Henry Hardinge- Sikh Empire- FIRST ANGLO-SIKH WAR-Selling of Kashmir

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Henry Hardinge

Henry Hardinge

Sir Henry Hardinge was born on March 30 1785.  He was an army officer, and after getting retired, he came into politics. He served as  the Governor-General of India from 1844 to 1848. The First Anglo-Sikh war was fought in his era.

Sikh Empire

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                        Sikh Empire

Ranjit Singh was the founder of the Sikh Empire. He was born in 1780 in Gujranwala and died on June 27, 1839. When he was a child, he lost one eye due to smallpox, At the age of 10, he fought his battle, and when he was 17, he fought against the Zaman Durrani when he came to India. In 1797 on the Battle of Amritsar, and then in Gujarat, he defeated the Zaman Shah Durrani. In 1799 he captured Lahore and founded the Sikh Empire.

At the age of 20, he was crowned king. He had eight sons and 20 wives. Rani Daya Kaur, Rani Raj Kaur, Ranji Ratan Kaur, Maharani Jind Kaur and Rani Mahtab Kaur were prominent.

Sikh Empire consisted of Punjab, Afghanistan, Kashmir and China. It was a strong empire. Sikh Empire was very secular under the kingship of Ranjit Singh. He allowed everyone to practise their religion without any hurdle and fear. He never forced anyone to convert to Sikhism. He gave respect to all religions. He had many Europeans in his army, but he never allowed the British to be a part of his army because he believed they were inconsistent.

 His army even included a few Europeans. However, the British were not allowed to join it as he believed that they had a very inconsistent nature. British remained fearful of only two persons mainly. One was Tipu Sultan, and another one was Ranjit Singh. In 1839 he died, and after his death, the Sikh started to fall. After his death, his son Karak Singh succeeded him, but he died within the months.




In 1845-46, the first Anglo-Sikh war was fought. Following the passing of Ranjit Singh, the British East India Company had started expanding its tactical power, especially in the locales neighbouring Punjab, setting up a military cantonment at Ferozepur, on a mile’s distance away from the Sutlej River, which denoted the outskirts between British-managed India and Punjab. This didn’t acquire the British any regard in Punjab and expanded doubts of British intentions.

 Lord Henry Hardinge started to raise the military. According to British records, their fundamental concern was Punjab, without solid authority to control them, was a danger to British domains along the line, so they made such offensive arrangements that would probably not be needed in a purely defensive operation.

There remain only Punjab that could threaten British rule in India, so some officials in East India Company had a strong desire to expand their territory and control Punjab. In many places, Sikh Army and British Army fought with each other.

Following battles were fought between Sikh and British.

 (1) Battle of Mudki. (1845) the Sikh army was led by Lal Singh faced many the British army under Hugh Gough. The battle was fought at Mudki. The Sikh army was defeated by British there. (2) Battle of Ferozeshehar. (1845) The Sikh army was led by Lal Singh, and Tej Singh faced a large number of the British army under Hugh Gough. The battle was fought at Ferozeshehar. British were again victorious here.

3) Battle of Baddowal (1846) Sikh army under Ranjodh Singh Majithia crossed the Sutlej and marched towards Ludhiana. Here British were defeated.

 (4) Battle of Aliwal. (1846) English under Sir Henry Smith defeated the Sikh army under Ranjodh Singh in the battle of Aliwal. The Sikh army fled across the Sutlej, but many of them were drowned in River.

(5) Battle of Subraon. (1846) Another Sikh army crossed the Sutlej under Teja Singh, Lal Singh, and Sham Singh Attariwala; the Sikhs were defeated. After this battle, the Treaty of Lahore was signed.

Treaty of Lahore:

The treaty of Lahore was signed between the British and Sikhs to finish the first Anglo- Sikh war in which Sikhs had been defeated in the battle of Sobraon by the British. Both parties signed this treaty on March 9 1846. The conditions for Sikhs were quite challenging as they had been made to pay the indemnity of the war; they Lost a huge territorial land to the British, and their control on rivers had been ceased by The British. The Sikhs Had to pay 1.2 million to the British as an indemnity which they didn’t have at that time, so the territories of Hazara, Jalandhar, and Kashmir were given to the British. The Sikhs now didn’t have an authority on the River Beas and Ravi. A whole consignment of the British Army was to reside in Lahore and troops in other cities. Treaty of Lahore was signed between Maharaja Duleep Singh and Henry Hardinge 

Selling of Kashmir:

After the victory and unavailability of resources to manage this vast territory in this short time, the British had played a real game. Gulab Singh, the Raja of Jammu, under the Sikh State, supported the British in the war. After the war, due to his services, the British sold Kashmir to Raja Gulab Singh on account of 7,50,0000 under another agreement signed on March 16 1846, between Raja Gulab Singh and the British formalize the deal signed between British and Sikhs in the Treaty of Lahore.

This was the establishment of the Dogra rule and the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Raja had been made to pay yearly grants and tributes to British Empire. This had resulted in extreme poverty and forced labour in the region with an increased number of taxes to fulfil the demands of the British.

The Sikh Empire, after this treaty, didn’t stand on its ground and, right after some time, due to internal conflicts and problems, shook to the foundation. The Maharaja Duleep Singh was termed as the ruler of Punjab under this treaty who was only 8 years old at that time.

Raja Gulab Singh had acted as a mediator between the British and Sikhs to settle their ongoing conflicts and war. British became kind to him and sold him such a vast territory for 75,000,00. Raja Gulab Singh and its heirs reigned on this region until 1948 until the war broke out between Pakistan and India, making this territory a disputed one.


Henry Hardinge established Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee  in 1847 as Thomason College of Civil Engineering. 

He was succeeded by earl of Dalhousie.

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