Ahwal I Firqah I Sikkhan

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AHWAL-I-FIRQAH-I-SIKKHAN, variously titled as Twarikh-i-Sikkhan, Kitab-i-Tankhi-Sikkhan and Guzarish-i-Ahwal-i-Si'kkhan, by Munshi Khushwaqt Rai, is a history in Persian of the Sikhs from their origin to AD 1811. Khushwaqt Rai was an official newswriter of the East India Company accredited to the Sikh city of Amritsar. It was written at the request of Col (afterwards General Sir) David Ochterlony, British political agent at Ludhiana on the AngloSikh frontier. Opinion also exists that it was written at the suggestion of Charles Theophilus Metcalfe. Henry Prinsep and Capt Murray based their accounts of the Sikhs on this manuscript. The British Library preserves a manuscript (No. Or. 187) under the title Kitab-i-Tankhi-Sikkhan (in the Preface it is designated Guzarish-i-Ahwal-i-Si'kkhan). The name of the author is not mentioned. Copies of the manuscript are also preserved at Punjab State Archives, Patiala, and at Khalsa College, Amritsar. The manuscript (No. M/ 800) entitled Twari'kh-i-Ahwal-i-Sikkhan at the Punjab State Archives has 194 folios. The account begins with the birth of Guru Nanak in 1469, followed by lives of the succeeding Gurus, of the career and exploits of Banda Singh, the chiefs of the Ahluvalia, Phulkian and Kanhaiya misls, the hill chiefs of Kangra or the Katoch dynasty, and of the Sukkarchakkia misl. Events of the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh up to 1811 such as Holkar's arrival in the Punjab in 1805 and the conquests of Pathankot and Daska are described in some precise detail. The account closes with the arrival in 1811 of the Afghan embassy for a meeting with Ranjit Singh. Khushwaqt Rai's work furnishes considerable information on the early history of the Sikhs though it is not exempt from inaccuracies or personal prejudices. The account of Sikhs' rise to power is however factual and straight forward.

The manuscript remains unpublished. An Urdu translation, the only one known to exist, was discovered by Dr Ganda Singh in the armoury from under the debris after an accidental gunpowder explosion in Qila Mubarak at Patiala on 1 May 1950. The first 16 pages of the manuscript were missing. A Punjabi translation of the manuscript made by Milkhi Ram Kishan is preserved at the Department of Punjab Historical Studies, Punjabi University, Patiala. The manuscript awaits publication.