When Dogra King challenged the mightiest General of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to fight a tiger. Maharaja Ranjit Singh put Hari Singh Nalwa to the task and he fearlessly fought the lion with his bare hands separating the upper and lower jaw of the tiger.
First Encounter with Tiger:
At the age of 14 he was only with the Maharaja for a few months when one day he was asked to accompany the Maharaja for a hunt.
As they entered the forest, suddenly a man eating lion jumped on him and threw him on the ground.
Hari Singh was completely caught unaware and did not even have the opportunity to draw his sword. But he got hold of the jaw of the lion and with great force flung the lion away, and withdrawing his sword, with one blow severed the lion’s head. The Maharaja and the other courtiers were extraordinarily amazed at this feat.
From that day onwards Hari Singh was given the appellation of “Nalwa” by the Maharaja, who acknowledged that Hari Singh had killed the lion similar to the way King Nall used to hunt (King Nall was a very brave king and was known for his audacity to kill lions and other dangerous animals with his bare hands, and hence the Maharaja adorned Hari Singh with that title i.e. “Nall-wa”- ‘like Nall’ )
Baron Hugel, a European traveller, writes in his book, “Travels in Kashmir & the Punjab”: – ” I surprised him by knowledge whence he had gained the appellation of Nalwa, and of his having cloven the head of a tiger, who had already seized him as its prey. He told the Diwan to bring some drawings and gave me his portrait, in the act of killing the beast.”