Hari Singh Nalwa

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Hari Singh Nalwa
His Deputy was Raja Mahan Mirpuri
"Hari Singh Nalwa seated in full armour and adopting a military stance"-copy of a native painting by Sir John Mcqueen
  • Baghmar[1]
  • (Tiger-Killer)
Born 1791 (1791)
Gujranwala, Shukarchakia Misl, Sikh Confederacy
Died 1837 (aged 45–46)
Jamrud, Khyber Pass, Sikh Empire
Allegiance 30px Sikh Empire
Service/branch Sikh Khalsa Army
Years of service 1804–1837
Commands held
Awards Izazi-i-Sardari
Spouse(s) Mai Desan
  • Gurdial Singh (father)
  • Dharm Kaur (mother)

Hari Singh Nalwa (1791–1837) was Commander-in-chief of the Sikh Khalsa Fauj, the army of the Sikh Empire. He is known for his role in the conquests of Kasur, Sialkot, Attock, Multan, Kashmir, Peshawar and Jamrud. Hari Singh Nalwa was responsible for expanding the frontier of Sikh Empire to beyond the Indus River right up to the mouth of the Khyber Pass. At the time of his death, the western boundary of the empire was Jamrud.

He served as governor of Kashmir, Peshawar and Hazara. He established a mint on behalf of the Sikh Empire to facilitate revenue collection in Kashmir and Peshawar.[10]

Early life[edit]

Hari Singh Nalwa was born in Gujranwala, in the Majha region of Punjab to Dharam Kaur and Gurdial Singh Uppal,[11] in a Sikh Khatri family.[12] After his father died in 1798, he was raised by his mother. In 1801, at the age of ten, he took Amrit Sanchar and was initiated as a Sikh. At the age of twelve, he began to manage his father's estate and took up horse riding.[13]

In 1804, at the age of fourteen, his mother sent him to the court of Ranjit Singh to resolve a property dispute. Ranjit Singh decided the arbitration in his favor because of his background and aptitude. Hari Singh had explained that his father and grandfather had served under Maha Singh and Charat Singh, the Maharaja's ancestors, and demonstrated his skills as a horseman and musketeer.[13] Ranjit Singh gave him a position at the court as a personal attendant.[14]

Military career[edit]

During a hunt in 1804, a tiger attacked him and also killed his horse. His fellow hunters attempted to protect him but he refused their offers and allegedly killed the tiger by himself bare handedly by tearing the tiger apart from its mouth, thus earning the cognomen Baghmar (Tiger-killer).[1] Whether he was by that time already serving in the military is unknown but he was commissioned as Sardar, commanding 800 horses and footmen, in that year.[15]

The twenty major battles of Hari Singh Nalwa (either participated or was in command):

Battle of Kasur (1807) Hari Singh's first significant participation in a Sikh conquest on assuming charge of an independent contingent was in 1807, at the capture of Kasur. This place had long been a thorn in the side of Ranjit Singh's power because of its proximity to his capital city of Lahore. It was captured in the fourth attempt. This attack was led by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Jodh Singh Ramgarhia. During the campaign the Sardar showed remarkable bravery and dexterity.[16] The Sardar was granted a Jagir in recognition of his services.[17]

Battle of Sialkot (1808) Ranjit Singh nominated Hari Singh Nalwa to take Sialkot from its ruler Jiwan Singh. This was his first battle under an independent command. The two armies were engaged for a couple of days, eventually seventeen year old Hari Singh carried the day.[18]Nalwa lead the army to victory and planted the Sikh Flag on top of the fort.[4]

Battle of Attock (1813) The fort of Attock was a major replenishment point for all armies crossing the Indus. In the early 19th century, Afghan appointees of the Kingdom of Kabul held this fort, as they did most of the territory along this frontier. This battle was fought and won by the Sikhs on the banks of the Indus under the leadership of Dewan Mokham Chand, Maharaja Ranjit Singh's general, against Wazir Fatteh Khan and his brother Dost Mohammad Khan, on behalf of Shah Mahmud of Kabul. Besides Hari Singh Nalwa, Hukam Singh Attariwala, Shyamu Singh, Khalsa Fateh Singh Ahluwalia and Behmam Singh Malliawala actively participated in this battle. [19][20] With the conquest of Attock, the adjoining regions of Hazara-i-Karlugh and Gandhgarh became tributary to the Sikhs. In 1815, Sherbaz Khan of Gandhgarh challenged Hari Singh Nalwa's authority and was defeated.[21]

Abortive attempt on Kashmir (1814) The Sikhs made an attempt to take Kashmir soon after the Battle of Attock. The army was under the general command of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who camped at Rajauri. The troops were led towards Srinagar by Ram Dayal, grandson of Dewan Mokham Chand, while Jamadar Khushal Singh commanded the van, Hari Singh Nalwa and Nihal Singh Attariwala brought up the rear. Lack of provisions, delay in the arrival of reinforcements, bad weather and treachery of the allies lead to the Sikhs to retreat.[21] The next few years were spent in subduing Muslim chiefs within the Kashmir territory, en route Srinagar Valley.[22] In 1815–16, Hari Singh Nalwa attacked and destroyed the stronghold of the traitorous Rajauri chief.[23]

Conquest of Mahmudkot (Mehmood Kot, Muzaffargarh) (1816) In preparation of the conquest of the strongly fortified Mankera, Ranjit Singh decided to approach it from its southern extremity. After the Baisakhi of 1816, Misr Diwan Chand, Illahi Bakhsh, Fateh Singh Ahluwalia, Nihal Singh Attariwala and Hari Singh Nalwa accompanied by seven paltans and the topkhana went towards Mahmudkot.[21] When news of its conquest arrived, it left the Maharaja so elated at the success of Sikh arms that he celebrated this victory with the firing of cannons. Two years later, on their way to Multan, the Sikhs captured the forts of Khangarh and Muzzaffargarh.[24]

Battle of Multan (1818) The winter of 1810 saw a jubilant Sikh army stationed near Multan in the Bari Doab. They were riding high on the success of having conquered the Chuj Doab. The possession of the city of Multan was taken with little resistance; however, the fort could not be captured. The fort was bombarded and mined without effect. Sardar Nihal Singh Attariwala and the young Hari Singh Nalwa were seriously wounded. A fire pot thrown from the walls of the fort fell on Hari Singh and he was so badly burnt that it was some months before he was fit for service.[23] Ranjit Singh was disconcerted beyond measure at the length of the siege and perforce had to abandon the attempt. Multan was finally conquered under the nominal command of Kharak Singh and the actual command of Misr Diwan Chand. It was a fiercely contested battle in which Muzzaffar Khan and his sons defended the place with exemplary courage, but they could not withstand the onslaught of the Sikhs. Hari Singh Nalwa was "chiefly instrumental" in the capture of the citadel.[19]

Peshawar becomes tributary (1818) When Shah Mahmud's son, Shah Kamran, killed their Barakzai Vazir Fateh Khan in August 1818 the Sikhs took advantage of the resulting confusion and their army formally forded the Indus and entered Peshawar, the summer capital of the Kingdom of Kabul (modern-day Afghanistan), for the first time. Thereafter, Hari Singh Nalwa was deputed towards Peshawar in order to keep the Sikh dabdaba kayam — maintain the pressure.

