Saturday, December 03, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

Maharaja Ranjit Singh : Other small confederates and Ranjit singh

The jealously of the leading sardars surfaced with increase in Ranjit's fame. Shah Zaman no longer posed any threat. Earlier, the Sikh chiefs joined hands and collaborated to meet the Afghan menace. The bonds affinity were cut pieces now and the potential Sikh chiefs Sahib Singh Bhangi of Gujarat, Jassa singh ramgharhia, Jodh singh Bajwa of Wazirabad, and Gulab singh Bhangi of Amritsar joined hands to wrest Lahore from Ranjit Singh. They sought the help of Nizam-Ud-Din of Kasur, who was an aspirant of subedari of Lahore. In early 1800 they marched towards Lahore. Ranjit singh faced them at about 16 km from city at Bhasin, with Kanhaiyas on his side. The forces of Ranjit singh won a very easy victory in only three days and these misal sardars were unable to dislodge Ranjit Singh from his citadel.
Ranjit Singh hastened back to Lahore triumphantly. He was given royal reception by the citizens. Ranjit singh's expansionist designs now knew no bounds he marched on to Jammu. On the way he annexed Narowal and Varowal. Maharaja of Jammu had neither intention nor was capable of fighting him so he presented him a nazrana of 20,000 rupees. Ranjit singh marched towards Sialkote and accepted nazrana there too, then Dilawargarh. He had to fight various chiefs and sardars during these expansions.

Open rift between Ranjit singh and Sahib Singh Bhangi invited interference from some other powers. Shah Zaman send feelers to various sardars. The Bhangi sardars and others united with them wanted to let down Ranjit singh and hence invited Shah Zaman to attack him. Ranjit singh accepted gifts send by Shah Zaman. This diplomatic move resulted in mutual trust and faith between Ranjit Singh and Shah Zaman. It was a diplomatic victory of Ranjit Singh. Meanwhile, British govt. was also much perturbed. Their concern was the rising power of Ranjit singh who could pose danger to them one day. In April 1800 Governor General send Mir Yusuf Ali to Lahore to hold negotiations with Ranjit singh. An historic meeting was held on 22 Oct. 1800, where Ranjit Singh, Rani Sada Kaur, Fateh Singh Ahluwalia, and Misr Ram Dayal were present. Yusauf gave a long sermon on the treachery of the Afghans and how Abdali was cruel to Sikhs; how he did not even spare the holy places of Sikhs including Golden temple of Amritsar; The Afghan could never be faithful treachery was in their blood. This meeting remained indecisive. Ranjit singh could not trust either British or Shah Zaman.

Ranjit Singh was now considered a great force. He appointed misr Ramdayal for his day to day affairs with people. Fateh singh Ahluwalia guided on army matters. During the same periods darbar attracted the Fakir brothers who held high offices under Ranjit singh. Fakir Aziz-Ud-Din was the most prominent among them. He came along with his father Ghulam Mohiud-Ud-Din who was an royal doctor. Nur-Ud-Din and Imam-Ud-Din the other brother of Zaiz were also given different post in Ranjit singh's darbar. Aziz-Ud-Din was made the in charge of Foreign affairs. "It was due to his wise counsel that the Maharaja maintained friendly relations with the British government; and the fact that these relations were on a footing of equality and mutual respect was largely an outcome of his ardent loyalty to Ranjit Singh." (Syed Moheduddin, The Real Ranjit Singh p.40)

By this time the day had come that Ranjit singh should declare himself the Maharaja of Punjab and treats all his subjects Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs equally. On April 12 1801, Ranjit Singh declared himself Maharaja of Punjab on the same auspicious day of Baisakhi when Khalsa was made by Guru Gobind Singh. The investiture ceremony was performed by Sahib Singh Bedi, who was the direct descendant of Guru Nanak. A commemorative coin was issued, Nanakshahi rupee as it was called. People showered flowers on him and in turn Ranjit singh showered gold and silver coins on his subjects. It was a grand gala occasion. Ranjit Singh rode on the elephant and passed through the streets of Lahore. He won popular acclaim and earned a lasting place in the hearts of the people. At night the town was illuminated with oil lamps and there was display of fire works. Many chiefs and sardars offered nazrana and in return receive khillats. The fort was garrisoned. The city which had suffered 30 years of Bhangi misrule needed peace and rule of law. The Maharaja ordered that no interference be made with the personal and public law of Muslims. They were given equal rights with other subjects. Courts presided over by the Qazis and Muftis were confirmed. Prominent citizens were designated as chaudhries and mohallas. The sense of security was given to the people. Trade and Business were established on a sound basis.

Meanwhile Batala was attacked by the Raja of Kangra Sansar chand, so Ranjit singh ordered his troops to march there. Kangra's men fled in fear and all territory was restored to the Rani Sada Kaur. Maharaja also occupied Naushera part of domain of Sansar Chand and give it to Rani Sada Kaur.

Next : Ranjit Singh's family and relatives

 

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