Ranjit Singh: Maharajah Of The Punjab by Khushwant SinghIt’s a fairly good read if you are interested to know about the Sikh Empire and the political scenario of the Northern part of India during early to late Eighteenth century. But those who wanted to know more about the persona life of Maharaja Ranjit Singh will find it a long and tiring read with little outcome. Though it is a well-researched book, and the lucid writing of Khushwant Singh makes it an exciting read, but continuous introduction of various small fights or trivial information make the whole book a rather boring affair. Most part of the book consists of the diary notes of British representatives, descriptions of various battles that Maharaja’s army fought and the visits of Maharaja to various cities. After a point, everything becomes redundant and useless information.
More than a biography, this book is a detailed record keeping of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Though it is the most authentic source to read about Maharaja and there is no contest about the great empire that he had created. But if you want to compare him with his other illustrious contemporaries like Napoleon and Mohammed Ali, then you need to tell his stories in more elaborated form, and not in a date-to-date description of Maharaja’s life (mostly through the diaries and letters of British people).
I wanted to know more about Maharaja’s personal life including his dealing with family members, his relationship with wives and children. Especially, as per many claims, I wanted to know about his marriage with a nautch dancer. According to my knowledge he had to apologize to Akal Takht and had to make huge offerings. I didn’t find record of it in book; I hope I haven’t overseen it.
Over all, a good book which won’t quench your thirst about the history. At most, it will give you an early hint of British Raj in starting and the great empire that Maharaja Ranjit Singh built so tirelessly. And oh yes!! There is a proper story of Kohinoor.
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Sher-E-Punjab: Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Ranjit Singh belonged to a Sikh clan of Northern India. He was born in Gujranwala, now in modern-day Pakistan, according to some historians, into a Jatt Sikh family and some that he was born into a Sansi Sikh family who were Sukerchakia misldars. As a child he suffered from smallpox which resulted in the loss of one eye. At the time, much of Punjab was ruled by the Sikhs under a Confederate Sarbat Khalsa system, who had divided the territory among factions known as misls. Ranjit Singh's father Mahan Singh was the Commander of the Sukerchakia misl and controlled a territory in the west Punjab based around his headquarters at Gujranwala. After his father's death he was raised under the protection of Sada Kaur of the Kanheya Misl.
Secular Sikh Rule
By coincidence, it was just on this day Asarh 15 exactly forty years earlier, that he had entered Lahore as a victor. Prince Kharak Singh, the elder son of the Maharaja set the pyre alight., Ranjit Singh was the first Indian in a millennium to turn the tide of invasion back into the homelands of the traditional conquerors of India, the Pashtun s Afghans , and he thus became known as the Lion of the Punjab.
He survived smallpox in infancy but lost sight in his left eye. He fought his first battle alongside his father at age After his father died, he fought several wars to expel the Afghans in his teenage years and was proclaimed as the "Maharaja of Punjab" at age Prior to his rise, the Punjab region had numerous warring misls confederacies , twelve of which were under Sikh rulers and one Muslim. He repeatedly defeated invasions by outside armies , particularly those arriving from Afghanistan, and established friendly relations with the British. Ranjit Singh's reign introduced reforms, modernisation, investment into infrastructure and general prosperity.