SADĀ KAUR, SARDĀRNĪ (1762-1832) , daughter of Dasaundhā Siṅgh Gill, was married to Gurbakhsh Siṅgh, son of Jai Siṅgh, leader of the Kanhaiyā clan. As the menace of Ahmad Shāh Durrānī's incursions receded, conflicts broke out among the Sikh misl chiefs. Mahāṅ Siṅgh Sukkarchakkīā, helped by Jassā Siṅgh Rāmgaṛhīā and Saṅsār Chand Kaṭoch, attacked Jai Siṅgh in 1785. A fierce battle took place at Achal, about 6 km south of Baṭālā, which was the seat of the Kanhaiyās. Jai Siṅgh was defeated and his son, Gurbakhsh Siṅgh husband of Sadā Kaur, was killed. The bereaved, yet farsighted, widowed Sadā Kaur, persuaded her father-in-law, Jai Siṅgh, to offer the hand of her only daughter, Mahitāb Kaur, to Raṇjīt Siṅgh, the five-year old son of Mahāṅ Siṅgh Sukkarchakkīā. The marriage came off in 1796. Sadā Kaur accompanied her daughter to Gujrāṅwālā after the nuptials. She became one of the members of the triune regency for young Raṇjīt Siṅgh who had succeeded to the leadership of the Sukkarchakkīās upon the death of his father in 1792. The other two members were Māī Rāj Kaur (popularly known as Māī Malvaiṇ), mother of Raṇjīt Siṅgh, and Dīwān Lakhpat Rāi his minister. Māī Malvaiṇ and Lakhpat Rāi were removed from the scene by death, the latter having been killed in an expedition against the warlike Chāṭṭhās.Sadā Kaur was now the only one of the triumvirate left to guide and counsel Raṇjīt Siṅgh. Being by now head of the Kanhaiyā misl, she provided him with material help as well. She helped him to occupy Lahore defeating the Bhaṅgī chiefs, Mohar Siṅgh, Sāhib Siṅgh and Chet Siṅgh, from whose misrule the citizens had sought the Sukkarchakkīā Sardār to rescue them. Lahore fell to the joint command of Raṇjīt Siṅgh and Sadā Kaur on 7 July 1799. Supported by his mother-in-law, Raṇjīt Siṅgh made further acquisitions and assumed the title of Mahārājā on 11 April 1801. In the campaigns of Amritsar, Chinioṭ, Kasūr and Kāṅgṛā as well as in his expeditions against the turbulent Paṭhāns of Hazārā and Attock, Sadā Kaur led the armies side by side with Raṇjīt Siṅgh. But both were strong personalities and mutual clashes began to occur. The marriage of Sadā Kaur's daughter to Raṇjīt Siṅgh did not prove a happy one. Mahitāb Kaur's first son, Īshar Siṅgh, died in infancy. On his return from the cis-Sutlej campaign in 1807, Raṇjīt Siṅgh was presented by Sadā Kaur with twin sons, Sher Siṅgh and Tārā Siṅgh, born to her daughter, Mahitāb Kaur. But Raṇjīt Siṅgh had already married a second time and the son born to this union was acknowledged as the heir apparent. This soured the relations between the mother-in-law and the son-in-law. Sadā Kaur now opened secret negotiations with Sir Charles Metcalfe and Sir David Ochterlony to secure herself the status of an independent Mahārāṇī. She further offended the Mahārājā by not attending the heir apparent's marriage in 1812. She did not allow even her grandsons, Sher Siṅgh and Tārā Siṅgh, to join the ceremonies. Raṇjīt Siṅgh started making inroads into the Kanhaiyā territory lying on the other side of the River Beās. The breaking point finally came when, on Sher Siṅgh's attaining majority, Raṇjīt Siṅgh insisted that Sadā Kaur hand over the administration of her estates to him. Sadā Kaur refused and threatened to seek the protection of the British in the cis-Sutlej territory and hand over to them the town of Vadhnī, located to the south of Sutlej which Raṇjīt Siṅgh had conquered and transferred to her in1808.The Mahārājā cajoled Sadā Kaur into visiting Lahore, where she was kept under strict surveillance. Once she managed to escape in a covered litter, but was detected and brought back. Her territory was, in the meantime, sequestered and the wealth of the Kanhaiyās lying at Aṭalgaṛh (Mukerīāṅ) was confiscated. Baṭālā was granted as a jāgīr to Sher Siṅgh while the rest of Sadā Kaur's estates were placed under the governorship of Sardār Desā Siṅgh Majīṭhīā. Sadā Kaur died in confinement in December 1832.


  1. Sūrī, Sohan Lāl, 'Umdat ut- Twārīkh. Lahore, 1885-89
  2. Griffin, Sir Lepel H., Ranjit Siṅgh. Oxford, 1905
  3. Khushwant Singh, History of the Sikhs, vol I. Princeton, 1963

Rājinder Siṅgh