The present 'Coronation Bi-centenary Commemorative Volume' has been compiled to give a glimpse of the studies on Ranjit Singh that have been done during the last six decades. While laying hand on the material, care has been taken to select such writings as give a fair idea of the advances made in diverse areas of studies onRanjit Singh or have interpretative bearings.
We are conscious of our limitations in this endeavour due to lack of sufficient time at our disposal. But we have tried our best to reach out, as far as possible, to almost all the works that have appeared during this period. We are that the studies included in this volume will provide enough incentive to the budding scholars to delve deep in such areas as diplomacy, heterogenous character of Khalsa Durbar, the conduct of courtiers and nobility and Khalsa ethos to make an objective assessment of achievements of Ranjit Singh whose attainments decidedly came through decency and civility and not through tyranny or barbarity.
The photograph on the jacket is of the 'Auspicious Star of the Punjab' (Kukb-i-Iqbal-i- Punjab) created by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and presented to Lord Auckland on the occasion of his visit to Lahore in 1838.
The star with radiating flames is heavily encrusted with diamonds and emeralds exquisitely set into 'gold metal. In the centre is a miniature portrait of Maharaja Ranjit Singh attired in a yellow robe, He is holding a lily flower and a rosary of beads. Koh-i-noor, the Mountain of Light, is seen on his right arm. The obverse of the medal as printed on the back of the jacket is an example of the finest enamel and inlay work on gold, The rich colours of the enamel display exquisite floral designs. This medal is of great historic value and proclaims the splendour, wealth and grandeur of the Sikh court
Maharaja Ranj it Singh, the bicentenary of whose coronatic falls this year, is the name most deeply etched in the psyche oftl people of Punjab, especially the Sikhs. They see in him an instrurne of Providence who realized what had been stressed by the weight of tradition for the past about hundred years - raj karega khals. Ranjit Singh who derived his power of sovereignty from the mystic entity called Khalsa Panth chose the Vaisakhi day of Bikrami 1858 (AD 1801) for his investiture ceremony.
The coronation of Ranjit Singh marks a watershed in tl history of Pun jab insofar as it put an end to all Afghan and Mugh invasions from beyond Khybar Pass who had mauled and rnaraude Punjab for centuries. Thereafter only civil servants or soldiers fortune camejo Punjab and that too to take service with Ranj Singh's Sarkar-i-Khalsa. This marked the onset of a new era peace, progress, amity and prosperity for the Punjab.
The Punjabi University has decided to celebrate the coronatic bicentenary of this great son of Punjab in a manner befitting the occasion. We begin the year-long celebrations on the Vaisakhi da of AD 2001. The Bicentenary Commemoration Volume being released on this occasion is our first step in this direction. I am glad that this challenging task of compilation and editing of the volume has been admirably accomplished by Professor Prithipal Singh Kapi and Dr. Dharam Singh, the constraints of time notwithstanding.
I hope the book which seeks to present glimpses of the scholarly work done during the 20th century will surely be of irnmense; use to both the scholars and students of the history of the Punjab.
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