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ORIGIN- The Beginning


We, The Sukerchakia’s

All families have a history, in case of certain Famous and glorious ones it is worth recording. The documenting of old families histories was not an easy task because in good old times it was largely an oral tradition in which generations of family bards (Marasis) recited family history on social and important occasions. This is the background to ‘’our history of Shakurchakia”s. The bravest of all Misls in the history of Punjab. The Misl, who ruled Punjab, produced an Alumni Misaldar who united the 12 Misls of Sikhs popularly known as the great warrior and Sher-e-Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh*[1] who later established an independent kingdom of Punjab.


Maharaja Ranjit Singh was a Shakurchakia with the dynasty clan of Sansi Jat Sikh Sandhu*[2].(The sindhu or Sandhu Jats of Gujranwala, Sheikhupura, Sialkot, Lahore and Amritsar are now mostly settled in Karnal, Sangrur, Patiala and Ferozpore, all have descended from the North Western Rajputs in Punjab).


*[3]History of the Sikhs or the history of Punjab is mostly the history of the great Maharaja Ranjit Singh. This is the collated version of history with inputs taken from various sources like Sikh history books, internet websites and social media.


In The Beginning 

The ancestors of the Sukerchakias marched eastwards into India and then northwards up to the river valleys of Punjab. This martial tribe settled in a land inhabited by the local Dasyus people with whom they lived in conflict for years. Most of them migrated from Rajasthan*[4] and were Raghuvanshi Rajputs from Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Ahmadabad area.

The Sukerchakias forefathers faced the Huns incursion into the Punjab, the advent of the Ghaznavid Turks, the rise and fall of the Khaljis, the repressions of the Tughluqs, Afghans and the Lodhis and then three centuries of Mughal rule.


How these tides of history influence the Sukerchakias ancestors, here after referred to as the Ancestors and  how our Ancestors shaped by centuries of alien influences, diverse customs and different creeds shape up in later years. In the genealogical chart tracing back to 42 generations we track the Rajputs, Bhattis, and Sansi clan before arriving at the Sikhism chapter from where our first Sikh ancestor Budh Sansi got baptized as Budh Singh*[5] into the Sikh fold by none else but Guru Gobind Singh Ji himself in 1692. Budha was therefore the first man of the family who adopted Sikh religion.


By the time Budh Singh died in 1718, our ancestors had fully embraced all tenets of the warrior brotherhood called the Khalsa which had been summarised by Guru Gobind Singh Ji in his address at Anandpur on Baisakhi in 1699 as:


*[6]“From now on you have become casteless. No ritual, either Hindu or Muslim, will you perform, and believe in superstition of no kind, but only in the one God who is the master and Protector of all, the only creator and destroyer. In your new order, the lowest will rank equal with the highest and each will be to the other a brother. No pilgrimages for you anymore, nor austerities, but the pure life of the household which you should be ready to sacrifice at the call of Dharma. Women shall be the equal of men in every way. No purdah for them anymore, nor the burning alive of the widow on the pyre of her spouse. He who kills his daughter, the Khalsa shall not deal with him. You will wear your hair unshorn (kes) like the ancient sages or kshatriyas (warriors), a comb (kanga) to keep it clean, a steal bracelet (kara) to denote the universality of God, an underwear (kachha) to denote the chastity and a steel dagger (kirpan) for your defence. Smoking being an unclean habit and injurious to health you will forswear. You will love the weapons of war, be excellent horsemen, marksmen and wielders of the sword, the discus and the spear. Physical prowess will be as sacred to you as spiritual sensitiveness. And between the Hindus and Muslims, you will act as a bridge, and serve the poor without distinction of caste, colour, country or creed. My Khalsa shall always defend the poor and deg (the community kitchen) will be as much as essential part of your order as teg (the sword). And from now on Sikh males will all call themselves ‘Singh’ and women ‘Kaur’ and greet each other with ‘waheguru ji ka Khalsa: waheguru ji ki fateh’ (the Khalsa belongs to God: victory be to God).


Until this time i.e. 1699 there were no Sikh Gotras/Castes or Surnames.

Budh Singh left behind two sons, Nodh Singh and Chanda Singh. From Nodh Singh descended the family of Ranjit Singh of the Sukerchakia Dynasty, Jat Sikh Sandhu clan and from Chanda Singh sprang the family of the Sandhanwalias.



