Maharaja Ranjit Singh from being a petty chieftain to become the most powerful Indian ruler of his time. Ranjit Singh’s empire extended from Tibet to the deserts of Sindhi and from the Khyber Pass to the Sutlej. His army was one of the most powerful of the time in Asia and was the first Indian force in a thousand years to stem the tides of invasion from the northwest frontiers of Hindustan. In this first detailed biography of the first and only Sikh ruler of the Punjab, Khushwant Singh presents Ranjit Singh as he really was. Based on Persian, Punjabi and English sources and drawing upon the diaries and accounts of European travelers, this is a memorable account of the spectacle and brilliance of the Sikh kingdom at the height of its power and a lively portrait of one of the most colorful characters in Indian history.
A true portrait of ‘lion of Punjab’ author clearly shows his knowledge and deep dwelling into the repository of knowledge and bringing out work on the era of independent Punjab a rarity that came after 800 years out of a genius of a man who turned the tide of invasions. Those who were fond of invading were themselves beset by undisputable mighty although most generous and forgiving ruler in history.
As Khushwant Singh embarks on his latest voyage into history, he tries to balance with making a scholarly work and producing something that the masses, in general, would enjoy. It doesn’t possess the acute insights of some of his previous works and leaves the reader wanting in some aspects. The story line seems to have an indolent start with too many details outpouring of Khushwant’s pen. And then the end approaches as rapidly as the Maharajah’s own as you’ll read. Overall, the books seem to be a forerunner to the history of the Sikhs. The stormy life of Maharajah with all its intrigues, power plays, and political brinkmanship certainly makes for an interesting read.
Khushwant Singh is one of the best-known writer’s and columnists. He has been founder-editor of Yojana and editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India, the National Reporter of Hindustan Times. His famous writing is ‘Train to Pakistan’, ‘I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale’ and ‘Delhi’. His latest novel, ‘The Sunset Club’, written when he was 95, was published by Penguin Books in 2010.
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