Ranjit Singh: Maharaja of the Punjab|
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The classic biography of one of India's greatest rulers , this is a memorable account of the pageantry 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.
Ranjit Singh was in every way as remarkable a man as his two contemporaries Napoleon and Mohammed Ali. From the status of petty chieftain he rose to become the most powerful Indian ruler of his time. His empire extended from Tibet to the deserts of Sindh and from the Khyber Pass to the Sutlej. His army, which was trained by French officers, 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 invasions from the north-west frontiers of Hindustan.
Khushwant Singh's Ranjit Singh: Maharaja of the Punjab is the first detailed biography of the first and only Sikh ruler of the Punjab by a Sikh writer who has devoted many years of his life to research on Sikh history. Ranjit was neither a selfless patriot nor an avaricious freebooter. He was neither a model of virtue nor a lascivious sensualist. He was a full-blooded man and astute politician.
And in this classic work, Khushwant Singh presents Ranjit Singh as he really was: a man single-minded in his pursuit of power; a despot who did not take a single life in cold blood; an ugly man, blind in one eye and pitted with small-pox, who loved to surround himself with beautiful women and women, and had a passion for horses, strong liquor, nautch girls and precious stones.
Based on Persian, Punjabi and English sources and drawing upon the diaries and accounts of European travelers like Moorcroft, Sir Alexander Burnes, Masson, Fane and Emily Eden, this is a memorable account of the pageantry 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.
About the Author
Khushwant Singh was born in 1915 in Hadali, Punjab. He was educated at Government College, Lahore, and at King's College and the Inner Temple in London. He practiced at the Lahore High Court for several years before joining the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in 19477. He was sent on diplomatic postings to Canada and London and later went to Paris with UNESCO>
He began a distinguished career as a journalist with All India Radio in 1951. Since then he has been founder-editor of Yojna, editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India, editor of the National Herald, and the editor of The Hindustan Times. Today he is India's best known columnist and journalist.
Khushwant Singh has also had an extremely successful career as a writer. Among the works published are classic two-volume history of the Sikhs, several novels - including Train to Pakistan, which won the Grove Press Award for the best work of fiction in 1954, I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale and Delhi - and a number of translated works and non-fiction books on Delhi, nature, and current affairs. His latest novel, The Company of Women, has since been released.
Khushwant Singh was a Member of Parliament from 1980 to 1986. Among other honors he was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1974 by the President of India. He returned this decoration in 1984 in protest against the Union Government's siege of the Golden Temple, Amritsar.