3.21 Lord Cornwallis Receiving Tipu Sahib's Sons as Hostages at Seringapatam
©National Army Museum, LondonLord Cornwallis Receiving Tipu Sahib's Sons as Hostages at Seringapatam; 1793-4

Oil on canvas
149.2 x 202.5 cm

ROBERT HOME (1752-1834)

t the end of the third Mysore War the British exacted harsh terms from Tipu: the loss of nearly half his territory, payment of a large reparation, and the surrender of two of his sons Abdul Khalik and Moiz-Ud-Din, as hostages. They were delivered to Lord Cornwallis at Seringapatam on 26 February 1792 and the Madras Council voted 1,663 pagodas for their accommodation in the fort at Madras.

The artist has included a portrait of himself in the composition: he stands in the left foreground, holding a portfolio. In the distance, the tents of the British encampment are visible.Robert Home was official war artist for the 3rd Mysore War, and the son of a Scotsman from Berwick. Another Scotsman,Major Dirom, who also served in the 3rd Mysore War, published his comprehensive 'Narrative' of the campaign in 1793. In it, he describes this momentous event in vivid detail:

'On the 26th about noon, the Princes left the fort, which appeared to be manned as they went out, and every where crouded (sic) with people, who, from curiosity or affection, had come to see them depart. The Sultan himself, was on the rampart above the gateway. They were saluted by the fort on leaving it, and with twenty-one guns from the park as they approached our camp, where the part of the line they passed, was turned out to receive them. The vakeels conducted them to the tents which had been sent from the fort for their accommodation, and pitched near the mosque redoubt, where they were met by Sir John Kennaway, the Mahratta and Nizam's vakeels, and from thence accompanied by them to head quarters.

The Princes were each mounted on an elephant richly caparisoned, and seated in a silver howder (sic), and were attended by their father's vakeels, and the persons already mentioned, also on elephants. The procession was led by several camel harcarras, and seven standard-bearers, carrying small green flags suspended from rockets, followed by one hundred pikemen, with spears inlaid with silver. Their guard of two hundred Sepoys, and a party of horse, brought up the rear. In this order they approached head quarters, where the battalion of Bengal Sepoys, commanded by Captain Welch, appointed for their guard, formed a street to receive them.'

Dirom's text continues with a perceptive description of Tipu's young sons.

The submission of the young Maharaja Duleep Singh to Sir Henry Hardinge at  — Stock Photo #5599867

The submission of the young Maharaja Duleep Singh to Sir Henry Hardinge

The Times (London) March 02, 2004
By Michael Binyon
The sad tale of the last of the Sikh emperors illuminates the strange contradictions of the British Raj.

THREE overgrown graves in a Suffolk churchyard are all that remain of one of the proudest dynasties to rule India. The only visitors today are the growing number of British Sikhs eager to visit the resting place of the last exiled claimant to the Sikh empire in Punjab. What they will find is evidence of a family born into fabulous wealth, kidnapped by British imperialists 150 years ago, adopted as an exotic talisman by Queen Victoria, stripped of their empire and religion and cast adrift in the land of their conquerors.

Maharajah Duleep Singh was charming, handsome, reckless and scandalous. He was an intimate of dukes and earls. The Queen showered affection on him, as did the Prince Consort. The Government paid his gaming debts while spying on his family. Courtesans vied for his attention and diplomats thwarted his attempts to regain his throne.
When he died, a pauper, in 1893, he was forgotten even by his countrymen. None of his eight children ever returned to rule the ancestral homeland. None produced any children. All that remains of his wealth is the Koh-i-noor, the fabulous diamond that he once placed in Victoria's hand and which now adorns the late Queen Mother's state crown.
A new book tracing the tragic story of "Queen Victoria's maharajah" has now revealed in scores of family photographs the extraordinary attempt to transform a conquered Indian ruler into a Christian English gentleman. It shows in startling imagery the contradictions of Empire ? the relationship of love and loyalty between the deposed Sikh ruler and the newly created Empress of India, the godmother to his eldest son. It also depicts the dilemma that has haunted many other migrants: was Duleep Singh the anglicised gentleman his guardians earnestly wished to make him or the warrior whose destiny was to regain his stolen kingdom?
When Duleep Singh was born in 1838, Britain was engaged in a fierce struggle for Punjab. His regent mother led a revolt, which was crushed. The British imprisoned her, annexed Punjab, deposed the 11-year-old maharajah in 1849 and entrusted him as a ward of the Government to a Scottish army surgeon, Dr John Login. He was granted an annual allowance of £40,000.
Stripped of his Punjabi servants and baptised a Christian in 1853, he sailed for England a year later. He played cricket, was used to European dress (although he always wore three rows of enormous pearls) and was eager to adopt the ways of an Englishman.

