|Birth Day:||November 13, 1780|
|Death Date:||Jun 27, 1839 (age 58)|
|Birth Place:||Gujranwala, Pakistan|
As per our current Database, Ranjit Singh died on Jun 27, 1839 (age 58).
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During his rise to power, he took over Lahore from the Bhangi Misl.
Ranjit Singh was born on 13 November 1780, to Maha Singh Sukerchakia and Raj Kaur – the daughter of Raja Gajpat Singh of Jind, in Gujranwala, in the Majha region of Punjab (now in Pakistan). Several different clans have claimed Ranjit Singh as their own. His grand-daughters - the daughters of his son Duleep Singh - believed that their true ancestors belonged to the Sandhawalia family of Rajasansi. Ranjit Singh has been described as "Sansi" in some records, which has led to claims by some scholars that he belonged to the so-called low-caste Sansi tribe. According to other claims he may have belonged to a Jaat gotra named Sansi; the Sandhawalias, who claimed Rajput descent, belonged to the same gotra.
In 1783, Ranjit Singh established a crafts colony of Thatheras near Amritsar and encouraged skilled metal crafters from Kashmir to settle in Jandiala Guru. In the year 2014, this traditional craft of making brass and copper products got enlisted on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. The Government of Punjab is now working under Project Virasat to revive this craft.
His second marriage was to, Datar Kaur (Born Raj Kaur) the youngest daughter of Sardar Ran Singh Nakai, the third ruler of Nakai Misl, and sister of Sardar Gyan Singh Nakai. Their engagement was set by Datar Kaur's eldest brother, Sardar Bhagwan Singh in 1784, to gain a political ally. Ranjit Singh to consolidate his position further made offers to the Nakai chief, Sardar Gyan Singh and the couple married in 1798. In 1801, she became the mother of Ranjit Singh's son and heir apparent, Kharak Singh. As Raj Kaur also being the name of Ranjit Singh's mother, she took the name of Datar Kaur because according to Punjabi Tradition, one cannot have the same name as the elders of the family. Datar Kaur took interest in political affairs, and is said to have advised her husband in important stately matters. She even accompanied her son, Kharak Singh when he was sent out on an expedition to Multan in 1818. Throughout her life she remained Ranjit Singh's favorite and he fondly addressed her as Mai Nakain. Like his first marriage, the second marriage brought him a strategic military alliance. His second wife died on 20 June 1818.
Ranjit Singh's fame grew in 1797, at age 17, when the Afghan Muslim ruler Shah Zaman, of the Ahmad Shah Abdali dynasty, attempted to annex Panjab region into his control through his general Shahanchi Khan and 12,000 soldiers. The battle was fought in the territory that fell in Ranjit Singh controlled misl, whose regional knowledge and warrior expertise helped resist the invading army. This victory gained him recognition. In 1798, the Afghan ruler sent in another army, which Ranjit Singh did not resist. He let them enter Lahore, then encircled them with his army, blocked off all food and supplies, burnt all crops and food sources that could have supported the Afghan army. Much of the Afghan army retreated back to Afghanistan.
At age 15, Ranjit Singh married his first wife Mehtab Kaur, the only daughter of Gurbaksh Singh Kanhaiya and his wife Sada Kaur, and the granddaughter of Jai Singh Kanhaiya, the founder of the Kanhaiya Misl. This marriage was pre-arranged in an attempt to reconcile warring Sikh misls, wherein Mahtab Kaur was betrothed to Ranjit Singh. However, the marriage failed, with Mehtab Kaur never forgiving the fact that her father had been killed by Ranjit Singh's father and she mainly lived with her mother after marriage. The separation became complete when Ranjit Singh married Datar Kaur of the Nakai Misl in 1798. Mehtab Kaur died in 1813.
In 1799, Raja Ranjit Singh's army of 25,000 Khalsa, supported by another 25,000 Khalsa led by his mother-in-law Rani Sada Kaur of Kanhaiya misl, in a joint operation attacked the region controlled by Bhangi Sikhs centered around Lahore. The rulers escaped, marking Lahore as the first major conquest of Ranjit Singh. The Sufi Muslim and Hindu population of Lahore welcomed the rule of Ranjit Singh. In 1800, the ruler of Jammu region ceded control of his region to Ranjit Singh.
