Maharajah Ranjit singh ruled the Punjab for 40 years till his death in 1839. He was by all accounts a great king who established the Sikh empire. He was shrewd as is evidenced by his treaty with the British. He also waged a relentless campaign against the Afghans and ladakh. He subdued the warring Afghans and his rule extended right up to the Khyber pass. He also captured Ladakh and is the only instance when Ladakh came under Indian rule.
All that is fine, but I have another pertinent question which Sikh scholars and historians must answer. It is well knownthat the Sikh gurus led by the great Guru Nanak and later Guru Gobind Singh were against rituals and Hindu customs. In particular they were against the practice of Sati and polygamy. There are umpteen verses in the holy book the Granth Sahib that condemn Sati.
Yet the factremains that when Ranjit Singh died all the neferious Hindu customs were followed by the Sikhs. Not many are aware that 5 of the wives of Ranjit Singh were burnt alive on the funeral pyre. They committed sati, contrary to all the canons and laws of Sikhism. It is not known whether force was used in this sati, but the eldest queen was made to sit on the funeral pyre with the head of the Maharajah in her lap. This barabarity cannot be condoned and Sikh scholars have completely side stepped this issue.
I am a sSikh myself and have wondered how the Sikh clergy could have allowed this to happen. Only rani Jind Kaur who was with child was spared this ordeal. She died in 1863 in England, but that is another story.