RĀM SIṄGH NŪRPURĪĀ, an associate of Bhāī Mahārāj Siṅgh in his revolt against the British, was the son of Shiām Siṅgh alias Shiāmā, a Paṭhanīā Rājput and Wazīr or minister to Rājā Bīr Siṅgh, chief of Nūrpur, 25 km east of Paṭhānkoṭ (32º-18'N, 75º-40'E), a feudatory of the Sikh kingdom of Lahore since 1802. Nūrpur had been annexed by Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh in January 1816 on account of the failure of its chief to attend the general review of the army held at Siālkoṭ in October of the previous year and his failure to pay the mulct imposed for his default. Bīr Siṅgh took refuge in British territory. He made an attempt to recover the territory in 1826 but was defeated and imprisoned. Rām Siṅgh, also referred to, as Rām Siṅgh Wazīr, probably succeeded his father in the office of minister and remained with his master during his exile. Around 1844, he joined the service of Mahārāṇī Jind Kaur. According to his confessional statement after his arrest in 1849, he was sent by the Mahārāṇī in early 1848 with a secret message to join Bhāī Mahārāj Siṅgh and to act according to the latter's orders. Rām Siṅgh met the Bhāī at Jhaṅg, where he was given sufficient funds and was told to organize a revolt in his native hills as a part of a general uprising being planned by Bhāī Mahārāj Siṅgh against the British, who had been in virtual occupation of the Punjab after the first Anglo-Sikh war (1845-46). Rām Siṅgh led an insurrection in the Bārī Doāb at the close of 1848 and even threatened the British possessions in the Jalandhar Doāb, while the Sikhs under the Aṭārīvālā Sardārs, Chatar Siṅgh and his son, Rājā Sher Siṅgh, had openly challenged the British. Rām Siṅgh's campaign acquired such proportions that even the British Governor- General, Lord Dalhousie, took note of it in a letter he addressed to Sir Frederick Currie, the Resident at Lahore. Brigadier-General Sir Hugh Massy Wheeler, commander Jullundur Field Force, had to launch action against him in which at least four infantry battalions and two cavalry regiments took part. This force ultimately defeated Rām Siṅgh in a battle fought on 8 January 1849 at Bassū or Bāṅsā, near Nūrpur. Rām Siṅgh himself was seriously wounded but escaped and took refuge in Jammū territory. He was ultimately arrested and tried as a rebel. No precise information is available as regards the sentence awarded. The general surmise is that he was transported for life to Singapore where he died.


    Ahluwalia, M.L., Bhai Maharaj Singh. Patiala, 1970

M. L. Āhlūwālīā