Tara Singh Ghaiba (1717-1807)

Tara Singh Ghaiba was the chief of Dallevalia clan, named after the village of Dalleval to which its founder, Gulab Singh, belonged. Tara Singh was a shepherd-turned outlaw who joined Gulab Singh Dallevala in his plundering raids. His dexterity in lifting cattle and flocks of sheep and his ingenuity in transporting them across the Ravi won him the nickname Ghaiba (the Vanisher). On the death of Gulab Singh, Tara Singh succeeded to the leadership of the misl, and, within a short time, his intrepidity and lust for war and conquest made the Dallevala confederacy very powerful. One of Tara Singh's first exploits was to rob a detachment of Ahmad Shah Durrani's troops of their horses and arms while crossing the Bein river near his village, Kang, in Kapurthala district. In 1760, he crossed the Sutlej and conquered the towns of Dharamkot and Fatehgarh. On his return tot he Doab, he took Sarai Dakkhni from Sharaf Ud-Din, an Afghan of Jalandhar and marched eastwards, seizing the country around Rahon in which town he took up his residence. He next captured Nakodar from the Manj Rajputs, and other groups of villages on the right of the Sutlej, including Mahatpur and Kot Badal Khan.

In 1763, Tara Singh joined Bhangi, Kanhaiya and Ramgarhia misls against the Pathan Nawab of Kasur, and, in the sack of the town, collected 4,00,000 rupees as his share of the booty. He joined other Sikh sardars in laying siege to Sirhind (January 1764) and razing it to the ground after defeating its governor, Zain Khan. By 1765, Tara Singh had considerably increased his power and territories in the Upper Jalandhar Doab, in parts of Ludhiana, Ambala, and Firozpur districts-the entire country south of the River Sutlej yielding annual revenue of Rs 17,00,000.

Tara Singh was a close friend of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's and took part in his early Malva expeditions. He died in 1807 at the ripe age of 90. After his death, Maharaja Ranjit Singh annexed the Dallevala territories to his kingdom.

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