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  1. Did Duleep Singh Embrace Christianity of His Own Free Will? Harbans Singh Noor Maharaja Dalip Singh before (left) and after (right) Conversion A hundred and fifty years ago, on March 8, 1853 14-year-old Maharaja Duleep Singh, son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the last sovereign of the Khalsa Kingdom of Punjab, was proselytized into Christianity by the advice and consent of Lord Dalhousie, Governor General of India. The British put forth a lie that it was Maharaja’s own free will. Several scholars have found this presentation questionable, but it has not yet been nailed once for all. In this essay, an attempt has been made to present a proof positive that it was a devoted and missionary spirited Dr John Spencer Login, who got himself appointed as guardian of the 10-year-old Duleep Singh; wished and planned from day one to convert the lad, “young enough to mould” and “one who may yet influence so many thousands of people”. Following sequence of Login’s own words, from Lady Login’s book, Sir John Login and Duleep Singh, published in 1889, and from Lady Login’s Recollections, by Login’s daughter, E Dalhousie Login, illustrates how devoted a Christian John was, and how eager he always was to place copies of the Bible, in hands of Jews and ranking Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. He was always anxious to be “useful” and he wanted his wife also to be “useful” to the cause of spreading Christianity. It was with Duleep Singh’s money, given by his guardian, Dr Login, that American Presbyterian Mission ran 10 schools in Farukhabad “Whereby 400 youth were thoroughly educated in the Christian faith and some were being fitted to evangelize their own people.” We also find how Login ‘connived’ with Bhajun Lai, a Hindu employee of the household, to bring the lad into the fold of Christianity. Conscious of the role he had played, the same Bhajun Lai tried to ‘blackmail’ Dr. Login to get rewarded for his ‘services’. He demanded such favours that Login could not have delivered under any circumstances, and finally succeeded in extracting sufficient cash, with which he established a flourishing business. Some of the other officers who helped Login in his scheme became victims of the wrath of inhabitants during the ‘Mutiny’ in 1857. Ten years before he came in contact with Duleep Singh, Dr John Login was posted in Herat. He was attached to Major D’Arcy Todd’s Mission to Shah Kamran. From there, he wrote to his mother on July 29, 1839: “I think I ought to remain here - a wide field of usefulness is open to me, and I may, through Divine blessing, be preparing a way for a Christian Mission in this centre of Asia ere long. ... “There are several families of Jews here. I had yesterday a long conversation with two of them; they were much delighted with the epistle of St Paul to the Romans [from the Bible] which I read to them in Persian.” In a footnote to this letter, Lady Login says: “As they appeared much delighted with the small tract which Login got one of the Rabbis transcribe for them, he was induced to employ the same man on a transcription of Martyn’s Persian Testament.... Thirteen years after [in 1852] Login had the happiness of learning that this last named Jew had through this work been led into the truth of the Gospel, and died as a Christian in Bombay - Ferriers Caravan Journey, p 123. ” Lady Login wires: During his residence in Herat, Dr Login often came in contact with the members of Shah Kamran’s household.... The needlework done by the ladies was beautiful, and they were always sending the specimens of their skill - embroidered vests, and quilted chogas and rasais. Covers were made for Login’s Bibles and Prayer Book, and this opportunity was made use of by him to send a Persian Testament to have a cover made of it; and when he found it bore marks of having been read (by whom he never discovered) he offered to exchange it for a volume of Hafiz’s poems, which was eagerly accepted... Login says: “The very first book in Pushtoo ever seen by Shah Kamran and his family was a New Testament which I had brought from India, and which had been published by the missionaries of Serampore in Persian characters.... It was in possession of Shahzadah Mohamed Yusef.... He had got it from me.... May I hope that it has been equally as useful as the Hebrew transcription.... In connection with this, I may mention, that I gave away several copies of Martyn’s Testament to people in Herat, and a Testament in Turki to Khalifa of Merv, a man of considerable sanctity among the Turcomans.” (Lady Login, Sir John Login and Duleep Singh, pp 36-38, - hereafter LL) This then is the portrait of John Login, who would be appointed guardian of 10-year-old Duleep Singh, deposed Maharaja of Punjab. Would the boy be able to hold his own, under Login’s care? Or, would he be coached, influenced, or brainwashed into making decisions? Punjab was annexed by the British on March 29, 1849, but Login was privy to the secret of planned annexation long before that. He was anxious to get charge of the 10-year-old Maharaja Duleep Singh. On March 18, he wrote to his wife in England: “I am not, of course, at liberty to tell you all I know, but Lawrence says that as it will be public in England soon, I may tell you this much - that annexation is determined on by the Governor General.” (LL, p 149) Again on March 28, he wrote: “I showed both Henry and John (Lawrences) the paper I drew up, and of which I sent you a copy, and I believe they have come to the conclusion to recommend me very strongly to Government for the charge of the young Maharaja Duleep Singh, when the Punjab is annexed.” (LL, p 149) After the Annexation On 6th of April 1849, Dr John Spencer Login was installed as Governor of the Lahore Citadel. The Maharaja, the Toshakhana and all the State prisoners, including Dewan Mool Raj, Governor of Multan, came under his charge. Login gave a Bible, in Persian, to Dewan Mool Raj, when he was locked up in Lahore Citadel1, for his trial. In return Mool Raj sent him a sheet of paper with “Ram, Ram, Ram” written on it. (LL, p. 171) Login wrote to his wife in 1850: “I told you, I think, that when at Lahore I had a letter from Lucknow, telling me of my old friend Azeemoolah’s death; he had written me only a few days before, asking my advice whether he should accept an appointment offered by the King. I advised him: “No”; that he had plenty already of this world’s goods, and that he should now take rest and time to think and prepare for the fate that must befall all men; that I wished him to compare what is written in his own books with what our Bible says (I had given him one) and ask God to give him light to understand and do His will.” (LL, p. 226) Now, as guardian of young Duleep Singh, Login misses no time at all in putting his plan into action. He starts teaching him precepts from the Bible. His favourite segment was Mathew from the New Testament. In a letter dated May 6 and 8, 1849 he wrote: It is an amusement to him [Duleep Singh] to have an English writing lesson with me, so I give him a precept to write out and translate, “Do unto others as you would they should do unto you.” [Mathew 7; 12] I intend. As I cannot put the Bible in his hands yet to let him have such principles as these.... (LL, p 159) Duleep Singh was too young and not in a position to ask him, if the British would have wanted the Sikhs to do to them, what they did to the Sikhs. On November 28, 1849 Login informed his wife: “I have just returned (two pm) from him [Lord Dalhousie], He “I have just returned (two pm) from him [Lord Dalhousie], He “I have just returned (two pm) from him [Lord Dalhousie], He told the Little Maharajah to Futtehghur; and that he wished much that I continue in charge of him there on my present allowances2 and do all that I could to make him comfortable.... told me that he did not wish to restrict me to Futtehghur, but that I might take him to Agra or Delhi...wherever I liked, and eventually to England in course of a year or two. I then had an opportunity of giving him my ideas of sending some Sikh nobles to England, and showing them something of our power and resources.” (LL, pp 188-89) Duleep Singh was taken from the Lahore Citadel to be exiled to Fatehgarh, District Farukhabad, in U.P. He was accompanied by his nephew, 6 year-old Kanwar Shiv Dev Singh, son of Maharaja Sher Singh - another lad Login wanted to convert. In Duleep Singh, Login saw the possibility of a medium to influence thousands more. On March 6, 1850 he wrote to his wife from Fatehgarh: “I am disappointed at having to leave Lahore, before arrival of Dr Duff, after having had so much to do these last few years in urging him to take up Punjab. He was much pleased at my sending him my subscription [Rs 500], as it showed him I was in earnest.” He