Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) popularly known as the Lion of the Punjab is, perhaps the most outstanding figure in Punjab history. Because of his extraordinary qualities as a fighter, conqueror and an empire builder Ranjit Singh is often compared with Napoleon Bonaparte, Bismarck and Akbar. Rising from the position of chief of one of the twelve Sikh confederacies in the eighteenth century Punjab, Ranjit Singh was the first Punjabi ruler who established vast empire in north India. Which extended from the Khyber Pass in the North West, Sutlej in East, deserts of Sind in the South and China and Tibet in the North? Because of his benevolent policies the Maharaja endeared himself to the subjects, a majority of whom were other than his co-religionists. Through his genius Ranjit Singh built a powerful military system and modernized his army on European lines with the help of French and Italian generals.