Ranjit Singh the Maharajah Who Went to War for Horses and Beautiful Princesses
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Ranjit Singh the Maharajah Who Went to War for Horses and Beautiful Princesses

Ranjit Singh ruled the Punjab from 1798-1839. He was a connoisseur of women and horses and had nearly 186 women in his ‘harem’ as well as a stable of over 1000 horses. He went to war against the Afghans to own a horse he coveted in 1830 and earlier he went to war to destroy the Raja of kanga and married his 2 daughters.

Maharajah Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) ruled the Punjab for 40 years till his demise in 1839.  He was a man of varied tastes. Foremost among them was horses and women. Ranjit Singh had 43 wives out of whom 5 were Muslim.  He was not averse to going to war on the grounds of capturing horses and women.  At any given time Ranjit Singh had a stable of 1000 horses. In addition to his 43 wives he also had a dance troupe of 125 of the most beautiful girls from his realm who entertained him. For a beautiful horse and a lovely woman he would go to any lengths, even war to achieve his desire.

One of his campaigns to own a horse is chronicled by historians of his era. The maharajah had heard of a legendary horse named As-i-Leila. This horse belonged to Dost Mohammed or Yaar Mohammed who were the chiefs of the Orakazi Muslim tribes. The horse was a black stallion of Persian origin. When Ranjit Singh heard of the horse he demanded it from Yar Mohammed. On his refusal he ordered General Jean Baptist Ventura his mercenary Italian commander to mount an offensive against the Tribes. In 1830 Yaar Mohammed was defeated by Ventura who threatened to behead him in case the horse was not handed over to his lord and Master Ranjit Singh. Later Yar Mohammed himself was killed by his tribesmen and Ranjit Singh anointed his brother as the chief. The horse was carried to Lahore in a special wagon and escorted by a large contingent of him Sikh army.

 In 1802 Ranjit Singh also  learnt of the beautiful daughters of the Raja of Kangra,  Sansar Chand Katoch  . He also learn’t that the Raja was acting in a belligerent manner and intriguing against him. But the beauty of the princesses swayed his mind. At that time he was 22 years old. The force of Ranjit Singh advanced on Kangra and in a series of battles the Raja was defeated.  He took refuge in Kangra Fort, but Ranjit Singh assaulted the fort through one of the gates which even now carries his name as “Ranjit Singh Gate”. Raja Sansar Chand sued for peace and was given his territory back.

Ranjit Singh now went to the palace of the Raja and demanded the hand of the two sisters.  He married both the princesses at Jwalalmukhi, a holy place 30 km from Kangra.  Jwalalmukhi has one of the most holy temples of Hinduism dedicated to the ‘Goddess of Light’. One of the sisters performed sati at the death of the Maharaja. Ranjit Singh was a warrior maharajah whose love for horses and women has survived him.

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Comments (1)
Ranked #124 in History

A great article so enjoyable to read.

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