LAHORE: Hundreds of Sikh pilgrims arrived in Pakistan to attend a ceremony marking the 175th death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the founder of the Sikh empire at his mausoleum in Lahore. Singh was a former Sikh ruler of the united Punjab region under British colonial rule.

A policeman stands guard in front of the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemorations for his 175th death anniversary in Lahore on June 29, 2014.— Photo by AFP
A policeman stands guard in front of the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemorations for his 175th death anniversary in Lahore on June 29, 2014.— Photo by AFP
A Sikh pilgrim (R) prays at the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemoration for his 175th death anniversary in the Pakistani city of Lahore on June 29, 2014.  — Photo by AFP
A Sikh pilgrim (R) prays at the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemoration for his 175th death anniversary in the Pakistani city of Lahore on June 29, 2014. — Photo by AFP
Sikh pilgrims gather at the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemorations for his 175th death anniversary in Lahore on June 29, 2014.— Photo by AFP
Sikh pilgrims gather at the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemorations for his 175th death anniversary in Lahore on June 29, 2014.— Photo by AFP
Sikh pilgrims gather at the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemorations for his 175th death anniversary in the Lahore on June 29, 2014.— Photo by AFP
Sikh pilgrims gather at the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemorations for his 175th death anniversary in the Lahore on June 29, 2014.— Photo by AFP
Sikh pilgrims attend a prayer session inside the compound of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's mausoleum in Lahore June 29, 2014.— Photo by Reuters
Sikh pilgrims attend a prayer session inside the compound of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's mausoleum in Lahore June 29, 2014.— Photo by Reuters
Sikh pilgrims pray at the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemorations for his 175th death anniversary in Lahore on June 29, 2014. — Photo by AFP
Sikh pilgrims pray at the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemorations for his 175th death anniversary in Lahore on June 29, 2014. — Photo by AFP
Sikh pilgrims gather at the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemorations for his 175th death anniversary in Lahore on June 29, 2014.— Photo by AFP
Sikh pilgrims gather at the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemorations for his 175th death anniversary in Lahore on June 29, 2014.— Photo by AFP
A female Sikh pilgrim (C) carrying a child visits Maharaja Ranjit Singh's mausoleum with others in Lahore June 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
A female Sikh pilgrim (C) carrying a child visits Maharaja Ranjit Singh's mausoleum with others in Lahore June 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Sikh pilgrims perform ritual while visiting Maharaja Ranjit Singh's mausoleum in Lahore June 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Sikh pilgrims perform ritual while visiting Maharaja Ranjit Singh's mausoleum in Lahore June 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
A Sikh pilgrims prays at the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemorations for his 175th death anniversary in Lahore on June 29, 2014.— Photo by AFP
A Sikh pilgrims prays at the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemorations for his 175th death anniversary in Lahore on June 29, 2014.— Photo by AFP
Sikh pilgrims attend a prayer session inside the compound of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's mausoleum in Lahore June 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Sikh pilgrims attend a prayer session inside the compound of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's mausoleum in Lahore June 29, 2014. — Photo by Reuters
Sikh pilgrims gather at the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemorations for his 175th death anniversary in Lahore on June 29, 2014.— Photo by AFP
Sikh pilgrims gather at the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemorations for his 175th death anniversary in Lahore on June 29, 2014.— Photo by AFP
A Sikh pilgrim prays at the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemorations for his 175th death anniversary in Lahore on June 29, 2014.— Photo by AFP
A Sikh pilgrim prays at the mausoleum of Maharaja Ranjit Singh during commemorations for his 175th death anniversary in Lahore on June 29, 2014.— Photo by AFP

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Comments (51) Closed

Khalid
Jun 29, 2014 06:45pm
We should give every facility possible to our Sikh sisters and brothers who are in Pakistan to visit these holy sites. We should make an example of this opportunity so that when these visitors go back to their respective countries, they ONLY talk about our hospitality and the love we shower them with. That is the only way Pakistan can get out of the mess it is in. I wish I could personally serve these people and make their visit a memorable one.
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Aurang
Jun 29, 2014 06:55pm
The only real leader ever to be born in Punjab!
