News & Updates

October 23, 2017

 

Jats and Sikh Militarization - Refutes the assertion that Sikh militarization was due to influx of Jats in the Sikh fold. 

 

August 24, 2017

 

Kurukshetra Sakhi and Meat – Debunks the theory that Guru Sahib advocated meat eating at Kurukshetra through revealed Shabads of ‘Maas Maas Kar’.

 

Check Past Updates

Find Us On...

Find Sikhism: Sikh Religion, Beliefs, Philosophy and Principles on FacebookFind Sikhism: Sikh Religion, Beliefs, Philosophy and Principles on Twitter

Relations with British Government and the Maharaja's Death

Glory of the Sikh Kingdom

By this time, the Sikh kingdom had reached the pinnacle of its glory and progress. The fame and power of the Lion of Punjab was at its zenith. He had conquered the Muslim provinces of Multan, Kashmir and Peshawar and had annexed them to his kingdom. He was acknowledged as the master of all the hilly regions and plains of Punjab. He had plans in his mind for the conquest of Ladakh and Sindh. The sovereigns of far-off countries considered it a matter of pride to establish friendly relations with him.

Representative of Nizam of Hyderabad at Ranjit Singh’s Court

During 1826 A.D., an emissary (Vakil) of the Nizam of Hyderabad presented himself at the Lahore Darbar and brought for the Maharaja gifts including four high-priced horses, a matchless canopy1, a double- edged sword, a gun and many rifles and muskets. Besides these presents, there were many costly articles for Prince Kharak Singh.

Diplomatic Agents from Herat and Baluchistan

During the same year Saif Khan, an agent of Prince Kamran, ruler of Herat, came with presents. In 1829 A.D., emissaries (Vakils) came from Baluchistan with many horses and some war material. After presenting the gifts to the Maharaja, they submitted that Nawab of Bahawalpur had snatched two of their forts situated on the boundary of Dera Ghazi Khan west of the Indus river and they requested the Maharaja for help to recover these forts.

Gifts from the British Government

During 1828 A.D. the Governor General, Lord Amherst, went back to England and presented the gifts given by Ranjit Singh to the King of England. Then the latter also sent some rare gifts from his country for the Maharaja. They included five matchless steeds of British pedigree and an extremely beautiful carriage. Lieutenant Alexander Burns, political agent in Kachchh [formerly Cutch], was deputed to carry these articles to Lahore Darbar by boats on the River Indus.2 Alexander Bums left Mandvi in Kachchh territory for Lahore in five country-made boats on the morning of January 21, 1831 A.D. The Amirs of Sindh opposed the travel of the British Political Agent through their territory, but Ranjit Singh put pressure on them through Diwan Sawan Mai governor of Multan. The British government also made some efforts. Therefore Alexander Bums did not face any difficulty on the way and he reached Bahawalpur during the night of May 27 where he was warmly welcomed and entertained as guest (of the Nawab).

Meeting with the Maharaja

After this, Lieutenant Bums entered the Maharaja's territory. Ranjit Singh sent Sardar Lahena Singh Majithia to receive him. The Majithia Sardar took with him a decorated elephant as conveyance for Bums. On July 17, 1831 A.D., the embassy reached Lahore where it was given a grand reception. Three days later Bums met the Maharaja in the Fort. On this occasion the Lion of Punjab held a grand Darbar. Maharaja's courtiers were well-dressed and ornamented and stood in rows according to their respective ranks. Lieutenant Bums presented to the Maharaja the gifts sent by the British King and a letter expressing cordial sentiments. This letter was enclosed in a beautiful bag and was affixed with royal seal. As soon as the letter was opened a salute was fired from the ramparts of the fort.

Hospitality extended to the Embassy

The Maharaja kept the embassy members with him as his guests for many days, and treated them with generous hospitality and due regard. He conducted Bums through his army at parade and entertained all of them in many ways.3 At the time of departure costly gifts were presented to the members of the embassy which included a bow with inlaid work on it and on the quiver, and a very good horse decorated with Kashmir shawl. Costly robes of honour were also presented.

Departure of the Embassy

On August 21, this embassy left Lahore for Shimla so that the Governor-General who was still at Shimla could be informed about the meeting with the Maharaja and posted with complete information regarding the Indus river route. The embassy also halted enroute at Amritsar where they visited Darbar Sahib.

