Monday, 15 December 2008

Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Commonly known as Sher-e-Punjab (the lion of Punjab) (1780-1839) was the first ruler of the Sikh Empire. He was born in Gujranwala at a time when the Punjab was ruled by the Sikhs under the confederate sarbat khalsa and was divided into 11 different territories or misls. His major accomplishment was uniting the Sikh factions into one large kingdom. He ruled his empire, which stretched from Afghanistan to Kashmir, from his capital Lahore and whilst he was alive the British did not dare to attack. He was the father of Maharaja Duleep Singh who was the first sikh settler in Britain. Ranjit Singh was a brilliant ruler as he stopped non-secular practices by treating muslims and hindus equally, he also brought law and order without ever having to use the death penalty. He never forced Sikhism on his subjects in stark contrast to the Mughal rulers of the past who forced mass conversions. He ordered the gold and marble work on the Harmandir Sahib or Golden Temple. He also ordered the Takht Sri Patna Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh and Takht Sri Hazur Sahib, the place of Guru Gobind Singhs' ascension to God. After his death in 1839 he was succeeded by Kharak Singh who ruled for just over a year, then Nau Nihal Singh his son ruled, then Sher Singh and finally Maharaja Duleep Singh before the empire was annexed by the British Raj in 1849. The image below is that of Maharaja Ranit Singh's gold throne.

1 comment:

  1. The British looted everything from the great land of India, pondered its wealth and created the West. Back in the 18th and 19th century who would have had this sort of wealth anywhere of the world- this is the primary reason why the British came to India