was also anxious to seek the help of his wife in influencing the lad, who had been separated from his mother. “I shall be glad when you join me, for I cannot expect to have more than two or three years in which we can influence the young Maharajah’s mind favourably towards our domestic life; and I must not lose them on any account.... Is it not worth running some risk to health, by coming back so soon to occupy a position of such usefulness, towards one who may yet influence so many thousands of people?” On May 16, 1850 Dr Login wrote to his wife: “Since last writing I have seen the Governor General... I have spoken strongly about getting a good tutor looked for in England, for the boy; but I see that he thinks it would not be prudent to get Dr Duff to recommend one, as it might think that it was with the intention of making the lad a Christian, so I must do it through another channel... “If you see Dr Duff in Edinburgh, you can explain to him that Lord Dalhousie is afraid if he were asked to recommend a tutor that it might imply an interference with the boy’s religious faith; I trust, however, that God helping, we shall be enabled, as “written epistles” [.Bibles - written as letters - contained in the New Testament.] to manifest the spirituality and benevolence of a Christian life, if we cannot otherwise preach to him... “Observing that Guise, Barlow, Tommy Scott, and I have morning prayer together, he asked me to order his porohut (priest) to come to him also at a fixed hour daily to read in his holy book (the Grunth). This I think indicates devotional feeling, that may hereafter be directed aright;...” (LL, pp 216-17; Emphasis added) [Guise and Tommy Scott’s sister and brother were killed during the Mutiny in 1857.] On May 19, 1850 Login wrote to his wife: I have, it is true, all the pleasure, which I could desire, from the expenditure of the Maharaja’s money, quite as much as if it were my own. So much has been left to my discretion in the way of applying it. After putting his house and grounds in order, I intend to get up a school for the children all round Futtehghur, in which he can take an interest, and also find other ways to give him a taste for benefiting the poor, and making the people round him happy. A footnote reads as follows: “Within the last three months we have started a day-school for girls of respectable caste as an experiment. The Reverend Gopee Nath Nundy’s zealous and exemplary wife and daughter superintend it (vernacular and industrial). I look for great results eventually.” (LL, p 218; Emphasis added) [The Mission was destroyed by the mutineers in 1857.] There is no doubt that Dr Login was a benevolent zealous Christian. In a letter from Fatehgarh, July 16, 1850 Login wrote: “I have just been looking at my account at the Cawnpore Bank, and find it rather low. I have had rather unusual expenses since you left - I mean more than I calculated on. Besides paying the necessary subscriptions to the Funds (Bengal Military and Orphan), which, as you know are especially heavy in my case, I have had to pay, for instance: Dr Duff’s Mission in Punjab - 500 Rs. Brian Hodgson’s children - 250 Rs. Lahore Mission - 100 Rs. Church of Lahore - 100 Rs. Of course, this besides our various subscriptions as usual, such as: The Lawrence Asylum The Free Church Mission The C M Society [Church Missionary Society] I feel sorry indeed that I cannot engage [for Duleep Singh] the tutor, so highly recommended by Dr Duff.” Maharaja Duleep Singh had been betrothed, before the Second Anglo-Sikh War, to be married to the daughter of Sardar Chattar Singh Attariwala. Dr. Login wrote to the Governor General asking for advice in the matter. Duleep Singh was only 11 years old then. On April 13, Dalhousie wrote to Login: “The marriage of the Maharajah is a more difficult matter for us to arrange. I should object decidedly, and do not wish to countenance any relations henceforth between the Maharajah and the Sikhs, either by alliance with a Sikh family, or sympathy with Sikh feeling. The [11-year-old] Maharajah having personally desired to break off his betrothal with Chuttar Singh’s daughter, appears to have opinions of his own as to marriage. If he chooses to marry one of the Rajah of Coorg’s daughters, after having everything about her explained to him, I can’t see why he should not. There are two, one3 that His Highness wants to send to England, another about seven or eight for whom he does not propose English education.” (LL, pp 230-31) Now was the time to change the domestic staff, in line with needs and objectives. In a Memorandum to Lord Dalhousie, Login wrote: On departure from Lahore, Duleep Singh’s “retinue consisted principally of Mahomedans; and even the Sikh priests and many of the Brahmins ... declined to accompany him. “Soon after the Maharajah’s arrival at Futtehghar, his old servant Mean Kheema, a Mahomedan who had been with him ever since his birth, and was much attached to him (the same who advised him to sign the Treaty with a good grace), claimed his promise to let him return to his family and country; it became necessary, therefore, that I should appoint a trustworthy successor. Bhajun Lai, a young Brahmin of Furuckabad, was recommended, as being of excellent moral character, and having received a good education at one of the American Mission at Furruckabad.... “He could read and speak English fairly, which was a great recommendation to the young Maharajah, who was anxious to learn the language. He was therefore, installed as confidential personal attendant.” (LL, p 232) Lady Login arrived from England in December 1850. She had a Christmas present waiting for her. Mrs Login tells us: “It was whilst Login was away from his charge on this occasion that the Maharajah took an important step, by suddenly announcing his intention of embracing the Christian religion.... The whole subject gave rise to an extensive official correspondence...” (LL, p 241) Login submitted a long report and several statements from persons at Fatehgarh, acknowledging which Sir H. Eliot, Secretary to Government wrote to Login on February 17, 1851: “The Governor-General is entirely satisfied by this statement and by the documents transmitted in support of it, that no improper influence had, either directly or indirectly, been used by you, or by any of the English gentlemen who have been connected with His Highness’s establishment, to induce His Highness to abjure his original faith and to profess Christianity. His Lordship requests that his conviction on this head be made known to you and may by you communicated to others.” (LL, p 263) Lord Dalhousie reported the “case so important and so novel” to the Court of Directors, in England, for consideration. On June 11, 1851 Sir Henry Eliot conveyed to Login a letter from the Court of Directors saying: “We concur entirely in the views expressed by Lord Dalhousie.”(LL, p 265) Commenting on this letter from the Court, Sir Eliot wrote: “It is Governor-General’s wish, that if the Maharajah’s desire shall not have been a transient fancy, he should henceforth receive every aid and guidance which can be given to him.” (LL, p 265) Hence, after this, he was given every necessary aid and guidance to embrace Christianity - including chopping off his ‘long and abundant’ hair, and presenting them to Login’s wife. The Truth Behind the Coverup Here are some excerpts from Login’s statement and the supporting documents, which were sent by Login to the Governor-General, to show that conversion was Duleep Singh’s own decision, and that he had no involvement in it. Login used his co-conspirator Bhajun Lai’s statement for coverup. Also presented were letters from Duleep Singh, written for him by Bhajun Lai. Duleep Singh’s letter of December 2, 1850 to Login, when he was at Calcutta, to receive his wife coming from England, said: “Will you kindly send me a nice Bible, for I like very much to read, because yesterday [December 1] Bhajun Lai read to me...” (LL, p 249) His letter dated December 7 said: “I have begun to read the Bible. And generally read one or two chapters.” On December 20, 1850 Captain J Campbell (7th Madras Cavalry) thus reported to the Government: “On Sunday, the 8th inst., His Highness the Maharajah communicated to me through Master Thomas Scott, his desire to become a Christian, as he termed it...” It is strange that Duleep Singh, to whom Bible was read for the first time on December 1, ‘decided’ to become a Christian on December 8. One also wonders why Captain Campbell did not wait for the Maharaja’s guardian, Dr Login to report his ward’s decision to the Government. Was it an emergency or was it preplanned? Bhajun Lai in his statement given to Login said: “When the Maharaj began to learn out of an English book, by the name of “English Instructor.” There were some lines at the back end of the book with a few words