* If a balance sheet of the century following the promulgation of the Khalsa were drawn up, on the credit side the most significant entry would be the resurrection of the spirit of Punjabi nationalism. Men like Nawab Kapur Singh, Jassa singh Ahluwalia, and the Bhangi Sardars not only built up the Khalsa Commonwealth but also won back the confidence of the Muslim peasantry. In these trying years, the Sikhs led the resistance against the invaders and built up the notion that the Punjab would be better off if it were ruled by the Punjabis rather than remain a part of the kingdom of Kabul or the Mughal Empire. On the debit side of the balance sheet would be the fighting among the Misl Sardars.

It was quite clear that the misls had seen their day and if the Punjab was to remain free, it would have to be united under one man who had both the power to abolish the misls and the vision to create a state which all Punjabis, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs could call their own. This was the analysis made by the English traveler, Forester, when he wrote in 1783, “We may see some ambitious chief, led on by his genius and success absorbing the power of his associates, displayed from the ruins of their commonwealth the standard of Monarchy”. These prophetic words were written when Shere Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the Sukerchakia Mis] was only three years old.

Article extracted from this publication >>  January 23, 1987