Maharaja Ranjith Singh
A nine-foot-tall bronze equestrian statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the founder of the Sikh Empire, was vandalised in Lahore Fort earlier this week.
ABOUT RANJITH SINGH AND HIS REIGN
• Maharaja Ranjit Singh born in 13 November 1780 at Gujranwala, Sukerchakia Misl, Sikh Confederacy (present day Punjab, Pakistan).
• He,popularly known as Sher-e-Punjab or “Lion of Punjab”, was the first Maharaja of the Sikh Empire, which ruled the northwest Indian subcontinent in the early half of the 19th century.
• Ranjit Singh’s birth name was Buddh Singh and the name was changed to Ranjit (literally, “victor in battle”) by his father to commemorate his army’s victory over the Muslim Chatha chieftain Pir Muhammad.
• Lahore, once among the biggest and most developed of the cities of Punjab, was in a shambles at the time — the dying Mughal Empire was no longer able to extend it patronage and protection, it was battered by repeated assaults from bands of Afghan raiders, and weakened by infighting among some Sikh groups.
• Ranjit Singh brought peace and security to Lahore and revived its economic and cultural glory.
• He proclaimed himself maharaja of the Punjab in 1801, and proceeded to rule with religious tolerance for communities other than Sikhs.
• The Sikh Empire, also known as the Sikh Raj and Sarkar-a-Khalsa, was in the Punjab region, the name of which means “the land of the five rivers”. The five rivers are the Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Chenab and Jhelum, all of which are tributaries of the river Indus.
• Maharaja Ranjit Singh allowed men from different religions and races to serve in his army and his government in various positions of authority.
• His army included a few Europeans, such as the Frenchman Jean-François Allard, though Singh maintained a policy of refraining from recruiting Britons into his service, aware of British designs on the Indian subcontinent.
• Despite his recruitment policies, he did maintain a cardial relationship with british and infact helped british in removing Islamic sultan in Afghanistan
• Ranjit Singh was a secular king and followed the Sikh path.
• He also joined the Hindus in their temples and prohibited cow slaughter out of respect for Hindu sentiments
• There were no forced conversions in his time. His wives Bibi Mohran, Gilbahar Begum retained their faith and so did his Hindu wives.
• A devoted Sikh, Ranjit Singh restored and built historic Sikh Gurdwaras – most famously, the Harmandir Sahib
• He built several Gurdwaras, Hindu Temples and even mosques and one in particular was Mai Moran Masjid which he built for his beloved muslim wife Moran Sarkar.
• Ranjit Singh changed and improved the training and organisation of his army. He reformed the staffing to emphasise steady fire over cavalry and guerrilla warfare, improved the equipment and methods of war.
• The military system of Ranjit Singh combined the best of both old and new ideas.
• The army under Ranjit Singh was not limited to the Sikh community. The soldiers and troop officers included Sikhs, but also included Hindus, Muslims and Europeans
• Composition in his government also reflected a religious diversity.
• The Khalsa army of Ranjit Singh reflected regional population, and as he grew his army, he dramatically increased the Rajput and Jat Sikhs who became the predominant members of his army.
• In the Doaba region his army was composed of the Jat Sikhs, in Jammu and northern Indian hills it was Hindu Rajputs, while relatively more Muslims served his army in the Jhelum river area closer to Afghanistan than other major Panjab rivers.
• Ranjit Singh did not make major investments in other infrastructure such as irrigation canals to improve the productivity of land and roads. The prosperity in his Empire, in contrast to the Mughal-Sikh wars era, largely came from the improvement in the security situation, reduction in violence, reopened trade routes and greater freedom to conduct commerce
• The nine feet tall statue, made of cold bronze, shows the regal Sikh emperor sitting on a horse, sword in hand, complete in Sikh attire. The statue marks his 180th death anniversary. It was vandalised for several times, the first being on July 2019 when two members of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan were angry with the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. On 11 December 2020, the statue was vandalized by an extremist who broke the left arm of statue.The man was immediately caught by a security guard and was later on arrested by Lahore Police.On 17 August 2021, the statue was again vandalised for a third time by a member of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan. He was stopped by visitors and arrested by police.
DICTIONARY OF MARTYRS: INDIA’S FREEDOM STRUGGLE (1857-1947)
Malabar Rebellion leaders Variamkunnath Kunhamed Haji, Ali Musaliar and 387 other “Moplah martyrs” will be removed from the Dictionary of Martyrs of India’s Freedom Struggle.
A three-member panel, which reviewed the entries in the fifth volume of the dictionary, brought out by the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR), is understood to have recommended the deletion as it felt that the 1921 rebellion was never part of the independence struggle but a fundamentalist movement focused on religious conversion. None of the slogans raised by the rioters were in favour of nationalism and anti-British in content, it noted.
The project for compilation of “Dictionary of Martyrs” of India’s Freedom Struggle was commissioned by the Ministry of Culture, to the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) to commemorate the 150th anniversary of uprising of 1857.
In this dictionary a martyr has been defined as a person who died or who was killed in action or in detention, or was awarded capital punishment while participating in the national movement for emancipation of India.
It includes ex-INA or ex-military personnel who died fighting the British.