about Christian religion. Yu [Dr Login] once said to Maharaj, “These are records about Our religion; if you want to read them, then read; if you don’t want to read, then leave them” but His Highness say to me, :Never mind, I will read them, because I want to know everything; then they were read... “Now, Sahib, after sometime you went to Calcutta. Maharaj saw one copy of Holy Bible into my hand, and asked of me, “Will you sell this over to me?” I replied and said, “Maharaj, I don’t want to sell it to you, but I can present you, if you can read a chapter out of it without any assistance.” So he did read, and I presented. After some short time, he asked me to read to him, and let him hear it, and according to his orders I did read. First day I read 6th4 chapter St. Mathew, and few others during the week...” (LL, p 246) Bhajun Lai did not mention the role he had played in creating prejudice in young lad’s mind about the truth of Hindu religion, though he himself was a Brahmin. He used the same method, which Christian missionaries usually employed - i.e., telling tall tales from Hindu mythology and tradition. Login’s daughter tells us : “This young man [Bhajun Lai] was aware...that he [Duleep Singh] was skeptical with regard to many of the “pious stories” in the Shastras, e.g., that of the virtuous Rajah who distributed daily in alms ten thousand cows before he broke his fast, and yet came short of eternal salvation, because his servants, unknown to him, had placed amongst the daily tale of cows one that had already been numbered in the charitable dole!” (E Dalhousie Login, Lady Login’s Recollections, p 95, - hereafter EDL) In December 1851, Lord Dalhousie visited Fatehgarh, and dined with Logins and Duleep Singh. [Later, on April 18, 1854 Dalhousie presented to Duleep Singh, a Bible as his parting gift.] We are told that: When at length [Duleep Singh’s] hair was allowed to be cut off and he brought it to Mrs. Login as a memento; it was long and abundant as a woman’s.” (LL, p 278) With offer of his beautiful hair at the altar of his guardians, not only Logins but also others who had played their overt or covert role in this endeavour felt a sense of achievement. Maharaja now became favourite of all the British officials. He was taken round to Agra, Delhi, Meerut, Saharanpur, Aligarh, etc. He was a trophy on display at all Military stations. He and the Logins spent the summer of 1852 in Mussoorie hills. Login’s wish of getting back to England had not yet been fulfilled. Now was the time to push for it. He had more than earned it. On September 24, 1852 Lord Dalhousie recommended to Dr Login, immediate baptism of Duleep Singh: “I am advocate for his [Duleep Singh’s] going to England, and shall do my best to persuade the Court to it; and if it should help in marriage between him and little Coorg.5 “If Duleep Singh is to go to England, let him be quietly baptized and by his own name of Duleep Singh. Indeed I am prepared to advise his being baptized now.”(LL, p 296) Now Login had obtained advice and consent of the Governor- General. On March 8, 1853 Maharaja Duleep Singh, not even 15 years old, was baptized “in his own house. In the presence of about twenty of the European residents of Futtehghur, and about an equal number of the Maharajah’s principal native servants, who had been invited to attend.” Lady Login says: ”At the last moment, by a happy inspiration, I made the suggestion that there would be a special appropriateness in the use of Ganges water for the sacred rite, seeing the veneration in which the Ganges (Ganga-jee) is held by all Hindoos.” (EDL, pp. 96-97) Proselytizing Sikh Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last sovereign of Punjab, was a feather in Lord Dalhousie’s cap also. On March 16, 1853 the Governor-General wrote: “I regard it as a remarkable event in history and in every way gratifying.” (LL, p 307) Lady Login, perhaps justifiably, blames the Sikhs for not having made efforts for Duleep Singh’s religious education. She says: “As a matter of fact, very little effort was made by his own people to instruct him in the Sikh religion. Though every inducement was made them, very few of his Sikh attendants, none of his Sikh priests, or Grunt’hees, and even one Brahminporohut (family priest) consented to come with him from Lahore. The last-named had been prevailed on by Login with difficulty, making many conditions.” (EDL, p 94) On January 31, 1854 Lord Dalhousie wrote to Login: “I have just received the Court’s leave for the Maharajah to go to England.” (LL, p 318) Duleep Singh had been baptized; and Login had high hopes in his nephew Kanwar Shiv Dev Singh also falling in line. But he was still under his mother’s control, who saw the Kanwar, next in succession to Duleep Singh. Login proposed to the Governor General that Duleep Singh should not be separated from his nephew Shiv Dev Singh. Dalhousie had already written to Login in his letter of November 29, 1853: “You give so many good reasons why the Shahzadah should go with His Highness, if he goes to England, that no objection will be made by Government. In that case all your arrangements will be approved.”(LL, pp 317-18) In February 1854, Dalhousie wrote to Login: “No objection will be raised to the Shahzadah going to England, if the Maharajah desires it.” (LL, p 323) When Login told the Kanwar to get ready to go to England, his mother sent a strong protest to the Governor General, accusing Login of his moves to convert the Shahzadah also to Christianity. In March 1854, Login received a letter from the Governor General: “I have sent you a huge memorial from the mother of the Brat [Shiv Dev Singh] you have brought, accusing you of many enormities, of which child-stealing is the least!” (LL, p 328) As a result of the mother’s protest, the idea of taking the Shahzadah to England was dropped. In an official letter of April 18, 1854 Login was informed: “The Government entirely acquits you of attempting to influence the Shahzadah’s religion.” Bhajun Lai’s Payoff Bhajun Lai was conscious of the role he had played, in league with Login, to convert the young Duleep Singh to Christianity; and the following cover up. He was hoping to go to England with the Maharajah. He knew that Login would not refuse to comply with his wishes. But, his parents would not allow him. Lady Login tells us: “Bhajun Lai up to this time [1854] had fully determined to go to England with his master; but his people knew well that if he did so, he would take the opportunity of declaring himself a Christian; they were therefore bent on preventing his going. His convictions were very strong; but in his own case he had not the courage to throw off the bondage of Hindooism, though he had helped the Maharajah in his decision with all the energy of which his nature was capable.” (Emphasis added) Bhajun Lai’s parents were conscious of the hand in glove relationship that the ‘confidential’ employee of the household had with the Guardian. They wanted to cash that relationship. Lady Login writes: “On the occasion of his [Bhajun Lai’s] brother’s marriage he was induced by his father to prefer a request that in the public [marriage] procession through the city the sawaree/cavalcade of His Highness, i.e. the horses, carriages, and elephants, should form a prominent feature, and that the Maharajah’s tents, etc., should also be lent in which to celebrate the wedding festivities.” Evidently, the first part of this fantastic demand was ludicrous. To any other person, Login would have not only flatly refused, but would also have administered a rebuke for making such a proposal. But Login understood, Bhajun Lai wanted a payoff, for the role he had played in Maharaja’s conversion and the cover up, since the Maharaja and the Logins would soon be off to England. Login was in no position to honour such a demand. He cleverly wriggled out of the predicament with the excuse that the bridegroom and the bride were of a tender age. “He told Bhajun Lai that he could only grant his request on one of two conditions, viz., either the marriage was deferred, until the bride and bridegroom were of an age to understand the importance of the contract they were about to enter into (in which case, besides the loan of the things asked for, the Maharajah would bestow a sum of money to set up the young people up in the world), or else, a bond or agreement should be given to the young girl, to the effect that, in the event of her boy-husband dying while she was still marriageable, she should be permitted to select another partner for herself, from among the widowers or unmarried youth of her husband’s family.” (LL, p 321) Bhajun Lai’s family’s demand was fantastic, but it amounted merely temporary pomp and show, which was not worth submitting to Login’s long lasting conditions contrary to Brahmin customs. “Poor Bhajun Lai, in whom family