Mahraja Ranjit Singh

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story about Maharaja Ranjit Singh's life and some thing about European war.

Submitted: January 23, 2015

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Submitted: January 23, 2015

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~~There was a king named Maharajah Ranjit Singh he was really brave and he was born in 13 November 1780 – 27 June 1839 was the founder of the Sikh Empire, which came to power in the Indian subcontinent in the early half of the 19th century. The empire, based in the Punjab region, existed from 1799 to 1849. At first he was named Buddha Singh, but Maha Singh received the news of his son's birth on his return from a victorious battle against the Chattha chief, Pir Muhammad, and renamed his son Ranjit (Victor in War). 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 Maha 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, Ranjit Singh was raised under the protection of his mother Raj Kaur, and his mother-in-law Sada Kaur. In 1799, Ranjit Singh captured Lahore from the Bhangi Misl and later made it his capital. This was the first important step in his rise to power. In the following years he brought the whole of the central Punjab from the Sutlej to the Jhelum under his sway. After several campaigns, he conquered the other misls and created the Sikh Empire. Ranjit Singh's earliest invasions as a young misldar (baron) were effected by defeating his coreligionists, the heads of other Sikh Sardaris (popularly known as the Misls). By the end of his reign, however, he had conquered vast tracts of territory strategically juxtaposed between the limits of British India to the East and the Durrani Empire to the West. On 7 July 1799, Ranjit Singh became master of Lahore. He then rapidly annexed the rest of the Punjab, the land of the five rivers. Having accomplished this, he extended his empire further north and west to include the Kashmir Mountains and other Himalayan kingdoms, the Sind Sagar Doab, the Pothohar Plateau and trans-Indus regions right up to the foothills of the Sulaiman Mountains.  In 1802 Ranjit Singh took Amritsar from the Bhangi Sardari and followed this in 1807, after a month of fierce fighting, with the conquest of Kasur from the Afghan chief Qutb ud-Din. With the capture of Multan in 1818 the whole Bari Doab came under his sway and in 1819 Ranjit Singh successfully annexed Kashmir. This was followed by subduing the Kashmir mountains, west of the river Jhelum (today, Hazara in Pakistan and Pakistan administered Kashmir).
One day in Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s court there was an old lady who wanted to meet Maharaja Ranjit Singh but his soldiers won’t allow her to come in because she was an villager and she had to pay some money to meet him but then Maharaja Ranjit Singh heard that someone is arguing so then he comes outside to see what’s going on then he tells the lady “Who are you?!” She says “I am just an old lady came here to rub this metal with you.” Maharaja says “Let’s talk in the court”. She comes in the court and Maharaja sits in his throne She starts saying “I am here to rub this metal to Maharaja Ranjit Singh” everyone in the court laughs and one man stands up says “And why is that” she says “I heard that if you rub metal with Maharaja Ranjit Singh it becomes gold.” Maharaja stays in silence then he speaks “Go ahead” She rubs and then Maharaja Stands up and says “Give her gold as much as this metal.” He understood that it was wedding of her son and she was poor so she couldn’t make any arrangements for the wedding so she came here for gold.
The other story of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was of his bravery is from the begging when first he became the king of Lahore. They had to secretly live in the jungles but through their faith they survived. Many believed that there were no more Sikhs left alive. But the Khalsa kept growing in power. Soon enough, a man named Ranjit Singh began to be known as the King. He obtained a lot of land far and wide throughout the whole area. He became a Maharaja - a great king. Maharaja Ranjit Singh was a devoted Sikh of the Guru and also a rich King. He stayed in the capital city of Lahore. It was during this time that a robber named Maan Singh started to become very famous in the Lahore area the robber Maan Singh and his 50 horsemen would raid villages, kill people, and steal many valuables. Maharaja Ranjit Singh sent out an order to go and stop this robber. “If anyone catches him alive I will give him two villages!” he said. Very few wanted to face the brave and fearless robber and no one thought that he could stop him. The city of Lahore, Maan Singh posted up a sign that said, “If anyone catches me alive, I will give him the throne of Lahore.” This was a direct insult to Maharaja. One day an unknown Singh rode through the jungle. He met with Maan Singh, the robber. After exchanging