The Camel Merchant Of Philadephia
In 1801, Ranjit Singh, the young scion of a petty fiefdom in the Punjab was declared the Maharaja of Punjab. The young man went on to carve out a kingdom that stretched from the borders of Afghanistan in the west to those of the British Raj in the east - the lush hills and valleys of Kashmir, the barren mountains of Ladakh and the fertile plains of his native Punjab. The British dared not engage in military adventures against Ranjit Singh, but valued him as ally who would keep their western frontier safe. The Camel Merchant of Philadelphia brings alive the king’s dynamic court and his tumultuous but effective reign. In his court was Akali Phoola Singh, the tempestuous leader of the militant Sikhs, who won Ranjit Singh some of his most notable victories, but never fully submitted to his authority. Sarbpreet Singh’s compelling new history of Ranjit Singh’s life and times humanises a great emperor without glossing over his flaws and foibles.