SMI 13: Khalsa Army flag
Date: Prior to 1849
The Khalsa Army flag used by the Khalsa Army during the Anglo Sikh Wars of 1845-1846 and 1848-1849.
The flag is composed of of triangular form with three seams, one side with central gilt solar motif on floral ground, the other with depiction of the Goddess Durga on her tiger flanked by Hanuman and Kartikeya set on ground of floral sprays, the green silk borders with gilt scrolling floral vine, with wooden pole in three sections with steel spear head terminal and steel handle with two fluted bosses with brass fittings.
The origins of the flag are not known and there has been much speculation on the flag from them being used by ‘Hindu regiments’ within the Sikh Empire to them being an integral part of the Khalsa Army. However this type of flag has been the most prominent one found related to the Anglo Sikh Wars.
Other flags found include the Akali Flag as well as Army standards introduced by the French Generals of the Sikh Empire. It must be said that these standards were military banners and the religious ones were different.
Ten of these flags were captured at the Battle of Gujarat, the battle leading to the annexation of the Punjab. The Governor-General Lord Dalhousie of the East India Company purchased them from an auction at Lahore. They remained in the Dalhousie family until they were auctioned off in May 1990.
These standards were also referenced within the Illustrated London News of 19th December 1846 which confirm at least two these flags were found at Ferozeshah and Sobroan.
Two of these could be seen at Lichfield Cathedral (now taken off display), as well as two at Maidstone Museum, Kent together with many kept in private collections.
This 3d model was first exhibited at the exhibition: Anglo Sikh Wars: Battles, Treaties and Relics in 2017. We have now recreated and added additional elements it so it can be shared widely online.
Further reading on Sikh relics and artefacts see The British and the Sikhs
Sales Catalogue: Sotheby’s, London, 21st and 22nd May 1990, lot 63.