Arjan Singh Nalwa was a minor jagirdar in the Sikh Empire who fought against the British to protect the sovereignty of the Kingdom of the Sikhs. He was the youngest son of the Commander-in-chief of the Sikh Khalsa Fauj Hari Singh Nalwa. In 2023, a song titled ‘Arjan Vailly’ was included in the Hindi-language film Animal. The song vividly described Arjan’s fierce battle against the British Army.
Arjan Singh Nalwa, also spelt as Arjan Singh Nalva, was born in Kaunke village near Jagroan (present-day Ludhiana), Punjab. Arjan’s family originally hailed from Majitha, near Amritsar, Punjab.
Parents & Siblings
Arjan Singh Nalwa’s father, Hari Singh Nalwa, was the Commander-in-chief of the Sikh Khalsa Fauj, the army of the Sikh Empire, in the 18th century. Hari Singh was called Baagh Maar for bravely defeating a tiger with a dagger. His father played a key role in the conquests of Kasur, Sialkot, Attock, Multan, Kashmir, Peshawar and Jamrud. Hari Singh got married twice, firstly to Raj Kaur and later to Desan Kaur. Arjan Singh Nalwa had three brothers and two sisters. Two of his elder brothers’ names are Jawahir Singh Nalwa and Gurdit Singhji. His sisters’ names are Chand Kaur and Nand Kaur.
Wife & Children
He was married.
His grandfather, Gurdial Singh Uppal, demonstrated his skills as a horseman and musketeer under Maha Singh and Charat Singh, the ancestors of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. His grandmother’s name was Dharam Kaur. Arjan Singh Nalwa’s grandson Narain Singh was honoured by the British with the Title of Sardar Bahadur. Narain died in March 1934.
Arjan Singh Nalwa belonged to a Sikh family. Apparently, Arjan’s father, Hari Singh Nalwa, was born into an Uppal Khatri family in Gujranwala, Punjab. In 1801, at age ten, Hari Singh took Amrit Sanskar and was baptized as a Sikh. Discover Sikhism
War For The Sikh Empire Against The Mughals
After the death of his father, Hari Singh Nalwa, Arjan Singh Nalwa and his brother Jawahir Singh Nalwa fought against the Mughals to safeguard the sovereignty of the Kingdom of the Sikhs. His brother, Jawahir is well known for his defence in the Battle of Chillianwala. It is believed that during the battle between the Sikh Empire and the Mughals, Arjan Singh fought bravely, causing mayhem on the battlefield with a gandaasi (battleaxe).
Arjan Singh Nalwa joined hands with the Sikh army on the eve of the Anglo-Sikh war in October 1948, fighting against the British. Apparently, when he locked himself in his fortified house at Gujranwala, a body of troops sent by Brigadier Campbell and a battalion of skinner’s horse surrounded his house to capture him. However, he escaped. A few days later, he died.
‘Arjan Vailly’ – Animal (2023)
In 2023, the Hindi-language action thriller film Animal starring Ranbir Kapoor in the lead role, featured a song titled ‘Arjan Vailly’ which was based on the life and times of Arjan Singh Nalwa. In the film, the song was sung by the singer Bhupinder Babbal Dhadi-Vaar music style; Dhadi-Vaar music was used by Guru Gobind Singh ji as a war cry against the Mughals to boost the spirits of his people. The song was originally sung by the Punjabi singer Kuldeep Manak. The song talks about the times when there was a war between the Sikh Empire and the Mughals, describing how Arjan Singh Nalwa fiercely battled using his axe and other weapons like Kirpan. The first line of the song “Ho Khade Vich Dang Khadke, Othe Ho Gayi Ladayi Bhari,” depicts that there was an intense fight going on in a crowd. Meanwhile, the most popular line of the song “Arjan Vailly ne Pair Jod Ke Gandasi Maari” portrays how Arjan Singh Nalwa, also known as Arjan Vailly swung his axe with full force in the fight by joining both his feet. Towards its end, the song draws a comparison of Arjan Singh with a lion, adding that Arjan kept the police and government officials under him.
- Apparently, Arjan Singh Nalwa was the favourite jagirdar of Kanvar Nau Nihal Singh, the grandson of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
- As per some reports, Arjan Singh killed one of Nau Nihal’s servants in July 1840 following which the servant’s widow burnt herself as a sati. The incident angered Nau Nihal so much that he imposed a heavy fine on Arjan Singh.