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  • Malkiat Singh Duhra

Sikh Misls

Misls were sovereign states of the Sikhs confederacy, that rose during the 18th century in the Punjab region of India, and is cited as one of the causes of the weakening of the Mughal Empire prior to Nader Shah’s invasion of India. The misls formed a commonwealth and these held biannual meetings of their Legislature, The Sarbat Khalsa in Amritsar. Sikh Guru established military forces and fought the Mughal Empire in the early and middle Mughal-Sikh wars. Banda Singh Bhahadar continued Sikh resistance (1710-1716) until he defeated the battle of Gurdas Nangal. For several years Sikhs found refuge in the jungles and the Himalayan foothills until they organized themselves into military bands known as Jathas.

The period from 1716 to 1799 was a highly turbulent time politically and militarily in the Punjab region. This was caused by the overall decline of the Mughal Empire that left a power vacuum in the region that was eventually filled by the Sikhs of the Dal Khalsa in the late 18th century, after defeating several invasions by the Afghan rulers of the Durrani Empire and their allies, remnants of Mughals and their administrations, Mughal allied Rajas. The Sikhs of the Dal Khalsa eventually formed their own independent administrative regions: Misls. These Misls were united in large part by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1799. Cavalrymen in a misl were required to supply their own horses and equipment. A standard cavalryman was armed with a spear, matchlock, and scimitar. The most prevalent system of payment to the army of Sikhs was the Fasalandari System; soldiers would receive payment every six months at the end of Rabi and Khrief crops harvest.

First Khalsa Raj was established by Sardar Banda Singh Bahadar from 1708 to 1716. Sikh Misls came into being and took power from 1735 to 1739 and they extended territory in Punjab from 1740 to 1759. Sikhs managed to take power in Punjab, and expelled the Afghan invaders from 1759 to 1765. Sikhs finally established a strong Khalsa Raj in Punjab from 1765 to 1791. The Sikh Misls became weaker from 1791 to 1799 due to wars with each other and the Afghans invaded the western part of Punjab in 1799. Ranjit Singh expelled the Afghans from western Punjab and took power in 1799 to1801 and became Maha Raja. Name of Misl, Name of Sardar, and Strength of Horseman given below:

1 Ahluwalia Misl : Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, 10000 2 Bhangi Misl : Bhuma Singh Dhillon, Hari Singh Dhillon, 10000 3 Kanheya Misl : Jai Singh Sandhu, 8000 4 Ramgarhia Misl : Jassa Singh, Jodh Sigh, Tara Singh, 5000 5 Singhpuria Misl : Nawab Kapur Singh, 5000 6 Panjgarhia Misl : Karora Singh, Bagehl Singh Dhaliwal, Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu, 10000 7 Nishanvali Misl : Dasaunda Singh Gill, Sangat Singh Gill, Sukha Singh, 2000 8 Sukerchakia Misl : Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Duleep Singh, 75000 9 Dallewalia Misl : Gulab Singh Rathore, Tara Singh Gaiba, 5000 10 Nakai Misl : Hira Singh Sandhu, Nar Singh Sandhu, 7000 11 Shaheedan Misl : Baba Deep Singh, 5000 12 Phulkian Misl : Phul Singh Sidhu, Ala Singh, Amar Singh, 5000

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