Sher-e-Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Biography, Family, & History
refer to Maharaja Ranjit Singh as “Sher-e-Punjab” or “the lion
of Punjab.” He ascended from a low-ranking Sikh chieftain of the
neighborhood “MISL”; the term “MISL” stands for a group or
brigade of Sikh soldiers at the period. There were 12 MISLs in the area at that
time. He then assumes the title of “Maharaja” of Punjab, ruling over
a huge area that includes Jamrud and Baluchistan in the west and north-west,
Kashmir and Ladakh in the north, the Indus delta in the south, and the river
Sutlej in the east.
Maharaja Ranjit singh Biography, Family
Sardar Mahan Singh, was the leader of the Sukerchakia misl when he was born on
November 13th, 1780. His early years are hardly understood; in fact, historians
claim that there is just one “genuine” picture of him from
considerably later (and that is from a painting by Emily Eden). The remaining
illustrations are based on rumour and folklore.
it is well known that he lost his left eye as a toddler due to a smallpox
outbreak. He was sent to Bhagu Singh’s Dharamshala in Gujranwala as a young lad
to learn Gurumukhi, but he had a stronger interest in fighting. He was
virtually unrivalled in that field.
In 1790, the
youthful Ranjit Singh was only ten years old when his father passed away.
Ranjit Singh found himself at the centre of the political scene and the
successor to his father’s heritage at a time when most boys his age would be
In Umdat ut-
Tawarikh, court historian Sohan Lal Suri recounts an incident involving the
bravery of 13-year-old Ranjit Singh.
Singh became separated from his group and made it to Ladewali’s outskirts,
which at the time was governed by Nawab Hashmat Khan Chatha. The Nawab, who was
against the Sukerchakia MISL, went hunting. He attacked the small youngster
when he was left alone. Ranjit Singh successfully repelled the attack and
hacked off the Nawab’s head during the confrontation. The Chatthas never again
tender age of 15, Maharaja Ranjit Singh wed Mehtab Kaur, the granddaughter of
Sardar Gurbaksh Singh’s leader of the Kanhiyas misl, Rani Sada Kaur. For many
years, Rani Sada Kaur was in charge of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s administrative
to be aware that Afghan invaders attacked India from roughly 1750 to roughly
1810. numerous times. Afghanistan’s then-ruler Ahmad Shah Durrani had shot at
India nine times.
monarch was in a position to resist Shah Zaman, the grandson of Ahmad Shah
Abdali, when he invaded the province in 1796 with 30,000 soldiers and powerful
realising the necessity of a coordinated opposition, Maharaja Ranjit Singh
addressed a number of Sikh chiefs, who endorsed his leadership. Shah Zaman was
forced to go back to Afghanistan by the collective army under Maharaja Ranjit
Singh’s command. Maharaja Ranjit Singh gained a reputation as a valiant leader.
Misl Sardars took over Lahore when Shah Zaman fled. The prominent Lahore
residents knew about the flaws in their Bhangi rulers. They sent an invitation
to Maharaja Ranjit Singh to rule Lahore. The attack was organised by Maharaja
Ranjit Singh and his mother-in-law Sada Kaur. Together, the two made their way
By 1801, it
was clear that Maharaja Ranjit Singh had become the Sikhs’ leader, and he was
given the title “Maharaja”. On Baisakhi Day, Baba Sahib Singh Bedi, a
spiritual patriarch of the Sikhs, led the inauguration, appointing him as the
head of the Sikhs. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, however, declined to wear any regal
insignia out of modesty. Not even the official seal mentioned him by name.
Sarkar Khalsa Ji was the subject (of the people). His administration was
sometimes referred to as “Sarkar-i-Khalsa.” He reportedly preferred
the straightforward moniker “Singh Sahib” to any lofty epithets. He
issued coins with Shri Guru Nanak Ji’s name on them. He continued to follow the
last Guru’s teachings. In reality, he was the Khalsa’s leader rather than a
despotic one. In 1802, the people once more pleaded with Maharaja Ranjit Singh
to protect Amritsar, the Sikhs’ holiest city, from the Bhangi Sardars. Once
more, Maharaja Ranjit Singh captured the Bhangi Fort and gave it the name
Gobindgarh Fort in honour of Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Sikh Guru.
took the Zamzama Cannon, a huge Asian cannon at the period. Maharaja Ranjit
Singh visited the Harmandir Sahib for darshan as an act of gratitude after
conquering the Gobindgarh Fort. He swore to cover the revered Harmandir Sahib
Gurudwara in gold, transforming it into the “Golden Temple.”