Mitha Tiwana becomes his jagir (1818) In the beginning of 1819, Hari Singh accompanied Misr Diwan Chand to collect tribute from the Nawab of Mankera. On completion of the mission, Diwan Chand crossed the river Chenab along with his topkhana and set up his camp in Pindi Bhattian near Chiniot. He was asked to leave Hari Singh stationed in the suburbs of Nurpur and Mitha Tiwana.[4] Hari Singh must have achieved significant success for soon thereafter the Maharaja bestowed all the possessions of the Tiwana chiefs in jagir on the Sardar.[23]

Kashmir becomes a part of the Punjab (1819) In April 1819, the Sikh army marched towards Kashmir. On this occasion, Prince Kharak Singh held nominal command. Misr Diwan Chand led the vanguard, while Hari Singh Nalwa brought up the rear for the support of the leading troops. The third division, under the personal command of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, expedited supplies and conveyed these to the advance troops.[25] On the morning of 5 July 1819, the Sikh columns advanced to the sound of bugles. A severe engagement took place between the two armies and the Sikhs captured Kashmir. Great rejoicing followed in the Sikh camp and the cities of Lahore and Amritsar were illuminated for three successive nights.[21] Thus came to an end the five centuries of Muslim rule in Kashmir.[26] Two years later, as Governor of Kashmir, Hari Singh Nalwa put down the rebellion of the most troublesome Khakha chief, Gulam Ali.[27]

Battle of Pakhli (1819) Under the Afghans, Hazara-i-Karlugh, Gandhgarh and Gakhar territory were governed from Attock. Kashmir collected the revenue from the upper regions of Pakhli, Damtaur and Darband. Numerous attempts by the Sikhs to collect revenue from Hazara-i-Karlugh not only met with failure, but also the loss of prominent Sikh administrators and commanders. Following the Sikh conquest of Kashmir, tribute was due from Pakhli, Damtaur, and Darband. On his return to the Punjab plains from the Kashmir Valley, Hari Singh and his companions followed the traditional kafila (caravan) route through Pakhli hoping to collect tribute from the region. The Sikh request for Nazrana resulted in the usual "fighting and mulcting"; the party however, was successful in their mission.[22]

Battle of Mangal (1821) Hari Singh's most spectacular success in the region of Hazara came two years later. On the successful conclusion of his governorship of Kashmir, he departed from the Valley and crossed the river Kishenganga at Muzaffarabad with 7000 foot soldiers. Hari Singh Nalwa traversed the hazardous mountainous terrain successfully, however when his entourage reached Mangal he found his passage opposed. Mangal, the ancient capital of Urasa was now the stronghold of the chief of the Jaduns who controlled the entire region of Damtaur. Hari Singh requested the tribesmen for a passage through their territory, but they demanded a tax on all the Kashmir goods and treasure he was taking with him. All trade kafilas routinely paid this toll. Hari Singh's claim that the goods he carried were not for trade purposes was not accepted. When parleying produced no result, a battle was to occur. Hari Singh then left to join forces with the Sikh army poised for an attack on Mankera, but after he had collected a fine from every house and built a fort in this vicinity.[28]

Battle of Mankera (1822) The Sindh Sagar Doab was chiefly controlled from Mankera and Mitha Tiwana. Nawab Hafiz Ahmed Khan, a relative of the Durranis, exerted considerable influence in this region. Besides Mankera, he commanded a vast area protected by 12 forts. With the weakening of Afghan rule in Kabul, the governors of Attock, Mankera, Mitha Tiwana and Khushab had declared their independence. Ranjit Singh celebrated the Dussehra of 1821 across the river Ravi, at Shahdera. Hari Singh, Governor of Kashmir, was most familiar with the territory that the Maharaja had now set his eyes on. Nalwa was summoned post-haste to join the Lahore Army already on its way towards the river Indus. The Maharaja and his army had crossed the Jehlum when Hari Singh Nalwa, accompanied by his Kashmir platoons, joined them at Mitha Tiwana. The Sikhs commenced offensive operations in early November.

Nawab Hafiz Ahmed's predecessor, Nawab Mohammed Khan, had formed a cordon around Mankera with 12 forts—Haidrabad, Maujgarh, Fatehpur, Pipal, Darya Khan, Khanpur, Jhandawala, Kalor, Dulewala, Bhakkar, Dingana and Chaubara. The Sikh army occupied these forts and soon the only place that remained to be conquered was Mankera itself. A few years earlier, the Nawab of Mankera had actively participated in the reduction of Mitha Tiwana. The Tiwanas, now feudatories of Hari Singh Nalwa, were eager participants in returning that favour to the Nawab. The force was divided into three parts—one column being under Hari Singh—and each column entered the Mankera territory by a different route; capturing various places en route all three columns rejoined near Mankera town. Mankera was besieged, with Nalwa's force being on the west of the fort.[29]

The Nawab were allowed to proceed towards Dera Ismail Khan, which was granted to him as jagir.[30] His descendants held the area until 1836.

Battle of Nowshera (Naushehra) (1823) The Sikhs forayed into Peshawar for the first time in 1818, but did not occupy the territory. They were content with collecting tribute from Yar Mohammed, its Barakzai governor. Azim Khan, Yar Mohammed's half-brother in Kabul, totally disapproved of the latter's deference to the Sikhs and decided to march down at the head of a large force to vindicate the honour of the Afghans. Azim Khan wanted to avenge both, the supplication of his Peshawar brethren and the loss of Kashmir. Hari Singh Nalwa was the first to cross the Indus at Attock to the Sikh post of Khairabad; he was accompanied by Diwan Kirpa Ram and Khalsa Sher Singh, the Maharaja's teenaged son, beside 8,000 men.

The Afghan army was expected near Nowshera, on the banks of the river Kabul (Landai). Hari Singh's immediate plan was to capture the Yusafzai stronghold to the north of the Landai at Jehangira, and the Khattak territory to its south at Akora Khattak. Jehangira was a masonry fort with very strong towers and the Afghan Yusafzais offered tough resistance. Hari Singh entered the fort and established his thana there.[29] The remaining troops re-crossed the Landai River and returned to their base camp at Akora. Mohammed Azim Khan had encamped roughly ten miles north-west of Hari Singh's position, on the right bank of the Landai, facing the town of Nowshera, awaiting Ranjit Singh's approach. The Sikhs had scheduled two battles – one along either bank of the Landai.

After Hari Singh had successfully reduced the Afghan tribal strongholds on either side of the river, Ranjit Singh departed from the fort of Attock. He crossed the Landai River at a ford below Akora, and set up his camp near the fort of Jehangira. The famous army commander Akali Phula Singh and Gurkha commander Bal Bahadur, with their respective troops, accompanied the Maharaja. The Afghan Barakzais witnessed the battle from across the river. They were not able to cross the Landai river.[31] Eventually, the inheritors of Ahmed Shah Abdali's legacy withdrew from the area, toward the direction of Jalalabad.

