SHER SIṄGH AṬĀRĪVĀLĀ (d. 1858), provincial governor under Mahārājā Duleep Siṅgh of Lahore, was the son of Chatar Siṅgh Aṭārīvālā. He was appointed governor of Peshāwar in October 1845, and recalled in August 1846 to Lahore where he was nominated a member of the Council of Regency. He was created Rājā in November 1847. In April 1848, Rājā Sher Siṅgh commanded the Lahore Darbār troops sent out to Multān by the British Resident to quell the rebellion by Dīwān Mūl Rāj. But on hearing of the humiliation his father, Chatar Siṅgh, who was governor of Hazārā, had suffered at the hands of Captain James Abbott, the Assistant Resident, and sore at the British refusal to permit the marriage of his sister who had been betrothed to Mahārājā Duleep Siṅgh, Sher Siṅgh left the British camp and went over to Mūl Rāj along with the Darbār troops. He moved northwards to join his father, Chatar Siṅgh, at Hazārā. Sher Siṅgh's action set into motion a chain of events which set the whole of the Punjab ablaze. From across the Rāvī and from the Sind Sāgar Doāb multitudes of disbanded Khālsā soldiers swelled his ranks. Overnight, he became a leader of Sikh resistance. He proclaimed himself a Servant of the Khālsā and that of the sovereign, and called upon the people to rise in arms and expel the British from their country.

        Simultaneously, the rising in the north under his father, Chatar Siṅgh Aṭārīvālā, gained popular support. The Sikh contingents at Bannū, Kohāṭ, Ṭoṅk, Peshāwar and Attock revolted and joined him. On the other hand, without a formal declaration of war, the British commander-in-chief, Lord Sir Hugh Gough, crossed the Rāvī on 16 November 1848, with 24,000 men and 65 guns.

        Sher Siṅgh fought the British at Rāmnagar on 22 November 1848, defeating Brigadier General Campbell's 3rd Infantry Division. The force under his command fought another action on 3 December at Sādullāpur engaging the British division commanded by General Thackwell, and crossed over to the left bank of the river. Soon afterwards he joined his father, Chatar Siṅgh, and together they worsted the British at Chelīāṅvālā on 13 January 1849 but in the last action at Gujrāt on 21 February 1849 they suffered a heavy defeat. Both Chattar Siṅgh and Sher Siṅgh fled towards Jehlum, pursued by General Gilbert. On 14 March, Sher Siṅgh surrendered to the British commander at Rāwalpiṇḍī. The Punjab was annexed to the British dominions and Sher Siṅgh along with his father was detained at Aṭārī and then imprisoned at Allāhābād. They were later transferred to Fort William at Calcutta from where they were released in January 1854.

        Rājā Sher Siṅgh died at Banāras in 1858.


  1. Sūrī, Sohan Lāl, 'Umdāt ut-Twārīkh. Lahore, 1885-89
  2. Gaṇḍā Siṅgh, Sardār Shām Siṅgh Aṭārīvālā. Amritsar, 1942
  3. Griffin, Lepel and CE Massy, Chiefs and Families of Note in the Punjab. Lahore,1909
  4. Harbans Singh The Heritage of the Sikhs. Delhi, 1983
  5. Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, vol.II. Princeton, 1966

Gaṇḍā Siṅgh