affection and love of money were equally ruling passions, was persuaded by his relatives to send in his resignation, and thus cut himself adrift from his chance of becoming a Christian. ... A handsome present of money and a horse were given to him on leaving.... “It may be as well to mention here all that is known of the later history of Bhajun Lai. He wrote occasionally to Dr Login, but his letters were full of money-getting; he became a bunniah in the city of Furruckabad, and at the time of the Mutiny proved himself faithful, and was of great use, though he was unable to save the property of the Maharajah from loot and destruction. He is now the head of the great firm of tentmakers at Futtehghur (Bhajun Lai & Co). (LL, pp 321-22) In response to the complaint by Shiv Dev Singh’s mother, Sir H Elliot, Secretary to the Government, wrote to Login: “You will inform the Ranee that the Raj of the Punjab is to end forever, and that any contemplation of the restoration of her son, or of anybody else to sovereignty there is a crime against the State, It is her duty to instruct him [Shiv Dev Singh] accordingly. If on any future occasion, either she or her son is detected in expressing or entertaining expectations of restoration to power, or to any other position than that which he now occupies, the consequences will be immediate and disastrous to his interests.” [LL, p 276) Duleep Singh sailed for London on March 19, 1854. Dalhousie gave him a Bible as a parting gift. (LL, p 330) En route, the party stopped in Egypt; visited Cairo and Alexandria. “While at Cairo he was taken round to visit the American Mission Schools6, and was greatly interested to see so many orphan girls being educated in Christian religion.” (LL, p 332) Login was Knighted by Queen Victoria. Duleep Singh was given by her a status equal to that of an English Prince, and he was considered chief of the native princes of India. Rest of the story is beyond the subject of this essay. However, it is worth noting that Duleep Singh became very bitter, after fighting the East India Company, for years, and failing to get any compensation for his personal properties, left in Punjab; for his property destroyed by the mutineers in Fatehgarh (U P) and for revision of his annual allowance, keeping in view an average of 200,000 pounds a year surplus, in Punjab revenues, to which he was entitled through the Treaty of Bhyrowal - “Five-Lakh-Fund”/400,000 to 500,000 rupees a year, for him and his dependants. At one time Duleep Singh’s lawyer told Lady Login: “..The India Office do not seem to be very communicative, and in private they are only abusive -1 may say, vulgarly abusive! ...They can be shown to be in the wrong; but to attain redress is another question.” (EDL, p. 254) On the way to Renunciation of Christianity and back to Sikhism Login-appointed Brahmin teachers at Fatehgarh used to tell tall tales from Hindu tradition and Hindu mythology, to create disbelief in truth of Hindu religion. Similarly, Duleep Singh took advantage of his knowledge of the Bible to quote from scriptures and ridicule Christian pronouncements. “He [Duleep Singh] used his acquaintance with the Scriptures, even at this juncture, in a mere profuse quotation of texts, torn from their contexts, and with an utter irrelevance to their meaning, which produced an effect of profanity.” (EDL, Lady Login’s Recollections, p 264) Maharaja Duleep Singh’s plans to return home fail but he succeeds in fulfilling his wish to re-embrace Sikhism Maharaja’s financial position was very precarious. He considered himself poor, yet he had to maintain the status of a Prince. Since 1858, after coming of age, he was allowed 25,000 pounds a year. He had to pay every year 5,654 pounds for interest on 198,000 pounds that had been loaned to him for a residence, by the Government. There were other heavy deductions, such as 3,000 pounds for insurance on his life, and substantive amounts towards pensions for the widows of Sir John Login, and Colonel Oliphant, who had risen to Login’s position after his death. That reduced his income so much that he could not keep up his establishment at Elvedon, which Government had arranged to sell at his death. He thought it advisable to move to India, where on his present means, he believed, he and his children would enjoy greater advantage than in England, (EDL, p 249) He was also determined to re-embrace Sikhism. “On August 23, 1884, he announced his departure for India, as he could not otherwise undergo all the rites of re-initiation as a Sikh!” (EDL, p 256) In March 1886 Maharaja Duleep Singh publicly announced, from England, his plans to come to Punjab, and issued an appeal to his countrymen to help him. In April 1886, he sailed for India by S S Verona, with his wife Maharani Bamba, and their six children - three sons: Victor Albert Jay, 20; Frederick Victor, 18; Albert Edward, 7; and three daughters: Bamba Sophia Jindan, 17; Catherine Hilda, 15; and Sophia Alexandria. Before leaving for India, he had wound up his affairs in England, closed his house and decided to live in India, “because with his limited resources, he could not maintain his position in England. Living in India would be cheaper.” The only condition imposed on him was that he would not be allowed to visit or live in Punjab. When the ship arrived at Aden, on April 21, 1886 the British Resident in London, Brigadier General AST Hogg went up the ship and told Duleep Singh that he could not proceed further, under orders from Lord Dufferin, Governor-General of India. After fruitless negotiations, 43 days later, on June 3, 1886, Duleep Singh left on a French ship, for Marseilles, France. His family had left for England on May 6, 1886. At the time of starting from England, he had planned to re-embrace Sikhism, fully, by taking Pahul at theAkal Takht, or at Hazur Sahib, Nanded. Since, that was not possible, he took Pahul (initiation ceremony with a double-edged sword) with permission of the Viceroy, at Aden, on May 25, 1886. Notes Dr Login was given the charge of Lahore citadel, but he stretched his hands much farther. On February, 20,1850, Bhai Nihal Singh Muhtmid of “Guru” Sadhu Singh Sodhi of Kartarpur reported to Deputy Secretary to the Board of Administration, Punjab, that Dr Login had taken away his Grantb (the original Kartarpuri Bir of Guru Granth Sahib), and begged that it may be restored to him. After negotiations the Granth Sahib was returned - but not the “Golden Charpoy" on which the Granth Sahib formerly rested. Another volume of “Baba JT [Granth Sahib) taken from Bhaees Ram Singh and Nidhan Singh of Mangat was also returned, in August 1850. The “Golden Charpoy” must have been returned later. (See: Nahar Singh, Documents relating to Guru Gobind Singh’s Swords and Sacred Books of the Sikhs in England, 1967; The Punjab Past and Present, VHI,I- ii, pp 287-313). Login was paid Rupees 1,200 per month - half from Government of India funds and half from the annual income of the Maharaja. (LL, p 202) This young Coorg Princess when arrived in England was converted to Christianity. Efforts were made to get her married to Duleep Singh, but the plan did not materialize. But when praying, do not say the same things over and over again just as the people of the nations do, for they imagine they will get a hearing for their use of many words. (Mathew 6; 7) “This would have meant for Duleep Singh: Do not say: Ram, Ram; Wahiguru, Wahiguru, etc.” “You must pray this way: Our Father in the heaven...” (Mathew 6; Little Coorg - daughter of Maharaja of Coorg, had recently been baptized in London, sponsored by Queen Victoria, giving the girl her own name Victoria Gouramma. Later, in England efforts were made to get the princess married to Duleep Singh but Duleep Singh refused. He was interested in a British girl, related to Login, but Lady Login did not agree. Ten years later, in 1864, when Duleep Singh was returning from India, after immersing the ashes of his mother Rani Jindan, in the waters of Narbada at Nasik, he came to one of these schools in Alexandra, to hurriedly get himself a wife, because he had taken a fifty pound bet with Lady Login that he would get married by June 1, 1864. “I promise to pay Lady Login 50 pounds if I fail to get married by June 1, 1864. — Duleep Singh”. (E Dalhousie Login, Lady Login’s Recollections, p 234) Duleep Singh did not know the 15-year-old bride’s language, and she did not know his. Source - Connecting the Dots in Sikh History by Harbans Singh Noor
  2. Lal Singh Bhaman who became a British agent during the 1st Anglo/Sikh war and was regularly providing the British with information along with Gulab Dogra
  3. Would be interesting to know how the british imperialist colonialists treated the natives of punjab and how sikh raja's of nabha,faridkot,jind, patiala, karputala treated their subjects from eye witness accounts.