some words, they began to fight one-on-one. The fight lasted a very long time. They were equal fighters. Finally the robber became tired and the Singh took his opportunity and knocked Maan Singh’s sword out of his hand. Tackling him to the ground the Singh said, “Now I have you alive, give me the throne of Lahore!” Now Maan Singh, even though he was a wicked thief, felt honor bound to his promise to give the Singh the throne of Lahore. So he said, “We’ll have to capture it first. Let us go.” When they arrived at the gates of Lahore the guards welcomed the Singh and opened the doors. Maan Singh was confused. When the Singh walked into the city he was met with applause from the people Maan Singh started to realize that this wasn’t a typical person who beat him in a fight. The Singh announced, “I am the king of Lahore, the throne is mine. Your promise is fulfilled.” Maan Singh was wonder struck! The man who faced him in combat was actually Maharaja Ranjit Singh himself! The Maharaja was virtuous and kind, he didn’t punish the robber for his past actions. The robber became inspired by the nobility and fearlessness of the Sikhs. He became Sardar Maan Singh and joined the Khalsa army. Everything about him changed. Such was the kingdom of Ranjit Singh, no one was ever punished by death and people were always given a chance to right any wrongs they had done and to change themselves to become better.
Two Europeans, Ventura, an Italian by birth, and Allard, a Frenchman, came to Lahore in 1822 to seek service in the Sikh army. Both of them had served under Napolean in the imperial army of France. After Napolean's defeat at Waterloo they lost their occupation and left Europe to try their fortune in the East. They had heard many a tale of the grandeuf of Ranjit Singh's court and were taken up with the idea of visiting Lahore. Ranjit Singh, although not educated but was very wise and intelligent, he knew about the exploits of Napolean. Punjabi historians had compared them and Ranjit singh was even called Napolean of the East. Ranjit singh met these two European and he received them kindly asked them about their health and journey, previous employment, future plans. He showed them his troops on parade and provided amenities for their entertainment. In April of 1822, they sent a letter to Maharaja asking for an employment with his troops. The communication between these soldiers and Maharaja was in French through the trusted aide Faqir Nur-ud-din, who knew French, English, persian as many other languages. Maharaja wanted to make sure that these people did not had any contacts with British and only when he was cent percent sure, he gave them command of 500 horsemen each. This command had few Purbias (Bihari) and other Hindus of Central provinces, employed with Ranjit Singh. They were also to train all forces of Sikhs in the western method of drill. Ventura's army was called Fauj-e-Khas while little bit later Allard was asked to raise a cavalry of fresh recruits. Sikh Soldiers Then Ranjit Singh also made them sign an agreement that in the event of a clash between Maharaja and European power, they would remain loyal to Sarkar Khalsa and fight for him. They were to wear their beards long and abstain from beef and tobacco. Ranjit Singh provided houses for Ventura and Allard and gave them handsome salaries. To Ventura he gave 40,000 rupees when he married a Muslim girl from Ludhiana. Two villages were subsequently given to the daughter of Ventura as jagir. Ventura built a house, which still exists near Anarkali, it is a beautiful Cheateau in French style. This shows that even though Ranjit Singh was cautious but shrewd and able enough to distinguish between people beneficial to him. He selectively employed several more Europeans, such as Dr.Honigberger, a native of Hungary. Avitable an Italian later appointed Governor of Peshawar. General Court, a Frenchman who organized the artillery. Dr. Harlan an American, who became governor of Jasrata and later Gujrat. Henry Steinbach, a German was made a battalion commander. Hurbon, a Spainard was an engineer. Dr. Benet, a Frenchman was a surgeon-general of Khalsa Army. Viewkenawitch, a Russian held a high rank in the artillery. There were a number of Englishmen too- Fitzroy, Gillmore, Leslie, Harvey, and Foulkes, to mention but a few- who were employed on various civil and military duties. With men of such diverse races, nationalities and faiths to serve him, Ranjit Singh maintained a most picturesque and cosmopolitan court. He was very kind to these foreigners. He trusted them and gave them positions of responsibility and rewarded them generously for their services. But he always kept a watchful eye on them and never let them have an influence over him. They willingly submitted to his natural dignity and served him faithfully. These were some stories of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s life.

 


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