After their expulsion from Rajasthan different clans of the Sansis kept wandering in different directions and parts of The Punjab. The ancestors did not appreciate the Brahminical concept of renouncing ‘tan, man, dhan’ and remained fond of the good things of life. However in this diluted about the year 1578 our ancestor called kiddoh died in Sukarchak, a small village a little south of Gujranwala, where by dint of hard work he had increased his farm holdings to some extent. On this basis, the Sukerchakias claim to be descendants of Maharaja Shal Bhan. Kiddoh’s*[7] son Rajdah not only continued his father’s efforts in the field but also learnt to read and write. He was thus exposed to the preaching’s of the Sikh Gurus and become a part of the Sikh community which by then had its own ideology and its own distinct customs and ceremonies. The Sikhs rejected the traditional Muslim modes of worship and they worshiped with meals for all. In theruled Punjab, the Sikh community of the Guru’s followers gradually grew & became a state within the state especially in and around Gujranwala and Sheikhupura. Many sansis who embraced Sikhism and settled near Amritsar were called Jat Sikh Sansis.

Akbar*[8] was secular & had protected the Sikhs but Jahangir could not tolerate Guru Arjun Dev’s, where ignorant Muslims or foolish Hindus purchased falsehood.” He accordingly ordered the 5th Guru to stop preaching Sikhism and embrace Islam. Guru Arjun Dev’s torture and death took place in an era in which the Sikhs started experiencing both state repression and internal disunity. Rajdah died in 1620 and was survived by his son Ch Takhat Mal. The title of *[9]Choudhary was given by Emperor Jahangir with power to collect revenue in the ilaqa of Yusufpur. He also increased his agricultural land holding around Sukarchak to have become by the time of his death in 1653, a man of some influence and importance in the area. Ch. Takhat Mal’s successors were his sons Boloo and Bara. Boloo died at the age of eighteen in a night attack upon a village but Bara continued to work on his family lands, although he kept no shop.


 Bara lived dangerously. Work wise, he concentrated on his agricultural activities to become the sole possessor of nearly half the land in Sukarchak and also earned the title of Choudhary of the village. Faith wise he often went surreptitiously from village to village preaching the precepts of Guru Nanak. He advised his son Budh to read the Holy book daily and to lead a religious life.


Bara died in 1679  and Budh extended his father’s zest for dangerous living by not only looking after his interests in Sukarchak but also becoming acquainted with a band of Sikhs who, in defence of the Mughal law enforcers, rode far and wide carrying off cattle and resorting to other predatory acts. Budh built a large house in Sukarchak and became one of the headmen of the area. In 1699 he was baptized as a Sikh and changed his name from Budh Sansi to Budh Singh. He also won himself the reputation of being the boldest and most fearless of raiders.


Budh Singh*[10] Budh Singh’s nickname) for the return of five head of cattle belonging to her and her fatherless children, which had been stolen. Budh Singh told her that it would be useless to go to Desoo, as he was a hard hearted inexorable man. He said however that he in consideration of her poverty and her loss would give her twenty head of cattle. He kept his word the story goes and actually sent the cattle by some of his own people, further promising to afford her and her property protection ever after. Budh Singh according to tradition swam the Jhelum the Chenab and the Ravi, fifty times on his piebald mare. He has twenty seven sword cuts and nine matchlock wounds in different part of his body.


 “Persecution as will ever be the case, gave strength to that which it meant to destroy”. Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s campaigns and Banda Bahadur’s battles had taken place and even though the blood of martyrs had strengthened and sublimated the Sikh faith, the Sikhs were left without a spiritual or secular leader. They had a choice, they could either live in their villages as second class citizens of the Mughal Empire or they could rebel by taking to the roving life of outlaws in small brands. Budh Singh probably made the best of both options.


Budh Singh had two sons, Nodh Singh and Chanda Singh. The Sandhawalia clan flow from Chanda Singh, who continued the family tradition of cultivation, his more aggressive and ambitious brother Nodh Singh the Shakurchakian sought quicker wealth*[11] in a spacious compound and in 1748; he became the First head of the Shakurchakia Misl. He was the first Misaldar.