Battle of Sirikot (1824) Sirikot lay less than ten miles to the north-west of Haripur. This Mashwani village was strategically placed in a basin at the top of the north-east end of the Gandhgarh Range, which made its secure location a haven for the rebellious chiefs in the entire region. Hari Singh Nalwa went towards Sirikot before the rains of 1824. It was another six months before the attempt produced conclusive results. The Sardar almost lost his life in the course of this expedition. Ranjit Singh's military campaign for the winter of 1824 was scheduled towards Peshawar and Kabul. While stationed at Wazirabad, he received an arzi (written petition) from Sardar Hari Singh[32] informing him that he and his men were overwhelmingly outnumbered – one Sikh to ten Afghans. Ranjit Singh marched to [Rohtas], from there to [Rawalpindi] and via [Sarai Kala] reached Sirikot. With news of the approach of the Sikh army, the Afghans withdrew.

Battle of Saidu (1827) The redeemer of the Yusafzais came in the form of one Sayyid Ahmad [1], who despite being a 'Hindki' was accepted as a leader by them. Budh Singh Sandhanwalia, accompanied by 4,000 horsemen, was deputed towards Attock to assist in suppressing the Yusafzai rebellion. The Maharaja's brief required him to thereafter to proceed towards Peshawar and collect tribute from Yar Mohammed Khan Barakzai. Budh Singh first heard of the Sayyid after he had crossed the Indus and encamped near the fort of Khairabad. Ranjit Singh was still on the sickbed when the news of the Sayyid's arrival, at the head of a large force of the Yusafzai peasantry, reached him. The gallantry of the Yusafzai defence in the Battle of Nowshera was still vivid in his mind. On receiving this news, he immediately put into motion all the forces that he could muster and immediately dispatched them towards the frontier.

The Barakzais in Peshawar, though outwardly professing allegiance to the Sikhs, were in reality in league with the other Afghans. The Sayyid marched from Peshawar in the direction of Nowshera. Sardar Budh Singh wrote to the Sayyid seeking for a clarification of his intention. The Sayyid replied that he wished to first take the fort of Attock and then engage Budh Singh in battle.[21]

Hari Singh Nalwa stood guard at the fort of Attock with the intention of keeping the Sayyid and his men from crossing the river until reinforcements arrived from Lahore. News had reached the Sikhs that the jihadis accompanying the Sayyid numbered several thousand. The battle between the Sayyid and the Sikhs was fought on 14 Phagun (23 February) 1827. The action commenced at about ten in the morning. The Muslim war cry of Allah hu Akbar, or "God is the greatest", was answered by the Sikhs with Bole so nihal, Sat Sri Akal, or "they who affirm the name of God, the only immortal truth, will find fulfilment". Ironically, the opposing forces first professed the glory of the very same God Almighty, albeit in different languages, before they commenced slaughtering each other. The cannonade lasted about two hours. The Sikhs charged at their opponents, routed them, and continued a victorious pursuit for six miles, taking all their guns, swivels and camp equipment. 150,000[33]

Occupies Peshawar (1834) The occupation of the great city of Peshawar and its ruinous fort, the Bala Hisar showered that it was a reflection of Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa's formidable reputation in the region. Masson arrived in Peshawar just in time to see the Sikhs take control of the city. His eyewitness‘ account reports that the Afghans withdrew from the region and Hari Singh Nalwa occupied Peshawar without conflict.[34]

Dost Mohammad Khan withdraws (1835) Hari Singh Nalwa was the governor of Peshawar when Dost Mohammed personally came at the head of a large force to challenge the Sikhs. Following his victory against Shah Shuja at Kandahar, in the first quarter of 1835, Dost Mohammed declared himself padshah (king), gave a call for jihad and set off from Kabul to wrest Peshawar from the Sikhs. Ranjit Singh directed his generals to amuse the Afghans with negotiations and to win over Sultan Mohammed Khan. He directed them that on no account, even if attacked, were they to enter into a general engagement until his arrival.[35]

Hari Singh Nalwa and the other Sikh chieftains requested Ranjit Singh to permit them to engage with the Afghans. On 30 Baisakh (10 May 1835), Sardar Hari Singh, Raja Gulab Singh, Misr Sukh Raj, Sardar Attar Singh Sandhanwalia, Jamadar Khushal Singh, the Raja Kalan (Dhian Singh), Monsieur Court, Signor Avitabile, Sardar Tej Singh, Dhaunkal Singh, Illahi Bakhsh of the topkhana, Sardar Jawala Singh and Sardar Lehna Singh Majithia were ordered to move. The troops fanned out over five kos, forming a semicircle in front of the Amir's encampment. Sardar Hari Singh proposed that the water of the stream Bara, which flowed in the direction of Dost Mohammed Khan's camp, be dammed. When the Ghazis appeared, Sardar Hari Singh commenced firing his guns. The Maharaja, however, prohibited him from indulging in battle and dispatched his Vakils to negotiate with the Amir.

Dost Mohammed Khan was assured that the Sikhs would affect a truce until their Vakils were in his camp. He accused Fakir Aziz-ud-din of making "use of much language, having plenty of leaves but little fruit". On finding both his step brothers, Jabbar and Sultan, irredeemably lost to him, Dost Mohammed decided to retire from the field with the whole of his army, armament and equipage. He left at night, making sure that the Fakir did not return to the Sikh camp until after he had gone through the Khyber Pass.[36]

Jamrud (Khyber Pass) (1836) In October 1836 following the Dussehra celebrations in Amritsar, Hari Singh made a sudden attack on the village of Jamrud, at the mouth of the Khyber Pass. The Misha Khel Khyberis, the owners of this village, were renowned for their excellent marksmanship and total lack of respect for any authority. Hari Singh Nalwa's first encounter with this tribe had taken place following the Battle of Nowshera when he had pursued the fleeing Azim Khan; and once again, when he chased Dost Mohammed Khan in 1835.

