but, conscious as he was of the might of the roving Sikh bands, he followed a circuitous route through Baṭālā, Hoshiārpur and Ropaṛ and, avoiding Sirhind altogether, proceeded via Piñjore, Narāingaṛh and Jagādhrī reaching Kuñjpurā, near Karnāl, by the middle of February 1765 after meeting with stiff resistance at many places en route. By then a rapprochement had been arrived at between Jawāhar Siṅgh and Najīb udDaulah and the siege had been lifted. Ahmad Shāh decided to return to Afghanistan. The Buḍḍhā Dal had also meanwhile returned to join the misldārs comprising the Taruṇā Dal. At Sirhind, Ālā Siṅgh of the Phūlkīāṅ misl met the Afghān king. The Shāh received him with cordial respect and bestowed on him a khill'at, a robe of honour, and tablo'alam, drum and standard, as emblems of authority. He also tried, through Ālā Siṅgh, to come to terms with the Dal Khālsā, but the latter turned down the overtures and decided instead to give a standing battle to the invader. The Sikhs barred his way at Phillaur and Talvan ferries, on the likely route of the Afghāns' retreat. The Shāh tried to bypass them and crossed the Sutlej at Ropaṛ, but the Sikhs, moving rapidly, caught up with him. Qāzī Nūr Muhammad gives a detailed account of the three days of battle that followed. Not mentioning any event of the next three days, he recounts the Sikh attack on the seventh day on the southern bank of the River Beās. The Sikhs did not pursue the hastily retreating Afghāns further, and the Shāh reached the River Chenāb by the middle of March, without touching Amritsar and Lahore on the way. While crossing the last two torrential currents of the Chenāb, he suffered heavy losses in men, material and animals. Nūr Muhammad writes: "When I recall that day, I tremble with the fear of the Doomsday." On reaching Rohtās across the Jehlum, Mīr Nasīr Khān parted company to go to Balūchistān, while Ahmad Shāh continued his journey back to Afghanistan.

         The Jaṅgnāmā is divided into sections under 55 sub-headings including the first six sections devoted to praising God and Prophet Muhammad and to eulogizing Ahmad Shāh Durrānī and Mīr Nasīr Khān. The remaining sections, starting with the origin and ancestry of the Balūchī people and preparations of Nasīr Khān for the crusade, narrate the events of the invasion based on the personal observation of the author. Sections 41 and 42 are specially pertinent to Sikh history. In these he praises the warlike qualities and high moral character of the Sikhs and gives account of the territorial possessions of various sardārs.

         Nūr Muhammad refers to the Sikhs in imprecatory language, but cannot help proclaiming at the same time their many natural virtues. In section XLI of his work, for example, he says, "Do not call the "dogs" dogs [his rude term for the Sikhs], for in the field of battle they are courageous like lions.... It should be understood that siṅgh is their title. It is not just to call them sags [dogs]. In Hindustanī siṅgh means a lion. In battle they are veritable lions and in peace they excel Hātim [in bounty]." After extolling their mastery in the use of weapons such as sword, spear, battle-axe, bow and arrow, and musket, he praises the moral standards of the Sikh warriors. "They never kill a coward... and never pursue one who flees the field; they never attack or plunder a woman, be she a lady or a slave-girl; adultery is unknown among them and so is theft."

         About the Sikh religion, the Qāzī says: "The Sikhs are disciples of the pious man who lived in Chakk (Chakk Gurū, Amritsar) . After him came his successor, Gobind Siṅgh, from whom they derived the title Siṅgh. The dogs are not from the Hindus; the path of these evil ones is different." Then he lists some of the Sikh leaders and their respective territories. Here he mixes up some of the names and places, but taken together he mentions almost the entire central Punjab, from Rohtās in the north to Dīpālpur in the south and from Multān in the west to Sirhind in the East as having come under Sikh domination. "Besides," he adds, "they collect taxes even from the Ḍerājāt (districts of Ḍerā Ismā'īl Khān and Ḍerā Ghāzī Khān across the Indus), and are afraid of none.'

Gurbax Siṅgh