The Punjab Being a Brief Account of the Country of the Sikhs. Its Extent, History, Commerce, Productions, Government, Manufactures, Laws, Religion by Henry Steinbach.
This is more of a compilation than an original contribution. It is mostly based on the accounts of Malcolm, Murray, Prinsep, Baron Charles Hegel, Moorcroft and Trebeck and Thorton.
The entire 8th chapter, except for two pages, is from Captain Murray. The 10th chapter is mostly based on Malcolm's Sketch of the Sikhs.
McLeod is right in saying that Steinbach's narrative includes errors due to Malcolm's guidance.
Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Steinbach was a Prussian who was employed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji's Khalsa Darbar in 1836 as a battalion commander on a slarary of 600 RS and increased to 800 RS by 1841. In 1841 he commanded a Sikh battalion and according to his own testimony he apparently escaped with his life during the mutiny of the Sikh army in 1843. Amongst a whole lot more.
Getting back to the book - the entire aim of him producing this work was in order to make a plea for the annexation of the Punjab by the British. His own embittered and prejudiced mind is clearly expressed in the preface.
Yet something that does set him apart from his contemporaries - they all preferred to focus on the Sikh rule and the Anglo-Sikh relations. Steinbach includes an entire chapter devoted to the religion of the Sikhs.
- 141 pages
History of the Punjab, & the Rise, Progress, & Present Condition of the Sect & Nation of the Sikhs by Henry Thoby Prinsep
The book deals mainly with the political history of the Sikhs from 1742 to 1831.
Henry Thoby Prinsep's (1792 - 1878) work is primarily based on the material collected by Murray. Prinsep has further enriched this information by adding from Captain Wade's (Agent at Ludhiana) report and from some other sources too.
Captain Murray spent sixteen years (1815 to 1831) among the Sikhs as Assistant Political Agent at Ludhiana, Deputy Superintendant of Sikh and Hill Affairs and later Political Agent at Ambala. During his stay among the Sikhs he collected a large amount of written material and oral information, which remained unpublished for sometime (it is now available in printed form).
Prinsep re-wrote certain sections and added a chapter on Bentinck and Ranjit Singh's meeting from his own observations.
- 338 pages
British Newspaper Reports on the Sikhs: 1784 - 1799
This book includes newspaper reports from the Calcutta Gazette, Madras Courier, Kentish Gazette and the Oxford Journal from 1784 to 1799. You will not find this book anywhere else. ⠀
The book conforms to the digest dimensions of 5.5 x 8.5 in / 140 x 216 mm and 40 pages.
This is just the first in the series of books I will be publishing that catalogue British newspaper reports regarding the Sikhs.
- 40 pages
British Newspaper Reports on the Sikhs: The Sikh Empire (7th July, 1799 – 8th March, 1846)
This book is a compilation of over one hundred British newspaper articles regarding the Sikhs spanning over fourty-six years from 1799 until 1846. In summary, it provides a brilliantly broad view of British interactions and observations of the Punjab and the Sikhs.
It is a treasure trove of information, from the sketches of the Sikhs, descriptions of the local people, overviews of the landscape or the cities through which the observer had travelled, as well as the bias and views of the writer.
The four books included in this deal are simply priceless. The 3 older books here are in a great print and very easily readable. All books have excellent covers and two of the books boast sketches by Alexis Saltykov!
Bajwa's book on the military system of the Sikhs is really well-written analysis of the armies of the Sikh Empire. Bajwa makes use of and references primary sources from the period, such as Sohan Lal Suri's Umdat-Ut-Tawarikh, which makes this book truly priceless for the knowledge it holds.
The books by Steinbach and Prinsep are outstanding as they serve as witnesses, if you will, for our well-documented history. These two books also highlight the mindsets of western travelers in India which have been shaped by their western (classical) education, through texts such as Herodotus.
Ramblings of a Sikh's newspaper reports is just brilliant - this is information that has been excellently compiled and organised for your reading! A must read, for sure.