The Zamzama Gun, also known as Kim’s Gun or Bhangianwala Toap is a large bore cannon. It was cast in 1762 in Lahore, now in Pakistan but at the time part of the Durrani Empire. It is currently on display in front of the Lahore Museum in Lahore, Pakistan.
As you walk east on the Upper Mall (Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam) towards the National College of Arts, an object of much historical interest is the Zamzamah.
Cast in Lahore in 1757, the gun was considered "terrible as a dragon and huge as a mountain," and was "a destroyer even of the strongholds of heaven." It was fabricated on the orders of the 'Conqueror of Thrones' Ahmed Shah Durrani (Abdali) by Prime Minister Shah Wali Khan, who "called together a number of master workmen" until, as the Persian inscription notes, with their consummate skill, "was cast this wondrous gun Zamzamah". Made out of metal vessels extracted from the local Hindu population of Lahore as tribute, Ahmed Shah employed it to win the battle of Panipat in 1761.
The gun is 14 feet 4 1⁄2 inches (4.382 metres) in length, with a bore at its aperture of 9 1⁄2 inches (24 centimetres). This gun, one of the largest ever made in the sub-continent, was cast at Lahore along with another gun of the same size in 1757 by Shah Nazir (a metalsmith of the former Mughal viceroy Muin-ul-Mulk), under the directions of Shah Wali Khan, who was prime minister in the reign of the Afghan King Ahmed Shah Durrani. Immortalized by Rudyard Kipping in his accounts, this famous gun is now popularly known as the Kim's Gun. "Who hold Zam-Zammah, that fire-breathing dragon, hold the Punjab; for the great green-bronze piece is always first of the conqueror's loot”
The gun was used by Ahmed Shah in the battle of Panipat, in 1761. After the battle, on his way back to Kabul, he left it at Lahore with his governor, Khawaja Ubed, as the carriage that was supposed to take the gun to Kabul was not ready. The other gun he took with him but that one was lost in passage through the Chenab.
In 1762, Hari Singh Bhangi went into battle with Khawaja Ubed. Bhangi attacked the then-village of Khawaja Said two miles from Lahore (now part of the city of Lahore), where the Mughal governor Khawaja Ubed had his arsenal, and seized his artillery, arms and ammunition. Amongst the guns captured was the Zamzama Gun itself. It was renamed by its Sikh captors Bhangi Toap.
For the next two years, it lay in the Shah Burj of the Lahore Fort. Thereafter, Lehna Singh and Gujjar Singh Bhangi got hold of it and they gave it to Charat Singh Shukerchakia as his share in the spoils. The Bhangi Sardars thought that Charat Singh would not be able to carry this gun with him and it would remain with them. Contrary to their expectations, Charat Singh successfully carried this gun to his fort at Gujranwala.
From Charat Singh, Zamzama was snatched by the Chathas who took it to Ahmadnagar where it became a bone of contention between the brothers Ahmad Khan chatha and Pir Muhammad chatha. In the fight that ensued, two sons of Ahmad Khan and one of Pir Muhammad were killed. In this fight, Gujjar Singh Bhangi sided with Pir Muhammad. After the victory, the gun was restored to Gujjar Singh. After two years, the gun was wrested by Charat Singh Shukerchakia from whom it was once again snatched by the Pashtuns.
Next year, Sardar Jhanda Singh Bhangi defeated the Pashtuns of Chatha and brought the gun to Amritsar. In 1802, Ranjit Singh, after defeating the Bhangis, got hold of the gun. He used it in the battles of Daska, Kasur, Sujanpur, Wazirabad and Multan. In the siege of Multan, the gun was badly damaged.