- Town:Phillaur, Punjab
- Rider(s):Ranjit Singh
(1780 –1839) was the leader of the Sikh Empire, which ruled the northwest Indian subcontinent in the early half of the 19th century. He survived smallpox in infancy but lost sight in his left eye. He fought his first battle alongside his father at age 10. After his father died, he was proclaimed as the “Maharaja of Punjab” at age 21. His empire grew in the Punjab region under his leadership through 1839. Prior to his rise, the Punjab region had numerous warring misls (confederacies), twelve of which were under Sikh rulers and one Muslim. Ranjit Singh successfully absorbed and united the Sikh misls and took over other local kingdoms to create the Sikh Empire. He defeated invasions by outside armies, particularly those arriving from Afghanistan, and established friendly relations with the British. Ranjit Singh’s reign introduced reforms, modernisation, investment into infrastructure and general prosperity. His Khalsa army and government included Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and Europeans.
His legacy includes a period of Sikh cultural and artistic renaissance, including the rebuilding of the Harmandir Sahib (the Golden Temple) in Amritsar. He was popularly known as Sher-e-Punjab, or “Lion of Punjab”.
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