RANJIT SINGH: Lion of Punjab

RANJIT SINGH: Lion of Punjab

Author: roderick matthews Write To Author

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RANJIT SINGH: LION OF PUNJAB: Achievement and Legacy - Kindle eBook by Roderick Matthews


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Achievement and Legacy


Kindle eBook by

Roderick Matthews



ONLY available as Kindle eBook @ 


© 2008 All Rights Reserved

ONLY US$2.99


As British rule spread across the Indian subcontinent in the first years of the nineteenth century, one area in the north-west remained apart, independent and untroubled by the new empire builders. In 1803 General Lake captured Delhi for the British, but he then halted on the line of the Jamuna river, uncertain how to proceed. The Marathas to the south and south-west were still unconquered, and the Punjab, lying beyond the Jamuna, was an open territory containing a problematic geography of hills and rivers, inhabited by a highly heterogeneous mix of peoples, all of whom were inured to armed struggle.


There were Sikhs, Rajputs and Pathans in the centre, with hill tribes, Gurkhas, Sindis and Afghans all around its edges. There was no good reason to push on, and the Punjab remained unmolested. In the years immediately prior to the British arrival one man had arisen from the religious and ethnic crucible of the Punjab. Ranjit Singh, a local petty chieftain of Jat farming stock, had climbed steadily to a position of unchallenged personal authority over the central area of the Punjab, setting himself up in Lahore and declaring himself Maharaja in 1801. He was to go on, over the next thirty-eight years, to build a dominion that abutted China, Afghanistan, Sind (still then independent) and British India.


This was a man who truly filled a power vacuum, largely by his own merits as a campaigner, diplomat and ruler. It was his instinctive ability to understand the currency of power that first gave Ranjit Singh his hegemony and then allowed him to keep it for four decades during some of the most turbulent times in South Asian history, throughout which he remained sandwiched between the formidable and acquisitive might of the British to his south and east, and the unstable and deadly world of Afghan politics to his north and west.


This eBook examines how he came to build such a successful state in such a dangerous corner of the world, and how his successors proved unable to sustain his work, swiftly losing the autonomy he had bequeathed to them.


Roderick Matthews, Historian, Obtained a First from Balliol College, Oxford in Modern History. Studied Medieval History under Maurice Keen. Studied Tudor and Stuart History under Christopher Hill, Master of Balliol College. Studied European History under Colin Lucas, later Master of Balliol College and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University. Studied Imperial History under Professor Paul Longford, Rector of Lincoln College. Roderick Matthews has written a number of eBooks on Indian and British history published by IdeaIndia.Com



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