Ranjit Singh was one of the most powerful and charismatic Indian rulers of his age, but has been largely forgotten by recent Western historians. Yet his achievements have had a lasting impact. He unified the warring chiefdoms of the Punjab in a northern Empire of the Sikhs, built up a formidable modern army, kept the British in check to the south, and closed the Khyber Pass through which plunderers had for centuries poured into India. He was also humane and just in his victories, giving employment to defeated foes, and honored religious faiths other than his own. This new biography uses a variety of eye-witness accounts from Indian and European sources to chronicle his life and the controversial period of the Anglo-Sikh Wars following his death.
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Patwant Singh is the author of Of Dreams and Demons: An Indian Memoir, The Second Partition: Fault-Lines in India’s Democracy, The Sikhs, and The World According to Washington: An Asian View.
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