The occupation of Jamrud was rather strongly contested but it appeared that the place was taken by surprise. On its capture, Hari Singh Nalwa gave instructions to fortify the position without delay. A small existing fort was immediately put into repair. News of this event was immediately transmitted to Kabul. Masson informed Wade of the passage of events along this frontier in a letter dated 31 October 1836. With the conquest of Jamrud, at the very mouth of the Khyber,[35] the frontier of the Sikh Empire now bordered the foothills of the Hindu Kush Mountains.[citation needed]

Panjtaar defeated (1836) The defeat of the Khyberis sent shock waves through the Afghans. Hari Singh Nalwa accompanied by Kanwar Sher Singh, now proceeded towards the Yusafzai strongholds, north-east of Peshawar, which had withheld tribute for three years. The Sikhs defeated the Yusafzais, with their chief, Fateh Khan of Panjtar, losing his territory.[37] It was reported that 15,000 mulkia fled before the Sikhs, many being killed and the remaining taking refuge in the hills.[citation needed] After burning and levelling Panjtar to the ground, Hari Singh returned to Peshawar realising all the arrears of revenue. Fateh Khan was obliged to sign an agreement to pay tribute on which condition Panjtar was released.[21] When news of the conquest of Panjtar reached the Court of Lahore, a display of fireworks was proposed.[4]

Battle of Jamrud (1837) The Maharaja's grandson, Nau Nihal Singh was getting married in March 1837. Troops had been withdrawn from all over the Punjab to put up a show of strength for the British Commander-in-chief who was invited to the wedding. Dost Mohammed Khan had been invited to the great celebration.[38] Hari Singh Nalwa too was supposed to be at Amritsar, but in reality was in Peshawar (some accounts say he was ill[39]) Dost Mohammed had ordered his army to march towards Jamrud together with five sons and his chief advisors with orders not to engage with the Sikhs, but more as a show of strength and try and wrest the forts of Shabqadar, Jamrud and Peshawar.[40] Hari Singh had also been instructed not to engage with the Afghans till reinforcements arrived from Lahore.[38] Hari Singh's lieutenant, Mahan Singh, was in the fortress of Jamrud with 600 men and limited supplies. Hari Singh was in the strong fort of Peshawar. He was forced to go to the rescue of his men who were surrounded from every side by the Afghan forces, without water in the small fortress. Though the Sikhs were totally outnumbered, presence of Hari Singh Nalwa put the Afghan army into panic. In the melee, Hari Singh Nalwa was grievously wounded.[38] Before he died, he told his lieutenant not to let the news of his death out till the arrival of reinforcements, which is what he did. While the Afghans knew that Hari Singh had been wounded, they waited for over a week doing nothing, till the news of his death was confirmed. The Afghans withdrew after witnessing Nalwa’s body hung outside the fort.[41] Hari Singh Nalwa had not only defended Jamrud and Peshawar, but had prevented the Afghans from ravaging the entire north-west frontier, in turn was not able to invade Afghanistan himself. The loss of Hari Singh Nalwa was irreparable and this Sikh defeat was costly for that precise reason.[42][43]

The victories in battles that were achieved over the Afghans, were a favourite topic of conversation for Ranjit Singh. He was to immortalise these by ordering a shawl from Kashmir at the record price of Rs5000, in which were depicted the scenes of the battles fought with them.[38] Following the death of Hari Singh Nalwa, no further conquests were made in this direction. The Khyber Pass continued as the Sikh frontier till the annexation of the Punjab by the British.[44]


Hari Singh's administrative rule covered one-third of the Sikh Empire. He served as the Governor of Kashmir (1820–21), Greater Hazara (1822–1837) and was twice appointed the Governor of Peshawar (1834-5 & 1836-his death). He worked closely with 2nd in command of the Khalsa Army, the Hindu 'Raja Mahan Singh Mirpuri' on many affairs related to administration.[45]

In his private capacity, Hari Singh Nalwa was required to administer his vast jagir spread all over the kingdom.[46] He was sent to the most troublesome spots of the Sikh empire in order to "create a tradition of vigorous and efficient administration".[47] The territories under his jurisdiction later formed part of the British Districts of Peshawar, Hazara (Pakhli, Damtaur, Haripur, Darband, Gandhgarh, Dhund, Karral and Khanpur), Attock (Chhachch, Hassan Abdal), Jehlum (Pindi Gheb, Katas), Mianwali (Kachhi), Shahpur (Warcha, Mitha Tiwana and Nurpur), Dera Ismail Khan (Bannu, Tank, and Kundi), Rawalpindi (Rawalpindi, Kallar) and Gujranwala. In 1832, at the specific request of William Bentinck, the Maharajah proposed a fixed table of duties for the whole of his territories. Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa was one of the three men deputed to fix the duties from Attock (on the Indus) to Filor (on the Satluj).[citation needed]

In Kashmir, however, Sikh rule was generally considered oppressive,[48] protected perhaps by the remoteness of Kashmir from the capital of the Sikh empire in Lahore. The Sikhs enacted a number of anti-Muslim laws,[49] which included handing out death sentences for cow slaughter,[50] closing down the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar,[49] and banning the azaan, the public Muslim call to prayer.[49] Kashmir had also now begun to attract European visitors, several of whom wrote of the abject poverty of the vast Muslim peasantry and of the exorbitant taxes under the Sikhs.[50]

The Sikh rule in lands dominated for centuries by Muslims was an exception in the political history of the latter. To be ruled by 'kafirs' was the worst kind of ignominy to befall a Muslim.[51] Before the Sikhs came to Kashmir (1819 CE), the Afghans had ruled it for 67 years. For the Muslims, Sikh rule was the darkest period of the history of the place, while for the Kashmiri Pandits (Hindus) nothing was worse than the Afghan rule.[52] The Sikh conquest of Kashmir was prompted by an appeal from its Hindu population. The oppressed Hindus had been subjected to forced conversions, their women raped, their temples desecrated, and cows slaughtered.[53] Efforts by the Sikhs to keep peace in far-flung regions pressed them to close mosques and ban the call to prayer because the Muslim clergy charged the population to frenzy with a call for 'jihad' at every pretext.[citation needed] Cow-slaughter (Holy Cow) offended the religious sentiments of the Hindu population and therefore it met with severe punishment in the Sikh empire. In Peshawar, keeping in view "the turbulence of the lawless tribes ... and the geographical and political exigencies of the situation" Hari Singh's methods were most suitable.[54]

Diplomatic mission[edit]

In 1831, Hari Singh Nalwa was deputed to head a diplomatic mission to Lord William Bentinck, Governor-General of British India. The Ropar Meeting between Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the head of British India followed soon thereafter. The Maharaja saw this as a good occasion to get his son, Kharak Singh, acknowledged as his heir-apparent. Hari Singh Nalwa expressed strong reservations against any such move.[55] The British desired to persuade Ranjit Singh to open the Indus for trade.


File:Hazara-Region in Pakistan von James Abbott.jpg
'The Rock Aornos from Huzara. From Nature by General James Abbott 1850'

Nalwa was also a builder. At least 56 buildings were attributed to him, which included forts, ramparts, towers, gurdwaras, tanks, samadhis, temples, mosques, towns, havelis, sarais and gardens.[56] He built the fortified town of Haripur in 1822. This was the first planned town in the region, with a superb water distribution system.[57] His very strong fort of Harkishengarh, situated in the valley at the foothill of mountains, had four gates. It was surrounded by a wall, four yards thick and 16 yards high. Nalwa's presence brought such a feeling of security to the region that when Hügel visited Haripur in 1835-6, he found the town humming with activity.[58] A large number of Khatris migrated there and established a flourishing trade. Haripur, tehsil and district, in Hazara, North-West Frontier Province, are named after him.[59]

Nalwa contributed to the prosperity of Gujranwala, which he was given as a jagir sometime after 1799,[60] which he held till his death in 1837.

