Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the founder of the Sikh Empire based in the Punjab region. He came to power in the early half of the 19th century, and his empire existed from 1799 to 1849. Born as the son of Maha Singh, the Commander of the Sukerchakia Misl—one of 12 Sikh Misls in Punjab during the 18th century—Ranjit Singh followed in his courageous father’s footsteps to become an even greater leader. He was born in a period when much of Punjab was ruled by the Sikhs under a Confederate Sarbat Khalsa system and the territory was divided among factions known as misls. His father died when Ranjit was 12 years old following which he was raised in the care of his mother Raj Kaur, and later his mother-in-law Sada Kaur. He took over as misldar of the Sukerchakia Misl upon attaining the age of 18 and set about expanding his territory. An ambitious man and a courageous warrior, he started conquering all the others misls and the annexation of Lahore from the Bhangi Misl marked the first important step in his rise to power. Eventually he conquered the region of central Punjab from the Sutlej to the Jhelum, vastly expanded his territory and founded the Sikh Empire. Because of his bravery and courage he earned the title of “Sher-e-Punjab” (“The Lion of Punjab”).

Ranjit Singh was born on 13 November, 1780, in Gujranwala, Sukerchakia Misl (present-day Pakistan) to Maha Singh and his wife Raj Kaur. His father was the Commander of the Sukerchakia Misl. As a child Ranjit Singh was afflicted with small pox which resulted in the loss of one eye.

Maha Singh died when Ranjit Singh was only 12 years old, leaving him to be raised by his mother.

He was married to Mehtab Kaur, the daughter of Sardar Gurbakash Singh Sandhu of the Kanhaiya Misl and Sada Kaur, in 1796, when he was 16 years old. Upon his marriage his mother-in-law also started taking active interest in his life.