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Ranjit Singh’s 169th death anniversary

Around 300 Indian Sikh pilgrims will arrive at Wagah Border on a special train today (Saturday) to attend the 169th death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh belonged to a Jat family and was born in 1780 in Gujranwala. Ranjit Singh succeeded his father at the age of 12. After several war campaigns, his rivals accepted him as their leader and he united the Sikh factions into one large state.

Ranjit Singh took the title of maharaja on April 12, 1801 (coincided with Baisakhi Day). Lahore had been the capital of his empire since 1799.

Ranjit Singh’s samadhi is in Lahore at the Gurdwara Dera Sahib and Sikhs visit Pakistan every year to attend his death anniversary. He fought the Afghans and drove them out of western Punjab, capturing Pakhtoon territory including Peshawar. In 1802, he conquered Amritsar. He was also given the title of Sher-e-Punjab (Lion of the Punjab). He donated wealth and materials to shrines and is remembered with affection by the Punjabis.

Ranjit Singh abolished capital punishment during his rule. He died in 1839 after ruling Punjab for nearly 40 years. He left seven sons, none of whom proved to be a worthy successor.

Courtesy Daily Times