The Queen received him at Buckingham Palace and was immediately enchanted. Prince Albert designed a coat of arms for him. He was awarded the Grand Cross Star of India. He made friends with the Prince of Wales, was portrayed in oils, given a bible by Lord Dalhousie (the conqueror of Punjab and jailer of his mother), tutored in German and Italian and given a residence, first in Wimbledon and then at Roehampton. He began a social whirl.
But life began to pall. He yearned to go back to India. The Government was wary, but he set sail and in 1861 had an emotional reunion with his embittered mother. Both were persuaded to return to England, and, stopping off in Cairo, he met the 16-year-old Bamba, daughter of an Abyssinian and a German banker, whom he determined to marry ? although they had to talk through an interpreter.
They set up residence at Elveden Hall, in Suffolk, to live the life of a country squire. But his life became dissolute. He took mistresses, fathered illegitimate children, ran through his allowance and begged for more. Fired by his late mother's stories of British injustice, he wrote a book on Britain's plunder of India that infuriated the Government.
Disillusioned and determined to regain his throne, he left for India in 1885 and a year later was re-initiated into Sikhism. But a spy was planted in his entourage and learnt, to Government horror, that he had approached the Russians to help reconquer Punjab. Nothing came of it, although he spent a miserable two years in Moscow. Eventually he had to return and in an emotional meeting with the Queen wept and begged official pardon.
By now he was a broken man. Bamba had died and he had married his mistress Ada, a chambermaid he met at Cox's hotel in Jermyn Street. In 1893 he suffered an epileptic fit and died. His funeral at Elveden had a wreath from the ever-indulgent Queen and another from the Prince of Wales "for auld lang syne". His children forged indifferent careers. The Eton-educated Victor gambled away his money, his sober second son Frederick became a respected historian and Suffolk squire and one daughter, Princess Sophie, became a suffragette. The daughters raised funds for Indian soldiers in both world wars, and the eldest, Princess Bamba, died, a recluse, only in 1957. By then their homeland had been partitioned between India and Pakistan. And with her died the dynasty of the warrior Sikhs.
The Duleep Singhs by Peter Bance is published by Sutton Publishing.

Duleep Singh

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about Maharaja Dalip Singh. For other uses, see Dalip Singh
Maharaja Duleep Singh
Dalip Singh Sukerchakia 1861.png
Maharajah Duleep Singh in ceremonial dress, 1861.
SpouseMaharani Bamba
FatherMaharaja Ranjit Singh
MotherMaharani Jind Kaur
Born6 September 1838
LahoreSikh Empire
Died22 October 1893
OccupationMaharaja of Sikh Empire
Maharaja Dalip Singh,[1] GCSI (6 September 1838, LahoreSikh Empire – 22 October 1893, Paris,France), commonly called Duleep Singh and later in life nicknamed theBlack Prince of Perthshire,[2] was the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire. He was the youngest son of the legendary "Lion of the Punjab"Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Maharani Jind Kaur, and came to power after a series of intrigues, in which several other claimants to the throne and to the Koh-i-Noor diamond, killed each other.[3] After his exile to Britain at age 13 following the British annexation of the Punjab, he was befriended by Queen Victoria. In June 1850, Lord Dalhousiepresented the Kohinoor Diamond by Dalip Singh after it was confiscated by the British. From that date on, the diamond became part of the Crown Jewels,[4] set in the Crown of Queen Elizabeth and on display in the Jewel House in the Tower of London.[5]
Dalip Singh was much admired byQueen Victoria, who is reported to have written of the Punjabi Maharajah: "Those eyes and those teeth are too beautiful".[6] The Queen was godmother to several of his children.[7]
Today Singh is considered as Britain's first Sikh settler,[5] having been exiled to its shores in 1854, after being dethroned and having his country annexed by the East India Company in 1849.



Early years [edit]

A young Maharaja Duleep Singh.
Dalip Singh was crowned to the throne of Punjab in 1843 succeeding his half-brother, Maharajah Sher Singh. After the close of theSecond Anglo-Sikh War and the subsequent annexation of the Punjab on 29 March 1849,[8]he was deposed at the age of eleven by theEast India Company under Governor-GeneralHardinge[9] and was separated from his mother, who was imprisoned. He was put into the care of Dr John Login and sent from Lahore toFatehgarh on 21 December 1849.

Maharajah Duleep Singh, entering his palace in Lahore, escorted by British troops after the First Anglo-Sikh War (1845–46)
The British took, in controversial circumstances, the Koh-i-Noor diamond along with other items of Dalip Singh's family's considerable personal estate, country and religious property (most items were sold by public auction) to Queen Victoria as reportedly part of the terms of the conclusion of the war and the 250th anniversary of the East India Company on 3 July 1850. His health was reportedly poor, and he was mostly in quasi-exile in Fatehgarh and Lucknowafter 1849, with tight restrictions on who he was allowed to meet. No Indians, except trusted servants, could meet him in private. As a matter of British policy, he was to be anglicised in every possible respect. While no specific information was released about his health, he was often sent to the hill station of Landour near Mussoorie in the Lower Himalaya for convalescence, at the time about 4 days' journey. He would remain for weeks at a time in Landour at a grand hilltop building called The Castle, which had been lavishly furnished to accommodate him. In his early years he went to Britain. Queen Victoria transformed him into Fredrick and he became a Christian abandoning his own faith. In his later years he met his mother and announced himself to once again be a Sikh. His mother died in Britain.

