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Mahan Singh, Father of Maharaja Ranjit Singh


Mahan Singh son of Charhat Singh of the Sukkarchakkia misl, was young in years when his father died. During his minority, his mother, Mai Desan, carried on the administration, with the help of her brothers. As soon as he came of age, Mahan Singh embarked upon a career of conquest. He took the fort of Rohtas back from Nur ud-Din Bamezai. Aided by Jai Singh Kanhaiya, he advanced upon Rasulnagar. The powerful Chattha chief, Pir Muhammad, offered him stiff resistance, but was at last overcome. The town was occupied and renamed Ramnagar.

Maharaja Ranit Singh Photo

As Mahan Singh returned from his victorious campaign, he received the news of a son having been born to him on 13 November 1780. He named his son Ranjit Singh, Victor in War, and celebrated the event with great rejoicing. Continuing his campaign of conquest, Mahan Singh took Pindi Bhattian, Sahival,'Isa Khel and Jhang. He then seized Kotli Loharan, in the neighbourhood of Sialkot. In 1782, he, like his father, got involved in the affairs of Jammu. Taking advantage of the internecine feud between the Jammu brothers, he plundered the town, collecting a huge booty, which he refused to share with his partners, the Kanhaiyas. Mahan Singh won over Jassa Singh Ramgarhia to his side, and both of them challenged the Kanhaiyas near Batala. In the battle that followed, Jai Singh's only son, Gurbakhsh Singh, was killed, and the Kanhaiyas suffered a defeat. Later, Sada Kaur, widow of Gurbakhsh Singh, betrothed her daughter, Mahitab Kaur, to Mahan Singh's only son, Ranjit Singh.

Mahan Singh's next target was the Bhangi misl. He picked a quarrel with his brother-in-law, Sahib Singh Bhangi, after the death of his father, Gujjar Singh Bhangi. Sahib Singh shut himself up in the fort of Sodhra, which was invested by the Sukkarchakkia chief. During the protracted siege, Mahan Singh fell seriously ill with dysentery, and was forced to retire. He died in April 1790.

Samadh of Mahan Singh

The Samadh is adjacent ot the Sherawala Bagh in Gujranwala. It was badly damaged in response to the Ayodhya Masjid issue in India. The locals did not realise it was a Sikh monument. It is used as a storehouse although the central portion is kept with some reverence.