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Last Word
Jun 29, 2014 11:01pm
Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the last ruler of undivided India who ruled large parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The present day rulers in Pakistan can learn a lot from Maharaja's doctrine of treating all sects equally and showing respect to Muslims who were in majority and even constructed Mosques for them.
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Dhilon
Jun 29, 2014 11:10pm
Thanks Dawn for sharing these pictures, I wish one day I can visit Pakistan....
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Mahmud
Jun 30, 2014 03:01am
@Last Word are you sure larger part of Afghanistan? I highly doubt that.... No one rule Afghanistan period!
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Safar Shah
Jun 30, 2014 04:05am
@Mahmud Arabs ruled Afghanistan, Tajiks/Iranian dynasty ruled Afghanistan (Ghoris), Turks ruled Afghanistan (Ghanznavi), Mongols ruled Afghanistan, Turko-Mongol Taimur ruled Afghanistan, Mughals ruled Afghanistan, Safavid ruled Afghanistan, Qazilbash (Nadir Shah) ruled Afghanistan. It's very wrong to say no one conquered Afghanistan. Its a myth created by the British.
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Ahmed
Jun 30, 2014 04:09am
nothing but fairy tales.........
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Neeraj
Jun 30, 2014 04:37am
Ranjit Singh never ruled under British colonial role. Unfortunately after his death,there was a lot dissension in the Lahore Durbar, and the British Colonial army attacked Punjab and deposed Ranjit Singh's successors. Under Ranjit Singh, Punjab became a major power and defeated the Afghan King and brought back the Kohinoor diamond. I believe that he also annexed the areas across the Indus River which were previously ruled by the Afghan Kings. The comment that no one rules Afghanistan is a modern myth. The Mughals ruled Afghanistan for centuries, and so did the Greek successors of Alexander.
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Rajnish
Jun 30, 2014 08:04am
It's incorrect to say that RanjitSingh ruled under the British colonial rule. He never gave in to British, was completely independent and found one of the powerful kingdoms of his time. Most of the territory he ruled is in current day Pakistan and Afghanistan so I am a bit surprised to know that our Pakistani friends seem so ignorant of this great ruler.
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Dilsher Singh
Jun 30, 2014 08:54am
@Mahmud You are right that Maharaja Ranjit Singh did not rule "larger parts" of Afghanistan but you are wrong to say that nobody (you mean outsider) ruled Afghanistan. Persians ruled over Afghanistan for centuries. Macedonians, Arabs & Mongols conquered it without any difficulty. The real Afghans are the ex-Buddhist people who converted to Islam when Arabs conquered Sindh. ,
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Fazal Karim
Jun 30, 2014 09:55am
Not only Sikhs but Hindus too from India be given visas and facility to visit Pakistan and experience our hospitality as we extend to Sikhs.
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SRK
Jun 30, 2014 11:27am
wahe guru
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Sumit
Jun 30, 2014 11:29am
@Safar Shah And well before that, Emperor Ashok of Maurya Dynasty rules large parts of Afganistan and that too peacefully...
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Dr. Cajetan Coelho
Jun 30, 2014 11:50am
Long live the memory of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
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ProudtobeanINDIAN
Jun 30, 2014 04:21pm
@Fazal Karim Good Thinking ... Surprised to see such good thinking people still exist in your land...
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Sher Ahmed
Jun 30, 2014 05:16pm
@Safar Shah Yes you are right.
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Lakhkar Khan
Jun 30, 2014 06:45pm
@ProudtobeanINDIAN Most Pakistanis are good thinking people. I am surprise to see that you are surprised at the hospitality of Pakistanis. If you know any thing about Sikh holy sites, most are located in Pakistan and Pakistan has been hosting Sikh pilgrims since the independence. Considering your screen name "ProudtobeanINDIAN", someone could say the same about Indians. It is good to see there are some good thinking Indians live in the world.
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Shamsher Singh Dhillion
Jun 30, 2014 09:26pm
@Khalid Thank you for your kind words brother! bless you.
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Shamsher Singh Dhillion
Jun 30, 2014 09:30pm
I'm extremely happy to see very kind comments by our neighbors. I would invite them to please come visit India, especially my city of Amritsar. There needs to be more human to human contact with each other across the border, it is the only way we can clear up the misconceptions we have towards each other!
