Sikhs and their Muskets

During the Misl Era, Singhs began favouring Muskets. Matchlocks had been in India since Babur invaded, and our Guru Sahibs would even use them in Jang. Many accounts record that Sikhs were very fond of muskets, and the way they used them has been commended by foreigners.


In Sketch of the Sikhs, Malcom records that,

Their [Sikh] horsemen use swords and spears, and most of them now carry matchlocks, though some still use the bow and arrow; a species of arms, for excellence in the use of which their forefathers were celebrated, and which their descendants appear to abandon with great reluctance.

Qazi Nur Mohammed in Jangnamah praises the Sikh warriors and states no one can match their skills.

ਤੋ ਗੋਈ ਕਿਹ ਹਸਤ ਈਂ ਤੁਫੰਗ ਅਜ਼ ਕਦੀਮ । ਜ਼ਿ ਹਕਮਤੇ ਸਗਾਂ ਨੇ ਜ਼ੇਹ ਲੁਕਮਾਂ ਹਕੀਮ ।

Musket is the weapon of ancient times, but the way, in which they [Sikhs] wield the weapon, it is apparent that it has been engineered and invented by them and not by "Lukman Hakim."

ਅਜ਼ ਏਸ਼ਾਂ ਜਯਾਦਹ ਦਰੀਂ ਫ਼ਨ ਕਸੇ । ਨਦਾਂਦ ਤੁਫਂਗੀ ਅਸਤ ਗਰਚਾ ਬਸੇ ।

There are many musketeers in the world but no one can match their skill of musket firing.


He further writes;

ਕਿ ਹੈਫ਼ ਈਂ ਤੁਫੰਗਸਤ ਬਰਾਂ ਨਾਮਵਰ । ਗਰ ਯੋ ਬਰ ਆਮਦ ਬੁਨ-ਓ-ਬਸ਼ਰ ।

It is pity that Sikh fight with muskets and not with swords.

ਵਲੇ ਖੁਰਦ ਅਜ਼ ਦੂਰ ਤੀਰੋ ਤੁਫ਼ੰਗ । ਬਜਨਤ ਰਸੀਦ ਆਂ ਯਲੇ ਸ਼ੇਰ ਜੰਗ ।

These dogs fight from a distance with their muskets and arrows. Our brave lions were getting killed and dispatched to heaven at their hands.

ਜ਼ਿ ਤੀਰੋ ਤੁਫ਼ੰਗ ਆਂ ਸੀਦ ਸ਼ਹੀਦ । ਦਰੇਗੀ ਨਾ ਬਾਸ਼ਦ ਬਜਨਤ ਰਸੀਦ ।

With arrows and guns they martyred our warriors.


Sikhs would show foreigners that they are the masters of The Punjab. They exhibited their excellence in horse riding, and showed ease in firing matchlocks atop of horses. They would have with them very little, but had the best - whether that was the best horse, best steel or the best musket.

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