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Sikh History Timeline

Today in Sikh History :18th March

18th March


Maharaja Ranjit Singh assumed the governing control of Peshawar.

==> Maharaja RANJIT SINGH, was born on Nov. 2, 1780, to Jathaedar Sardar Maha Singh of Sukarchakia misl and mother Raj Kaur (daughter of Raja Gajpate Singh Jindpate). At a very early age, he lost his left eye to smallpox which also left numerous marks on his face. Upon his fathers death, Ranjit Singh assumed throne at the tender age of 10. During his tender, his advisor Sardar Dal Singh and Diwan LakhpatRai managed the state affairs under the guidance of his mother Raj Kaur. Bhai Pheru Singh of Gujrawallae and his government Dharamsala was selected for Guru Granth education. However, Ranjit Singh showed increasing interest in weaponry and horse-riding and quickly acquired these skills.

Ranjit Singh captured Lahore in 1799 and called a darbar, in sunmat 1858, to assumed the title of "Maharaja". He preferred to addressed as Maharaja Ranjit Singh "SinghSahib". He quickly expanded his rule from Satluj to Peshawar and from the boundaries of Tibet to Sindh. He established four subha; namely, Lahore, Peshawar, Kashmir, and Sultan. He continually expressed desire to reassert the strength of Sikh Panth and bring it under a united fold.

According to British history, Maharaja’s title is "Sher-e- Punjab", the Lion of Punjab. His court was always filled with able generals. He built an extremely loyal and powerful force. He was a humble person. When the Granthis of Delhi Gurudwara visited his court in Lahore, he used his beard to wipe their feet. Further when he was declared Tankhaia by Akali Phulla Singh, he prompted presented his bare back for the declared punishment.

More than his own popularity, Maharaja Ranjit Singh worked for the propagation of Vaaheguru’s name. He constructed the fort GobindGadh in Amritsar, named after Guru Gobind Singh Patshah. He established a beautiful garden named after Satguru Ram Dass Ji Patshah.

Ranjit Singh never forgot to humor the democratic feeling, or rather, the theocratic feeling of the Sikhs. He professed to rule "by the grace of God". He issued coins in the name of Guru Nanak with the encryptions

"Akal Purakh Ji Sahayae
Daego Taego Fateh Nusrat Baedrang
Yahaftaj Nanak Guru Gobind".

On April 25, 1809, a friendship treaty was signed with the British. This treaty set Satluj as the boundary between the British and Sikh empires. Maharaja Ranjit Singh maintained his friendship with the British throughout his reign.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh was gifted with the ability of immediate assessment of strengths and weakness of a person on first sight. He personally knew all people working for him and received their daily reports. He did not waste even a minute of his and continually kept himself busy. He was well versed with the feelings of his subjects.

Maharaja Ranjit was also popular for his charity. From the information gathered by Col. Lawrence from his counsellors, Maharaja Ranjit Singh spent 12,00,000 rupees annually on charity apart from his generous distribution of gifts and jagirs.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh died on June 27, 1839 as a result of illness. At the time of his death, Maharaja’s forces were made of 92,000 foot soldiers, 31,800 horseback soldiers and 784 big guns. In addition to brave generals like Sardar Sham Singh Attari, Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, Sardar GossKhan, Phulla Singh Akali, and Diwan MohakamChand, there were several American, British, European, French, Italian, and Russian officers. The total annual revenue of the kingdom was 32475000 rupees.

Maharaja Ranjit’s other sons, Tara Singh, Sultan Singh, Kashmir Singh and Peshaura Singh were never popular.
-Ref. Mahan Kosh (pp. 1019-1020)

For conventional biographies refer to :-

Lepel H. Griffin, Ranjit Singh (1892);

N.K. Sinha, Ranjit Singh (1933); and

Khushwant Singh, Ranjit Singh, Maharajah of the Punjab (1962).


For an eyewitness account of the personality and court of Ranjit Singh, see :-

Emily Eden, Up the Country: Letters Written to Her Sister from the Upper Provinces of India, 2 vol. (1866, reissued 1978);

W.G. Osborne, The Court and Camp of Runjeet Sing (1840, reprinted 1973).

For further details interested readers are refered to :-

Anil C. Banerjee (1985), "Khalsa Raj," AbhinaV Publications, Delhi, 277p

Bhagat Singh (1990), "Maharaja Ranjit Singh And His Times," ISBN 81-85477-01-9, Sehgal Publishers, Delhi, 491p.

Bikram Jit Hasrat (1977), "Life and Times Of Maharaja Ranjit Singh: A Saga Of Benevolent Ruler," V.V. Research Inst. India, 466p

Dolly Sahiar (1981), "Maharaja Ranjit Singh as Patron Of The Arts," Marg Publications, Delhi, 138 pages

Fakir S. Wahee-du-din (1984), "Ranjit Singh Asali Roop," Punjabi University Patiala, 159 pages (Punjabi)

Fakir S. Wahee-du-din (1981), "Real Ranjit Singh." Punjabi University Patiala, 212 pages

Fauja Singh (1984), "Maharaja Ranjit Singh: Politics Society and Economy," Punjabi University Patiala, 384 pages

G. Khurana (1985), "British Historiography on the Sikh Power in Punjab," Allied Publishers, New Delhi, 174 pages

Hari Ram Gupta (1991), "History of the Sikhs Vol. 5: The Sikh Lion of Lahore," 81-215-0515-X, Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 630 pages

Hari Ram Gupta (1975), "Panjab on Eve of First Sikh War," Panjab University, Chandigrh, 555 pages

Jagmohan Mahajan (1990), "Annexation of Punjab," ISBN 81-85215-06-5, Spantech Publisher, Delhi, 133 pages

Kartar S. Duggal (1989), "Ranjit Singh a Secular Sovereign," ISBN 81-7017-244-6, Abhinav Publications, Delhi, 143 pages

Khushwant Singh (1971), "Fall of the Kingdom of the Punjab," Orient Longman Press, Delhi, 165 pages

Prem S. Hoti, "Sher-e-Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh," Lahore Book Shop, Ludhiana, 208 pages

S.R. Bakshi (1991), "History of the Punjab: Maharaja Ranjit Singh," ISBN 81-7041-540-6, Anmol Publications, Delhi, 315p

Sohan S. Seetal (1982), "Sikh Empire and Maharaja Ranjit Singh," Lahore Book Shop, Ludhiana, 187p

Sohan S. Seetal (1986), "Sikh Raj Te Sher-e-Punjab," Seetal Pustak Bhandaar, 203p



A diwan is held at Sirhala.


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