Maharaja Ranjit Singh: the Sikh Ruler, in the Eyes of Non-Sikhs

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  • Topic: Sikh, Ranjit Singh, Punjab region
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  • Published : October 8, 1999
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According to the famous historian Carlyle, a worthy sovereign should be judged from a sole factor as to how he employs his sword after being victorious.
Le Griffin writes that:

"Maharaja Ranjit Singh ruled his kingdom exactly according to the Sikh way of life and Sikhism considers everyone as friends and talks about the welfare of all irrespective of caste and creed."


The spirit of Gurbani couplet, "The one Lord is the Father of all and we are the children of the one Lord rules supreme in every Sikh heart." Charles Hugal, writes in his book, "Travels in Kashmir and Punjab", that, "probably no person in the world could have established such a large empire with minimum bloodshed as Ranjit Singh has established his kingdom."


Affirming Hugal's views, Prinsep, also writes in his book, "Origin of Sikh Power in Punjab", that, "Ranjit Singh's whole career was free of any blemishes like unnecessary atrocities and cruel bloodshed."


Historian R.S. Kanungo praising all the aspects of the Kingdom of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, in his writings says, "his empire was the kingdom for 'Welfare for All', in which all were equal sharing partners. In his kingdom there was no special love for Sikhs and no animosity for non-Sikhs. There were no special taxes on any caste to show it down from the other or to label it inferior."


W.G. Osborne writes that, "Maharaja Ranjit Singh was so compassionate that outside a battle he did not kill anyone, so much so that in generosity he even forgave those who tried to kill him and felt happiness in forgiving."


Charles Hugal in his book, "The Court and Camp of Ranjit Singh", writes that, "Ranjit Singh ruled his kingdom according to the Sikh tenets. All the important positions were given to Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, entirely based on merit. Even his main advisors were three famous Muslim brothers: Fakir Aziz-ud-Din, his foreign minister; Fakir Nur-ud-Din, his home minister; Fakir Imam-ud-Din, his custodian of the arsenals. Forty-six senior Army officers and two top ranking Generals were Muslims.

One General was French and score of military officers were Europeans. In police and civil services he has about one hundred Muslim officers alone. Hindus too, used to hold many key positions in Sarkar-e-Khalsa. Ranjit Singh was secular through-and-through.

Since he had lost his one eye in childhood, due to small pox, he used to remark jokingly about himself that,
"God Willed that as a true Sikh I should look upon all religions with one eye"."

Sayyed Waheed-ud-Din, the great grandson of Fakir Aziz-ud-Din writes,
"On one occasion
, Maharaja and Fakir were out walking on the outskirts of Lahore when they met a bullock cart carrying what looked like a huge book. The Maharaja stopped the cart and asked the driver, what he was carrying.

"Maharaja", replied the driver, "I am a calligraphist and this book is a manuscript of the Holy Quran, which is my entire life's work. I am on my way to Hyderabad to sell it to the Muslim king of that country.

Turning to Fakir Aziz-ud-Din the Maharaja said,

"This man seems to think that there is nobody on this side of Hyderabad who is pious and generous enough to pay him a good price". He then asked the calligraphist, "How much are you expecting my good man?"

The calligraphist mentioned a huge sum of Rs. 10,000. Before the minister could intervene, Ranjit Singh commanded,
"Fakir ji, please see to it that this man is paid ten thousand rupees from the state treasury." He then asked Fakir Aziz-ud-Din to read him a passage from the manuscript. Fakir read Sura 'Yusaf' and then translated it.

"But Fakir ji," remarked the Maharaja, "The Great Granth says the same kind...
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