Occupation of Dera Ghazi Khan

It has already been said that the Maharaja had conquered the trans-Indus region but the governance of these territories had been left in the hands of Afghan governors. Thus Sardar Sultan Mohammad was ruling Peshawar; Dera Isma'il Khan territory constituted the jagir of the Nawab of Mankerah, the administration of Dera Ghazi Khan had been left with the Nawab of Bahawalpur who was paying three hundred-thousand rupees every year for it. Because the territories of Bahawalpur state extended beyond Sutlej river, the Nawab could demand shelter from the British government. While the British embassy was coming to Lahore by the Indus river route, the Maharaja had come to know its real purpose, and he suspected lest he should lose Dera Ghazi Khan territory. Therefore, while Lieutenant Burns was still on his way to Lahore with the gifts, the Maharaja sent General Ventura with a posse to Dera Ghazi Khan. Nawab of Bahawalpore's contract was terminated and Dera Ghazi Khan was formally included in the Sikh kingdom.

Preparation for the Rupar Meeting - October 1831 A.D.

When Lieutenant Burns gave the account of his meeting to the Governor-General, the latter thought of a personal meeting with the Maharaja. Therefore Lord William Bentinck sent Captain Wade to Lahore, who with great insidiousness as well as wisdom made the Maharaja agree to send a formal invitation to the Governor-General for a meeting. Rupar on the bank of river Sutlej was settled as venu for the meeting and October 25 was fixed as its date. Thereafter preparations began on both sides. Countless tents, tent-walls (Kanats) and canopies were erected. Small army detachments arrived from both the sides for guard duty. Gun salute was given as the Maharaja arrived at Rupar, and then Major- General Ramsay and Chief Secretary to the Governor-General came to the Maharaja's camp for customary enquiry about his well-being. After that from the Maharaja's side Prince Kharak Singh, Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, Raja Sangat Singh, Sardar Attar Singh Sandhanwalia, Sardar Sham Singh Attariwala and Raja Gulab Singh went to enquire about the Govemor-General's well-being. Lord William Bentinck received them at the entrance of his tent. He had the Prince sit on his right side. October 26 was fixed as the day of the meeting of the two heads of states.

The Maharaja at Governor-General's Camp

On the following day, nobles, servants and Khalsa army in their respective uniforms of brocade, riding elephants and horses, moved towards the Governor General’s camp. The Governor-General, Commander-in-Chief and secretaries on elephant backs came forward to receive the Maharaja. When the elephants of the two heads of States came side by side, the two shook hands warmly. The Maharaja leaving his elephant went to Gover-General's howdah.4 After that they dismounted and entered the camp hand-in-hand. At the time of departure William Bentink offered to the Maharaja two beautiful horses, a beautiful elephant of Burma and a lot of precious stones.

The Governor-General at Maharaja's Camp

Next day, the Maharaja got a tented pavilion of Kashmir pashmina wool erected on gold and silver poles and decorated the same with a costly carpet. Prince Kharak Singh and Prince Sher Singh went-out for receiving the Governor-General at the appointed hour. The Maharaja was present mounted on his best elephant. As soon as the elephants of the Governor-General and the Maharaja came side by side, the two shook hands lovingly. The Governor-General came over and sat in the Maharaja's howdah. Gun salute was given. Two decorated golden chairs were placed on a throne inlaid with gold on which the Maharaja and the Governor-General were seated. The courtiers presented their respective offerings to the Governor-General; who according to customary gesture only touched them and gave them back. At the time of departure, one hundred and one rolls of shawls, four decorated and equipped horses, two elephants with silver howdahs were presented to the Governor-General which he was pleased to accept.

Ceremonial Dinners

On the third day, a dinner was given in the honour of the Governor- General. Hundreds of varieties of delicious food were got prepared which the British guest enjoyed heartily. On the following day, the Governor-General invited the Maharaja for dinner. All arrangements for hospitality were available. At the dining tent, hundreds of English ladies received the Maharaja. On this occasion, the band, on a hint from the Governor-General, performed such of their feats that the Maharaja greatly admired them.

