Gorkha invasion- its nature and consequences, Treaty of Segauli.

By | November 11, 2021

Sansar Chand-II:

  • Sansar Chand-II was the most powerful king of Kangra. He became Raja of Kangra in 1775 In 1786 A.D. he took over Kangra Fort.
  • In 1786 AD he defeated the Raja of Chamba in the ‘Nerti Shahpur
  • 1787 A.D. to 1805 A.D. was the golden period for Sansar Chand.
  • Sansar Chand attacked Kehlur (Bilaspur) in 1794 A.D. This attack marked the beginning of his downfall. Raja of Kehlur Mahan Chand in “Alliance with the Hill rulers” invited Gurkha Amar Singh Thapa to defeat Raja Sansar Chand.

Gurkhas and the Hill States

  • Gurkha Commander Amar Singh Thapa has conquered 30 hill states of Kumaun, Garhwal, Sirmaur, and Shimla up to 1804 AD.
  • Raja Karam Prakash (1793-1814) was an inexperienced ruler of Sirmaur. Taking advantage of this, Raja Ram Saran Singh of Hindur started interfering in the internal matters of Sirmaur. Raja’s brother Kanwar Rattan Singh was guided to capture the throne by two officers named Ajit Singh and Krishan Singh.
  • Cholu Mian who resembled Karam Prakash was killed in a fight between Raja and his brother, and a rumour had spread that Raja was killed. Taking advantage of this situation, Raja fled and sought help from Gurkhas to regain his throne.
  • Gurkha Raja Amar Singh Thapa sent an army of 700 men under his able son Bhakti Thapa but he failed to defeat the Hindur ruler in 1804. In another attempt, Amar Singh Thapa himself defeated Kanwar Rattan Singh but the throne was not handed over to Karam Prakash rather it was kept by himself and he set up the Gurkhas government.
  • In the meantime, Raja Ram Saran Singh of Hindur allied with Raja Sansar Chand of Kangra and attacked Raja Mahan Chand of Kehlur. This attack proved to be the biggest mistake of Raja Sansar Chand.
  • Raja Mahan Chand and other Hill chiefs sent a joint invitation to Amar Singh Thapa who arrived in 1804.
  • In 1806, Amar Singh Thapa defeated Sansar Chand at Mahal Morian (Hamirpur).
  • Sansar Chand first took shelter in Tira Sujanpur and then in Kangra Fort, where he stayed for four years.
  • In 1809 D. Sansar Chand visited Jawalamukhi and asked for the help of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. “Jawalamukhi treaty” was signed between them in 1809 A.D. after month-long negotiations.
  • In 1809 D. Maharaja Ranjit Singh attacked Gurkhas, defeated Amar Singh Thapa, and pushed them to the east of Satluj.
  • Sansar Chand gave 66 villages and Kangra Fort to Maharaja Ranjit Singh in exchange.
  • Maharaja Ranjit Singh made Desa Singh Majithia the Nazim (Governor) of Kangra Fort and Kangra in 1809 A.D.
  • Amar Singh Thapa established himself at Arki (Baghal) where he defeated Rana Jagat Singh, the chief of Arki who was driven into exile in Palasi.
  • Amar Singh Thapa’s son Ranzor Singh attacked Sirmaur ruler Karam Prakash and forced him to leave his state. Raja Karam Prakash of Sirmaur had to run away to ‘Bhuria’ (Ambala) to save his life. Now, Jaythak and Nahan became important Gurkha posts.
  • By 1810 A.D., Gurkhas conquered Hindur, Jubbal States, Pundra area, and Fort of Nagana in Balsan state.
  • On the request of Shimla Hill chiefs, Raja of Bushahr Ugar Singh sent an army to subdue Gurkhas but Raja’s death eased the operation of Gurkhas.
  • Mohinder Singh’s next successor was a minor who escaped into the dense forests with Wazir and Rajmata.
  • Till 1812, Amar Singh Thapa tried hard to capture Raja but all in vain. Finally, he agreed to leave young Raja all the country North of Sarahan mountains and beyond the Satluj for a payment of Rs. 12000 per annum. Thus the area between Sutlej and Yamuna came under Gurkha’s control.

