The ‘Lion of Punjab,’ Maharaja Ranjit Singh, has been voted as the greatest world leader, much ahead of Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, and a host of other famous personalities from the past.
The 19th century Sikh emperor, one of the greatest ever, pushed everyone aside in the popularity ratings in a poll conducted by BBC World Histories magazine.
He won by a walloping margin, garnering 38 per cent of over 5,000 votes cast by the readers.
Pan-Africanist revolutionary Amílcar Cabral was the second most popular figure with 25 per cent votes while former British PM Winston Churchill took the third spot with just a 7 per cent share of the total votes.
“It is a proud moment for all Indians,” said Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
“Maharaja Ranjit Singh has been named the greatest world leader in BBC World poll. He was a great warrior and an able administrator who unified & modernized NW India. His reign was truly the Golden Age of Punjab,” tweeted Singh.
Former American President Abraham Lincoln (No. 4) and Queen Elizabeth I completed the top five of the list.
Many noted historians from all over the world, had finalized the nominations listing qualities such as ‘exercising power’ and ‘having an impact on humanity’ in the criteria for selecting ‘the greatest leader’ of all time.
“Singh’s rule is interpreted as representing ideals of tolerance, freedom and cooperation,” said the magazine’s Editor Matt Elton.
A few years ago, the local administration of French city Saint Tropez had installed the bust of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, further cementing the popularity enjoyed by the former ruler even more than 180 years after his death..