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World Map (Ranjit Singh Lives)

The world as it is today

Original Sikh Flag

Blue Sikh Flag

Maharajah Ranjit Singh (Ranjit SIngh Lives)

Maharajah Ranjit Singh

OTL History and demise of the Sikh Kingdom

In the late 1700s and early 1800s, the Sikh Empire was the powerhouse of South Asia, that arose under the leadership of Maharajah Ranjit Singh who established the empire basing it around the Punjab. His administration included people of all religions, the empire was a secular state. At least 80% of population of the territory he ruled over was Muslim, 10% were Hindu and the majority remaining percent were Sikhs. Unlike, other South Asian empires, who appointed Brahmins as their ministers, the Sikh Ranjit Singh appointed Muslim Fakir Azizuddin as Wazir/Pradhan/Prime Minister.

His army was moderni(z/s)ed on European lines by generals who had once served Napoleon. Those generals being Jean-François Allard, Jean-Baptiste Ventura, Paolo Di Avitabile and Claude August Court.

The Dogra family played a crucial part in the demise of the Sikh Kingdom. In 1814, Jammu became part of the Sikh Kingdom, under Ranjit Singh. Ranjit Singh bestowed the place as a jagir on Gulab Singh Dogra, who belonged to the Jamwal Rajput clan that ruled Jammu. As a jagirdar for the Sikhs, Gulab Singh Dogra extended the boundaries of the Sikh kingdom to western Tibet with the help of Zorawar Singh Kahluria. The Sikh rule was then extended beyond the Jammu Region and the Kashmir Valley to include the Tibetan Buddhist Kingdom of Ladakh and the Emirates of Hunza, Gilgit and Nagar. The Dogras requested Maharajah Ranjit Singh to change the colour of the national flag from dark blue to saffron, and include a picture of a Hindu deity. Ranjit Singh agreed to change to colour but refused to add an image of a Hindu deity. Hari Singh Nalwa was commander-in-chief of the Sikh Kingdom, and was often seen as one of their best generals. He occupied the Khyber Pass in Afghanistan, defeated the Afghans and annexed most of their empire into the Sikh Kingdom. Whilst fighting on the frontier, Hari Singh Nalwa called for aided, Dhian Singh Dogra received the call but did not inform Ranjit Singh. As a result Hari Singh Nalwa died 1837. When Ranjit Singh found out he was furious, but Dhian Singh Dogra managed to weasel his way out, saying that he didn't want add pressure on the Maharajah.

After Ranjit's death, Dhian became Wazir/Pradhan/Prime Minister and advisor to Ranjit Singh's heir, Maharajah Kharak Singh. At this point the kingdom started to fall into chaos. Kharak's son, Kanvar (Prince) Nau Nihal Singh was seen as a better leader as his father. Dhian convinced Nau Nihal to take over from his father as he was just a figure head king. Dhian poisoned Kharak, on the day of the death of Kharak, Nau Nihal was walking back from his father's cremation, escorted by Main Udham Singh Dogra, as they passed under Roshni Gate, the beam of stones and tiles of the archway collapsed and crashed upon their heads. Main Udham Singh Dogra died, but Nau Nihal Singh had an injury the size of a rupee on his head. He was carried away by Dhian Dogra. When the door to his room was opened some time later, the floor was splattered in blood and Nau Nihal was dead. Maharani Chand Kaur, wife of Kharak Singh and mother of Nau Nihal Singh was poisoned and had her head smashed in by the order of Dhian and Gulab Dogra.

Sher Singh become the next Maharajah, historians record that he was not very smart politically and let the Dogra brothers take charge of all functions of state. The Dogras, like puppet masters, pulled the strings of others to bring about the death of Sher Singh. Sher Singh was killed as he reached for a new shotgun held by Ajit Singh Sandhawalia, his cousin, who pulled the trigger. Sher Singh only had time to utter, "what treachery." The Sandhawalias also murdered Dhian Singh. The Sandhawalias were thought to have also had designs on the empire. Hira Singh Dogra, aroused the army and killed Ajit and Lehna Singh Sandhawalia. Five-year old Duleep Singh then became Maharajah, but seeing as he was only 5, it was Wazir/Pradhan/Prime Minister Hira Singh Dogra was was actually in charge. A Brahmin Pandit Jalla was his advisor.

Raja Lal Singh then became Wazir/Pradhan/Prime Minister, and Tej Singh Dogra the commander in chief of the Sikh Army. Both were Dogra converts who chose the Sikh faith purely for the purpose of securing military promotions. These to and Gulab Singh Dogra were anxious to start a war with the British, as they had an agreement with the British. Lal and Tej were in direct communication with the British, giving away camp, battle positions and tactics, they also tampered with Sikh guns, cannons and other weapons and didn't attack when presented the opportunity. Despite the fact that him and Tej Singh revealed the entire plans of the Sikhs, the British Empire had great difficulty defeating the Sikhs. Later despite his treachery the Sikhs narrowly lost the Battle of Ferozeshah, giving the British one of the most challenging fights experienced in years.

In summary, the Sikh Kingdom was the only South Asian state not to be under European rule. After succession of short-lived rulers at the central Durbar (court), and increasing tension between the Khalsa and the Durbar. The East India Company began to build up its military strength on the borders of the Punjab. Eventually, the increasing tension goaded the Khalsa to invade British territory, under weak and treacherous leaders, who gave Sikh plans away to the British. The hard-fought Anglo-Sikh Wars ended in defeat for the Khalsa.

Previously Gulab Singh Dogra had stolen ₹8,000,000 and 500 horses from the treasury. He used this money to buy Jammu and Ksshmir from the British for ₹7.5 million, to create the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, in British India.

Sir Lepel Griffin, a British observer said, "There are no characters in Punjab's history more repulsive than Dhian and Gulab Dogra ... but let it not be said that the son of the grand vizier at any time lacked his father's typical characteristics." In summary these men tore apart the Sikh Kingdom from the inside, in a clever but repulsive fashion, had it not been for them the Sikh Raj may still exist today.

PoD and consequences

In his final battle, Hari Singh Nalwa would capture the whole of Afghanistan and annex it into the Sikh Empire. After hearing that Dhian Singh Dogra hadn't called for aid for Hari Singh Nalwa, Maharajah Ranjit Singh banishes the Dogras, takes Kashmir away from them and strips them of their power. The Dogras would wage a war with the Sikh Kingdom, which the Sikhs would easily win. Without the Dogra's, Ranjit Singh successors would live longer, thus the Kingdom would never fall into such disorder. They would ally with the British, before turning on them and supporting the rebels in the Indian Rebellion. Also, due to the British never defeating the Sikhs, the Koh-i-Noor would remain with the Sikhs.

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