Various power struggles marked the years following the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780–1839), founder of the first unified Sikh kingdom. Hira (Heera) Singh, shown in this portrait, was the son of Ranjit Singh’s chief minister and had been treated like a son by the maharaja. In 1843 Hira Singh’s powerful father was murdered during a rampage in the Sikh capital of Lahore (Pakistan) The Sikh army, with Hira at its head, eventually recaptured Lahore and installed another of Ranjit Singh’s sons upon the throne. Hira Singh was appointed chief minister, a position that he held for only one year before he too was murdered as a result of court intrigues. This rendering of the powerful young leader conveys his authority and force of personality.
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