Maharaja Ranjit Singh Named Greatest Leader of All Time

Sikh warrior Maharaja Ranjit Singh beats Winston Churchill as the greatest leader of all time.

A Sikh warrior known for his vast conquests, religious toleration and taste for fire-water and beautiful women has been voted the greatest leader of all time.

Maharajah Ranjit Singh, founder of the Sikh Empire, defeated rival nominees including Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln, by gaining 38 per cent of the poll of more than 5,000 readers of BBC World Histories magazine.

The historian Matthew Lockwood nominated the so-called Lion of Punjab, arguing that while he was a conqueror, he formed a “modern empire of toleration” that unravelled after his death when the British took his former territories.

The academic, at the University of Alabama, wrote: “Though certainly an imperialist, Ranjit Singh represented a different, more enlightened, more inclusive model of state-building, and a much-needed path towards unity and toleration. We could still benefit from his example.”

Matt Elton, editor of BBC World Histories, said: “Though perhaps not as familiar as some of the other names on the list, Ranjit Singh’s overwhelming success in our poll suggests that the qualities of his leadership continue to inspire people around the world in the 21st century. And, at a time of global political tensions, it’s telling that Singh’s rule is interpreted as representing ideals of tolerance, freedom and cooperation.”

BBC World Histories Magazine top 5 greatest leaders
1 Maharaja Ranjit Singh, ruler of the Sikh empire 1801–39
2 Amílcar Cabral, 20th-century African independence fighter
3 Winston Churchill, British prime minister 1940–45 and 1951–55
4 Abraham Lincoln, US president 1861–65
5 Elizabeth I, Queen of England 1558–1603

Read the entire article by Mark Bridge Here: The Times

The Times – Mark Bridge, History Correspondent
4 March 2020

Wednesday March 04 2020, 5.00pm,



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