He built all the main Sikh forts in the trans-Indus region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — Jehangira[61] and Nowshera[62] on the left and right bank respectively of the river Kabul, Sumergarh (or Bala Hisar Fort in the city of Peshawar),[63] for the Sikh Kingdom. In addition, he laid the foundation for the fort of Fatehgarh, at Jamrud (Jamrud Fort).[64] He reinforced Akbar's Attock fort situated on the left bank of the river Indus[65] by building very high bastions at each of the gates.[citation needed] He also built the fort of Uri in Kashmir.[66]

A religious man, Nalwa built Gurdwara Panja Sahib in the town of Hassan Abdal, south-west of Haripur and north-west of Rawalpindi, to commemorate Guru Nanak's journey through that region.[67] He had donated the gold required to cover the dome of the Akal Takht within the Harmandir Sahib complex in Amritsar.[68]

Following Hari Singh Nalwa's death, his sons Jawahir Singh Nalwa and Arjan Singh NalwaTemplate:NoteTag fought against the British to protect the sovereignty of the Kingdom of the Sikhs, with the former being noted for his defence in the Battle of Chillianwala.[citation needed]


File:Sikh Folklore2.tif
A tribute to the Champion of the Khalsaji. Hari Singh Nalwa's leadership qualities continued to inspire the Sikhs 81 years after his death (front page of a book published in 1918)

A commemorative postage stamp was issued by the Government of India in 2013, marking the 176th anniversary of Nalwa's death.[69]


Hari Singh Nalwa died fighting the Pathan forces of Dost Mohammed Khan of Afghanistan. He was cremated in the Jamrud Fort built at the mouth of the Khyber Pass in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Babu Gajju Mall Kapur, a Hindu resident of Peshawar, commemorated his memory by building a memorial in the fort in 1892.[70]

Popular culture[edit]

Hari Singh Nalwa's life became a popular theme for martial ballads. His earliest biographers were poets, including Qadir Bakhsh urf Kadaryar,[71] Misr Hari Chand urf Qadaryaar[72] and Ram Dayal,[73] all in the 19th century.

In the 20th century, the song Mere Desh Ki Dharti from the 1967 Bollywood film Upkaar eulogises him. Amar Chitra Katha first published the biography of Hari Singh Nalwa in 1978 (see List of Amar Chitra Katha comics).

On April 30, 2013 Kapil Sibal released a commemorative postage stamp honouring Hari Singh.[74]





  1. 1.0 1.1 Sandhu (1935), p. 4
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Singhia (2009), p. 96
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  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Vanit Nalwa (13 January 2009). Champion of the Khalsaji. ISBN 9788173047855.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Jaques 2006, p. 81
  6. eBook in Urdu language on Shah Ismail Shaheed with introduction by Abu Ala Maududi, Published 1 October 1943 by Qaumi Kutub Khana, Lahore
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  8. Profile of Dehlvi on books.google.com website Retrieved 16 August 2018
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  10. Herrli (2004), pp. 122-123
  11. Surinder Singh Johar (1982). Hari Singh Nalwa. Sagar. p. 13. Hari Singh was born in 1791 to Dharam Kaur, wife of Sardar Gurdial Singh Uppal, a Kamedan in the army of Sardar Mahan Singh, father of Maharaja Ranjit Singh<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  13. 13.0 13.1 Sandhu (1935), pp. 2-3
  14. Sandh (1935), p. 4
  15. Sandhu (1935), p. 5
  16. Sandhu (1935), p. 6
  17. Singh (1976), p. 36
  18. Sandhu (1935), p. 8
  19. 19.0 19.1 Singh (1976), p. 37
  20. Nayyar (1995), pp. 89–90
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 Shashikant Nishant Sharma. International Journal of Research (IJR). ISBN 9781304977151.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. 22.0 22.1 Sandhu (1935), pp. 14-16
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Sandhu (1935), p. 9
  24. Nayyar (1995), p. 88
  25. Nayyar (1995), p. 94
  26. Sandhu (1935), p. 15
  27. Sandhu (1935), pp. 22-23
  28. Sandhu (1935), pp. 24-25
  29. 29.0 29.1 Singh (1976), p. 38
  30. Singh (2001), p. 138
  31. Singh (1976), pp. 38-39
  32. "The Akhbars". (11 March 1825). The Times, London
  33. Singh (1976), p. 40
  34. Sandhu (1935), pp. 50-51
  35. 35.0 35.1 Singh (1976), p. 41
  36. Waheeduddin (2001), p. 73
  37. Nayyar (1995), p. 152
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 38.3 Shashikant Nishant Sharma. International Journal of Research (IJR). p. 11. ISBN 9781304977151.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  39. Singh (2001), p. 193
  40. Waheeduddin (2001), p. 74
  41. Singh (1976), p. 45
  42. Singh (1976), pp. 45-46
  43. Singh (2001), p. 194
  44. Mathews (2010), pp. 15, 24
  45. The history of the Muhiyals: The militant Brahman race of India'' (English,1911) by T.P. Russell Stracey
  46. Sandhu (1935), p. 123
  47. Singh (1994), p. 98
  48. Madan (2008), p. 15
  49. 49.0 49.1 49.2 Zutshi (2003), pp. 39–41
  50. 50.0 50.1 Schofield (2010), pp. 5–6
  51. Singh (1994), p. 100
  52. Sufi (1974), p. 750
  53. Sandhu (1935), p. 13
  54. Singh (1976), pp. 53-54
  55. Sandhu (1935), p. 98
  56. Sachdeva (1993), pp. 74–80
  57. Kapur & Singh (2001), p. 163
  58. Singh (1994), p. 99
  59. Tehsils & Unions in the District of Haripur – Government of Pakistan Archived 24 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  60. Singh (1994), pp. 51–52, 87
  61. Sandhu (1935), p. 124
  62. Jaffar (1945), p. 123
  63. Jaffar (1945), pp. 97, 119
  64. Jaffar (1945), p. 121
  65. Singh (1994), p. 102
  66. Sufi (1974), p. 729
  67. Khan (1962), p. 17
  68. Kaur (2004), p. 214
  69. www.indiapost.gov.in (PDF) https://www.indiapost.gov.in/PDF/Stamps2013/30-04-2013.pdf. Retrieved 24 April 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  70. Sandhu (1935), p. 85
  71. Tahir (1988)
  72. Singh (1965)
  73. Singh (1946)
  74. Prashant H. Pandya (1 May 2013). Indian Philately Digest. Indian Philatelists' Forum. p. 1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


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  • Jaffar, S. M. (1945), Peshawar: Past and Present, Peshawar: S. Muhammad Sadiq Khan<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  • Kaur, Madanjit (2004) [First published 1983], The Golden Temple: Past and Present (Revised ed.), Amritsar: Guru Nanak Dev University<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  • Nayyar, G. S. (1995), The Campaigns of General Hari Singh Nalwa, Patiala: Punjabi University, ISBN 9788173801419<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Sachdeva, Krishan Lal (1993), "Hari Singh Nalwa – A Great Builder", in Kapur, P. S. (ed.), Perspectives on Hari Singh Nalwa, Jalandhar: ABS Publications, ISBN 8170720567<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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Further reading[edit]

  • Dial, Ram (1946). "Jangnama Sardar Hari Singh". In Singh, Ganda (ed.). Punjab Dian Varan. Amritsar: Author.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Hoti Mardan, Prem Singh (1950) [First published 1937]. Jivan-itihas Sardar Hari Singh-ji Nalua – Life of the Sikh General Hari Singh Nalua (Revised, reprinted ed.). Amritsar: Lahore Book Shop.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • NWFP Gazetteers – Peshawar District. Lahore: Punjab Government. 1931.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Singh, Ganda (1966). A Bibliography of the Punjab. Patiala: Punjabi University.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Niara, Gurabacana (1995). The Campaigns of Hari Singh Nalwa. Punjabi University. Publication Bureau.

