The Sikh army under Maharaja Ranjit Singh was one the most powerful military forces in early 19th century India. But what is fascinating, is that at its height and at the top, his army was led by a crack international military team, trained in the best military techniques of the world. Dominated by the French, this battalion of the Maharaja also had soldiers from Italy and Wisconsin, America!
The story of the ‘Fauj-i-Khas’ or the French legion of Maharaja Ranjit Singh can be found in French historian Jean Marie-Lafont’s book ‘Maharaja Ranjit Singh: Lord of the Five Rivers.’ Ranjit Singh blazed a trail of victory through the plains of Punjab in the late 18th century. He united the different Sikh Misls and founded a mighty Sikh empire that stretched from Ladakh in the East to Sindh in the West, covering the crown of the subcontinent.