Aliwal Road, SW11

Place Name

In commemoration of the Battle of Aliwal fought on January 28, 1846 during the First Anglo-Sikh War. The British, led by Sir Harry Smith, were able to out-flank the Sikh forces which were under the command of Ranjodh Singh Majithia, capturing the village of Aliwal. The Sikh troops began to withdraw under heavy artillery fire but their retreat turned into a rout as they struggled to cross the River Sutlej, leaving behind their own big guns. The war, which had begun a few months earlier, was effectively a land grab by the East India Company under the guise of bringing order to the region following the death of Maharajah Ranjit Singh, who had died a few years earlier leaving a power vacuum. The victory at Aliwal is sometimes regarded as a turning point in the war. Like many streets laid out at the time of the British Empire, jingoistic builders named them after imperial wars and its major figures as a show of patriotism and to encourage house sales. Apparently the area of this street is known as “Little India”.



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