Wikipedia discussion[edit]

Is Nalwa, Vanit (2009). Hari Singh Nalwa - Champion of the Khalsaji. New Delhi: Manohar Books. ISBN 81-7304-785-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> a reliable source for historical information in Hari Singh Nalwa. The article subject is controversial and the author not merely shares the name but heads the Hari Singh Nalwa Foundation Trust. A profile of her can be found here.

I am particularly concerned about POV pushing - the man is some sort of Sikh hero and it does not go down well with Muslims. The source is used extensively in the article. - Sitush (talk) 18:24, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Yeah...and? Why is it important to you that one religion is offended by a figure from another religion? It is not POV pushing on the part of the author. POV pushing would be a concern over an editor....say, coming to the RS/N and making a statement like you just did. There is no claim for context.--Amadscientist (talk) 05:31, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
While the author may, in fact, have no history background... the fact that she may be a relation and linked to the foundation....just gave the person themselves a little more context to being reliable for the information. I would still use it with caution and not for large chunks of discussion, but it seems to be fine for sourcing on this figure. Talk page will determine inclusion.--Amadscientist (talk) 05:39, 26 September 2012 (UTC)


Amadscientist, I've undone your closure of this. As far as I know, this noticeboard is not set up so that one person answers and the matter is done. By definition, noticeboards are for multiple people to comment.
For example, I'd like to point out that your statement doesn't make sense. You say that "being linked to the foundation....gave the person...more context to being reliable for the information." Perhaps you're misunderstanding Sitush, but the point is that the author of the book in question is the head of a Foundation whose purpose is to say positive, great things about the subject of the book. That almost certainly makes it unreliable except for very basic facts. For example, if Microsoft publishes a book, it's not a reliable source for anything other than very clear internal info, like number of employees, the name of the head of the company, it's yearly profits, etc. It wouldn't be reliable for claims about much of its history, how good it is compared to other companies, etc. So, I have to say that we should strongly consider removing the source for only the most uncontrversial information. Qwyrxian (talk) 08:59, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
You may note that I made it clear that the source has limited use, however, yes...the book was made more reliable than just having been written by a random author that is not a historian. Assumption that the book just says nice things is just that, an assumption, but the fact is the author has some link to a foundation involved with the historic figure and this is as appropriate a use as any other religious foundation writing a similar book. It isn't going to be something that should be used for large chunks but still has value. (By the way, I re-thought the closure and came back to re-open, although yes, the closures with these types of issues are done often) This looks like a religious fight, but have at it.--Amadscientist (talk) 09:10, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Sitush please elaborate on:
(1) Who you do you believe is POV pushing. Explain how you believe the author has violated this Wikipedia policy. Are they posting their published book information on Wikipedia?
(2) How is this subject "controversial"?
(3) Define "Sikh hero" and how that relates to an RS.
(4) Explain why "this man" does not go down well with Muslims and how that relates to RS.
(5) As an "expert" in this area, are you aware that many Sikhs share the same name?
(6) And finaly, please give the claim being made that this is being used as a reference for.--Amadscientist (talk) 09:21, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
The author cannot infract WP policies and I really do not understand where you are coming from with this because I've never suggested that the author was editing the article. Perhaps you have not bothered to refer to it? The POV pushing, if any, comes from WP contributors selecting certain sources to reflect a POV. This has been common on Indic history and caste articles, and also on those relating to current events. There is evidence on the article talk page that such issues have been raised over a period of many months, if not years. Hence, it is a controversial subject.

Similarly, I do not understand what you are getting at with your third or fourth points - they seem to be some sort of irrelevant debate concerning semantics.

I do not claim to be an "expert" in Sikh history, although I have a fair amount of experience in Indic articles and their POV/sourcing issues. The endogamous nature of many Indic communities gives rise to potential issues when it comes to reliability: a lot of "bigging up" of history goes on, whether written down or transmitted orally, and in fact I rather think that the majority do so. Alas, many British Raj authors took those community histories as fact, and those authors too are regularly considered to be unreliable. Nalwa clearly has a close association with the subject, is probably herself a Sikh, represents an advocacy group that promotes the subject of our article, etc: these are all substantial alarm signals. Although she is not a trained historian nor, it seems, translator (she relies a lot on Persian texts etc), she is, of course, theoretically a valid source for her own interpretation ... but that does not mean much at all here. Your comment that "While the author may, in fact, have no history background... the fact that she may be a relation and linked to the foundation....just gave the person themselves a little more context to being reliable for the information." is almost the exact opposite of how we usually evaluate.

As for your sixth point, well, it is being used for numerous claims, although slightly fewer than 24 hours ago because I have removed some copyvios (I'll reinstate in non-copyvio form if appropriate but am not wasting my time doing so until the reliability is ascertained). - Sitush (talk) 14:24, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Amateur research, not reliable for history unless there are a number of positive reviews by academic historians. Itsmejudith (talk) 14:29, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, this is a work of avocation, a coffee table hagiography of a likely ancestor written by a neuroscientist. The book has not been reviewed in any of India's myriad major English language newspapers, let alone in an academic history journal. The publisher, Manohar, does publish academic books, but, in light of this, they also publish low brow fluff. Not reliable, pending scholarly reviews that attest to the contrary. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 14:38, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Agree. This is a problem with many Indian historical figures because of the lack of contemporaneous written records and because they tend to be written as hagiographies. As far as Wikipedia is concerned, it is better to stick to works by reliable historians, even if that means less content. I seriously doubt that anything written in this book will be useful for an encyclopedic article (except, perhaps, for a section titled "Folklore"). --regentspark (comment) 18:44, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

