Second Anglo-Sikh War Modern History Notes for UPSC

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The Second Anglo-Sikh War was fought in 1848-1849 between the Sikh Empire and the British East India Company. The war ended with the annexation of the Sikh Empire by the British. You will learn about the Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848-49) in this article, which will help you prepare for the UPSC and other government exams.

Causes of the Second Anglo-Sikh War

Sikhs felt that their position as the ruling community had been undermined by the new government under the British. The general reaction of the people was not encouraging. There were many well-to-do Sikhs who lived on rent-free lands, so whether their assessment rates were higher or lower did not matter to them unless they collected revenue.

In the first Sikh War, the Sikhs were humiliated. Under Ranjit Singh, they were used to winning victories and this defeat shocked them to their core. They wanted to regain their lost fortunes.

A great deal of enragement was shown by the Sikhs at the harsh treatment that Rani Zindan received and she was exiled first to Shekhupura and then to Benaras. Also, Rani Zindan’s pension, which was initially set at 11 lakh rupees per annum, was reduced to 48 thousand rupees and later to 12 thousand rupees. For the protection of their rights and privileges, the Sikhs were bent on taking up arms once again against the English because of Rani Zindan’s disgrace.

As a result of an increase in revenue, Mulraj, Multan’s governor, was replaced by a Sikh. Mulraj revolted and assassinated two English officers accompanying the new governor. The Governor-General of India, Lord Dalhousie, was immediately informed of the revolt in Multan and refused to interfere in Punjab. Lord Dalhausie, some claim, deliberately caused the revolt to spread so that the English could take over the entire Punjab.

Events of the Second Anglo-Sikh War

With the grand army of the Punjab, Lord Hugh Gough reached Lahore on November 13th. A battle at Ramnagar on 22nd November defeated the rebels. Another indecisive action was fought at Sadullapur on 3rd December.

The third battle took place at Chelianwala, on 13th January 1849, where the British suffered a loss. It shook the nation with profound emotions when the news of Chelianwala reached England.

While preparations were being made for the replacement of Lord Gough, a battle was fought at Derajat on 21st February in which the Sikhs were utterly routed, surrendered themselves at Rawalpindi, and so, the game was over.

Results of the Second Anglo-Sikh War

In accordance with the Treaty of Lahore, the complete defeat of the Sikhs sealed their fate. Lord Dalhausie annexed Punjab on his own responsibility on 29th March 1849.

The 11-year-old Maharaja, Duleep Singh, was pensioned off to England. Rani Jindan or Jind Kaur and her son, the Maharaja, were separated and sent to Firozpur. Her allowance was cut to a pittance and her jewelry and cash were seized.

To oversee the government, Sir John Lawrence was appointed as the first Chief Commissioner of Punjab. The British awarded Dalhousie the title of Marquis in recognition of his involvement in the Punjab acquisition.

The Koh-i-Noor diamond is allegedly part of the Lahore Treaty, acquired by the British during the second Anglo-Sikh war.


In the Second Sikh war, the English extended their empire within Indian frontiers for the last time. After the British took over the rest of the territories included in the empire, only by threat of force did the war need to be fought. As a result, British territories in India were extended northwards to the natural frontiers of India with the annexation of Punjab. Also, after the Sikhs’ power had been destroyed, there was no native power in India threatening the English’s security.

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