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Page:Provincial geographies of India (Volume 1).djvu/204

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HISTORY— THE SIKH PERIOD

Sutlej to the Indus, though his hold on Hazara was weak. Peshawar became tributary in 1823, but it was kept in subjection with much difficulty. Across the Indus the position of the Sikhs was always precarious, and revenue was only paid when an armed force could be sent to collect it. As late as 1837 tne great Sikh leader, Hari Singh Nalwa, fell fighting with the Afghans at Jamrud. The Barakzai, Dost Muhammad, had been the ruler of Kabul since 1826. In 1838, when the English launched their ill-starred expedition to restore Shah Shuja to his throne, Ranjit Singh did not refuse his help in the passage through the Panjab. But he was worn out by toils and excesses, and next year the weary lion of the Panjab died. He had known how to use men. He employed Jat blades and Brahman and Muhammadan brains. Khatris put both at his service. The best of his local governors was Diwan Sawan Mai, who ruled the South- West Panjab with much profit to himself and to the people. After 1820 the three Jammu brothers, Rajas Dhian Singh, Suchet Singh, and Gulab Singh, had great power.

Successors of Ranjit Singh.— From 1839 till 1846 an orgy of bloodshed and intrigue went on in Lahore. Kharak Singh, the Maharaja's son, died in 1840, and on the same day occurred the death of his son Nao Nihal Singh, compassed probably by the Jammu Rajas. Sher Singh, and then the child, Dalip Singh, succeeded. In September, 1843, Maharaja Sher Singh, his son Partab Singh, and Raja Dhian Singh were shot by Ajit Singh and Lehna Singh of the great Sindhanwalia house. The death of Dhian Singh was avenged by his son, Hira Singh, who proclaimed Dalip Singh as Maharaja and made himself chief minister. When he in turn was killed Rani Jindan, the mother of Dalip Singh, her brother Jowahir Singh, and her favourite, Lai Singh, took the reins.