Milkha Singh Thehpuria

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Sardar (Chief) Milkha Singh Thehpuria was a powerful Chief during the eighteenth century. (D. 1804). He abandoned his native place, Kaleke, near Kasur and founded the village of Thehpur in Lahore district, taking possession of a number of villages in its vincity and others in the Gujrat and Gujranwala districts. Not content with these possessions, he marched northward and seized Rawalpindi, which although the area had once, in nearby Taxila, been the location of the World's first university. Before its destruction by an invasion of the Huns, Takshashila University had attracted scholars from around the World, now it was an insignificant place inhabited by Rawal mendicants.

Milkha Singh fixed his headquarters there, building new houses and fortifying the town. Rawalpindi being on the highway into India, was a vulnerable possession exposed to attacks of Afghan invaders, but Milkha Singh held his own. He conquered a tract around Rawalpindi worth several lakhs of rupees a year and had won the esteem of the warlike tribes of Hazara.

Though he was known in the area around Lahore by the name of Thehpuria, after the village he had found, in the north he was known as Milkha Singh Pindivala. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, whom Milkha Singh had joined in his early expeditions, called him Babaji, (revered grandfather).

Milkha Singh died in 1804. Jivan Singh, his only son, who succeeded to his father's estates, fought in the Maharaja's of Kashmir's campaign in 1814, and died the next year. The force which Milkha Singh and Jivan Singh had maintained was transferred to the service of the Sikh State and placed under Sardar Atar Singh Sandhanvalia, bearing the name of Dera Pindivala in 1818 it came under the control of [[Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It was here after the battle of Gujrat were the Sikh army was decisively defeated, that the Sikh army finally laid down their arms, Rawalpindi was occupied and became a permanent garrison of the British army in 1851. Lord Dalhousie made Rawalpindi the headquarters of the Northern Command and soon Rawalpindi became the largest British military garrison in India. Today the city is the Headquarters of the Army of Pakistan.