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HARVINDER SINGH
Jun 30, 2014 10:31pm
under the chandragupta maura & GREAT ashokaaa indiwas 600000kmwords biggest empire including afghanistan, whol of pakistan wholwe of india, please dont forget theefacts, if you dont want to own your golden histotory than think what is ur history who were your heros
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Shamsher Singh Dhillion
Jul 01, 2014 02:07am
@Neeraj Actually just a quick correction, Ranjit Singh did not get the Kohinoor diamond through defeating anyone, he got it from Shujah Shah Durrani. In 1833 Shujah Shah Durrani struck a deal with Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the Punjab: He was allowed to march his troops through Punjab, and in return he would cede Peshawar to the Sikhs if they could manage to take it. In a concerted campaign the following year, Shuja marched on Kandahar while the Sikhs, commanded by General Hari Singh Nalwa attacked Peshawar. The reason why Peshawar falls in this side of Durrand line is because of Hari Singh Nalwa. Maharaja Ranjit Singh was able to create a buffer zone in order to protect Punjab, which was constantly invaded by Afghans. Maharaja Ranjit Singh also added Multan into Punjab, and parts of Jammu & Kashmir into Punjab.
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riz1
Jul 01, 2014 03:00am
@Rajnish After all he was Sikh and too Indian for some tastes. How can this great emperor be an example to scores of students? Can any of the purees afford a wrong idea that such a ruler can actually be a larger-than-life hero. Perhaps that will hurt the carefully constructed definition of heros right from Babar to Aurangazeb?
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Neeraj
Jul 01, 2014 05:32am
@Shamsher Singh Dhillion Thank you for your correction and filling in the details of Ranjit Singhs interaction with Afghanistan. If I remember correctly Ranjit Singh interceded in a Afghan civil war, and got Peshawar and the Kohinoor for helping to restore Shuja Shah to the Afghan Throne. He also started a trend where several Sikhs had prominent posts in the Afghan armed forces for more than a hundred years. A friend stayed in Kabul in 1970 and ran into several prominent Sikh officers in the Afghan military and police. Ranjit Singh's army was formidable force even after his death. A part of his army inflicted the biggest defeat on the British at the Battle of Chillianwala. However the British exploited the lack of Punjabi unity after Ranjit Singh to take over Punjab. They were so impressed with the fighting prowess of the Punjabi soldiers, that they recruited a big chunk of colonial army from Punjab.
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Neeraj
Jul 01, 2014 05:45am
@Safar Shah You are correct in ascribing the myth "No one rules Afghanistan" to the British. They could defeat the Afghan Kings but could not hold on to Kabul, and suffered heavy casualties. Finally they gave up and generated the myth. They were happy to leave Afghanistan as a buffer state between British India and the Russian Empire. There was no significant benefit for them to rule troublesome Afghanistan directly, and so they retreated back to British India.
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Tamil selvan
Jul 01, 2014 07:33am
@Dilsher Singh Maurya dynasty ruled Afghanistan. Afghans were Hindus dated back to Mahabharata . Present day Khandar was Gandhari kingdom. They were converted by force by Arabs.
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Mahmud
Jul 01, 2014 08:42am
@Safar Shah: Please check the history again. Arabs never ruled Afghanistan, (Ghoris) were Turks, Turks ruled Afghanistan (Ghanznavi), Mongols were Turks and ruled Afghanistan. Huns head quarter was in Afghanistan. Most Turks live and rule Afghanistan and no one else. Nader Shah was a member of the Turkic Afshar tribe of northern Persia. Not Russians nor British or Americans ruled Afghanistan. It clearly written in history. Its not a myth created by the British, its reality!
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Shah
Jul 01, 2014 12:03pm
Ranjit Singh "kana'" (one eyed) was a political figure and not a religious one. He ruled an area that was 80% Muslim. Under his rule Kashmiri Muslim Hazara women were sold in the bazars of Lahore, the then largest mosque in the world Badshahi Masjid was banned for Muslim prayers, Muslim Moghal monuments stripped of their splendor and his army's march to Multan left many mosques in ruins on the way. Kashmiri Muslim women were used as sex slaves. All these are sad facts. The Sikh period was a period of turmoil for the people of Punjab, Khayber Pakhtonkhwa and Kashmir.
