The Eleven Sikh Bands

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Taken from the Eleven Sikh Bands before Maharaja Ranjit Singh, @ Sikh History.com [1]

Ahluwalia: Led by Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia , area of Jullundar Doab with an army of 10,000 regular horsemen. They held territory in the neighborhood of Kapurthala, in the Jalandhar doab, and some villages in Majha such as Sarhali, Jandiala, Bundala, Vairowal and Fatehabad.

Bhangi: Led by Sardar Hari singh Bhangi, called Bhangi because of their use of Bhang. (They were also called Dhillon Sardars)

Area between Beus and Ravi and Ravi and Chenab, the so called Bari and Rachna Doabs. Approximately, 10,000 regular horsemen. The Bhangis, owned Sialkote, Gujrat, Multan, Amritsar, Tarn tarn and Lahore.
Stories about the Dhillon Sardars. During his eighth invasion of India Ahmad Shah Abdali was forced to retreat from the battle at Amritsar. Then, he offered the governor ship of Lahore to the Bhangi Sardar Lahna singh Dhillon, but the latter declined the proposal. He returned to the Shah the fruit he had sent him, saying that such delicacies were meant for royalty. The Sikhs, he told the messenger, lived on parched gram. Of this he gave a quantity to the messenger to be presented to Ahmad Shah on his behalf. Then Ahmad Shah Abdali's son Zaman Shah prepared to attack India, he collected a large army and had special alloy guns made. But he was defeated in a battle with Dal Khalsa forces in-between Lahore and Amritsar. The Sikh forces pursued him to snatch his guns and ammunition. They followed them all the way to Jhelum river when Zaman Shah could not take his guns across the rivers in a hurry he threw them in river. Sahib Singh Bhangi and his men recovered several guns from the river. One such gun was called Zamzama.

Dalewalia: Led by Gulab Singh Dalewalia. Later under their leader Tara Singh Ghaiba they held Rahon, Mahatpur, Nawanshaher and Phillaur. Approximately 5000 regular horsemen. They were always ahead of others. Dalewalias were continuously moving and helping other Misls on the command of supreme commanders Nawab Kapur Singh and later Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia.

Faizalpuria: Led by Nawab Kapur Singh Virk . Approximately 5,000 horsemen. The territories held were Jalandhar, and the villages of Banur, Ghanauli, Manauli and Bharatgarh, in the Malwa.

Kanaihya: Led by Jai singh Kanaihya. This regiment ruled the area of riarki around Batala approximately 8,000 horsemen.

Karor Singhia: Karora singh Dhaliwal established this Misl, Their territory was Hoshiarpur and its surrounding areas. His successor Baghel Singh Dhaliwal subdued the force less Mughal Emperor Shah Alam I of Delhi, and located and constructed the many Gurudwaras in Delhi, in the memory of Seventh Guru, Ninth Guru and others. A special note is made here by a late historian Hari Ram Gupta that contrary to what happened in raids by other powers which were frequent in those uncertain times, during those attacks by Sikhs there was not a single instance of a woman having been molested. Later when Shah Alam gave him a 2 Lakh tribute, Baghel Singh vacated Delhi on the condition that his 30,000 forces would remain in Delhi. The area where his forces stayed, is still known as Tees Hazari. Approximately 10,000 horsemen, with many other irregular forces. Their forces combined with Ahluwalia misl crossed Jamuna and captured Saharanpur in Feb 20, 1764. The Sikhs overran the territory of Najib-ud-daulah the Rohilla Chief, and returned after realizing from him a tribute of eleven lakhs of rupees.

Nakai: Led by Hari singh Nakai. This band ruled the area between Ravi and Ghara, Naka Area. Approximately 7,000 horsemen. They ruled over the country South of Lahore, between Ravi and the Sutlej.

Nishanwala: Led by Dasaundha Singh. Called Nishanwala because they carried the Nishan Sahib, the Sikh flag in the battle. Approximately 2,000 horsemen. Their territory was Ambala, Ropar, Anandpur Sahib. Several hill chiefs paid tribute to this misl.

Ramgarhia: Led by Nand singh Sanghania extended fort of Ram Rauni at Amritsar which was later called Ramgarh. Riarki Area around Batala Approximately 5,000 horsemen. Their territory was parts of Amritsar, Qadian, Batala and Sri Hargobindpur, in the Bari doab and Miani, Sarih, and Urmur Tanda in the Jalandhar Doab. Jassa Singh Ramgarhia was a great Sikh warrior of times of Nawab Kapur Singh and Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. He led Khalsa army in many battles. In command of Dal Khalsa he was just behind Jassa Singh Ahluwalia after the retirement of Nawab Kapur Singh.

Sukerchakia: Led by Nodh Singh, Ranjit singh's Misl. Area of Gujranwala, they often carried their arms beyond Jhelum. Approximately 5,000 horsemen. Their territories were Gujranwala and parts of Pothohar (currently Rawalpindi, Islamabad, etc.) Charat Singh, Ranjit singh's grandfather was one of the commanders with Nawab Kapur singh and then with Jassa Singh Ahluwalia. Ranjit Singh's father Mahan Singh also led Sikh forces to many victories. Once Charat Singh Sukarchakia and Gujar Singh Bhangi of Bhangi misl secured a crucial victory over Sarbuland Khan, the Afghan faujdar of Rohtas. Sarbuland Khan became a captive of the Sikhs who treated him with magnanimity. So deeply was he impressed with the consideration shown to him by Charat Singh Sukkarchakkia that he offered to serve as a governor under him if the Sardar proclaimed himself king. "The kingship is already conferred on us by the Guru," said the Sardar, "but we want to keep you a prisoner so that the world may know that Charat Singh has captured the uncle of Ahmad Shah Abdali." "There is still a greater distinction in releasing me," said Sarbuland Khan. "For, they will say that Charat Singh captured the uncle of Ahmad Shah and, then, set him at liberty." The Khan paid the tribute and was allowed to return to his country.

Shaheed: They drew their name from their Baba Deep Singh ji Shaheed , custodian of Damdama Sahib Gurudwara. This misl was in charge of the Malwa part of Punjab which is current day Ludhiana. Approximately 5,000 horsemen. Their territories were also in some districts in Ambala (parganah of Shahzadpur) and district of Saharanpur.

Phulkian: This misl is the only misl that was kicked out of the Dal Khalsa due to its anti Sikh policies in the time of Baba Deep Singh and Nawab Kapur Singh. This misl was founded by Baba Ala Singh.


What impelled these Sikh confedracies to unite in zealous action was their faith in the common destiny of the Khalsa. Any call for a joint cause was joyfully answered and the greatest sacrifices willingly made for its realization. Their living conviction was that the Guru had invested them with moral and temporal dignity and charged them with the duty of liberating the country. That imparted an element of philanthropy to their extremely dangerous and heroic adventure.

To die fighting for the Panth was a consummation most cheerfully sought; to compromise with evil and injustice was considered the extreme of degradation and pusillanimity. This brave new spirit created a revolutionary impulse in the country. The Sikhs gave new direction to the course of Indian history. When Zaman Shah, son of Ahmad Shah Abdali (Durrani), reached Peshawar on January 30th 1799, that was the last invasion of any Mughal, Turk, Greek, Persian, no more invaders could come from the Northwest into Punjab for Sikhs had boldly sealed off the western frontiers of Punjab.

All these Misls or bands together were called Dal Khalsa. They met at least twice a year at Amritsar for Sarbat Khalsa. So called Sarbat Khalsa was the whole community of the Sikh Panth (path) getting together. The leader of the Dal Khalsa was to be head of the Sikh state and Church.