  4. nice little bit of history, The Times 1841 mentions Maharani Chand Kaur becoming the queen. Chand Kaur was the wife of Maharaja Kharak Singh. A few hours after Kharak Singh died their son Nau Nihal Singh, next in line to become Maharaja also died. The whole thing most likely was a planned murder, Kharak Singh was poisoned while Nau Nihal Singh was murdered. It most likely was planned by the dogras, other families that opposed Ranjit Singh and probabaly some of Maharaja Sher Singhs men as well. Soon after Nau Nihal Singh died Sher Singh proclaimed himself Maharaja, Chand Kaur the widow of Kharak Singh and mother Nau Nihal Singh challenged Sher Singh with the claim that her dead son Nau Nihal Singhs wife Sahib Kaur is expecting a baby and till the baby is not born she will sit on the throne, therefore Maharani Chand Kaur sat on the throne in Lahore. Brave woman for standing up to the giants of the Sikh empire! She also managed to get a big % of the Sikh army on her side. Tragically when Sahib Kaur did give birth it was a still born baby. Maharaja Sher Singh then did not wait any longer when he heard of the still birth and marched with his troops towards Lahore fort. Chand Kaur refused to give up her title and the city broke into civil war. Massive parts of the city were blown up and the number of casualties was very high. Eventually Chand Kaur and her forces had no choice but to surrender and leave Lahore fort. Sher Singh then became Maharaja. Chand Kaur then retired and started living in her sons haveli in Lahore but was still seen as a threat and was beaten to death in the haveli. The Times 1841 mentioning Chand Kaur becoming queen.
  5. Chillianwala – the forgotten British defeat Previous Next Previous Next Lt. Col Muhammad Arslan Qadeer (Rtd) 4:59 PM | January 08, 2020 Just 35 Kms south west of Kharian located on the eastern bank of the river Jehlum is the village of Chillianwala. Insignificant as it looks and unknown to most, this small village apparently is no different to the vast countryside surrounding the Kharian Garrison on either side of the GT road. Nevertheless, it is this singular and unique honor attached to the village of Chillianwala or Chillianwallah as it was spelled then, to have served as one of the biggest and bloodiest battlefields in the history of warfare. The Anglo-Sikh war of 1849 is perhaps one of the few battles which go down in history symbolizing the greatest military debacles the British had suffered. Right on the entrance to Chillianwala, on the western side of the road situated on a high ground is the gleaming gigantic grandeur of the obelisk made of red sand stone reverberating the great battle fought under the British Commander in Chief Lord Hugh Gough and Sardar Sher Singh Attariwala. On four sides of the structure are the inscriptions in English, Hindi, Urdu and Persian. Enclosed in the same premises are the five graves in perfect condition. Out of these, two in the foreground are thought to be of Brigadier John Pennycuick and Brigadier Alexander Pope. The gravestones however are regrettably missing. Just adjacent to it is another premises housing a giant metallic cross resting on a huge foundation. The main inscription reads: A Cruce Salus To record the names of the brave officers who fell in the great battle fought on the adjoining plain, 13 th January 1849. The Cross was placed beside their tombs by Richard 6 th Earl of Mayo Viceroy and Governor General 1871. On the western side of the base holding the cross is inscribed the long list of names of European officers killed in the battle. The first two in the list are Brig John Pennycuick Commander 5 th Brigade and Brig Alexander Pope Commander 2 nd Brigade of Cavalry, the two being the senior most officers in the British side among a total of 2357 casualties on 13 January 1849. On the eastern side are the infantry, Cavalry and artillery unitsthat took part in the battle. The battle of Chillianwala is unique as it marked the foundation of the Indian rebellion and led to the great uprising of the native armies then under the control of the East India Company. Chillianwala marks the biggest debacle wherein the British was defeated most decisively despite beingmilitarily and logistically overwhelmingly superior. In addition to military preponderance, the British also enjoyed towards their side the advantages of favourable terrain and weather as opposed to that in Afghanistan in the three Anglo afghan wars – the situational factors so fondly highlighted by British historians. As the story goes, it all started after the death of Ranjit Singh (1839) when his incompetent sons proved to be too weak to hold the throne. Karak Singh his first successor could not stick around for long and was deposed within four months. Another son Naunehal Singh though a very capable and competent person met a premature death after being crushed under a falling arch. He was succeeded by one of Ranjit Singh’s many illegitimate sons who was despised by the elders and nobles of the court and was soon removed from power. It was then Rani Jindan, one of the many wives of Ranjit Singh and a former dancing girl usurped power ruling in the name of Duleep Singh, her five year old son. Rani Jindan along with her hindu confidants was wary of the strength of the sikh army. She knowing well that her fragile marriage with power could fizzle out any time struck a deal with the British which envisaged destruction of the sikh military might and continuation of her rule. To materialize the plan the sikh army was incited and launched across the Sutlej river (The Anglo-Sikh boundary) to invade East India Company’s territory. As a result of treachery and poor leadership the sikh army was thus decisively defeated on the 10 th of February 1845 and the Sikh state came under the domination of the English East India Company. Henry Lawrence, who was the British Resident, became the de facto ruler overlooking the affairs of the state on behalf of the infant Duleep Singh. The Sikh army had been humiliated and felt that it had not been defeated militarily but merely betrayed by its leaders who wanted destruction of the Sikh army and acted treacherously. Later in April 1848, Diwan Mulraj, the Governor of Multan, which was the southern Punjab province of the Sikh State rebelled against the British regent and all the sikh troops at Multan joined him. To suppress this uprising the British organized three columns to march towards Multan; one under General Sher Singh, one under Lieutenant Edwards and one under Lieutenant Lake to recapture Multan. Consequently, in August 1848 a siege was laid against the city of Multan. On the 14th of September Sher Singh with all his troops crossed over to the rebel side. Sardar Sher Singh Attariwala as he was known, after consultation with Mulraj decided to move north of the Chenab River. His father Chattar Sigh the Governor of Hazara province who had already rebelled, joined him by occupying the strategic Attock Fort. Thus the British lost almost the whole area north of the Chenab River in addition to the Multan Fort. The Governor of East India Company had meanwhile issued orders for the invasion of Punjab and crush the sikh rising under the leadership of the overall Commander-in-Chief of India and also the East India Company’s private Bengal Army, General Sir Hugh Gough. On the 11th