A couple of things. First, no this is not a "coffee table hagiography" and that point of view simply dismisses the book with undue personal opinion. Second, the publisher claims to publish scholarly work[[2] so the fact that you call other publications fluff, again has no bearing on this book. Many publisher put out both academic and "fluff". This is not a history book and I see no claim of such anywhere. It is a biography from a clearly defined author who has a direct connection to the figure. That doesn't mean we dismiss it out of hand. I have scanned through the book and find the claim that it is a "work of avocation" to be a little off base. Yes, the author is described as writing with "unconcealed pride", but oddly enough that is in a review by Khushwant Singh who is considered an authority on Sikh history and is indeed a "peer review". I am not sure if what you are looking for is Western peer reviews to accept this or multiple reviews. The fact is an RS has several criteria and we don't just toss them all out and say "Oh no, you can't use that. It says good things about the figure", well it also says neutral and negative things. He wasn't a saint, and no one is treating him that way. Yes, this book has a weakened RS claim because the author is not known for work in the field of either history or biography, but this isn't a fraud or a fringe idea we are talking about. The association with the Foundation itself doesn't seem to mean much. Seriously, how does this effect RS? Are we saying by association with a charitable foundation it is somehow of less value? This just seems to be excuse making to exclude. This is surely not the strongest RS I have ever seen, but it can't be blown off because of the things being mentioned, it just lowers it's strength and use is a matter of consensus. There seems to be little reasoning using the criteria for RS. The author seems to be an expert on this figure and that cannot be denied, they simply are not a historian and I don't think that works completely against them, just weakens the case for RS, not destroys it. The publisher is not a pay to publish or a vanity press and the work itself cannot be dismissed as fringe, innacurate or unduly self serving (it isn't about themself). The weakest part of the book is the author and lack of multiple peer reviews. As I said, this can't be used for large chunks of information but it also cannot be dismissed. It just isn't a very strong RS, but does not actualy fail criteria.--Amadscientist (talk) 23:47, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

To be honest, I find your post a tad confusing. For example, I'm not sure what you mean by "can't be used for large chunks of information but it also cannot be dismissed". Are you saying that we can only use information in proportion to the "strength" of a reliable source? I've probably misunderstood your statement because that doesn't make any sense (to me) at all. The point to focus on is whether the information in a book is reliable or not. Generally, if the author of the book is an expert in the field, i.e., is the author of several peer reviewed articles and books in that field, then the information is reliable. If, on the other hand, the author is writing a book because he is a fan of the subject or the head of a foundation dedicated to promoting the subject, then, unless the author is also an expert in the field (see peer reviewed above), the source is unreliable. We can't cherry pick from the source based on whether the source is weak or strong. --regentspark (comment) 00:57, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Really? That contradicts Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources which states: "The word "source" as used on Wikipedia has three related meanings...Any of the three can affect reliability. Reliable sources may be published materials with a reliable publication process, authors who are regarded as authoritative in relation to the subject, or both. These qualifications should be demonstrable to other people." First, you have to demonstrate that the author is not "authoritative in relation to the subject" and that simply hasn't been done. There is nothing in the guideline about being connected to a foundation. Next: "Reliable non-academic sources may also be used in articles about scholarly issues, particularly material from high-quality mainstream publications. Deciding which sources are appropriate depends on context. Material should be attributed in-text where sources disagree." And: "Care should be taken with journals that exist mainly to promote a particular point of view. A claim of peer review is not an indication that the journal is respected, or that any meaningful peer review occurs. Journals that are not peer reviewed by the wider academic community should not be considered reliable, except to show the views of the groups represented by those journals" Then there is this: "How accepted, high-quality reliable sources use a given source provides evidence, positive or negative, for its reliability and reputation. The more widespread and consistent this use is, the stronger the evidence. For example, widespread citation without comment for facts is evidence of a source's reputation and reliability for similar facts, while widespread doubts about reliability weigh against it. If outside citation is the main indicator of reliability, particular care should be taken to adhere to other guidelines and policies, and to not represent unduly contentious or minority claims." One other thing the guideline states: --Amadscientist (talk) 01:45, 27 September 2012 (UTC)"Isolated studies are usually considered tentative and may change in the light of further academic research. The reliability of a single study depends on the field."
In short, this is still a source that has not been demonstrated to be unreliable because of the author. Just not being an academic in the field does not exclude them. Yes, in a manner of speaking (and to some, outright) we do use sources in proportion to their strength and frankly I am a little confused by you not understanding that. No offense. Lets play devils advocate and say we dismiss the author themself, OK, but that only effects one part of criteria for RS it does not immediatly make it useless. But we have not yet demonstrated that the author is not an authority on this subject, just that they are not a historian. Weaker than an author who is a historian with multiple peer reviews, but not something that can dismiss the book. As stated the book is a weak RS, and may well be best to attribute it to the author and possibly even a stricter use determined by consensus on the article talkpage, where an argument can be made that perhaps the book should be used only for a short passage with a direct context to the book itself. But this is an argument for the article talkpage where a consensus for inclusion or exclusion would be made.--Amadscientist (talk) 01:45, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
That's a completely different question from whether the source is reliable or not. If all we're doing is attributing statements to the author (I take it that's what you mean by "direct context to the book itself"), then the question is not whether the book is a reliable source but whether the author's opinions are noteworthy for inclusion. All we then have is a source that verifies that the author said what we're saying he said (and yes, it is reliable for that particular claim). Personally (and this is re your first paragraph), I don't see the need for explicit inclusion of "foundations" in our RS description. The fact that the head of a group set up to promote an individual has written the book immediately classifies it under promotional material. If that individual is not known as a historian, then I don't see how the source can be considered reliable. And, like I say above and I'll say it again, if the author has explicitly cited other material in support of his or her claims, then we should go to the original source for verification, not use this one. If the work is largely uncited, then we should treat it as a mere opinion piece and the book as a reliable source for the opinion, nothing else. --regentspark (comment) 02:11, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
I get where you're coming from on this RegentsPark, but I disagree entirely on whether or not it is promotional from having connection to a foundation. Its not promotional to write a biography of someone dead for a hundred years. If it isn't in the guidelines or policy then there is clearly a grey area here. I don't see how it isn't relaible to some extent. We are not here to make blanket judgements and that sounds a little like one. Direct context means if you attribute the claim directly to the publication and author: "According to author 'X' in her book entitled 'Y' the figure is said to have 'Z'." And many, mant historians use text from ancient sources that we do not say that the ancient source is the reference. As I understand it, sited material could well be seen as the primary work and the historian is making analytical interpretations and are just attributed as such. What you are talking about is two sources and we only need one. Yes, but this is in regards to news sources primarily. We don't use Huff post if the AP is the actual source. But even that is not always done if the secondary source is expanding on the content. As I said this isn't a yes or no answer. It just isn't. There are many uses of different sources on different levels. Primary sources can still be used in a limited way. Opinion can still be used in a limited way. As I have also said there has been no real demonstration that the author is making claims that are flase, fringe or innacurate. The only thing demonstrated is that they are a historian but not that they are not an expert in the filed of this subject.--Amadscientist (talk) 05:35, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the input so far, folks. I note that most of you have experience of dealing with the slippery ground that is Indic sourcing. To throw something into the pot, the guideline to which Amadscientist refers states, "Self-published material may be acceptable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications." What follows is somewhat speculative but plausible.

