Bhai Tara Singh Ghaiba

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Bhai Tara Singh Ghaiba (1717 - 1807), a later chief of the Dallevalia misl, which was named after the village of Dalleval founded by the father of Gulab Singh Dallevalia. Tara Singh was a shepherd turned outlaw who joined Gulab Singh Dallevalia in his plundering raids. His dexterity in making off with cattle and flocks of sheep and his ingenuity in transporting them across the Ravi won him the nickname Ghaiba (the Vanisher).

On the death of Gulab Singh, Tara Singh succeeded to the leadership of the misl. Within a short time, his intrepidity and lust for war and conquest made the Dallevalia confederacy very powerful. One of Tara Singh's first exploits was to rob a detachment of Ahmad Shah Durrani's troops of their horses and arms while crossing the Beiri river near his village, Karig, in Kapurthala district. In 1760, he crossed the Sutlej and conquered the towns of Dharamkot and Fatehgarh. On his return to the Doab, he took the Sarai Dakkhni from Sharaf ud'Din, an Afghan of Jalandhar and then marched eastwards, seizing the country around Rahori where he took up his residence. He next captured Nakodar from the Manj Rajputs, and other groups of villages on the right of the Sutlej, including Mahatpur and Kot Badal Khan.

In 1763, Tara Singh joined the Bharigi, Kanhaiya and Ramgarhia misls against the Pathan Nawab of Kasur and, in the sack of the town, collected 4,00,000 rupees as his share of the booty. He joined other Sikh sardars in laying siege to Sirhind in January 1764 and razed it to the ground after defeating its governor, Zain Khan. By 1765, Tara Singh had considerably increased his power and territories in the Upper Jalandhar Doab, in parts of Ludhiana, Ambala and Firozpur districts and the entire country south of the River Sutlej, yielding an annual revenue of Rs. 17,00,000.

Tara Singh was a close friend of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and took part in his early Malva expeditions. He died in 1807 at the ripe age of 90. After his death, Maharaja Ranjit Singh annexed the Dallevalia territories to his kingdom leaving Tara Singh Ghaiba's widow Rattan Kaur seemingly out in the cold.


1. Sun, Sohan Lal, `Umdat ut-Twarikh. Laliore, 1885-89

2. Griffin, Sir Lepel, The Punjab Chiefs. Lahore, 1890

3. Gupta, Hari Ram, History of the Sikhs. Delhi, 1978