of January 1849, Gough resolved to attack Sher Singh’s position the centre of which rested a few miles west of Chillianwala. On the 12th of January while carrying out a reconnaissance, he discovered that the Sikh had swung forward. On discovery of the Sikh position so close to Chillianwala, Gough decided to attack the Sikh position on the next day that is 13 Jan 1849. The British Army was divided into two infantry Divisions (3 rd and 2 nd ) with a Cavalry Brigade each on outer flanks. The 3rd Division commanded by Brigadier General Colin Campbell formed the left or southern Division launched an enthusiastic but reckless attack based on a conventional bayonet charge. Though they did manage to reach the Sikh positions, however in the process the punishment inflicted was too severe. The Sikh counter attacked and the assailants withdrew in disorder towards Chillianwala. The leading Brigade Commander Brigadier Pennycuick and his son Lieutenant Alexander Pennycuick killed in the bloody engagement. The 2nd Infantry division commanded by Major General Sir Walter Gilbert formed the right (northern) division. Gilbert’s leading Brigades aptly supported by artillery successfully cleared all Sikh positions in front and drove the Sikhs close to the River Jehlum. While Gilbert was reorganizing for the final assault, he was suddenly counter attacked by the Sikhs in force from his rear. This happened due to the fact that his integral cavalry brigade which was commanded by Brigadier Pope and was responsible to guard the right (northern) flank and rear of Gilbert’s Division, completely overrun by the ferocious cavalry charge of the Sikhs leaving the right and rear flank vulnerable to counter attack. Sher Singh Attariwala immediately ordered a counter attack and Sikh infantry and cavalry located on the north-west hills immediately advanced down from the heights through the open gap created by the absence of Brigadier Pope’s cavalry and encircled Gilbert’s division from the rear followed by a ruthless massacre. The damage done at Chillianwala to the prestige of British might was enormous and played a major role in changing the attitude of native states towards British leading directly to the ‘Great Sepoy Rebellion’ (The war of independence 1857) in which the British almost lost their Indian Empire and the English East India Company whose private Bengal Army had fought Chillianwala lost India to the British Crown. https://nation.com.pk/08-Jan-2020/chillianwala-the-forgotten-british-defeat
  6. A great programme watch downloading for future and showing your family and friends https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bfnldw
  7. Video of Hari Singh Nalwas shield from the exhibition "empire of the Sikhs" i went to this exhibition it was amazing. Came across these great videos from the exhibition giving information about the artifacts and the people that owned them. The guy doing the talks is Davinder Singh Toor he is an art collector and has an amazing collection of art and objects from the Sikh empire. Respect to him for buying these things when the gorreh try flogging them at auction!
  8. Gobindgarh Fort Amazing India The Secrets of the Gobindgarh Fort By Akshay Chavan July 11, 2017 at 2:40 AM Though the capital of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s kingdom was Lahore, it is this fort that was at the heart of his empire Millions travel to Amritsar each year. Home to the most sacred shrine of the Sikhs, the Harmandir Sahib ( Golden Temple), there is another part of the old city that is now accessible to visitors. This year, the State government opened the historic Gobindgarh Fort to the public. Few people realise that while the capital of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s kingdom was Lahore, it is this fort that was at the heart of his empire. It housed the largest armoury and mint in the empire, and the control of Gobindgarh gave Ranjit Singh religious sanction, as this fort of his protected the Harmandir Saheb, the holiest of shrines in Sikhism. This fort has a fascinating history that harks back to the early days of the Sikhs, when the land was carved into small principalities controlled by powerful Sikh clans called misls. The Gobindgarh Fort originally called the Qila Bhangian, which literally means ‘the Marijuana Fort’ has an interesting story to tell. ‘Bhangion da Qila’ or the fort of the Bhangis. Bhangi Misl The rise of the Sikhs coincided with the decline of the Mughal Empire. By the early 18th century CE, Punjab was divided into principalities called misls. They controlled all the land in heart of Punjab and beyond and eventually acted as the base from which Maharaja Ranjit Singh built his great Empire. But long before Ranjit Singh’s time, Amritsar was under a misl called the Bhangi Misl controlled by its chief Sardar Gujjar Singh Bhangi. Called Bhangi, because the soldiers from the clan were known to be fond of Bhang or Marijuana, this was a powerful clan. It was Sardar Gujjar Singh who is credited for building a small fort at the site of the Gobindgarh Fort in the 1760s. Locally it was called ‘Bhangion da Qila’ or the fort of the Bhangis. Maharaja Ranjit Singh Gobindgarh under Ranjit Singh Maharaja Ranjit Singh was born in 1780 CE in a family of the head of Sukerchakia Misl, a small kingdom in Gurjanwala district of today’s Pakistan. Ranjit Singh's rise was astounding and by the time he was in his twenties, he was charting an aggressive course of empire building. Over the next few decades, Maharaja Ranjit Singh would conquer one misl after another and establish a large empire that stretched from Multan to Kashmir. He was only 22 years old, when in 1802 CE, he conquered Amritsar from the Bhangi misl and incorporated it into his empire. The conquest of Amritsar, was crucial for Ranjit Singh as it was the second largest city in Punjab after Lahore and the spiritual base of the Sikhs. The Gobindgarh Fort was originally called the Qila Bhangian, which literally means ‘the Marijuana Fort’ Not surprisingly, one of the first things he did on taking over, was the renovation and expansion of the old Qila, which was located just outside the walled city of Amritsar. He ordered his commander Shamir Singh Thethar to improve the fort with additions and fortifications that took around four years to complete. The result was the creation of a magnificent fort, aptly named in honor of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. Maharaja Ranjit Singh keenly adapted latest European military technologies and a number of European mercenaries served in his army as well. The main defensive walls were arranged concentrically, their multiple tiers surrounded by a deep and broad moat. This was the latest European defence architecture of the time and protected the fort from cannon attacks. Inside the fort was a large armoury, treasury and also a palace. Inside the Fort The fort was separated from the walled city of Amritsar by an open ground. Over 12,000 soldiers were deployed in the fort to protect the city. An important armoury where weapons were manufactured was set here and the fort also functioned as the largest mint or tanksal where silver and copper coins of Maharaja Ranjit Singh were minted. Maharaja Ranjit Singh keenly adapted latest European military technologies and a number of European mercenaries served in his