Pointwise Notes on Ranjit Singh and Annexation of Sindh 1843

Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Sikh Empire – Sher-e-Punjab and Lion of Punjab – Important Lines – Duleep Singh and his journey of success – annexation of Sindh 1843


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The Rise of Ranjit Singh

Ranjit Singh
  1. The Sikhs grew powerful in Punjab and the neighbouring territories after the retirement of Ahmad Shah Abdali from the politics of India.
  2. They, however, were divided into twelve misls before the rise of Ranjit Singh.
  3. After the death of his father, Maha Singh, Ranjit Singh became the head of Sukarchakia misl in 1792.
  4. Ranjit Singh helped Zaman Shah, ruler of Afghanistan, during his third attack on Punjab and, in return, received the subedari of Lahore and the title of Raja.
  5. In 1806 Ranjit Singh and the English agreed not to interfere in each other’s affairs which made him free to conquer the territory north and west of the river Sutlej.
  6. Ranjit Singh tried to conquer the Cis-Satlaj Sikh States but the English took these states under their protection in 1809.
  7. The same year Ranjit Singh signed the treaty of Amritsar with the English by which river Satlaj was accepted as the dividing line between the territories of the two.
  8. His advance thus being checked b the English towards the East, Ranjit Singh extended his kingdom towards the West and the North.
  9. Ranjit Singh conquered Kangra Valley in 1809; annexed all the Sikh states west of Satlaj; provided protection to Shah Shuja; occupied Attock in 1813, Kashmir in 1819, Multan in 1818, Dera Ghazi Khan, Dera Ismail Khan, Bakhar, Leh, and Mankera in 1820 to 1821, and Peshawar in 1823.
  10. Thus, Ranjit Singh established an extensive and powerful state in the North-West and assumed the title of Maharaja.
  11. Ranjit Singh was short in stature, uneducated, and fond of opium and drinking alcohol, yet, he was a capable commander and a successful administrator who organized a strong army of fifty thousand cavalrymen and provided peace and prosperity to his state.
  12. He maintained friendly relations with the English because he understood well the limitations of the power.
  13. He has been described as “a Bonaparte in miniature”.
  14. Ranjit Singh signed the treaty of Amritsar with the English in 1809 and, thereafter, always remained friendly to them.
  15. Ranjit Singh took no advantage of the predicament of the English caused by the Nepal War in 1814 and the Burma War in 1824; refused to help the Bhonsle and the Raja of Bharatpur against the English, and was a member of the tripartite treaty in 1838 when the English decided to invade Afghanistan.
  16. On the contrary, the English permitted the Wahabis to organize themselves against Ranjit Singh, checked his efforts to conquer the Cis-Satlaj States, Sikarpur, and Sindh, and occupied Firozpur much against his wishes.
  17. Even then Ranjit Singh avoided conflict with the English which has been described as an act of practical wisdom by several English historians. But many other historians have described this policy as an unwise one by which Ranjit Singh waited silently for the doomsday of his kingdom.
  18. Certain other historians have drawn parallels between Ranjit Singh and Shivaji because both succeeded in organizing their people and establishing independent states against heavy odds.
  19. Yet, the question has arisen as to why Ranjit Singh did not dare fight against the English and thus failed to create an enduring kingdom.
  20. Weakness of character and one-man leadership of administration as compared to Shivaji has been described as the primary causes for the failure of Ranjit Singh in these spheres.
  21. Thus, though Ranjit Singh was a capable man and a successful ruler, he did not pursue a farsighted policy towards the English which contributed to the collapse of the Sikh kingdom after his death.

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FAQs on Ranjit Singh

who is the founder of the Independent Sikh State?

Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the founder of the Sikh Empire, which came to power in the Indian subcontinent in the early half of the 19th century. The empire, based in the Punjab region, existed from 1799 to 1849. It was forged, on the foundations of the Khalsa, under the leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh from a collection of autonomous Sikh Misls.

Which Governor General had entertained Ranjit Singh with great honour at Ropar?

Lord William Bentinck met with Maharaja Ranjit Singh at Ropar, on the bank of the Sutlej, in the spring of 1831. It was an occasion of an impressive ceremony and display.

Annexation of Sindh 1843

  1. The prospect of trade with Punjab and North-West India through the Indus, the possibility of Sindh being annexed by Ranjit Singh, and fear of Russian invasion induced the English to annex Sindh.
  2. Sindh was ruled by Amirs of Khairpur, Hyderabad, and Mirpur who were not in a position to put up a united front against the English.
  3. The first Afghan War made clear to the English the political importance of Sindh.
  4. The English did not permit Ranjit Singh to interfere in the affairs of Sindh while they themselves strengthened their hold on it gradually.
  5. In 1820, the Amirs agreed that they would not permit any European to settle in Sindh; in 1831 the mission under Alexander Burns to Ranjit Singh was sent through the Indus; in 1832, the Amirs of Khairapur and Hyderabad were forced to permit the English to use roads in Sindh and the river Indus for peaceful purpose in 1838, a Resident was stationed at the court of the Amir of Hyderabad; the Amirs were forced to pay a large amount of money to the English and Shah prior to the beginning of the first Afghan War; in 1838, the Amir of Khairpur was forced to accept the English as his suzerain power and surrender the fort of Bakhar; in 1839, the Amir of Hyderabad was forced to surrender Karachi to the English and accept a subsidiary force; and, in 1841, the Amir of Mirpur was forced to accept the alike treaty with the English.
  6. During the course of the Afghan War, the Amirs permitted Passage to the English army and provided them with necessary supplies.
  7. Yet, Ellenborough felt the desirability of annexing Sindh with a view to boosting the morale of the English.
  8. The Resident, Mr. Outram, therefore, was asked to frame charges against the Amirs.
  9. In 1842, Charles Napier was deputed to Sindh who forced the grant the English further rights in Sindh and surrender important ports and their adjoining territories, interfered in the succession issue of the Amir of Khaipur, asked the Amirs to sign fresh treaties with the English and proceeded to Hyderabad with his army to force the issue which provoked the Baluchi soldiers to revolt.
  10. The Baluchis were defeated at the Battle of Miani in February 1843 and Sindh was annexed to the British empire in India.
  11. The annexation of Sindh was described as ‘unjust and impolitic’ even by the Court of Directors, yet, it was taken over by the English to safeguard their imperial interests.
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