Among the Indian heroes, Maharaja Ranjit Singh enjoys a unique position, because of his incomparable achievements. India had been enslaved and ruled by different dynasties of foreign invaders for several centuries. It was Ranjit Singh who overthrew the foreign yoke and established for the first time an independent kingdom in the north of India. He not only stemmed the tide of invasions from the north-west for all times but even reversed its direction, so that a large part of Afghanistan upto the Khyber Pass, now known as the NWFP, was conquered and annexed to his empire. The other main provinces under him were Lahore, Multan and Kashmir.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh was one of the most powerful rulers of the world of his time. His well trained army with Hindu and Muslim soldiers, besides Sikhs and a number of European officers and generals, was dreaded by all. The powerful British East India Company which had occupied the rest of India, did not dare to cast its evil eyes on his territories, while he was alive.
He was an able administrator, and treated his subjects in a most secular manner. He had Hindus and Muslims holding high positions in his administration and even heading key ministries. It was in his reign that the people enjoyed peace, security and independence after centuries of slavery and corrupt rule. Trade, industry and agriculture flourished under him. His benevolence was not reserved for his supporters and friends only. He treated his enemies and those he defeated in war in a most generous manner. It is a surprising fact of history that he never inflicted death penalty on anyone, not even on those who had made attempts on his own life. He had the knack of converting worst enemies as loyal friends.
Nobody could beat him in dare-devilry, courage, war strategy and diplomacy. He was a devoted Sikh with deep faith in the Gurus. His successes were due to the inspiration provided by Guru Nanak and the way of leading a noble life in the service of mankind preached by the Gurus.
Books have been written on his life by historians which provide valuable information on his life and achievements, but they are not easily accessible to all. The common man, however, needs a brief biographical note on this great hero, highlighting his achievements and extraordinary qualities, so that he can fully appreciate his greatness and take genuine pride in him.
I am happy Sardar Gurmukh Singh Sandhu has undertaken this task and prepared a tract which exactly fulfills this need. He has done a remarkable job. He has not missed any important event of his life, and has presented in chronological order a list of events which are essential to understand this great personality. In fact, chronology of Sikh history is Sardar Gurmukh Singh Sandhu’s special interest, and he has spent a lifetime on it. The present brief volume is a part of that bigger study which might also see the light of the day sometime in the future. I hope readers will welcome this valuable gift from him, like they have done his previous publications also.
February 1, 2006
Editor, Abstracts of Sikh Studies
# 959, Phase IV, (Sector 59)
SAS Nagar, Mohali
©Copyright Institute of Sikh Studies, All
Designed by Jaswant (09915861422)