battle site identified

The President of the society, and former Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board, Dr Gurbax Singh Shergill, told UNI here today that the hillock facing the bridge over the Sutlej near Ropar was situated between the Swaraj Mazda factory and the Nurpur Bedi road. It was on this hill that Maharaja Ranjit Singh had hoisted his flag and posted guns to demonstrate the freedom of Punjab to the British, who held the territory on the other side of the Sutlej, he added.

According to Mr Shergill's claims, it was this bold display of the might of the Maharaja that discouraged the Britishers from crossing the Sutlej and invading Punjab during his reign. It was after the Maharaja's death in 1846 that the Britishers invaded Punjab and pulled down the flag of the 'Sarkar-e-Khalsa' and took the guns deployed on the hill in their possession, he said.

Dr Shergill claimed that it was on close scrutiny of this historic hillock that a few broken flag posts pertaining to the Maharaja's period were discovered. A couplet in Urdu, dedicated to the Maharaja, was found written on one of these flag posts, he added.

Dr Shergill said the matter was taken up with the Ropar district authorities recently and the Deputy Commissioner of that district had constituted a panel of experts for finding out more historical facts about this hill.
He said the society had also asked the Punjab Cultural Affairs Department to take steps to conserve this hill and declare it as Maharaja Ranjit Singh hill park.

Dr Shergill claimed that members of the society had also discovered two 18th century wells within 3 km of this historic hill. As per historical records, these wells were used by the army of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur during his struggle against the Moghuls, he added.

He said the society, had also identified and taken up for conservation the fort and haveli of General Sham Singh at Attari village close to the Wagah border. Sham Singh, a General in Maharaja Ranjit Singh's army, had fought a valiant battle at Sabhraon in Ferozepore district against the British.

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