Early life of RANJIT SINGH

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Ranjit Singh was born on 13 November 1780, to Maha Singh Sukerchakia and Raj Kaur – the daughter of Raja Gajpat Singh of Jind, in Gujranwala, in the Majha region of Punjab (now in Pakistan). His birth name was Buddh Singh, after his ancestor who was a disciple of Guru Gobind Singh, a Khalsa, and whose descendants created the Sukerchakia misl before the birth of Ranjit Singh, which became the most powerful of many small Sikh kingdoms in northwestern Southern Asia in the wake of the disintegrating Mughal Empire.The child’s 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.

Ranjit Singh contracted smallpox as an infant, which resulted in the loss of sight in his left eye and a pockmarked face. He was short in stature, never schooled, and did not learn to read or write anything beyond the Gurmukhi alphabet,[18] however, he was trained at home in horse riding, musketry and other martial arts.

At age 12, his father died.[16] He then inherited his father’s Sukkarchakkia misl estates and was raised by his mother Raj Kaur, who, along with Lakhpat Rai, also managed the estates.[4] The first attempt on his life was made when he was age 13, by Hashmat Khan, but Ranjit Singh prevailed and killed the assailant instead. At age 18, his mother died and Lakhpat Rai was assassinated, and thereon he was helped by his mother-in-law from his first marriage.

In his teens, Ranjit Singh took to alcohol, a habit that intensified in the later decades of his life, according to the chronicles of his court historians and the Europeans who visited him. However, he neither smoked nor ate beef, and required all officials in his court, regardless of their religion, to adhere to these restrictions as part of their employment contract.

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