British and Gurkhas

Reasons behind British and Gurkhas conflict:

  • Gurkhas announced their willingness to occupy certain villages in Sirhind on the plea that they belong to Sirmaur and Hindur, which were captured by the British.
  • In 1813 D. Amar Singh Thapa seized 6 villages of Sirhind (in Punjab), of which 2 villages were under the control of British-Sikhs.
  • Secondly, Gurkhas were coming in front of British commercial interests. The British had important trade ties with Tibet and Gurkhas had captured almost all passes & roads which connected British-India to Tibet.
  • The mercantile interests of the British made them frame the British Himalayan Policy.
  • Therefore, the Gurkha-British war was looking unavoidable now.
  • On 1 November 1814, the British declared war against the Gurkhas.

 Gurkha-British War:

  • The British put four separate divisions of troops into operation to fight against Gurkhas. Two main leaders were Major General David Ochterlony and Major General Rollo Gillespie.
  • With 4400 soldiers Major Gillespie defeated the Gurkha army led by Bal Bhadra Thapa in the Fort ofKalinga”.
  • Ranzor Singh son of Amar Singh Thapa went from Nahan to Jaitak Fort and caused heavy damage to the British Army.
  • In the beginning, Kehloor State (Bilaspur) was with Gurkhas due to which Gurkhas took the British with heavy hands at many places.
  • On 16 January 1815, the British under the command of David Ochterlony attacked Arki. Hearing this news, Amar Singh Thapa moved to Malaon Fort, as a result, the Forts of ‘Jorjori’, ‘Taragarh’ and ‘Ramgarh’ were captured by the British.
  • Now together with the Raja of Hindur ‘Ram Saran and Raja of Kehlur, the British made a joint front to attack Gurkhas.

Defeat of Gurkhas:

  • On 12 March 1815 at Jubbal State, the British together with two chief men of Jubbal Dangi Wazir and Primu forced 100 Gurkhas to surrender.
  • After winning Jubbal and Chaupal, the British attacked “Rawingarh Fort” which was under the control of Ranzor Singh Thapa.
  • Tikkam Das and Badri were leading the Army of Bushahr and Dangi Wazir supported Jubbal troops which helped the British to drive out Gurkhas from the “Rawingarh Fort”.
  • In the Rampur-Kotgarh region, the joint army of Bushahr and Kullu forced the chief of Hattu range Kirti Rana, an ally of Gurkhas, to surrender near ‘Saran Ka Tiba’.
  • Ranzor Singh Thapa was defending the Fort of Jaythak in Sirmaur against Major General Martindell.
  • The death of Bhakti Thapa (bravest soldier of Gurkhas) in ‘Malaon Fort’ fighting against David Ochterlony proved to be a big loss to the Gurkhas.
  • Also the fall of Kumaun and the unwillingness of his soldiers to fight further forced Amar Singh Thapa to surrender.

Treaty of Sugauli:

  • Amar Singh Thapa on 28 November 1815 signed the “Sugauli Treaty ” with British Major General David Ochterlony for the respectable and safe return of himself and his son Ranzor Singh to Nepal, who was protecting the Jaitak Fort.
  • According to this treaty, Gurkhas were provided safe passage to go back to Nepal and were allowed to take away their personal properties.
  • The British had given a 15-day ultimatum to Nepal to ratify a treaty but the points of the treaty were very difficult for Nepal to ratify quickly. The delay provided the excuse for the British to commence the second military campaign against Nepal.
  • Again on 2 December 1815 ‘ the treaty of Sugauli’ was signed and ratified on 4 March 1816, between the East India Company and King of Nepal following the Anglo-Nepalese War in the years 1814-16.
  • The signatory for Nepal was Raj Guru Gajraj Mishra aided by Chandra Sekher Upadhayaya and the signatory for the Company was Col. Paris Bradshaw.

Read also: 

  1. Ancient History of Himachal Pradesh
  2. Medieval History of Himachal Pradesh
  3. Mughals and Chamba State

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