Nahar Singh

Nahar Singh

Raja Nahar Singh (राजा नाहर सिंह in Hindi) (1823–1858) was a King of the princely state of Ballabhgarh in Faridabad District of Haryana, India. His forefathers were Jats who had built a fort in Faridabad around 1739. He was involved in the Indian Rebellion of 1857.


Early history

The founders of the princely state of Ballabgarh had come from village Janauli(Alawalpur), which is more than 2000 years old. The Tewatia Jat Sardar Gopal Singh left Janauli in 1705 (in Palwal) and got settled at Sihi, a village of Tewatia Jats in Ballabgarh at a distance of about 5 km from Ballabhgarh. The Mughal ruler Aurangzeb had died. Gopal Singh started establishing power in Delhi and Mathura areas. With the help of Gujars of village ‘Lagon’ he attacked Rajput Chaudhary of that area and did a treaty with Mugal officer Murtija Khan of Faridabad and became Chaudhary of Faridabad pargana in 1710. He wanted to expand his army and collect huge wealth but died soon. His successor was Charan Das. Charan Das was also ambitious and when saw weakening of the Mughal rule, he stopped paying malgujari. The army of Mughals arrested Charan Das.

Charan Das's son, Balram Singh, later rose to a powerful king. Princely state of Ballabgarh is after his name. He was brother in law of Maharaja Suraj Mal and mama of Jawahar Singh. Jats along the Royal Delhi-Agra route at that time were in revolt against the oppressive Mughal rule. Tewatias of this area had already established themselves as counter force in this area. Balram Singh often called Ballu by the local people moved on a few Elephants, Horses and Camels loaded with Big drums (Nagaade) and Dhaunse (big band) followed by his local army. Went wherever Ballu with this band it was assumed that area was no longer of Mughals and Ballu had won that. It was a sort of Aswamedh Yagna that he performed. Here from started a saying "Dheeng Dheeng Ballu ka Raj". Immediately peace returned to those areas, which were won over by Ballu.

Murtija Khan’s son Akvitmahmud killed Balram Singh on 29 November 1753. After Balram Singh, Maharaja Suraj Mal appointed Balram Singh’s sons Bisan Singh and Kisan Singh as Kiledars. They ruled Ballabhgarh till 1774, when Hira Singh became the ruler of Ballabhgarh.

Ascension and war

Singh ascended the throne in 1829 and proved to be a just ruler of the 101 villages of Ballabhgarh. He organised a meeting[when?] in Mukteshwar, which was attended by the likes of Raja Krishan Gopal, the Raja of Gwalior, and Tantya Tope, for the purpose of uniting the nation and with a view to waging war in order to achieve this.

He saw the danger of the encroaching British power and allied himself with the Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah II. The Emperor considered him his right arm. Along with friendship, he also handled much of the affairs of the tottering Mughal Empire. The Emperor entrusted him with the defence and affairs of Delhi. In the Court he was treated with great respect, and he had a special golden chair, which was placed right next to the Emperor.

On 16 May 1857, when Delhi was liberated during the rebellion, the army of Nahar Singh was on guard on the western border of Delhi. He had established military guard posts from Delhi to Ballabhgarh, and also had his intelligence men on the ground. On seeing this preparedness the British commander John Lawrence was fearful of attacking from the east. The English called Ballabhgarh " Delhi's gate of Iron", and were fearful of it, and did not have the courage to face him.

John Lawrence in a letter wrote to Canning " The East and the South is protected by the strong forces of Raja Nahar Singh of Ballabhgarh, and it is unlikely we can break this wall of soldiers unless we receive reinforcements from China or England."

That is just what happened. When the English army attacked Delhi on 14 September 1857 they attacked from the West, and entered Delhi from Kashmiri Gate. On 24 September the British established their authority on Delhi. The Emperor Bahadur Shah escaped to the tomb of Humayun. Nahar Singh attempted to get the Emperor to Ballabhgarh, but Mirza Elahi Baksh, the father of his daughter- in- law, betrayed the emperor. Baksh was an agent of the British, and persuaded the Emperor not to go beyond the tomb. On 24 September the British captured the emperor and his family, but the Rajah showed his valor and surrounded the British force. Hudson the British officer killed the sons of the Emperor and threatened to kill the Emperor himself. The Rajah lifted the siege to save the Emperor's life.

Singh withdrew overnight to the fort of Ballabhgarh. He then took revenge on the British troops who travelled between Delhi and Agra, thousands of whom were killed or captured.

Deceived by the British

The British deceived the Raja by showing a white flag and asking for peace talks. Four horse-mounted officers arrived at Ballabhgarh and invited Raja Nahar Singh for talks, pleading that a settlement was being made with the Emperor, and that the presence of the Raja was necessary. They stated that the British wished to have friendship with the Raja.

The Raja trusting the British left for Delhi with 500 horse troops, as soon as he entered Delhi, he was ambushed by an English force and captured. His accompanying soldiers were killed.

The very next day the British laid on a heavy attack on Ballabhgarh, the attack went on for three days on this fort, which the British called the " Iron Gate". The Raja had made this a secure fort filled with arms and ammunition. Without the leader a successful defence was not possible and ultimately the British gained victory.

In Delhi Raja Nahar Singh refused friendship with the British. He said, " I have never learned to bow my head before an enemy". Hudson said to him once more" Nahar Singh, I can save you from the hangman's noose, bend a little". The Raja replied to Hudson " I have spoken, now listen again, The Goras (English) are my enemies, I can never ask them for forgiveness. One hundred thousand Nahar Singh's will be born tomorrow. "

The English boiled over at Nahar Singh's answer. They decided to hang him to death, and preparations were made in Chandni Chowk, near the fountain, in front of Nahar Singh's Delhi residence. He was sentenced to death on 9 January 1858.


Singh was hanged on 21 April 1858, his 35th birthday, along with three other rebels, Kushal Singh, Gulab Singh Saini and Bhura Singh. His last statement was that

You may tell this to these fearful onlookers, that my message is that I am leaving a spark among you, never let it go out. The honour of our nation is now in your hands."

His body was not returned to his family. A priest eventually made a dummy in order to perform the last rites on the bank of the Ganges River.


There is a road named after Singh near Wazirpur Depot in Delh, and India Post produced a postage stamp.[1]


On 10 September 1857, four days before the British army attacked Delhi, Singh wrote a letter to the Governor General of India, Lord Elllenborough, whom he had met as a young man, seeking his protection. According to an official of Bonhams, the auctioneers tasked with selling it in 2011, "it seems was written as a ruse to deceive the British in the event of his capture&nbsp... as he was fully committed to the cause of Indian Independence".[2]


  • Dr. Ranjit Singh Saini (MA, LLB, Ph.D) - "Raja Nahar Singh Ka Balidan", New Bhartiya Book Corporation, 2000, Printers- Amar Jain Printing Press, New Delhi.and

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