Maharaja Ranjit Singh was a renowned leader of the Sikh Empire. He was an icon in Punjab’s history, who ruled the northwest Indian subcontinent in the early half of the 19th century. During his childhood days, Ranjit Singh survived smallpox in infancy resulting in losing sight in his left eye. But that did not stop him from becoming the most revered hero known for his leadership.
Recognized as Sher-e-Punjab (Lion of Punjab), his death anniversary falls on 27 June.
Among the many accolades and laurels, Ranjit Singh is known for the golden beautification of the Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib Gurdwara) which is in Amritsar, according to India Today.
On the occasion of his death anniversary, here are a few facts about the iconic leader who led Sikh Empire:
- Ranjit Singh was born on 13 November in the year 1780 in Gujranwala, a region of Punjab (now in Pakistan). At the young age of 10, he fought in a battle with bravery and valour.
- At 17, he and his army fought against the king of Afghanistan Zaman Shah Durrani and foiled his invasion of India. But that did not stop Durrani from attacking again. He was again defeated by Ranjit Singh in the Battle of Amritsar, Battle of Gujarat (both in 1797), and another Battle of Amritsar (1798).
- At the age of 20, he was crowned as Maharaja in 1801. Before being crowned as a king, Ranjit Singh captured Lahore in the year 1799. This big conquest is considered as the turning point for the Sikh Empire and its reign over the nation
- Ranjit Singh had 20 wives and the famous queens included Rani Mahtab Kaur, Rani Raj Kaur, Ranji Ratan Kaur, Rani Daya Kaur, and Maharani Jind Kaur. He only accepted Kharak Singh and Duleep Singh as his biological sons from the eight children that he had
- The Sikh Empire was very secular under Ranjit Singh’s rule as it allowed men from different religions and backgrounds to join his army. His army included a few Europeans too. He never forced Sikhism on anyone and respected all religions.
- The Sikh army faced defeat in the first Anglo-Sikh War. Under the terms of the Treaty of Lahore and the Treaty of Bhyroval, the British East India Company took over making all major decisions.
- Ranjit Singh passed away on 27 June, 1839