Military Parade

Next day the Maharaja witnessed a British contingent at parade. At first their artillery demonstrated their skill to see which the Maharaja felt very happy. Later the British officers took the field and began demonstrating their skills. On seeing them, some brave chiefs of the Maharaja also came out. Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, General Ventura, Raja Suchet Singh and General Ilahi Bukhsh, etc., showed such martial skills, that all Englishmen were surprised and wonder struck. Then the Maharaja's own soldierly zeal was also aroused. He got down from the elephant and rode his famous horse Lalli. A roundish jug was placed on the ground. The Maharaja with sword in hand, rode past it and without halting the horse made such cuts on the jug with the point of his sword that a beautiful sign of a flower appeared on the jug. The Governor- General and other British officers on seeing this marshal feat of the Maharaja bit their fingers with astonishing admiration. Then the Governor-General saw Maharaja's army at parade. He was very happy to see the Khalsa artillery in action and the infantry drill.

Back to Lahore

Farewell Darbar was held in the evening on the same day, and on November 1, 1831, the two rulers left for their respective territories. The Maharaja reached Lahore on November 16 via Una and Kapurthala.

Story of Gul Begum - 1832 A.D.

During 1832 A.D. Ranjit Singh admitted a beautiful dancer, Gul Bahar by name, in his seraglio, and remained busy for a time in pleasure- making with her. She was given the title of Gul Begum and her relatives were made rich with gifts and other favours.5

Maladministration in Kashmir

The province of Kashmir had been entrusted to Prince Sher Singh some time back and Diwan Basakha Singh was appointed as revenue officer. But he did not follow the principles of honesty, nor did the Prince seriously attend to the affairs of the state. Consequently news of maladministration in Kashmir began to pour into the ears of the Maharaja.

At this, Ranjit Singh sent Jamadar Khushal Singh, Bhai Gurmukh Singh and Shaikh Ghulam Muhaiyi-ud-Din for improving the state of affairs. But it transpired that these persons too thought it better to suck the poor people's blood.

Famine in Kashmir

In the same year the crops failed in Kashmir and famine broke out which was so severe that thousands of families bade farewell to their motherland and shifted to the Punjab plains and other parts of the country. It appears from the writings of Diwan Amar Nath that such a severe famine had not afflicted Kashmir during the past two centuries. The Maharaja responded to the situation with his proverbial alacrity and took swift measures to open ration depots at different places like Lahore and Amritsar from where the famine-stricken people were provided with food stuffs free of cost. Moreover, thousands of tons of wheat were dispatched to Kashmir from government stores for distribution among the people. The Maharaja also exempted all food supplies sent to Kashmir for famine relief from octroi duty.6

Punishment to Diwan Basakha Singh and Shaikh Ghulam Muhaiy- ud-Din

During the operation famine relief, the Maharaja became suspicious that above two persons had jointly misappropriated government funds. Both were thus committed to punishment. Basakha Singh was brought to Lahore with his feet in chains and four hundred thousand rupees were recovered from him. Regarding Shaikh Ghulam Muhaiy-ud-Din the Maharaja was informed that he had buried money in cash in his house at his birth-place in Hoshiarpur and to avoid suspicion he had got constructed a pseudo grave of his spiritual preceptor over it. This grave was dug-up at the orders of the Maharaja and gold, silver and cash valued at nine hundred thousand rupees was recovered from there, at which the Maharaja sarcastically said to the Shaikh that “his preceptor's worship had not been in vain because his bones had been transformed into gold and silver.”7 The Shaikh was dismissed from service and all that money was deposited in government treasury.

British Trade through Indus River - 1832 A.D.

It has already been said that the object of sending gifts from the British King for the Maharaja, through the Indus river route had been to gather sufficient knowledge of the Indus water way. The British govern­ment wanted to establish trade contacts with Sindh and Afghanistan. The Britishers also considered that if at any time the kings of Russia and Persia might turn their attention towards India, they [the British] would be able to defend their Indian possessions better through Sind and the Indus route. They had kept this aim hidden from Maharaja Ranjit Singh. On the other hand the Lion of Punjab, too, had his eyes fixed on Sindh. He believed that Baluchi soldiers of Sindh will not be able to stand against the Khalsa army even for a moment. The Maharaja was particularly desirous of wresting Shikarpur - a trade centre.

