Amir ul Imla

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Amir ul Imla, also known as Muntakhab Ulhaqaiq, a collection of miscellaneous letters, in Persian script, mostly of Sikh chiefs of the Punjab addressed to one another on subjects relating to private and public affairs. Compiled by Amir Chand in A.H. 1209 (ADi 79495), the manuscript comprises 127 folios and 247 letters and is preserved in the Oriental section of the British Library, London.

On folio 125 of the manuscript is recorded a note referring to one Imanullah as its owner, implying that this is perhaps not the original copy prepared by Amir Chand. However, no other copy, except a photostat of the British Museum manuscript secured by Dr. Ganda Singh for his personal use, is known to exist. The colophon inscribed on this copy indicates that it was Dalpat Rai, son of Khushiabi Mall Sahgal, of Jandiala Sher Khan, who originally collected these letters for compilation, but death prevented him from accomplishing the work which was then completed by his brother, Amir Chand.

The collection contains correspondence of chiefs including Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Afghan Amir Taimur Shah, Karam Singh Bhangi, Jai Singh Kanhaiya, Jodh Singh, Sahib Singh of Patiala, Fateh Singh Ahluvalia, Jhanda Singh Bhangi, Rani Sada Kaur and some of the Maratha rulers. The contents of these letters cover a wide range of subjects such as the collection of revenue, formation of coalitions against aggressors, conquests, marriages and deaths in the families and the need for good neighbourly relations. In most of the letters the smaller rulers give vent to their sense of insecurity and apprehension at the expansionist policy of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who, they said, was vanquishing smaller kingdoms in the name of the unification of the scattered, broken and divided Punjab.

A very important letter in this collection is from Maharaja Ranjit Singh addressed to the Emperor of Britain (ff. 2021). The letter, besides commending the British Indian government for their equal treatment of all their subjects irrespective of their religious faith, attests to Maharaja Ranjit Singh`s own conviction that the sovereignty was conferred upon the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh and that they still ruled in the name of their Guru, declaring that he wielded power in the name of the Khalsa. Ratan Singh Bhangi is critical of the aggressive designs of Ranjit Singh who, he says, "inspired by his high position, army, artillery and treasury, wishes to place the whole of the Punjab under his own control." He writes to Muhammad Khan (ff. 3940) about Ranjit Singh`s conquest of the area of the Syals and his "impious designs" to establish his sovereignty over others.

Similarly, there is a letter (ff. 2324) by the Subahdar of Multan addressed to Taimur Shah requesting him to use his good offices with Ranjit Singh so as to check his inroads into their territory. There are several letters from Ranjit Singh addressed to various sardars informing them of the action he took against the unruly people (f. 83) such as despatching an army to subdue a rebel, Khan Beg Tiwana, who was formerly his subordinate (ff. 7172). A letter from Dal Singh and Jodh Singh addressed to Jai Singh records the date (4 Baisakh/April; Wednesday) (char ghari raat gae, i.e. before midnight) and the time of the death of Mahan Singh Sukkarchakkia (f.10). In all these letters, the Sikh chiefs address each other Singh Sahib, Bhai Sahib, or KhalsaJio.