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Secret History Of The Khalsa Durbar - Book By G. Carmichael Smyth
Preface To 'Secret History Of The Khlasa Durbar' By G. Carmichael Smyth
This Book Secret History of the Khalsa Durbar, was originally published under the title A history of the Reigning Family of Lahore in 1847 just after the Anglo-Sikh wars and annexation of Punjab by the British thus bringing to close the Sikh raj that' was established by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1801. As long as Maharaja Ranjit Singh was yet alive, the Sikh raj promised to be durable, nay, even stronger but as soon as he left the scene the raj started showing fissures to ultimately breaking up altogether.
The writer or to be more precise, the complier and editor of this book, Maj. G. Smyth, had himself crossed swords with the Sikhs during an Anglo-Sikh war. He was also associated with the British intelligence network in special respect to Sikh affairs. This intelligence network was more active after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, perhaps the British expected the fall of the Sikh rule imminent. Even when Maharaja Ranjit Singh was alive and strong, the British had predicted an early fall of the Sikh kingdom after his death.
To prepare this book the editor Maj Smyth had consulted notes fed by the British intelligence network. Among the principal intelligence gatherers for the British was one Col. Gardner, an American, who was the head of Ranjit Singh's artillery. The other who worked with British intelligence were the European officers of the Maharaja Even Maharaja Ranjit Singh had well functioning intelligence network across most of the country from Rajasthan on the Punjab's border to down South which kept him well-informed about the British activity elsewhere and of other interests in respect of relations with kings and rulers.
The editor also consulted native manuscripts and writings to prepare this book. He also had interaction with Sikh Sirdars to check and reckeck the information he had got from other sources. Therefore, this book has the recommendation of being highly authentic, and needless to say, highly interesting. As the writer was so close to the times he wrote about-he was in fact of the time~the book should be considered an eye-witness account of the events taking place at the Khalsa Durbar.
History, we are told, is the never-ending drama of man's attempt to cope with his environment, his society, ideas and emotions. And the cast of characters in this drama is endless and full of variety-great men, ordinary men and women, heroes and villains, warriors and religious leaders are only few of those who appear on the stage. In this drama may be comedy and tragedy, heroism and cowardice, profouned thought and bigotry-we all witness to learn and delearn something from history if we only are earnest but dispassionate. But we tend to regard our historical personalities with some reverence and would not accept that would not agree with our inborn reverence. And yet in the history ef the times-the times following Maharaja Ranjit Singh's demise which saw the end of what is known as Sikh empire and which this volume covers-there are bound to be some unpalatabe references to our heroes and villains. But if we have a sense of history, such unpalatable references should stir our intellect rather than bruise our sentiment. We here at the publishing house have always taken this approach while presenting Sikh history, especially the one researched and presented by the non-establishment-that is, non-Silch. There may be opinions and judgements in this book with which we may not agree, but that should not prevent us from publishing a rewarding volume, good for browsing so even though it is from the non-establishment.