Treaty

On the other hand the Governor-General had met the Maharaja to resolve the Sindh issue, although he did not make a mention of it during the meeting. On October 8, 1831 A.D., Colonel Pottinger set out to establish commercial relations with Amirs of Sindh for which he had to try very hard. But at last he was successful and in April 1832 separate commercial treaties were signed with three7 rulers of Sindh according to which it was decided that Amirs of Sindh would not interfere with commercial vessels of the Britishers and would only collect the settled amount as Octroi.

Treaty with Lahore Darbar

After signing a treaty with the Amirs of Sindh, the Governor- General was keen to have an Indus-Navigation treaty with Ranjit Singh as well. Negotiation were started when the Political Agent at Ludhiana was instructed to visit Lahore in December 1832. Initially, the Maharaja got perplexed on hearing the Governor-General’s plan because he himself wanted to conquer Sindh. Overcoming initial diffidence and uneasiness, he gave in and agreed to sign the treaty on December 26, 1832.

Shah Shuja'-ul-Mulk's Second Attempt to Recover the Throne of Kabul 1833-35 A.D.

The Durrani empire had disintegrated. Kabul, Ghazni and Jalalabad provinces were with the Barakzai chief, Sardar Dost Muhammad Khan; Kandhar was independently ruled by his other brother Sher Dil Khan; and Herat remained with Prince Kamran. Such a scenario, presented an opportunity to Shah Shuja’-ul-Mulk, and an intense desire was aroused within him to regain the throne of Kabul. In 1833 A.D. he marched from

Ludhiana and passing through Malerkotla and Jagraon went to Bahawalpur to seek help from the Nawab of that place. Taking some help from there, he advanced towards Sindh and encamped at Shikarpur from where he started negotiations with the Amirs of Sindh and Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Ranjit Singh promised to give him financial help on the condition that if he succeeded to get the throne of Kabul, he would give up forever his claim over whole of trans-Indus region, i.e. the territories of Peshawar, Bannu, Dera Isma'il Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan, etc., and would acknowledge Ranjit Singh as the dejure and defacto ruler of the whole of that region. The Shah accepted these conditions and the Maharaja sent to him one gun and one hundred thousand rupees in cash. After that the Shah demanded tribute from the Amirs of Sindh because these people had formerly been nazims appointed by Durrani kings. On their refusal, there was a battle between Shah Shujah and the Amir of Hyderabad in which the latter was defeated and the Shah received five hundred thousand rupees from the Amirs of Sindh. Advancing further; the Shah reached Kandhar and Lald siege to the city. Sardar Dost Muhammad Khan, ruler of Kabul hastened to Kandhar to fight against the Shah. The Shah was defeated clearly in January 1834. He ran away towards Seistan and from there, after bearing many adversities, returned to India.

Sikh Governor at Peshawar

As stated earlier, the Maharaja had given Peshawar region to Sultan Mohammad Khan Barakzai and received annual tribute from him. Because the Maharaja had always entertained a certain amount of trepidation from Afghanistan side, therefore he thought it proper to annex Peshawar when Dost Mohd. Khan and Shah Shujah were engaged in conflict. In April 1834, a large army was sent to Peshawar under the command of the famous Sikh General; Hari Singh Nalwa. Kanwar Nau Nihal Singh was named as Commander-in-Chief for this expedition. On the arrival of the Khalsa force at Peshawar, Sardar Sultan Mohammad Khan and his brother Pir Mohammad Khan vacated the city and the Maharaja's forces occupied Peshawar without a skirmish. Kanwar Nau Nihal Singh was appointed the first Sikh governor of Peshawar after its annexation.