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Shah
Jul 01, 2014 12:07pm
@HARVINDER SINGH You do know it is the 21st century right? That was then. Now we have our beloved Pakistan :)
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Shah
Jul 01, 2014 01:31pm
@Shah The dream of a independent Muslim state west of Delhi was first born under the Sikh rule which was oppressive to it's largely Muslim population. Syed Ahmed Shaheed, a hero of the 19th century movement, was among those who fought and died at the hands of the Sikh army. So Pakistan was long time coming.
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Shah
Jul 01, 2014 02:02pm
@Khalid I agree. We should welcome the Sikhs with open arms. But calling them our brothers and sisters is taking it to far considering the painful history between our two communities, especially during the partition when millions of Punjabi-Muslims were ethnically cleansed in East-Punjab. Those scars are very very deep.
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zafarov
Jul 01, 2014 03:36pm
@Shah Killings and brutality were conducted by Punjabis in East and West Punjab. A million were killed and the blood that was spilled was also Punjabi. It was criminal insanity. It was fratricide.
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colin
Jul 01, 2014 03:59pm
@Mahmud Kandahar and large parts of Afghanistan were indeed part of the Buddhist/Hindu empire of Ashoka the Great who ruled India 300 years before the birth of Jesus Christ (Ashoka's chakra or wheel of dharma can be seen in the centre of the modern Indian flag) .The Ashoka Chakra can be found in many places in modern Afghanistan (despite the Taliban ravages) which attests to Indian domination in those far off times.His grandfather was the Mauryan emperor Chandragupta who beat Alexander's general,Seleucus Nikator, in battle forcing the Greeks never to return for war and marrying his daughter,Helen,as part of the treaty ! (All of this is attested to by Greek and Indian historians of the time).The Greek ambassador to the court of Chandragupta in Pataliputra --modern day Patna--was Megasthenes and he left a glowing written account of what he had witnessed. My friend,the Afghans did not arrive here on earth from the moon. Let us all accept and respect the contributions of all our forefathers to our regions !
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Shamsher Singh Dhillion
Jul 01, 2014 05:45pm
@Shah - Please provide your sources that Hazara women were sold in Lahore? The whole Badshahi Mosque is incident is concerned, its a myth created by your right wing! It was the Bhangi Sikhs that ruled Lahore decades before Ranjit Singh arrived that had put locks on mosques, hindu temples, and even Sikh temples. Bhangis also ruthlessly taxed the citizens of Lahore. In 1799, Ranjit Singh captured Lahore from the Bhangi Misl and later made it his capital. Masjid-e-Tawaifan, which was renamed in 1998 as Mai Moran Masjit in Lahore was actually built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Another little fact in 1757 Ahmad Shah Abdali attacked the Golden Temple in Amritsar and filled its sacred pool with the blood of slaughtered cows, and thats just once incidents. Thousands of Hindu temples were destroyed by the likes of Mohammed Ghaznavi, Timur, Mohammed tuglaq, Mohammed of Ghor, Ahmad Shah Abdali, and Mughal King Aurangzeb.
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Shamsher Singh Dhillion
Jul 01, 2014 05:51pm
@Shah and Sikhs/Hindus weren't ethnically cleansed in West-Punjab? If it makes you feel any better 11 members of my family were burned alive in village Jia bagga district Lahore. Let go of this hatred, its been 67 years the whole of world has moved on!
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Shamsher Singh Dhillion
Jul 01, 2014 05:57pm
@Shah And I wonder where the Mughals got so much money for their monuments? By collecting Jizya from its Hindu population for centuries!
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Gagan
Jul 01, 2014 07:01pm
@Shah maan Gaye shaah saab
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Rachit
Jul 01, 2014 08:00pm
Maharaja Ranjit Singh was never under British Colonial Rule. The Maharaja died in 1839, Punjab was fully annexed by the British in 1849.
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Agon
Jul 01, 2014 08:47pm
Can Muslims in India celebrate annevarsaries of Mahmood Ghaznavi and Aurangzeb Alamgir.
