VĀR HARĪ SIṄGH KĪ by Sahāī Siṅgh, included in the anthology entitled Prāchīn Varāṅ te Jaṅgnāme, edited by Shamsher Siṅgh Ashok and published by the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar, in 1947. He describes Harī Siṅgh Nalvā's expedition against the Afghāns who had invaded Peshāwar from across the Khaibar Pass and his final battle in defence of the Fort of Jamrūd. This printed version is based, according to the testimony of the editor, on an incomplete manuscript in the personal collection of Shivdev Siṅgh of Nābhā. No other copy of the manuscript has so far been discovered. The work does not conform to the traditional form of vār, the narrative being in the style of a sīhārfī and the metre used is baint. The poem begins with an invocation to the goddess Bhavānī : the poet's faith in the goddess is also supported by the fact that he makes his hero, Harī Siṅgh Nalvā, offer prayers to her to uphold his honour in the battlefield. This is followed by verses contrasting the daring of Harī Siṅgh, Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh's celebrated general, with the cowardice of his chamberlain, Khushāl Siṅgh. The latter is shown as dreading to lead the military expedition to Peshāwar whereas the former is presented as seeking it voluntarily. The narrative begins with Harī Siṅgh’s departure from Baṭālā and referring to the minor skirmishes on the way, it moves on to his conquest of Peshāwar. His final combat in the Fort of Jamrūd where he fell fighting against the Afghāns is depicted in all its graphic detail. Since a few of the last pages are missing, the work comes to an end with the Sikh army chasing the fleeing enemy forces. The Vār celebrates in sonorous verse the brave exploits of its hero, Harī Siṅgh Nalvā. It extols his valour and munificence, and his qualities as a man and as soldier. Harī Siṅgh has been portrayed as a man who is pious and philanthropic by nature and who has deep faith in Sikh tenets.


  1. Padam, Piārā Siṅgh, Pañjābī Vārāṅ. Patiala, 1980
  2. Ashok, Shamsher Siṅgh, Prāchīn Vārāṅ te Jaṅgnāme. Amritsar, 1947

Ātamjīt Siṅgh