In 1801, Ranjit Singh proclaimed himself as the "Maharaja of Punjab", and agreed to a formal investiture ceremony, which was carried out by Baba Sahib Singh Bedi - a descendant of Guru Nanak. On the day of his coronation, prayers were performed across mosques, temples and gurudwaras in his territories for his long life. Ranjit Singh called his rule as "Sarkar Khalsa", and his court as "Darbar Khalsa". He ordered new coins to be issued in the name of Guru Nanak named the "NanakShahi" ("of the Emperor Nanak").
His other wives include Moran Sarkar in 1802, Chand Kaur in 1815, Lakshmi in 1820, Mehatab Kaur in 1822, Saman Kaur in 1832, as well as Guddan, Banso, Gulbahar, Gulab, Ram Devi, Rani, Bannat, Har and Danno before his final marriage to Jind Kaur.
In 1802, Ranjit Singh married Moran Sarkar, a Muslim nautch girl. This action, and other non-Sikh activities of the Maharaja, upset orthodox Sikhs, including the Nihangs, whose leader Akali Phula Singh was the Jathedar of the Akal Takht. When Ranjit Singh visited Amritsar, he was called outside the Akal Takht, where he was made to apologise for his mistakes. Akali Phula Singh took Ranjit Singh to a tamarind tree in front of the Akal Takht and prepared to punish him by flogging. Then Akali Phula Singh asked the nearby Sikh pilgrims whether they approved of Ranjit Singh's apology. The pilgrims responded with Sat Sri Akal and Ranjit Singh was released and forgiven.
In 1802 Ranjit Singh, aged 22, took Amritsar from the Bhangi Sikh misl, paid homage at the Harmandir Sahib temple, which had previously been attacked and desecrated by the invading Afghan army, and announced that he would renovate and rebuild it with marble and gold.
On 1 January 1806, Ranjit Singh signed a treaty with the British officials of the East India Company, in which he agreed that his Sikh forces would not attempt to expand south of the Sutlej river, and the Company agreed that it would not attempt to militarily cross the Sutlej river into the Sikh territory.
In 1807, Ranjit Singh's forces attacked the Muslim ruled Kasur and, after a month of fierce fighting in the Battle of Kasur defeated the Afghan chief Qutb-ud-Din, thus expanding his empire northwest towards Afghanistan. He took Multan in 1818, and the whole Bari Doab came under his rule with that conquest. In 1819, he successfully defeated the Afghan Sunni Muslim rulers and annexed Srinagar and Kashmir, stretching his rule into the north and the Jhelum valley, beyond the foothills of the Himalayas.
Ratan Kaur and Daya Kaur were wives of Sahib Singh Bhangi of Gujrat (a misl north of Lahore, not to be confused the state of Gujarat). After Sahib Singh's death, Ranjit Singh took them under his protection in 1811 by marrying them via the rite of chādar andāzī, in which a cloth sheet was unfurled over each of their heads. Ratan Kaur had a son Multana Singh in 1819, and Daya Kaur had two sons Kashmira Singh and Pashaura Singh in 1821.
The most significant encounters between the Sikhs in the command of the Maharaja and the Afghans were in 1813, 1823, 1834 and in 1837. In 1813, Ranjit Singh's general Dewan Mokham Chand led the Sikh forces against the Afghan forces of Shah Mahmud led by Dost Mohammad Khan. The Afghans lost their stronghold at Attock in that battle.
In 1818, Darbar's forces led by Misr Dewan Chand occupied Multan, killing Muzaffar Khan and defeating his forces, leading to the end of Afghan influence in the Punjab.
In July 1818, an army from the Punjab defeated Jabbar Khan, a younger brother of governor of Kashmir Azim Khan, and acquired Kashmir, along with a yearly revenue of Rs seventy lacs. Dewan Moti Ram was appointed governor of Kashmir.
In November 1819, Dost Mohammed accepted the sovereignty of the Maharaja over Peshawar, along with a revenue payment of Rs one lac a year. The Maharaja specifically ordered his forces not to harass or molest any civilian. In 1820 and 1821, Dera Ghazi Khan, Hazara and Mankera, with huge tracts of land between Jhelum and Indus, Singh Sagar Daob, were also annexed. The victories of Kashmir, Peshwar and Multan were celebrated by naming three newborns after them. Prince Kashmira Singh, Peshaura Singh and Prince Multana Singh were born to Daya Kaur and Ratan Kaur, wives of Ranjit Singh.
