India's stolen treasures - Maharajah Ranjit Singh's Gold throne, Punjab - looted by the English co - 03

Punjab province. Maharajah Ranjit Singh's throne

Above image:  Maharajah Ranjit Singh's throne  made by the goldsmith Hafez Muhammad Multani about 1820 to 1830, for the Sikh empire,  has a   wood and resin core, covered with sheets of repouss√©, chased and engraved gold.

fabulously  rich, his   court was richly embellished and  decorated with richly worked sheets of gold.  The gold throne is a sturdy one with cusped base, and has  has two tiers of lotus petals, lotus  being  a symbol of purity and creation.  Lotus throne has traditionally been used as a seat or throne for Hindu god.  A man of simplicity he preferred to sit with crossed-legs on the carpet instead on the throne. 

East India company using the Doctrine of lapse as an excuse  annexed the kingdom after the  Second Anglo-Sikh War and took away the gold throne, a  State Property.  The wily British  took advantage of a chaotic political situation after the death of ruler Ranjit Singh. However, Duleep Singh, a young prince was made a legal heir.  The English company not only made Punjab a part of the British empire, but also took away  the palace treasures to London   

The  treasures  plundered  by the English company  from Punjab  were at the Great Exhibition in 1851.  Later they were  shifted to    India Museum,  London. Presently at  the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British government refused to return the gold throne  to Punjab, as it was the  legacy of the last ruler of untied Punjab. The other treasures included the famous Koh-i-noor diamond and the Timur ruby. 


Maharajah Ranjit Singh:

Maharajah Ranjit singh of Punjab province.

Maharajah Ranjit Singh  (2 November 1780 – 27 June 1839) often referred to as  Sher-e-Punjab or "Lion of Punjab",  took the credit of being the first Maharaja of the Sikh Empire, which ruled the northwest Indian subcontinent in the early half of the 19th century. He survived smallpox in infancy but Though he lost sight in his left eye due to  smallpox when he was a child, he was a courageous warrior and a man of exceptional talents.  Brought up as a warrior as young kid, when he was just 10 years old he fought his first battle alongside his father at age. Upon his father's death he had to confront  several wars to expel Afghans in his  late teens was proclaimed as the "Maharajah of Punjab" at age 21.  Through shher hardwork and victory in battles, he gradually expanded his kingdom till  1839.

prior to his rise as strong leader and ruler, Punjab was rife with many warring groups with no unity among them. The 12  confederacies (11 under Sikh ruler; one under a Muslim ruler)  came under the leadership of Ranjit Singh and  the ruler  successfully absorbed and united the Sikh misls and took over other local kingdoms to create the Sikh Empire. This consolidation of all rulers under one roof helped him a lot and he  successfully tackled the frequent invasions from  other places , particularly those from Afghanistan; his military alliance with the  English company was an added advantage.  In his government lots of Europeans, Muslims and other people worked and during his heyday Punjab saw cultural renaissance. He treated all with  same respect and with magnanimity. In 1835, Maharaja Ranjit Singh donated 1 ton of gold for plating the Kashi Vishwanath Temple's dome. He also helped Muslims when they built the mosques in his region.  He died in 1839 at the age of 58.