army as well During Ranjit Singh’s reign, the Gobindgarh Fort became the center for essential supplies for his army as they pushed their boundaries and the Sikh Empire expanded. The supply of cannon bags and arms for the all the campaigns around Punjab and the surrounding hills came from here. It was the site of the state treasury and surprisingly, it was also the place where the Kohinoor diamond was kept. The Emperor of Afghanistan, Shah Shuja, surrendered the diamond to Ranjit Singh in 1813 CE. It was paraded around the streets of Amritsar. Later, the diamond was kept sure at the Tosakhana (Treasury) in the fort premises. Emily Eden visits Gobindgarh Lord Auckland was the Governor-General of British India between 1836 and 1842 CE. The British were fearful that Russia would invade India through Afghanistan and Punjab and hence wanted to be friendly with Maharaja Ranjit Singh. In 1838 CE, Lord Auckland along with his sister Emily Eden made a state visit to Amritsar where they were lavishly entertained by the Maharaja. He also invited them to a tour of Gobindgarh, which apparently surprised everyone as it was a restricted area. But they thought Ranjit Singh really wanted to be friendly with the British. Emily Eden (1797-1896 CE) was a noted English poet and novelist . She wrote extensively about her travels in India, which was later published as a popular book ‘Up The Country: Letters Written to Her Sister from the Upper Provinces of India (1867). In her dairy dated Monday, Dec. 17, 1838 CE, Emily writes: “THE MAHARAJAH ASKED G. [GEORGE EDEN, LORD AUCKLAND, HER BROTHER] TO GO WITH HIM ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON TO LOOK AT HIS FORT OF GOVINDGHUR, IN WHICH HE KEEPS ALL HIS TREASURES; AND IT IS CERTAIN THAT WHOEVER GETS HOLD OF GOVINDGHUR AT HIS DEATH WILL ALSO GET HOLD OF HIS KINGDOM.HE NEVER ALLOWS ANYBODY TO ENTER IT, AND E. SAYS, THAT IN ALL THE THIRTEEN YEARS HE HAS BEEN WITH HIM HE HAS NEVER BEEN ABLE TO GET A SIGHT OF IT, AND HE WAS CONVINCED THAT RUNJEET WOULD EITHER PRETEND TO BE ILL, OR TO MAKE SOME MISTAKE IN THE HOUR, SO THAT HE WOULD NOT REALLY SHOW G. EVEN THE OUTSIDE OF IT. IT WAS RATHER LATE BEFORE KURRUCK SINGH CAME TO FETCH G.; HOWEVER, THEY SOON MET THE MAHARAJAH, AND WENT TOWARDS THE FORT. AN OFFICER CAME TO ASK HIS ‘HOOKUM,' OR ORDERS, AND HE TOLD HIM TO HAVE THE GATES OPENED, AND DESIRED G. TO TAKE IN ALL THE OFFICERS OF HIS ESCORT, EVEN ANY ENGINEERS. THEN HE LED HIM ALL OVER THE FORT, SHOWED HIM WHERE THE TREASURE WAS KEPT, TOOK HIM UP TO THE ROOF, WHERE THERE WAS A CARPET SPREAD, AND TWO GOLD CHAIRS, AND THERE SAT AND ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CANNONS AND SHELLS, AND MINES, AND FORTS IN GENERAL. THE EUROPEANS WERE ALL AMAZED; BUT THEY SAY THE SURPRISE OF RUNJEET'S OWN SIRDARS WAS PAST ALL CONCEALMENT; EVEN THE COMMON SOLDIERS BEGAN TALKING ABOUT IT, AND SAID THAT THEY NOW SAW THAT THE SIKHS AND ENGLISH WERE TO BE ALL ONE FAMILY AND TO LIVE IN THE SAME HOUSE.' IT CERTAINLY IS VERY ODD HOW COMPLETELY THE SUSPICIOUS OLD MAN SEEMS TO HAVE CONQUERED ANY FEELING OF JEALOUSY, AND IT IS ENTIRELY HIS OWN DOING, AGAINST THE WISHES AND PLANS OF HIS PRIME MINISTERS, AND OF MOST OF HIS SIRDARS; BUT HE HAS TAKEN HIS OWN LINE, AND SAYS HE IS DETERMINED TO SHOW HOW COMPLETE HIS CONFIDENCE IS.” The fort in present day Gobindgarh under the British Sadly, contrary to what Maharaja Ranjit Singh had hoped, the Sikh empire and British were not ‘to be all one family and to live in the same house’. After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839 CE, the relations between the British and the Sikh empire deteriorated. Fights broke out between the various factions of the Sikh court. The Sikhs and the British fought two wars - the Anglo-Sikh wars between 1845 and 1849 CE. The Sikh army was defeated and the Kingdom of Punjab became a British protectorate. The fort of Gobindgarh was occupied by the British forces in September 1848 CE. Finally, in 1849 CE, Punjab was annexed and made part of British India by Lord Dalhousie. In his private papers, Lord Dalhousie wrote in March 1850 “… the fort of Govindghur … the most important place in all of India perhaps ……” After Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s death in 1839 CE, the relations between the British and the Sikh empire deteriorated The fort was soon occupied by the British Indian army. In 1850 CE, there was a proposal to demolish all the forts of Punjab to prevent any revolt, but thankfully this plan was not carried through. The palace inside the fort was demolished sometime around 1855 CE. Over time, as the frontier of the British Empire spread to borders of Afghanistan, Gobindgarh lost all its strategic value. It was during the Partition of 1947, that large number of refugees took shelter in the fort. Later it was handed over to the Indian Army. Zam Zama canoon The Fort Today The Gobindgarh Fort has since been restored and was thrown open to the public in February 2017. Go to the fort and you will find it is steeped in history and goes beyond the Sikhs. One of the great attractions in this fort, is a replica of the great and historic cannon ‘Zam Zama’. Made on the orders of Afghan ruler Ahmad Shah Abdali, it was used in the Third Battle of Panipat, against the Marathas in 1761 CE. The battle broke the Maratha power over North India and gave Afghans control over Punjab. In 1762 CE, the Bhangi chief had captured this cannon near Lahore, brought it to Amritsar and called it ‘Bhangion di Tope’. It was a prized possession of Maharaja Ranjit singh. However, it was damaged in battle and taken back from Amritsar to Lahore in 1818 CE, where it can still be seen today. A close reproduction of it can be seen at Gobindgarh. Also an attraction at the Gobindgarh fort are the four bastions at four cardinal points of the fort and the Toshakhana- the place where the Kohinoor was placed. The British period structures within the fort include the Durbar Hall, said to have built in 1850 CE as a six-bed hospital, the Barrack which was originally built during Ranjit Singh’s time but re-modelled in 1850 CE and the Chloronome House which was used for the treatment of water through the process of chlorination. So when you visit Amritsar next, don’t forget to visit the Gobindgarh fort, the most important fort of the Sikh empire, which remains in the Indian side of the state of Punjab.
  9. I once read how Prince Nau Nihal Singh was crowned Maharaja of Punjab after the death of his father Kharak Singh, but after a few hours of being crowned a stone/bricks fell in his head and after a few hours he was dead. Even then there were speculations of it being a planned murder. I think it's pretty obvious that it was murder. Soon after his mother chand kaur took over and became empress. He was 19 years old and had a son, not sure what happened to his son ... I don't anyone ever got to the bottom of this incident though I think there was an "investigation" I think if it was a murder then the obvious choices are either the British or the dogra brothers. Sher Singh, his uncle? Sounds like a fishy character to me, maybe it was plotted by him because soon after he did become Maharaja. I think Sher Singh did end up getting a bit too friendly with the British. After Ranjit Singh i don't think the raj was stable, too much drama, plot twists, betrayals, mysteries.
