SĀHIB KAUR, BĪBĪ (1771-1801), warrior and leader of men who played a prominent part in the history of the cis-Sutlej states from 1793 to 1801, was the elder sister of Rājā Sāhib Siṅgh of Paṭiālā. Born in 1771, Sāhib Kaur was married at an early age to Jaimal Siṅgh of the Kanhaiyā clan, who resided at Fatehgaṛh and was master of a greater part of the Bārī Doāb above Dīnā Nagar in present-day Gurdāspur district of the Punjab. In 1793, Rājā Sāhib Siṅgh, in view of mounting dissensions within his state, recalled his sister Bībī Sāhib Kaur to Paṭiālā and entrusted to her the office of prime minister. She had not been long in Paṭiālā when she had to return to Fatehgaṛh at the head of a large Paṭiālā army to rescue her husband who had been captured by Fateh Siṅgh, a rival chief. Back in Paṭiālā she faced a large Marāṭhā force marching towards the town in 1794 under the command of Antā Rāo and Lachhman Rāo. Rājā Bhāg Siṅgh of Jīnd, Jodh Siṅgh of Kalsīā and Bhaṅgā Siṅgh of Thānesar joined hands with her while Tārā Siṅgh Ghaibā sent a detachment of troops. The joint force, numbering about 7,000 men, met the enemy at Mardāṅpur near Ambālā where a fierce engagement took place. The Sikhs were severely outnumbered and would have retreated had not Sāhib Kaur, alighting from her rath, i.e, chariot, made a brave call with a drawn sword in hand for them to stay firm in their ranks. The next morning they made a sudden charge on the Marāṭhās who, taken by surprise, retired towards Karnāl in utter confusion. Bedī Sāhib Siṅgh of Ūnā charged the Paṭhān chief of Mālerkoṭlā with cow-killing and attacked him. He was saved by the timely succour given him by Sāhib Kaur. In 1796, in response to the request of the Rājā of Nāhan who had sought help from Rājā Sāhib Siṅgh of Paṭiālā to quell a revolt in his state, Sāhib Kaur proceeded to the hills with a strong force and soon reduced the insurgents to submission. The Rājā was reinstalled on the gaddī and, at the time of Sāhib Kaur's departure, he presented her with many rich and valuable gifts in token of his gratitude. In the summer of 1799, George Thomas, an English adventurer, who had become very powerful and who ruled the country in the neighbourhood of Hāṅsī and Hissār, turned his attention to the Sikh territories on his northern frontier and marched upon Jīnd. Sāhib Kaur led out a strong contingent to relieve the besieged town and, assisted by the troops of other Sikh chiefs, she forced George Thomas to withdraw.

        Owing to differences with her brother, Bībī Sāhib Kaur had to leave Paṭiālā to take up residence in Bherīāṅ, near Sunām, which fell within her jāgīr and where she had built a fort changing the name of the village to Ubhevāl. She died there in 1801 in the prime of her life.


  1. Ātmā Siṅgh, Rāṇī Sāhib Kaur. Patiala, n.d.
  2. Griffin, Lepel, The Rajas of the Punjab [Reprint]. Delhi, 1977
  3. Pool, John J., Women's Influence in the East London, 1892

Sardār Siṅgh Bhāṭīā