Dost Muhammad Khan's attack on Peshawar

When Dost Muhammad Khan, ruler of Kabul, came to know that his brothers had surrendered Peshawar, he became furious and marched from Kabul at the head of a large army. Crossing the Khaibar Pass he encamped near Peshawar and got busy with arousing the Afghans for a Jehad (religious war) against the Sikhs. When the Maharaja received this news, he at once set-out from Lahore. Although he was then fifty five years old and his health was weak, yet he proceeded at double the speed with continuous marches and soon reached Peshawar.9 Dost Muhammad Khan learnt about the state of Maharaja's preparations, and got perplexed. Unable to do anything, he committed a shameful act. He detained the Maharaja's two envoys, Mr. Harlan and Faqir Aziz-ud-Din, who had gone to Dost Mohd’s camp for negotiations, and took them to Jalalabad. Faqir Aziz-ud-Din was a shrewd and sagacious statesman. He on that occasion acted with great wisdom. He tackled Dost Muhammad Khan both with threats as well as advice and secured his release. The Maharaja had great regard for Faqir Aziz-ud-Din and if Dost Muhammad had not released him and returned to Kabul, it was possible that the Maharaja would have punished him severely for for this unbecoming act.10

Administration of Peshawar

The Maharaja now made a firm resolve to bring the administrative set up at Peshawar under his direct control. He ordered the raising of two new forts on the frontier-Machni and Sikh Dheri (now these forward posts are known as Shankargarh) and entrusted this task to Hari Singh Nalwa." He was also asked to look after the defence arrangements at Peshawar, whereas the revenue administration was placed under the charge of Raja Gulab Singh. In order to appease Sultan Mohammad and Pir Mohammad Khan (both brothers of Dost Mohd. Khan) and to ensure their loyalty, the Maharaja granted jagirs worth yearly income of rupees three hundred thousand rupees to each of them in Kohat and Hashtnagar in addition to a territory worth twenty five thousand in Doaba. Many other chiefs also received jagirs and prizes.

Conquest of Ladakh - 1834 A.D.

The hilly tract around Jammu was under Raja Gulab Singh's administration. Gulab Singh was by nature a far-sighted person. He consolidated his position within a short period and siezing a favourable opportunity sent a large army commanded by Zorawar Singh towards

Ladakh. Crossing hilly ranges via Kishtwar, Zorawar Singh reached Suru river valley where some skirmishes took place with the Ladakh forces. After two month long intermittent clashes, the ruler of Ladakh gave in and agreed to pay tribute. Ladakh remains a part of the State of Kashmir till today.

Kanwar Nau Nihal Singh's Wedding - March 1837

Kanwar Nau Nihal Singh was to be married to the daughter of Sardar Sham Singh Attariwala. The Maharaja's power was at its zenith in those days. Therefore this marriage was celebrated with great pomp and show accompanied by gorgeous festivities. Invitations were extended to the Maharajas and Rajas of far off places besides, Governor-General of India and many high British officials. Commander-in-Chief of the British army Sir Henery Fane and his wife also came to join the celebra­tions. The arrangements for hospitality extended to the guests were of a high order. Facilities of every kind were made available for comfort of the guests. At the time of the departure of the marriage party, all the honoured guests rode on decorated elephants. The Maharaja got a money­bag containing two thousand rupees placed on each of the elephants for distribution to the orphans and the poor by the members of the marriage party (Baratis). Every one who joined the marriage party, from servants to the highest officers of the Sikh government and the guests were dressed in glittering costumes. Beggars from every corner of the kingdom and even beyond gathered in hundreds of thousands and received alms while standing on both the sides of the road. Gold coins (Ashrafis) and rupees were being showered over their heads. McGregor writes that more than twelve hundred thousand rupees were given away in alms to the poor. Other historians estimate the figure at twenty two hundred thousand rupees. In fact this amount was in no case less than two million rupees.12

Sardar Sham Singh, too, left no stone unturned in the entertainment of the marriage party. Each guest was provided with all the necessary facilities according to his status and rank. Members of the marriage party were entertained by lancers (neza baz), swordsmen and gymnasts. Dowry included eleven elephants, one hundred horses, one-hundred camels, one hundred cows, one hundred buffaloes, five hundred Kashmiri shawls, countless precious stones, gems, jewels, and a large sum in cash. The honoured guests were given costly dresses. Sardar Sham Singh spent one and a half million rupees on this marriage.13 In short,Kanwar Nau Nihal Singh's wedding turned out to be a memorable event in history of the Punjab when people as a whole got enriched and became happy.

