Lahina Singh Majithia

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LAHINA SINGH MAJITHIA (d. 1854), son of Desa Singh Majithia, was commander, civil and military administrator, and one of the principal sardars of the Sikh court. Of all the Majithias associated with the ruling family of Lahore, Lahina Singh was the ablest and most ingenious. He succeeded his father Desa Singh in 1832 as the nazim (governor) of Kangra and the hill districts, with the title of Qaisar ul-Iqtidar. Earlier, he had served the Maharaja in various capacities. He commanded 2 battalions of infantry, a topkhana of 10 light and field guns, and 1,500 horse. In 1831, he was assigned to the task of collecting monies from the Nakais; the same year, he along with General Ventura took part in the Dera Isma'il Khan expedition. At the court, he often acted as chief of protocol, receiving and looking after important foreign dignitaries. On several occasions, he led goodwill missions on behalf of the Maharaja. Like his father, he held charge of the management of Sri Harimandar Sahib, Amritsar.

Lahina Singh was a man of learning and was especially interested in astronomy and mathematics. He was a skilful mechanic and designer of ordnance. He cast shrapnel shells made of pewter for the Sikh artillery. He invented gun shell that would explode at a fixed place and time. He also invented a clock which showed the hour, the day of month and the lunar changes. He is said to have translated Euclid into Punjabi. Amidst the rivalries of the Dogra and Sandhanvalia factions soon after the death of Maharaja Kharak Singh, Lahina Singh maintained his position and influence at the Darbar. In March 1844, Lahina Singh fell foul of the Jalla regime and feeling insecure at Lahore, he left the Punjab for Haridvar. His jagirs were promptly confiscated and usurped by Hira Singh. Lahina Singh settled in Banaras, and declined to return to the Punjab even when he was offered the office of Wazir (minister) by Maharani Jind Kaur during her regency. He was arrested and kept under surveillance by the British from 23 January 1846 till the end of the first AngloSikh war. In 1846, the British Resident, Sir Henry Lawrence, suggested his nomination as Wazir in place of Lal Singh, but Lord Hardinge did not accept the proposal. Lahina Singh returned to the Punjab in 1851, but after two years went back to Banaras where he died in 1854.

References

1. Suri, Sohan Lal, `Umdat-ut-Twarikh. Lahore, 1885-89

2. Griffin, Lepel and G.F. Massy, Chiefs and Families of Note in the Punjab. Lahore, 1909

3. Smyth, G. Carmichael, A History of the Reigning Family of Lahore. Patiala, 1970 1. Oshorne, W.G., The Court and Camp of Runjeet Singh. London, 1810

4. Hasrat, BikramaJit, Anglo-Sikh Relations. Hoshiarpur, 1968

5. Harbans Singh, The Heritage of the Sikhs. Delhi, 1983