JODH SIṄGH (1798-1864), son of Devā Siṅgh whose ancestral village was Raṛiālā in Gujrāṅwālā district. Jodh Siṅgh, who came into the jāgīr of Raṛiālā, rose to prominence in the kingdom of Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh. From 1813 to 1825 he served with the Ghoṛchaṛās (special cavalry) of Sardār Jodh Siṅgh Sowarīāṅvālā. In 1831, Jodh Siṅgh participated in Prince Sher Siṅgh's successful campaign against Sayyid Ahmad Khān. In 1834 Jodh Siṅgh became a trooper in Rājā Hīrā Siṅgh's ḍerā (army unit) and achieved the rank of commandant in 1836; he remained with the same unit until 1848. During the unsettled years following Raṇjīt Siṅgh's death (1839) Jodh Siṅgh served his country well under Dīwān Hukam Rāi in Mamdoṭ and Muktsar and later in the Mājhā where, along with the sowars under his command, he more than once restored order and administered justice. Following the first Anglo-Sikh war (1845-46), Jodh Siṅgh served as the adāltī (judicial officer) at Amritsar where, during the second Anglo-Sikh war (1848-49), he kept things peaceful and supported the British. After the British formally annexed the Punjab in March 1849, Jodh Siṅgh remained at Amritsar and entered government service as a trusted extra-assistant commissioner. He assisted the British in a number of important ways as a judicial officer in which capacity, among other things, he handled all cases relating to the Golden Temple. Equally important was his role from 1849 to 1862 as sarbarāh (manager) of the Darbār Sāhib (Golden Temple) : he supervised the Temple's fiscal affairs and managed the Temple functionaries. Jodh Siṅgh's tact and skill enabled the new British rulers of the Punjab to oversee from behind the scene the affairs of Sikhism's premier shrine: a pattern of colonial manipulation that was to continue under subsequent British appointed sarbarāhs until the Gurdwārā Reform movement of the earlier 20th century. Jodh Siṅgh retired from government service in 1862.

        Jodh Siṅgh died in 1864.


  1. Griffin, Lepel and C.F. Massy, The Punjab Chiefs, vol. lI. Lahore, 1890
  2. Kerr, Ian J., "British relationships with the Golden Temple, 1849-90" Indian Economic and Social History Review, 21:2, 1984

Ian J. Kerr