Ranjit Singh changed his goals after winning the Amritsar and Lahore contests.
expanding power of Maharaja Ranjit Singh quickly alienated the British.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the East India Company penned a pact on January 1st,
1806. It was agreed by the Company that it would not even try to cross the
Sutlej River into Sikh territory. Maharaja Ranjit Singh promised to restrain
the growth of his Sikh soldiers south of the Sutlej River.
Ranjit Singh was active in westward and northern expansion, nevertheless.
month of furious combat, Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s men attacked Misl of Kasur in
1807 and eventually routed the Afghan leader Qutb-ud-Din, enabling Maharaja
Ranjit Singh to extend his kingdom into Afghanistan.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh assisted King Sansar Chand of Kangra in defeating the
Ghurka army in December 1809, Kangra became his possession.
extended siege, he annexed Multan in 1810.
Yet as time
went on, familial strife among the Durranis resulted in brothers killing,
blinding, and toppling one another in 1812; one of the brothers was Shah Shuja.
The British arrested him as he attempted to depart Kabul with his entourage
after being deposed by his stepbrother, sent him to his brother’s prison in
Kashmir, and imprisoned him there!
his wife, then approached Maharaja Ranjit Singh for assistance. In order to
secure Shah Shuja’s release from British custody, the “Afghan royal
family- the very same individuals who had been invading and robbing Punjab for
years, appeared at Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s doorstep appealing for aid.”
In 1819, he
overthrew the Afghan Sunni Muslim kings and successfully seized Kashmir and
Srinagar. Thus, his rule now extended northward, beyond the Himalayan
foothills, to the Jhelum valley.
solidified his control over the whole Punjab region between the Sutlej and
Indus rivers by 1820.
Early in his
career, he saw how British troops’ training and discipline helped them beat
numerically superior Indian armies. They were highly impressive with their
well-trained soldiers and artillery. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, however, had little
faith in the British. Instead, he modernised his army with the help of French
and Italian generals, many of whom had served under Napoleon. He then
reorganised and trained his troops accordingly.
Ranjit Singh was a strong secularist, it is vital to highlight. Hindus,
Muslims, and Sikhs made up his forces. Even his generals and pastors were from
various religious backgrounds. Never once did the Maharaja force Sikhism upon
his subjects. This was in stark contrast to the ethnic and religious purging
carried out by earlier Muslim tyrants, such as the Afghani or the Mughal.
North-West campaigns, his infantry and artillery forces that had undergone
modernization performed admirably. In the years that followed, Maharaja Ranjit
Singh fought the Afghans, forcing them out of western Punjab. A treaty placed
Peshawar province under his authority in 1823. For the first time, Pashtuns
were governed by non-Muslims. From a historical standpoint, this incident
marked a turning point. “Invaders had governed eastern territories for
more than a thousand years, coming down through the Khyber Pass. Maharaja
Ranjit Singh swung this pattern around.
But, in 1834
Mohammed Azim Khan attempted to invade Peshawar once more with an army of 25,000
people from the Khattak and Yasufzai tribes. The army were defeated by the
conflict between the Afghans headed by Dost Muhammad Khan and the Sikhs under
his leadership occurred in the Battle of Jamrud in 1837. His triumph over a
string of Afghan warlords was celebrated in 1838 with a victory march through
Maharaja Ranjit Singh fell unwell, and he passed away at Lahore in June 1839,
nearly 40 years to the day after he had conquered the city. The internal
turmoil sparked by the British led to the downfall of the Sikh state he had
established less than six years after his passing.
Yet, as the
one who founded Punjab, this magnificent Maharaja is well known and revered.
minister, a Muslim named Fakir Azizuddin, who once asked the British
Governor-General George Eden which of the Maharajah’s eyes was gone, best
exemplifies the deference accorded by those who worked for him. Fakir Azzizudin
said. “The Maharajah is comparable to the sun, which only has one eye.
I’ve never dared to peek at his other eye because of how beautiful and
brilliant his single eye is.”