In news- A nine-foot-tall bronze statue of the first ruler of the Sikh Empire, Maharaja Ranjit Singh was vandalised by an activist of the banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan at the Lahore Fort in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
About the statue
- The nine-feet tall statue, made of cold bronze, shows the Sikh emperor sitting on a horse with a sword in hand in complete Sikh attire.
- The statue was unveiled on his 180th death anniversary in June 2019.
- This is not the first time that the statue has been targeted.
- The arm of the statue was broken in Lahore last year.
- It was also damaged in August 2019 by two young men.
- It was sculpted by local artists, under the aegis of the Fakir Khana Museum.
About Maharaja Ranjit Singh-
- He was born on 13 November 1780 to Maha Singh Sukerchakia and Raj Kaur – the daughter of Raja Gajpat Singh of Jind, in Gujranwala, in the Majha region of Punjab (now in Pakistan).
- Ranjit Singh, popularly known as Sher-e-Punjab or “Lion of Punjab”, was the first Maharaja (founder) of the Sikh Empire.
- He was the ruler of the northwest Indian subcontinent in the early half of the 19th century.
- After his father died, he fought several wars to expel the Afghans in his teenage years and was proclaimed as the “Maharaja of Punjab” at age 21.
- Prior to his rise, the Punjab region had numerous warring misls (confederacies), twelve of which were under Sikh rulers and one Muslim.
- He successfully absorbed and united the Sikh misls and took over other local kingdoms to create the Sikh Empire.
- He repeatedly defeated invasions by outside armies, particularly those arriving from Afghanistan, and established friendly relations with the British.
- In 1831 he signed the treaty of perpetual friendship with the English.
- In 1838 he entered into a tripartite treaty with the English and Shah Shuja to depose Dost Muhammad Khan, the exiled Amir of Afghanistan and placed Shah Shuja on the throne.
- After his death in 1839, he was succeeded by his son Kharak Singh.
Ranjith Singh’s reforms –
He gave territorial identity to Punjab by the policy of diplomacy and aggression. He considered himself a servant of the Khalsa and he did not permit the coins to bear his name.
- Ranjit Singh came up with the Land revenue system based on the Mughal period Zabti System in which assessment of land revenue was based on the measurement of land.
- The state demand was fixed at around 33-40% depending on the fertility and richness of the soil.
- The next important form of revenue was fine in return for punishment.
- The Kardars were responsible for the collection of revenue. Of the total income, 1/4th was in the army and the rest in the civil administration.
- He established the government in the name of Sarkar-i-Khalsa.
- He also issued currency in the name of Guru Gobind Singh and Guru Nanak Dev.
- He divided the entire state into four provinces and he emphasised on the maintenance of law and order.
- Most of the crimes were punished with a fine and there was no capital punishment.
- Justice was administered by the Panchayats in the villages and the Kardars in the towns. There was no hierarchy of courts.
- In the provincial headquarters, there were the courts of the Nazims. Above them, there was the Adalat-i-Ala in Lahore which heard appeals from the district and provincial courts
- Ranjit Singh possessed a very strong and well-equipped army called Fauj-i-Khas, which was trained and disciplined by Italian and French officers on European lines.
- He adopted the ‘Mahadari’ system in which he made a monthly payment of salaries to soldiers and officers.
- He also established the Canon factory in Lahore and Amritsar.