Dear Editor,When Indira Gandhi ruled 18 states, Punjab wasn’t in those 18 and now when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is ruling 19 states, Punjab isn’t among them.When British ruled all over India, Punjab was the last one to come under that rule and immediately started struggle for freedom.Moreover, in the freedom struggle against British, thecontribution of Punjabis is more than 80 per cent.When Mughal ruled India and converted Hindus to Islam, one and only one Punjab stood against them and Guru Teg Bahadur Ji (9th Guru & father of Guru Gobind Singh ji) laid down his life at Chandni Chowk in Delhi in theirsupport.Guru Gobind Singh sacrificed all his four sons, of the age of 7,9,14 & 17 years, against the conversion to Islam. His Elder two sons (Sahibzade) sacrificed their lives in war against Mughals at Chamkaur Sahib(Pb) while younger two sons (Sahibzade) were bricked alive at Sirhand (Pb) by the Mughal ruler of that State. Even when Sikander conquered all area, only King Porus of Punjab dared to stop him. I salute to the land of five rivers-Punjab.Sher-e-Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh was one of the greatest emperors who despite being blind from one eye and having injured arm, yet built- up the great Sikh empire. He united the disparate Sikhs into a kingdom and built an empire that covered Punjab, Kashmir, Ladakh, the entire North West.Served by able men like Hari Singh Nalwa, Dewan Mokam Chand, Veer Singh Dhillon, Zorawar Singh,Maharaja Ranjit Singh also built a modern army and recruited European officers to bring in the latest techniques of warfare. That’s why British Rulers couldn’t annex Punjab until he was alive. Because of him, Punjab was the last State which came under British rule in 1849.But alas no one teaches about his legacy in India.Because of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Punjab was the most literate state at that time. Even though he recruited European officers but ensured they follow a strict code of conduct viz no beef, no smoking and no alcohol. As a matter of fact, Ranjit Singh had banned cow slaughter in his empire.A devout Sikh, who never differentiated on basis of religion, both his court and army had equal number of Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims proving him – a true secular king.His finance minister was a Hindu Brahmin, his Prime Minister was a Dogra while foreign minister was a Muslim.He also renovated the Golden Temple and provided gold plates for it. In same way, he gave equal amount of gold to Hindus and Muslims too, for renovation of their shrines and temples.Maharaja Ranjit Singh built Gurdwaras at Patna and Nanded, in honour of Guru Gobind Singh, both of which are considered among the Panch Takth.In short, Maharaja Ranjit Singh was great warrior, an equally able & wise ruler and a truly great human being too.Ranjit Singh is the only king in the history of world to have conquered Afghans, which even modern militaries of USA and Russia couldn’t achieve, and eventually blocked entry of Mughals. Through the medium of your esteemed daily, I would request all to please do share this information with as many as you can, especially the younger generation, as a humble tribute to this great emperor.Shankar Dass,Purani Mandi, Jammu.
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