MASSE KHĀN RAṄGHAṚ (d. 1740), a Raṅghaṛ Rājpūt landlord converted to Islam, belonged to the village of Maṇḍīālī, 8 km south of Amritsar. He was appointed kotwāl of Amritsar by Zakarīyā Khān, the Mughal governor of Lahore (1726-45), after the death of Qāzī 'Abdur-Rahmān who had met his end at the hands of the Sikhs. Masse Khān's specific charge was not to allow Sikhs to visit the Harimandar or have a dip in the tank around it. He stationed himself in the Harimandar, the sanctum sanctorum in the middle of the sarovar, the sacred pool. There he caroused and indulged in revelry with women of ill repute. Most of the fighting bands of Sikhs had already been driven out by Zakarīyā Khān's drastically harsh measures to seek refuge in hills and deserts outside the central Punjab, and Massā had a free rein until the news of the sacrilege reached the jathā or band of Sardār Shiām Siṅgh camping in Jaipur, in Rājasthān. Matāb Siṅgh, one of the jathā, vowed to avenge the desecration of the holy Harimandar and, accompanied by another brave warrior, Sukkhā Siṅgh, he forthwith left for Amritsar. The two, finding all approaches to the city strongly guarded, took recourse to a stratagem. Disguised as revenue officials come to deposit their tax collections, they entered the Harimandar, cut off Massa's head, and made good their escape before the Mughal soldiers knew what had happened. This occurred on 11 August 1740.


  1. Bhaṅgū, Ratan Siṅgh, Prachīn Panth Prakāsh. Amritsar, 1914
  2. Giān Siṅgh, Giānī, Twārīkh Gurū Khālsā [Reprint]. Patiala,1970.

Gurdev Siṅgh Deol