In the 1740s the Sikhs in Punjab experienced the rigours of increased repression launched by Zakariya Khan. They had no choice but to take up arms when required, to move in small bands with speed and to strike with effect. Nodh Singh also avenged the forcible conversion of some Sikhs to Islam by Sultan Khan Chatha, Pathan of Rasulnagar*[12]. In similar incidents sometimes later Shahab-ud-din of Firozwala captured few Sikhs of village Karyala and shaved their heads and beards. Nodh Singh and his cousin Chanda Singh and pillaged his village and put Shahab-ud-din and his family to death. The temperamentally different cousins   came together as comrades-in-arms when the cause of Sikhism had to be advanced. Nodh Singh Shakurchakia died in 1752 leaving behind four sons, Charat Singh, Dhal Singh, Jeet Singh, and Nanoo Singh all Sukerchakias.


It is pertinent to mention that the Mighty Sukerchakias, from who flow the descendants of Maharaja Ranjit Singh were the rulers and cousin Sandhawalia were the kinsmen*[13] in their court being cousins of Sukerchakias. See Family Chart below.

Historically, Ranjit Singh’s family inherited three different names – Rajput Bhatti, Sansi & Jat Sikh, But the effects of the highest renown of Ranjit Singh remain as it is very beautifully said by John Clark Archer, “Who indeed was he whose name this Misl bore? He may have been a Rajput Bhatti or a Sansi gypsy or even a Jat Sikh – it doesn’t matter much for the name is best remembered in connection with Maharaja Ranjit Singh, A scion of this house, & more successful of all sikh misl leaders.”*[14]


*[15]Their campaigns against Ahmed Shah Durrani are the stuff of legends and it was the acumen and farsightedness of Charat Singh Sukerchakias (Sandhu) that added greatly to his name and fame and made him one of the most important chiefs of his time. After the initial impetus from his marriage to the daughter of Amir Singh, a powerful Sardar of the Faizalpuria Misl, Charat Singh joined up with other significant sardars like Jai Singh Kanhiya, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, Sobha Singh and the Bhangi chiefs for the different battles to capture vast territory and arms and ammunition.


By 1767, Charat Singh was a powerful voice in the Khalsa gurmatas held at Amritsar on baisakhi days. Charat Singh further strengthened his position through shrewd matrimonial alliances. He married his sister to Sardar Dal Singh Kalianwala, his daughters to Suhel Singh Bhangi and Sahib Singh, son of the Bhangi chief Gujar Singh and his son Mahan Singh, to the daughter of Jai Singh Man. *[16]On his death in 1774, by the accidental bursting of his own matchlock in the hands of one of his retainers, he left an extensive territory with considerable resource to his son and successor Mahan Singh Sandhu.


Mahan Singh remained the head of the Shakurchakia Misl for sixteen years*[17] and in this period he devoted all his energy to the expansion of his dominion and to the accumulation of his wealth. He had inherited a well trained fighting force and adequate war chest.


His single minded pursuit of his ambition to be the sole monarch of the whole of Punjab brooked no consideration of religious or past loyalty or the pledged word. Mahan Singh was an enigmatic personality. For every act of compassion and generosity like the feeding of the poor during the famine of 1783 in the Punjab, there were many acts of greed and avarice like the looting of the merchants, bankers and nobles during the sacking of Jammu in 1784. For every act of religious faith like the recitation of scriptures and distribution of alms, there were various incidents of perfidy and scant regard for the solemn assurance given on the Holy Granth. But he was a good strategist and an excellent leader of men and at his death at the young age of twenty six in 1790 due to an attack of fever; he felt his son Ranjit Singh almost contiguous territory and a military force of 25000 horse and foot.


After Mahan Singh had captured Rasulnagar*[18] and Gujranwala, Didar Singh obtained,  his share of the spoils, the village of Sandhanwal near Raja Sansi from Sukerchakias. Didar Singh settled at Sandhanwal in 1780 and became the head of the family known as the Sandhanwalias (also spelt as Sandhawal). Village Sandhanwal, a few miles north west of Gujranwala was then strategically important because it commanded the approaches to Wazirabad, Sialkot and Jammu ambition to excel and lead and it was possibly this desire that forced Didar Singh to move out of Sukarchak and out of the shadows of Sukerchakia Charat Singh and Mahan Singh and found his own lineage called Sandhanwalias.

 The brilliance of Sakurchakia Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the great warrior who carved out an empire for himself, was all set to create a history on his own.

*Click here for References