Who are Ramgarhia?

The Ramgarhia community is a tribe of the Punjab region in India which started from the Ramgarhia Misl (army). The founder & leader of the Ramgarhia Misl was Misldar Nand Singh Sanghania and its members were Sikhs from different tribes. Ramgarhia is associated with it’s famous Misldhar, Jassa Singh Ramgarhia.

History of the Ramgarhia Misl
The founder of the group that would eventually become the Ramgarhia Misl was Khushal Singh of Guga village near Amritsar. Khushal Singh was succeeded , Nand Singh Sanghania who belonged to village Sanghani near Amritsar. After his death he was succeeded a much more enterprising and valiant man, Jassa Singh Ramgarhia (1723-1803), under whose stewardship the band assumed prominance and the name of the Misl. The name Ramgarhia was adopted after winning a major battle near the village of Ramghar.

Jassa Singh’s grandfather was Hardas Singh, who had been a resident of Suringh, which is situated about nineteen miles east of Khem Karan, in the present district of Amritsar. Hardas Singh was initiated into the Khalsa Guru Gobind Singh Ji, from whose hands he took Pahul (the Sikh baptismal oath). He was later to fight in battles at Guru Ji’s side. After the death of the Guru, he joined the forces of Banda Bahadur and took part in almost every battle under his flag against the Mughal Empire. In 1716, he died in a skirmish. After his death his son, Sardar Bhagwan Singh became the head of the family. and with 200 followers entered the Imperial Mughal forces under the Governor of Lahore. Owing to his ability he rose to be a distinguished officer. He died fighting for his master in 1739 at Lahore, when Nadir Shah invaded India and the Governor resisted him ineffectually. Bhagwan Singh’s eldest son Jassa Singh, now became the head of the family. He was appointed a Risaldar the Governor of Lahore, and the following villages were given to him: Jagir Valla, Verka, Sultanwind, Tung and Chabba (all of these are now in the Amritsar district). The Sehmi Clan of Nawan Pind in Valla/ Verka today hold the spirit of Jassa Singh’s endeavours. On the death of Khan Bahadur, the Governor of Lahore, in 1746, Baron Jassa Singh, together with his followers, joined his Sikh brethren at Amritsar.

Sardar Jassa Singh
At this time the celebrated Adina Beg Khan, the Imperial Governor of the Jullundur Doab, exercised great influence in the Punjab. As there was constant quarrelling between him and the Sikhs, Baron Jassa Singh was sent to him as their ambassador the Sikhs, who considered the Sardar one of the ablest men among themselves. From all accounts Sardar Jassa Singh was a tall, handsome young man, possessing rare intellectual qualities. Khan was so pleased with him that he granted all the demands of the Sikhs, that Baron Jassa Singh had come to present. Moreover, Adina Beg took him and his brothers into his service and made him the Tahsildar over a large district. He remained for a long time in the service of the Governor.

The Ghallughara (‘Holocaust’)
When Prince Timur, son of Ahmad Shah Abdali, marched against Adina Beg, the latter retreated towards the hills to the north and Baron Jassa Singh and his brothers left him and went to Amritsar, where they joined the forces of Nand Singh Sanghania. The younger brother of Sardar Jassa Singh was at this time killed in action with the Afghans near Majitha. After the terrible blow dealt to the Sikhs Abdali, in the Battle of Ghallughara (‘Holocaust’), in which 17,000 Sikhs fell, the three brothers, Jassa Singh, Mali Singh and Tara Singh, with Jai Singh Kanhaiya (Leader of the Kanhaiya Misl), were reduced to the necessity of hiding in jungles and subsisting on whatever chance threw in their way. They had, however, the temerity to visit Amritsar to bathe in the sacred tank, and pillaged the suburbs of the city. When attacked the Shah’s troops they fired off their matchlocks and fled to the jungles. After the departure of Ahmad Shah, Jassa Singh with his brothers Mali Singh and Tara Singh, and Jai Singh Kanhaiya emerged from their jungle retreat, and collecting their followers ravaged the country far and wide, building forts and establishing military outposts. When Khawaja Obed, the Governor of Lahore, attacked the Sikh fort at Gujranwala, he was opposed and defeated the united forces of the Ramgarhias and Kanhaiyas. The guns, ammunition and treasure left the Governor were equally divided the Barons of the two Misls.

Victory and continued occupation of Lahore
The Afghan prince and his guardian, seeing that all their attempts to disperse the Sikhs had failed, and that the number of the insurgents was daily increasing thousands. Realising that the forces at their own disposal, however well armed and disciplined, were not strong enough to stand before them, they considered it prudent to evacuate Lahore and retire towards the Chenab. They retreated in the night, unknown even to their own Hindustani troops, whom they distrusted, and in such haste that the royal family fell into the hands of the enemy, though they were subsequently released. This took place about the middle of 1758. The triumphant Sikhs occupied Lahore under their celebrated leaders, Baron Jassa Singh Ahluwalia and the Ramgarhia Baron of that name. Thus the Sikhs became for the first time masters of Lahore.

Later Ranjit Singh incorporated Ramgahia Misl into Sarkar Khalsa and thus a unified, one Khalsa kingdom was created.