NCERT Notes: The Second Anglo-Sikh War [Modern Indian History For UPSC]

NCERT notes on important topics for the IAS aspirants. These notes will also be useful for other competitive exams like banking PO, SSC, state civil services exams and so on. This article talks about The Second Anglo-Sikh War.

The second Anglo-Sikh war was fought between 1848 and 1849. This war led to the complete control of Punjab by the British. This area was later to become the North-Western Frontier Province.

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Causes of the Second Anglo Sikh War

Causes of the Second Anglo-Sikh War
  • The humiliation caused by the first Anglo-Sikh war wherein the Sikh Empire had lost some territories to the British East India Company.
  • The Sikh regent, Maharani Jindan Kaur was not treated properly by the British.
  • She was removed from Lahore on conspiracy charges against the British resident in Lahore.
  • Multan was a part of the Sikh Empire when Maharaja Ranjit Singh had captured it in 1818.
  • Multan was governed by Dewan Mulraj. He resented the Lahore Court’s (capital of the Sikh Empire but controlled by the British resident since the first Anglo-Sikh war) demand for increased tax assessment and revenues.
  • The British Resident at that time was Sir Frederick Currie. He undermined Mulraj and imposed another governor Sardar Kahan Singh along with a British agent Patrick Vans Agnew.
  • In 1848, Vans Agnew and another officer who arrived in Multan to take charge were murdered by Mulraj’s troops.
  • This news led to unrest in Punjab and many Sikh soldiers joined the rebel forces against the British.

Course of the Second Anglo-Sikh War
  • Battles were fought in Ramnagar and Chilianwala.
  • The battle at Ramnagar was indecisive whereas the Sikhs won at Chilianwala.
  • The final battle was fought at Gujrat near Chenab (not the present Indian state Gujarat) in 1849. This was won by the British forces.
  • The Afghan forces under Dost Mohammad Khan had joined the Sikhs’ side.

Results of Second Anglo Sikh War

Results of the Second Anglo-Sikh War
  • Punjab was annexed by the British in March 1849 (under Lord Dalhousie) as per the Treaty of Lahore.
  • The eleven-year-old Maharaja, Duleep Singh was pensioned off to England.
  • Jind Kaur was separated from her son the Maharaja and taken to Firozpur. Her allowance was reduced to a meagre amount and her jewels and money confiscated.
  • Sir John Lawrence was appointed as the first Chief Commissioner of Punjab to take care of the administration.
  • Dalhousie was recognised for his role in the annexation of Punjab to the British and was made a Marquis.
  • The famous Koh-i-Noor diamond went into British hands. It was in possession of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who had willed it to the Puri Jagannath Temple of Odisha but his will was not executed by the British. They say it was acquired as part of the Treaty of Lahore after the second Anglo-Sikh war.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Second Anglo-Sikh War

What was the result of the Second Anglo-Sikh War?

The Second Anglo-Sikh War resulted in the fall of the Sikh Empire, and the annexation of the Punjab and what subsequently became the North-West Frontier Province, by the East India Company.

Why did the Sikhs lose the second Anglo-Sikh war?

The Sikh defeat had several causes. Chief among them their administration of the population of the Punjab had been poor, which meant that their large armies found it difficult to find enough food while the East India Company had brought overwhelming force against them.

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