Aliwal

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This article has been extracted from

THE IMPERIAL GAZETTEER OF INDIA , 1908.

OXFORD, AT THE CLARENDON PRESS.

Note: National, provincial and district boundaries have changed considerably since 1908. Typically, old states, ‘divisions’ and districts have been broken into smaller units, units, and many tahsils upgraded to districts.Many units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.

Aliwal

Village in the Jagraon tahsil of Ludhiana District, Punjab, situated in 30 degree 56' N. and 75 degree 38" E., the scene of the battle fought by Sir Harry Smith on January 28, 1846, against the Sikhs. The Sikh force, which amounted to about 15,000 men, was posted in the lowlands close to the Sutlej, with the right resting on the village ol Bhundri on the high bank, and the left on Aliwal close to the river. East of Bhundri the high bank or ridge, which separates the valley of the Sutlej from the uplands, sweeps inwards in a semicircle to the distance of 5 or 6 miles, crowned with villages at intervals, and leaving a wide open plain between it and the river. It was across this plain that the British army on the morning of January 28 moved to the attack, the capture of the village of Aliwal, the key of the position, being the first object. The Sikh guns were as usual well served ; but Aliwal was in the hands of inferior troops, and the resistance was spiritless. By the capture of the village the Sikh left was turned ; but round Bhundri their right, composed of enthusiastic Khalsa troops (trained by Europeans), made a most determined stand, and the whole battle is still called by natives the fight of Bhundri.

The most gallant part of the action was the charge of the 16th Lancers on the unbroken Sikh infantry, who received them in squares. Three times the Sikhs were ridden over, but they reformed at once on each occasion ; and it was not till the whole strength of the British was brought to bear on them that they were at length compelled to turn their backs. The Sikh troops were either driven across the river, in which many of them were drowned, or dispersed themselves over the uplands. The British loss was consider- able, amounting to 400 men killed and wounded. A tall monument, erected in the centre of the plain to the memory of those who fell, marks the scene of the action.

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