Battle of Jamrud - April 1837

The appointment of a Sikh Governor at Peshawar became a constant irritant for Dost Mohammad Khan, the ruler of Kabul. During 1835, he made an unsuccessful attempt to take back Peshawar. Then he tried to seek help from the British. When his conspirator gestures did not get positive response from that side, he decided to fight Ranjit Singh once again. When Hari Singh Nalwa learnt about Dost Mohd's plans, he further strengthened his advance posts at the Khaibar Pass. A bloody battle was fought between the Afghans and the Sikhs at Jamrud in April 1836. The brave Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, on horseback; was running around in the field of battle to enthuse and encourage his soldiers when he was hit by an enemy bullet that caused his instant death. The Khalsa army was dumb struck at this heart-rending tragedy and it was forced to retreat and entrench itself in the fort of Jamrud. On hearing this news the Maharaja, immediately set-out towards Peshawar with a strong force. He soon reached Rohtas by forced marches where he caught up with the Khalsa army under Raja Dhian Singh which had been sent earlier. Now the army was ordered to move at double the speed, carrying heavy guns with them. They reached Peshawar covering more than two hundred miles (320 kms.) in a short period of six days. Sighting the arrival of huge reinforcements, the Afghans were disheartened and thought it wise to find their way back to Kabul.

Invasion on Kabul by Sikhs and the British

This was Dost Muhammad's last attempt to recover Peshawar by force of arms. In 1838, the British desired to establish cordial relation with Dost Mohd. Khan with a view to forestall any Russian adventure in this region. Dost Muhammad demanded, British help to recover Peshawar from Ranjit Singh in return for any such understanding. The British could not afford to estrange relations with Ranjit Singh. Therefore the negotiations with Dost Muhammad were called off and instead they formulated a plan to bring Shah Shuja’-ul-Mulk back on the throne of Kabul. Ranjit Singh became ready to get associated with the plan subject to the condition that the Shah after becoming the King of Kabul would give up his claim on the trans-Indus territory forever. Thereafter Shah Shuja' and the British army, proceeding through Bahawalpur, Sind and the Bolan Pass, attacked Kabul to dethrone Dost Muhammad Khan. This war is known in history as Afghanistan War.14

Death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh - June 27, 1839

The War in Afghanistan was still in progress, when Maharaja Ranjit Singh suddenly fell ill. In fact the Maharaja had been ailing since five years, but his strong will and resistance of the body had kept the last moment at bay. He had suffered the first attack of paralysis in 1834 from which he survived providentially. After that, the Maharaja entrusted some responsibilities of state administration to his wise minister; Raja Dhian Singh. Yet, the anxiety of the Maharaja about the vast kingdom and the burden of single-handed administration caused constant deterioration of his health. He fell seriously ill during April 1839. This time he himself got despaired of his life. He held a Darbar during the third week of May which was attended by all the officers of his kingdom. The Maharaja declared his eldest son, Prince Kharak Singh as his successor and the anointment ceremony was performed. All those present in the Darbar, offered tributes to the crown prince. Raja Dhian Singh was appointed his minister. Copies of the proclamation to this effect were sent to all governors and military officers.15 This was the last Darbar held during the Maharaja's life time. After that his disease grew day after day and at last he passed away from this mortal world in the evening of Thursday, June 27.

Cremation Rites of the Maharaja - June 28, 1839

On the following day cremation rites of the Maharaja were performed with great éclat. Thousands of people of the surrounding areas gathered, group after group, to participate in the last rites of their beloved Maharaja. The Maharaja's hearse was made in the shape of a ship and was decorated in a royal fashion. It was carried through main bazars of Lahore. As the funeral procession moved, thousands of rupees were thrown over and across it as sacrifice. Munshi Sohan Lal writes that the people loved the Maharaja so much that those accompanying the hearse were crying profusely. The dead body of the Maharaja was consigned to flames of fire on the bank of river Ravi. Exactly at that time the artillery fired its last salute to the Maharaja from the fort. Many queens and maid servants committed sati on the funeral pyre of the Maharaja.

