This is the story of Hari Singh Nalua, a formidable general in the Khalsa army during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The principles he lived by offers a guiding insight into how we can reflect on our own beliefs.
Nalua would become known not only as a conqueror but an able administrator.
He built many Sikh forts in the trans-Indus region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Jehangira fort and Nowshera fort on the left and right banks of Kabul river, respectively. He also built Sumergarh fort in Peshawar, Fatehgarh fort in Jamrud, and Uri fort in Kashmir; reinforced Akbar's Attock fort on left bank of Indus river. Nalua also built Gurduara Panja Sahib in Hassan Abdal to commemorate Guru Nanak Sahib and donated gold for Akal Takht Sahib’s dome destroyed during 1984 Ghallughara (genocide).
An anonymous Kabbit can still be heard eulogizing Nalua which has been passed down the generations of Dhadhis:
Hearing name and acts of valor of the one who loved Divine,
he was benevolent yet made Mughals tremble.
He heard what the valiant alone hear,
his enemies sang his praise though they lost nerve at his sight.
Lover of the Tenth Guru graced with the warrior-spirit,
protector of eternal Dharam showered benevolence.
Now he departed this world leaving his mortal remains behind,
breaking Maharaja’s heart, Hari achieved Divine Freedom.
Through his determination, cunning and service we can reflect on ourselves and how to lead our own lives.
The Sikh Research Institute has created new content to explore the life of Hari Singh Nalua in depth. Including the video above, we have also produced an original podcast and an educational resource for the Sojhi curriculum to think critically about this Sikh figure’s legacy.
Sikh History: Getting to Know Hari Singh Nalua
Hari Singh Nalua (popularly ‘Nalwa’ or ‘Nalva’) (1791-1837), was one of the greatest generals of his time. Even though the contributions of Hari Singh Nalua are well recorded in the annals of history, he is often not celebrated or brought to the forefront of Sikh knowledge. As a general, he exhibited exemplary leadership qualities and military skills that helped Sikhs strengthen and consolidate their military and political position in South Asia. Today, not many people know of his contribution to the Sikh position and rule during the time.
Explore the life and lessons of Hari Singh Nalua and his legacy through our downloadable curriculum, as well as through our originally produced podcast and video series 'Sikh History'.