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Son of Sardar
Jul 01, 2014 10:41pm
@Mahmud Yes, he ruled Afghanistan. His army was an army of lions. Read the history and read about his army commanders of "Hari Singh Nalwa, Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, Akali Fula Singh, Jassa Singh Ramghariya, and many more. He ruled in Punjab till Multan in south, entire Indian and Pakistan Punjab, Himachal Pardesh, Jammu Kashmir, Gilgit, Khyber Pass, Peshawar, Afghanistan, North-west frontier Province and FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas). After him, both sides of the Punjab have not been blessed with a King like him. Raise your thinking above religion and learn about the unmatched history of Sikhs.
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Nadeem
Jul 02, 2014 01:05am
@Son of Sardar - Don't make up stuff. Akali Fula Singh was killed around Nowshehra, and Hari Singh Nalwa was killed in Jamrud Fort. He did not go beyond Peshawar valley. He had hired Italian & French generals. LOL
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M. SaleemRaikodi
Jul 02, 2014 01:13am
@Shamsher Singh Dhillion Very aptly stated - The right wingers from the either side of the borders can go any length to magnify the dark side of any history whether it was true or false or maybe myopic. Actually these guys need to be checked first. I know for the fact that Malerkota in East Punjab has a sizeable Muslim population today. The Sardars of that area got together with the Muslims to repair the ruined masajids and helped the Muslims in that area build a Masjid as well. Similarly I see how excited and emotional the Paki Punjabis are at the arrival of the Sikh Jathas to Nankana Sahib. Living in hatred and dying hatred will not yield any good result in life
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Nadeem
Jul 02, 2014 01:40am
@Son of Sardar - To name a few Generals of Ranjit's army. Jean Francois Allard (French), Paola Di Avitabile (Italian), Claude August Court (French), Jean Baptiste Ventura (Italian), Alexander Gardner (American), Josiah Harlan (American). Besides these there were a lot of other advisers and western mercenaries. It is true he did won a few battles. Bottom line 26 or so years of occupation doesn't mean ruling. LOL
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yussouf m mir
Jul 02, 2014 02:27am
he was a brutal ruler
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Amit
Jul 02, 2014 08:51am
@Mahmud In the last 5000 years of history, Afghanistan had their own rule for maybe 50 years.
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Zaheer
Jul 02, 2014 12:13pm
@ProudtobeanINDIAN Don't be stereotypical with derogatory tone towards people of our land who are almost the same as people from your land.
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tnemeganam
Jul 02, 2014 01:54pm
Please correct the facts. During Ranjit Singh's rule, the Grand Mosque of Lahore was converted into stable, the boundary wall was destroyed, and ghurdwara was built inside the mosque.
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Raj
Jul 02, 2014 07:27pm
It's interesting to note how many versions we have of such a recent history. Reason is obvious, we are more keen to perpetuate our biases than to look at history objectively. A small example is of Aurangzeb, who was neither as bad as he is reviled by many Indians and nor was he as great as he is thought of by Pakistanis. He was in many ways responsible for the demise of the Mughal dynasty, though the rot had set in before him, and eventually didn't have much to show for his long rule. We must bring objectivity into our history and take it away from religious and national biases.
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Shridatt Sharma
Jul 03, 2014 03:39am
Pls correct Maharaja Ranjeet Singh was an indipendent and contemprary ruler to British East India co. He was never under East India co.'s rule. East India co. was able to capture his state only after his death.
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Jamal
Jul 03, 2014 06:49pm
Don't forget the fact that Ranjit Singh was installed by afghan king Ahmed Shah Abdali as governor of Punjab region to collect taxes from the area and send it to Kabul. He was loyal servant to Ahmed Shah as long as Ahemd shah was alive.
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Shridatt Sharma
Jul 06, 2014 03:07am
@Jamal Sir I do't under stand where you have studied history. King Ahmad Shah Abdali (Durrani) was Born in 1722 & died 1772. King Ranjeet Singh was born in 1780.
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Shridatt Sharma
Jul 06, 2014 03:18am
@Agon Pls note Main Road near president house in new delhi is Aurangjeb Road, adjoinig Ahabar & Shah Jhan Road.
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