Nalwa is head of a trust that promotes the memory of what is likely to be an ancestor, given the effects of endogamy. I cannot determine how many people are actively involved in administering the trust but it could well just be her, given this notice of their website's "author". She has academic clout as a neuroscientist and she has an interest in a subject that is very marketable among Sikhs. With no offence intended, it is apparent to anyone who regularly edits Indic caste/history articles that ancestor hero worship is a feature of Indic life that is not replicated to the same degree in, say, Europe. Someone in her position would probably have no trouble getting a book of putative research on any subject published. While her publisher is not lulu.com etc nor her own website, she is no more authoritative on the subject matter than, say, royalark.net (deemed unreliable here) but has the kudos of unrelated (excuse the pun) academic stature. The book could thus well be construed as being self-published, and the profits go to the Trust. It is certainly not yet much cited and not independent of the subject matter, and her efforts regarding Hari Singh Nalwa seem not to have been published by reliable third parties. Perhaps at some time in the future this will change but we do not deal in "maybes" here.

If we accept your rationale, Amadscientist, then this noticeboard might as well cease to exist since everything could be dealt with by WP:FTN and WP:NPOVN. Now there's an idea that would likely go down like a lead balloon ... - Sitush (talk) 08:52, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Before I bow out completely here let me just say that the above is not accurate as far as I can tell for an accusation of self publishing as the listed publisher is Manohar Publications (May 1, 2010) [3]. I would also note that some of the the above is pretty outrageous to claim here and could well boarder on BLP issues.--Amadscientist (talk) 10:42, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Discuss the edits not the editor
@Amadscientist, I know from a message that you left on the talk page of Template:U yesterday that you are on meds for gout. I sympathise with that, coming from a long line of sufferers. Nonetheless, you seem to have been hitting quite a few problems at various places in at least the last day or so. Please will you either stop stirring the pot with unfounded remarks regarding the nature of my comments here or take it to an appropriate noticeboard for possible censure. You have claimed that my opening remarks were inappropriate/somehow a breach of WP:CIV/intended to cause offence etc, you pre-emptively close this thread and now you are accusing me of making outrageous claims. "Put up or shut up" and "put your money where your mouth is" are UK phrases but hopefully you understand them. - Sitush (talk) 12:32, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
According to this, the author is a seventh-generation descendant of the subject. - Sitush (talk) 09:05, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I believe that we have established they are related. May I respectfully (I don't wish to add fuel to a fire) request you demonstrate though policy/guidelines how this relates to RS?--Amadscientist (talk) 09:10, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
As far as I can see, I and others have already done so. - Sitush (talk) 09:31, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
No, no one has demonstrated this as part of any guideline or policy. Your answer would really be more of a demonstration of WP:IDHT. But thanks for not answering the question posed to you in a civil manner. Done here. My opinion is stated.--Amadscientist (talk) 10:11, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
I'm willing to try one more time, Amadscientist if you want. The author is the head of a foundation dedicated to praising the subject of the book. Furthermore, the author is a relative. And even furthermore, we know that, in general, it is extremely important in a large number of Indic cultures to demonstrate that one's ancestors have a high status, even in cases where that may be a minority or simply ignored point in scholarly research. So, we have no reason to trust the author. Second, the publisher does not list the author as one of their regular authors--that makes me wonder if this is a book they actually stand behind, or if it was published in some other way. Third, we have no evidence that anyone else in the field has taken note of the book, reviewed, cited it, or otherwise considered it to be relevant. Thus, in conclusion, we have no reason to assume that the book is reliable. At best, we have a blank. Now, you (Amadscientist) seem to be asserting that in cases where we don't have clear evidence, we should default to assuming a source is reliable. While this is certainly a believable position, it is not one that I have ever heard expressed before on WP, and certainly not one that has a consensus/following. In fact, the general rule, as best as I understand it, is that if there is a lack of evidence showing that something is reliable, along with some circumstantial/indirect reason to believe the author/publisher/work is not reliable, well, in that case, we err on the side of caution, and don't use the work. Qwyrxian (talk) 13:15, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
The author is a Trustee of a registered charity, the goal of which they claim as: "established to commemorate the memory of Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa". I don't think it is accurate to say "praising the subject..." It is just to memorialize. Being related to the subject really isn't a problem at all. "[I]n general, it is extremely important in a large number of Indic cultures to demonstrate that one's ancestors have a high status, even in cases where that may be a minority or simply ignored point in scholarly research." This is not a matter of RS but of perception of a culture. Americans do the same thing. How many times have you heard: "My ancestors came here on the Mayflower". People are always going to use a social perception as a means of raising themselves and our own English culture does the same thing, perhaps on a different level, but again it is about the information in the book and we don't even know for sure if there is anything of concern that effects the information. This is speculation based on "What we know about that culture" and again isn't a criteria for RS...but for a local consensus at the article talk page for inclusion or exclusion.
"We have no evidence that anyone else in the field has taken note of the book, reviewed, cited it, or otherwise considered it to be relevant". Yes, this part I agree with, but read what our guidelines say about this: "One can confirm that discussion of the source has entered mainstream academic discourse by checking the scholarly citations it has received in citation indexes. A corollary is that journals not included in a citation index, especially in fields well covered by such indexes, should be used with caution, though whether it is appropriate to use will depend on the context." (bolding for easy visual reading) Our guidelines don't exclude the possiblity that it may be used, just that it be used with caution.
"Now, you (Amadscientist) seem to be asserting that in cases where we don't have clear evidence, we should default to assuming a source is reliable" No, not really. What I am saying is that this is not a matter of Yes or No. There are different levels of acceptable usage. However, on wikipedia I do believe the custom is to err on the side of the freer usage. That is the point of Wikipedia, the free flow of information and has indeed been used when there is doubt...not when there is no evidence. The point I am making is simple. The source has not actually been demonstrated to be completely useless. It is not a matter of being self published, although there is a claim of such. This should be proven or demonstrated, not guessed at or assumed. The foundational work of the author troubles some, but again, not a matter of guideline for RS but a matter of local consensus. This is far from a perfect RS. It has issues, but look at Jimbo Wales article. I see a WMF press release and another from Wikipedia that links directly to pages, not to a secondary journalistic source. I also see his personal blog used as reference. Why is this acceptable? Because he is the figure. So...why can't this be used in relation to a mention of the relative? Why can't it be used to mention some of her work on the foundation? Why can't it mention some of her opinion on her ancestor? It can. There is no reason it cannot. Wikipedia does not censor and being something that may offend another group is not a reason for exclusion. The same is true of a perception of a cultural attempt to raise her status. As I said it has limited use. But there is no complete ban of its use on Wikipedia to source with attribution to claims about the person who has a direct link. And may perhaps even have some limited use in other areas, but that is a matter of local consensus. I am not saying that everyone must accept this for any use. I am saying it cannot be completely dismissed.--Amadscientist (talk) 00:23, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
No-one is trying to censor. Why you think that is the case is beyond me. The book can and should go in a Further Reading section. - Sitush (talk) 09:16, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I wasn't trying imply such, just a mention along with other guidelines.--Amadscientist (talk) 05:46, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

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