Watercolour painting with a pen and ink border of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780 –1839). He is seated on a European chair, facing to the right. He holds a flower in his right hand and a piece of cloth in his left hand. His right leg is bent and rests on his left knee whilst his left foot rests on a stool. He wears decorated clothing and lavish jewellery on his turban.
© The Trustees of the British Museum
Maharaja Ranjit Singh is well-known for the golden beautification of the Harmandir Sahib gurudwara famously known as the Golden Temple. He is also known as the Sher-e-Punjab for his bravery and is respected as one of the most revered heroes in the Indian history.
He was born on November 13, 1780 and on the 235th birth anniversary of the founder of the Sikh empire, we have collected some amazing facts you should definitely know:
At a very young age of 17, Ranjit Singh failed Zaman Shah Durrani’s invasion to India
Zaman Shah Durrani was defeated by Ranjit Singh in the Battle of Amritsar (1797), Battle of Gujrat (1797) and Battle of Amritsar (1798)
As a Child suffered from smallpox which resulted in the loss of one eye
Ranjit Singh first founght in a battle when he was only 10
Singh captured Lahore in the year 1799 which is also considered as the turning point of the Sikh Empire.
He was crowned Maharaja in 1801 at the age of 20
The Sikh Empire, also known as Punjab, was a region spanning the border into modern-day People’s Republic of China and Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Under his tenure, the Sikh Empire was very secular since it allowed men from different religions other than its own to rise to commanding positions of authority
His army even included a few Europeans. However, the British were not allowed to join it as it was believed that they have a very inconsistent nature
In his empire, none of the subjects were discriminated against on account of their religions. He never forced Sikhism on non-Sikhs and respected all the religions
The golden part of the Golden Temple and some of the intricate marble work was done under the aid of Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Maharaja Ranjit Singh is remembered for the possession of the Koh-i-Noor diamond, which was taken from by Shuja Shah Durrani of Afghanistan
In 2003, an 22-foot tall bronze statue of Singh was installed in the Parliament of India in his honour.
Originally published by India Today and adapted by SMI