WHO ARE ALL INCLUDED
• It includes the martyrs of 1857 Uprising, Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (1919), Non-Cooperation Movement (1920-22), Civil Disobedience Movement (1930-34), Quit India Movement (1942-44), Revolutionary Movements (1915-34), Kissan Movements, Tribal Movements, Agitation for Responsible Government in the Princely States (Prajamandal), Indian National Army (INA, 1943-45), Royal Indian Navy Upsurge (RIN, 1946), etc.
• Information of about 13,500 martyrs has been recorded in these volumes.
The publication has been brought out in five volumes (zone wise) as given below:
“Dictionary of Martyrs: India’s Freedom Struggle (1857-1947)”, Volume 1, Parts I & II. In this volume, more than 4400 martyrs of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have been listed.
“Dictionary of Martyrs: India’s Freedom Struggle (1857-1947)”, Volume 2, Parts I & II. In this volume more than 3500 martyrs of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir have been listed.
“Dictionary of Martyrs: India’s Freedom Struggle (1857-1947)”, Volume 3. The number of martyrs covered in this volume is more than 1400. This volume covers the martyrs of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Sind.
“Dictionary of Martyrs: India’s Freedom Struggle (1857-1947)”, Volume 4. The numbers of martyrs covered in this volume is more than 3300. This volume covers the martyrs of Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura.
“Dictionary of Martyrs: India’s Freedom Struggle (1857-1947)”, Volume 5. The number of martyrs covered in this volume is more than 1450. This volume covers the martyrs of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
CHAKMA ORGANISATIONS HAVE SLAMMED THE PROPOSED DEPORTATION OF 60,000 PEOPLE BELONGING TO THE CHAKMA AND HAJONG COMMUNITIES FROM ARUNACHAL PRADESH
Chakma organisations have slammed the proposed deportation of 60,000 people belonging to the Chakma and Hajong communities from Arunachal Pradesh.
They said other States in India, specifically Assam, must not be the dumping ground of “unwanted people of the Northeast” although 94% of the Chakmas and Hajongs settled in present day Arunachal Pradesh by the Government of India in the 1960s are Indians by birth.
WHO IS CHAKMAS AND HAJONG
The Chakmas and Hajongs are ethnic people who lived in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, most of which are located in Bangladesh. Chakmas are predominantly Buddhists, while Hajongs are Hindus. They are found in northeast India, West Bengal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
The Chakmas and Hajongs living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts fled erstwhile East Pakistan in 1964-65, since they lost their land to the development of the Kaptai Dam on the Karnaphuli River. In addition, they also faced religious persecution as they were non-Muslims and did not speak Bengali.They eventually sought asylum in India.
The Indian government set up relief camps in Arunachal Pradesh and a majority of them continue to live there even after five decades. According to the 2011 census, 47,471 Chakmas live in Arunachal Pradesh alone.
They all Rehabilitated in the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) that became Arunachal Pradesh later on
The rehabilitation was under a Centrally-sponsored plan following a series of discussions between the representatives of the Central government, the NEFA administration and local tribal leaders.
The Chakmas and Hijongs opposed their inclusion in undivided Pakistan during Partition. They later opposed their inclusion in Bangladesh when East Pakistan was fighting the Liberation War with West Pakistan, on grounds that they are an ethnic and religious minority group.
A group of Chakmas resorted to armed conflict with Bangladeshi forces under the name ‘Shanti Bahini’. The conflict increased the inflow of refugees to India.
In 1997, the Bangladeshi government headed by Sheik Hasina signed a peace accord with the Shanti Bahini, which resulted in the end of the insurgency.
According to the accord, the Chakma, Marma, Tripura, Murang and Tanchangya were acknowledged as tribes of Bangladesh entitled for benefits and a Regional Council was set up to govern the Hill Tracts. The agreement also laid out plans for the return of land to displaced natives and an elaborate land survey to be held in the Hill Tracts.
In 2015, the Supreme Court directed the Centre to grant citizenship to Chakma and Hajongs who had migrated from Bangladesh in 1964-69. The order was passed while hearing a plea by the Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas. Following this, the Centre introduced amendments to the Citizenship Act, 1955.
The Union Home Ministry on Wednesday cleared the citizenship for over one lakh Chakma-Hajongs. However, they will not have any land ownership rights in Arunachal Pradesh and will have to apply for Inner Line Permits to reside in the State.
RUSSIAN STEALTH FRIGATES TO COME IN 2023
The first of two additional Krivak class stealth frigates being built by Russia is expected to be delivered to India in the middle of 2023, Alexey Rakhmanov, chief executive officer of United Shipbuilding Corporation, said.
o In October 2016, India and Russia signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for four Krivak or Talwar class stealth frigates — two to be procured directly from Russia and two to be built by Goa Shipyard Ltd. (GSL)(Under Make In India) — after which a $1 billion deal was signed for the direct purchase.
o Frigates were being built to operate both Indian and Russian equipment.
o Engines for the ships are supplied by Ukraine
o The new Krivak frigates will have the same engines and armament configuration as Yantar’s last three frigates – INS Teg, Tarkash and Trikand. These will be armed with BrahMos anti-ship and land attack missiles.
o The Navy currently operates six Krivak class frigates procured in two different batches. The navy already operates six Krivak III frigates. The first three joined the fleet between June 2003 and April 2004, followed by another three between April 2012 and June 2013. With the current contract, the navy will operate 10 Krivak frigates by 2026-27