New Period of Khalsa's History

An important chapter in the history of the Khalsa came to an end with the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Ranjit Singh rose from a small village of Punjab and established a splendid Sikh state covering not only the Punjab proper but also the surrounding territories of Kashmir, Ladakh, Peshawar and Jamrud. Ranjit Singh was a unique personality of his times. He had commenced his life in the conditions not so favourable, but within a short period he gathered such a strength which spread Khalsa's fame in all the four directions. At the time of his death Ranjit Singh left for his successor a vast kingdom, a massive trained army and a treasury filled with cash and com. Ranjit Singh, with his personal efforts, left an example of a high degree for future generations of the Khalsa. It is the result of his endeavours that the Sikhs today find themselves a cohesive and well-knit community and demand their political rights from the government on the basis of that, the Sikh state. We shall talk about Ranjit Singh's administration of his kingdom and about his personal qualities in the next chapter. Here it is sufficient to state that during the nineteenth century no other person was born in our country who could match Ranjit Singh.

Notes & References

  1.  Ranjit Singh liked this canopy so much that he forthwith sent it to Darbar Sahib Amritsar where it is preserved in the Toshakhana till today — [Bhai Prem Singh (Hoti)].

This canopy was destroyed in the Operation Blue Star in 1984 - Editor.

  1.  British government's purpose was not only to send gifts to the Maharaja though Bums but also to get information as to how far the River Indus was navigable.
  2.  At the request of Burns the Maharaja showed him his precious stones. On seeing the world- famous diamond “Koh-i-Noor”, Bums and his colleagues were wonder struck. They also saw a ruby on which the names of many kings were inscribed out of which the names of Aurangzeb and Ahmad Shah Abdali were clearly legible. See Burns ’ Travels into Bokhara.
  3.  It is said that the Maharaja had taken two apples with him, because there was some doubt in his mind regarding the Governor-General. His astrologers had told him that he should offer two apples to the Governor-General. If he happily accepted them, there would be no danger. The Governor-General very happily accepted both the apples. Diwan Amar Nath also gives a hint about this, he writes: “The two apples which had been in the holy hands received mercy from the brave and handsome Lord.” — Zafarnamah, page 208.
  4.  Diwan Amar Nath and Munshi Sohan Lal have described this story in detail in their books. See Zafarnamah, pp. 210-218 and Umdat-ut-Twarikh Daftar II, Chapter three, pp. 149-151.
  5.  For detail see Zafarnamah-i-Ranjit Singh, pp. 224-223, Umdat-ut-Twarikh, Daftar II, Chapter Three, page 182.
  6.  Zafarnamah, page 228.
  7.  The whole territory of present province Sindh in those days comprised of three major principalities. In the south was the state of Haiderabad and in the North was Khairpur, and between these two was the State of Mirpur.
  8.  “Dost Muhammad Khan in the capital Kabul raised the cry of crusade. The exalted King [Ranjit Singh] also said in this context : “I have become old but my heart is yet young." He rode his sportive and wind-paced horse, and continuously marching reached Peshawar and attacked that one with the nature of jackal and fox —” Zafarnamah-i-Ranjit Singh, page 230.
  9.  On hearing the news of the imprisonment of his ambassadors, the Maharaja took a vow “I shall not go back to Lahore until I have not quenched the thirst of my sword with the blood of one thousand Afghans for one Aziz-ud-Din.” But Aziz-ud-Din by his entreaties was able to hold the Maharaja back from this resolve.
  10.  It appears that the Maharaja had planned to settle a few Sikh families in the frontier region. Several new villages were laid-out for this purpose; e.g. Shergarh, Sikkhon Ki Dheri, Chak Khalsa. These villages are extant till today. Further extension of this plan was abandoned after the death of the Maharaja. See Bhai (Baba) Prem Singh (Hoti). Maharaja Ranjit Singh .
  11.  The Maharaja received six hundred and fifty thousand rupees by way of wedding gifts (Tamhol or Shagan) in cash. For its details see Umdat-ut-Twarikh, Daftar III, Chapter Three.
  12.  Sir Lepel Griffin, Punjab Chiefs, Volume I, page 242; and Umdat-ut-Twarikh, Daftar III, Part II, page 377.
  13.  On this occasion Maharaja Ranjit Singh did not give passage to the British army to pass through his territory. That is why these forces had to take longer route via Bolan pass.

 For details see Umdat-ut-Twarikh, Daftar III, Part V, page, 147-148.