In 1823, Yusufzai Pashtuns fought the army of Ranjit Sing north of the Kabul River.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh allowed men from different religions and races to serve in his army and his government in various positions of authority. His army included a few Europeans, such as Jean-François Allard, but he did not employ British people, who were attempting to create a colony in the Indian subcontinent. Despite not employing them, he did maintain a diplomatic channel with the British; in 1828, he sent gifts to George IV and in 1831, he sent a mission to Simla to confer with the British Governor General, William Bentinck; while in 1838, he cooperated with them in removing the hostile Islamic Sultan in Afghanistan.
In 1834, Mohammed Azim Khan once again marched towards Peshawar with an army of 25,000 Khattak and Yasufzai tribesmen in the name of jihad, to fight against infidels. The Maharaja defeated the forces. Yar Mohammad was pardoned and was reinvested as governor of Peshawar with an annual revenue of Rs one lac ten thousand to Lahore Darbar.
Jind Kaur was the final spouse of Ranjit Singh. Her father, Manna Singh Aulakh, extolled her virtues to Ranjit Singh, who was concerned about the frail health of his only heir, Kharak Singh. The Maharaja married her in 1835 by 'sending his arrow and sword to her village'. On 6 September 1838 she gave birth to Duleep Singh, who became the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire.
The army under Ranjit Singh was not limited to the Sikh community. The soldiers and troop officers included Sikhs, but also included Hindus, Muslims and Europeans. Hindu Brahmins and people of all creeds and castes served his army, while the composition in his government also reflected a religious diversity. His army included Polish, Russian, Spanish, Prussian and French officers. In 1835, as his relationship with the British warmed up, he hired a British officer named Foulkes.
In 1837, the Battle of Jamrud, became the last confrontation between the Sikhs led by him and the Afghans, which displayed the extent of the western boundaries of the Sikh Empire.
On 25 November 1838, the two most powerful armies on the Indian subcontinent assembled in a grand review at Ferozepore as Ranjit Singh, the Maharajah of the Punjab brought out the Dal Khalsa to march alongside the sepoy troops of the East India Company and the British troops in India. In 1838, he agreed to a treaty with the British viceroy Lord Auckland to restore Shah Shoja to the Afghan throne in Kabul. In pursuance of this agreement, the British army of the Indus entered Afghanistan from the south, while Ranjit Singh’s troops went through the Khyber Pass and took part in the victory parade in Kabul.
In the 1830s, Ranjit Singh suffered from numerous health complications as well as a stroke, which some historical records attribute to alcoholism and a failing liver. He died in his sleep on 27 June 1839. Four of his Hindu wives, and seven Hindu concubines with royal titles committed sati by voluntarily placing themselves onto his funeral pyre as an act of devotion.
Singh is remembered for uniting Sikhs and founding the prosperous Sikh Empire. He is also remembered for his conquests and building a well-trained, self-sufficient Khalsa army to protect the empire. He amassed considerable wealth, including gaining the possession of the Koh-i-Noor diamond from Shuja Shah Durrani of Afghanistan, which he left to Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha in 1839.
The Muslim accounts of Ranjit Singh's rule were questioned by Sikh historians of the same era. For example, Ratan Singh Bhangu in 1841 wrote that these accounts were not accurate, and according to Anne Murphy, he remarked, "when would a Musalman praise the Sikhs?" In contrast, the colonial era British military officer Hugh Pearse in 1898 criticised Ranjit Singh's rule, as one founded on "violence, treachery and blood". Sohan Seetal disagrees with this account and states that Ranjit Singh had encouraged his army to respond with a "tit for tat" against the enemy, violence for violence, blood for blood, plunder for plunder.
Ranjit Singh married many times, in various ceremonies, and had twenty wives. Some scholars note that the information on Ranjit Singh's marriages is unclear, and there is evidence that he had many mistresses. According to Khushwant Singh in an 1889 interview with the French journal Le Voltaire, his son Dalip (Duleep) Singh remarked, "I am the son of one of my father's forty-six wives".
Currently, Ranjit Singh is 240 years, 8 months and 15 days old. Ranjit Singh will celebrate 241st birthday on a Saturday 13th of November 2021.
Find out about Ranjit Singh birthday activities in timeline view here.