  10. As advertised on FB by Sikh Discover Inspire Talk 9 at Khalili lecture Hall london EC1H 0XG on 9th sep 2018 at 17:00 , tickets 5 GBP: Musician and PhD researcher, Kirit Singh, delves into the story of music at the court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh with a talk and unique performance reflecting some of the music associated with the Court of Lahore in collaboration with the dhrupad vocalist, Shri Prassanna Vishwanathan. This illustrated talk and musical performance will be followed by a Q&A session. Kirit Singh is a PhD student at SOAS university where he is undertaking research on the development and interaction between Hindustani music and the Gurbani Kirtan tradition, during the historical period in which Sikh patronage of the arts was at its greatest. He is also a musician and disciple of one of the leading torchbearers of dhrupad vocal music, Pt. Uday Bhawalkar. As a co-founder of the South Asian Music Forum, he is activeley involved in supporting young and talented UK-based musicians and encouraging intimate and authentic concerts of South Asian music. This lecture series has been organised by the UK Punjab Heritage Association (UKPHA) in partnership with the SOAS South Asia Institute (SSAI) . Image: Detail from a painting by August Schoefft of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at Amritsar listening to Gurbani Kirtan, circa 1841-43 (Princess Bamba Collection, Lahore Fort)
  11. Talk eight as advertised on Sikh Discover Inspire taking place at Khalili Lecture Hall london EC1H 0XG , Sunday 9th Sept 2018 at 15:00 , ticket 5GBP: The series continues with our eighth talk, in which historian and ethnomusicologist, Radha Kapuria, establishes how Punjab emerged as a major centre for classical music patronage under Maharaja Ranjit Singh, revealing the particular centrality of sword-yielding, cross-dressing female dancers in his diplomatic negotiations with political rivals. This illustrated talk will be followed by a Q&A session. Radha Kapuria trained as a historian at the University of Delhi before joining the Jawaharlal Nehru University for her MPhil degree. Her research investigated the oldest classical music festival of north India- the Harballabh of Jalandhar, Punjab. She built on this ‘micro-history’ by researching a more macro-level social history of music in the region during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries for her PhD at King’s College London. She currently divides her time between preparing a book manuscript titled Music in Colonial Punjab: A Social History, based on her PhD, and working as part-time Lecturer in Ethnomusicology at King’s. This lecture series has been organised by the UK Punjab Heritage Association (UKPHA) in partnership with the SOAS South Asia Institute (SSAI). Image: Dancing girls and musicians at the Court of Lahore, by Bishan Singh, 1874 (Collection of Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan)
  12. When we look back at our history the Sikh community only were able to achieve great victories those who tried to exterminate us by being unified and feeding into a pot that helped the community become self sufficient and then the goal of creating a commonwealth of Sikh populated area's of influence. What we have nowadays is Sikhs busy trying to further their own selfish interests, trying to accumulate their own financial needs instead and putting each other down of looking at the bigger picture of community progressing to a strong position so that population grows instead of it declining and suffering as see it with Sikhs in islamic dominated hell holes of afghanistan, pakistan and kashmir and now even punjab our population is not the healthy majority it used to be. I see some Sikhs with huge houses, latest flashy cars some even helping build big beautifully decorated gurdwara's and it reminds me of Sikhs of the past. They were rich, they were royals, business or land owners they spent huge monies one expensive personal goods and also build gurdwara's all over the place. Then the british east india company army came along and the Sikh empire was no more and then 1947 happened and those huge numerous beautiful gurdwara's were destroyed by musilms or converted into masjids or pakistani govt buildings. The Sikhs should have spent their resources on creating a huge population by either birth rate or converting the muslims and other masses to Sikhi instead of building gurdwara's because its the people that matter not the buildings they can be destroyed or converted by enemies.
  13. Brits would have lost to Sikhs, ‘but for treachery by 2 Gens’ William Dalrymple (right) speaks as (L-R) Amar Pal Sidhu, Mandeep Rai and Dr Sukhmani Riar look on at the Military Literature Festival in Chandigarh on Saturday. TRIBUNE PHOTO: RAVI KUMAR Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service Chandigarh, December 9 Adept in Indo-British history, two leading historians today differed on what could have been the British Empire’s future after the First Anglo-Sikh War in 1846, but both agreed that the East India Company-led army had almost lost the war had the Sikhs — surprisingly or prompted by the treachery of two Generals — not surrendered. Speaking on ‘Anglo-Sikh wars’ at the Military Literature Festival here, London-based historian Amar Pal Sidhu argued: “The British lacked ammunition, had no water and were, thus, incapable of fighting. Then Governor General Lord Henry Hardinge was in the battlefield and he would have had to surrender. The entire British Raj could have collapsed.” Sidhu, who has authored separate books on the first and the Second Anglo-Sikh War (1848-49), said: “Had the Sikh army not surrendered, the British Empire’s history in India would have been different. It would have been a seminal moment resembling the one at Waterloo (where Napoleon Bonaparte of France lost).” The treachery by Generals Tej Singh and Lal Singh changed the course of history. The two owed their positions to Maharani Jindan, one of the queens of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. “Punjab probably would have been united and would still be united,” said Sidhu. William Dalrymple, author of “Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan”, accepted that the military edge in the First Anglo-Sikh War was with the Sikhs. He, however, differed on the outcome of the British Empire had they (Sikhs) won the first war. “At that point, it was easy to defeat the Company-led army, though they could have used their backup of vast resources and men,” he averred. They had resources much bigger than Punjab’s. Between 1790 and the early 1800s, the company was earning hugely from Bengal. The private army of the East India Company was twice the size of the British army. Mandeep Rai, who was moderating the session, said: “Historians have not realised that had the Sikh army not surrendered, the Lahore durbar would have survived and the state of Pakistan would not have come into being.” Dr Sukhmani Riar, Professor of history at PU, asserted that “the creation of the Dogra state (now J&K) after the First Anglo-Sikh War was still a mystery. How the Sikh kingdom collapsed within a few years of the death of Ranjit Singh (in 1839) is a matter of study”. The First Anglo-Sikh War led to signing of the ‘Treaty of Umritsar’ (Amritsar) and carving out a separate Dogra kingdom. It meant partial subjugation. Three years later, the Second Anglo-Sikh War led to total defeat of the Sikh army and the subsequent collapse of the Sikh kingdom.
  14. Victor Jacquemont (8 August 1801 – 7 December 1832) was a French botanist and geologist who visited Panjab during the early part of Ranjit Singh's reign (he met him). His journals were translated into English and published as PUNJAB, A HUNDRED YEARS AGO, after his death. The work was translated and edited by H.L.O. Garrett, and first published in 1935 by the Punjab Government Record Office, Lahore. Here are some excerpts: *Jacquemont was wrong, Ventura had previously fought the Russians but Allard had not.
  15. what relgion was diwan mohkam Chand, he was a general in maharaja ranjit singhs army, I was just reading about the battle of attock and events related, very impressive! is it fair to say that Kashmir and Jammu are in india/Pakistan simply due to the Sikh empire, even the Kohinoor, well... was lol I actually had never herd of him before! many Sikh figures have disappeared over time, its a shame...
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