Maharaja Duleep Singh in durbar on a terrace with Labh Singh and Tej Singh and an attendant Lahore, circa 1850

Legality of the Koh-i-noor being acquired by the British [edit]

The Koh-I-Noor diamond was given to Queen Victoria by Duleeb Singh as a part of the treaty of Bhyowal. He also had to give up all claims to the Punjab. In return, he would be given 50,000 pounds a year. The diamond is now in the crown of England.

Conversion to Christianity [edit]

Dalip Singh, the last Maharaja of Punjab
In 1853, under the tutelage of his long-time retainer Bhajan Lal (himself a Christian convert) he converted toChristianity at Fatehgarh with the approval of the Governor-General Lord Dalhousie. His conversion remains controversial, having been effected in unclear circumstances before he turned 15. He was also heavily and continuously exposed to Christian texts under the tutelage of the devout John Login. His two closest childhood friends were both English, one being the child of Anglicanmissionaries.
In 1854, he was sent into exile in Britain.

Duleep Singh (1838–1893) in 1854.
a portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter

Life in exile[edit]

London [edit]

Dalip Singh's arrival on the shores of England in 1853 threw him into the European court. Queen Victoria showered affection upon the turbaned Maharajah, as did the Prince Consort. Dalip Singh was initially lodged at Claridge's Hotel in London before the East India Companytook over a house in Wimbledon and then eventually another house in Roehamptonwhich became his home for 3 years. He was also invited by the Queen to stay with the Royal Family at Osborne, where she sketched him playing with her children and Prince Albert photographed him, while the court artist, Winterhalter, made his portrait,[10] He eventually got bored with Roehampton and expressed a wish to go back to India but it was suggested by the East India Company Board he take a tour of the European continent which he did with Sir John Spencer Login and Lady Login.

Scotland [edit]

On his return from Europe in 1855 he was given an annual pension, and was officially under ward of Sir John Spencer Logan and Lady Logan, who leased Castle Menzies in Perthshire, Scotland for him. He spent the rest of his teens there but at 19 he demanded to be in charge of his household. Eventually, he was given this and an increase in his annual pension. In 1858 the lease expired and Dalip Singh rented the house at Auchlyne from the Earl of Breadalbane. He was remarkable in the area as the first Indian prince to visit Scotland, and soon had the nickname, the "Black Prince of Perthshire".[11] He was known for a lavish lifestyle, shooting parties, and a love of dressing in highland costume. (At the same time, he was known to have gradually developed a sense of regret for his circumstances in exile, including some inner turmoil about his conversion to Christianity and his forced departure from the Punjab). His mother stayed in Perthshire with him for a short time, before he rented the Grantully Estate, near Aberfeldy. Following the deaths of his mother and John Logan in 1863, he returned to England.[12]

Mulgrave Castle [edit]

Dalip Singh took on a lease at Mulgrave Castle in Yorkshire in 1858 and enjoyed the English countryside while there.

Elveden Estate [edit]

A caricature by "Spy" of Dalip Singh
Dalip Singh bought (or the India Officepurchased for him) a 17,000 acre (69 km²) country estate at Elveden on the border between Norfolk andSuffolk, close to Thetford, in 1863. He fell in love with Elveden and the surrounding area and restored the church, cottages, and school. He transformed the run-down estate into an efficient game preserve of approximately 17,000 acres (69 km2) and it was here that he gained his reputation as the fourth best shot in England.[13][14][15] The house was remodeled into a quasi-oriental palace where he lived the life of a British aristocrat.[16] Dalip Singh was accused of running up large expenses and the estate was sold after his death to pay his debts. Today, Elveden is owned by descendants of the Guinness family of brewing fame; it remains an operating farm and private hunting estate.

Re-initiated into Sikhism [edit]

Maharaja Duleep Singh in roughly 1886 after reinitiating into Sikhism
While in exile, he sought to learn more about Sikhism and was eager to return to India. Though previous efforts were thwarted by his handlers, he reestablished contact with his cousin Sardar Thakar Singh Sandhawalia, who on 28 September 1884, leftAmritsar for England along with his sons Narinder Singh and Gurdit Singh and a Sikh granthi (priest), Pratap Singh Giani. He also brought a list of properties held by Dalip Singh in India. All this renewed his connection with Sikhism.[17]
The British Government decided in 1886 against his return to India or his re-embracing Sikhism. Despite protests from the India Office, he set sail for 'home' on 30 March 1886. However, he was intercepted and arrested inAden, where the writ of the Governor General of India began. He could not be stopped from an informal re-conversion ceremony in Aden, far less grand and symbolic than it would have been in India, done by emissaries sent by SardarThakar Singh Sandhawalia, who was earlier planning the Pahaul ceremony at Bombay.[17] Dalip was forced to return to Europe.

Death [edit]

Statue of Dalip Singh on Butten Island, Thetford
Dalip Singh died in Paris in 1893 at the age of 55, having seen India after the age of fifteen only during two brief, tightly-controlled visits in 1860 (to bring his mother to England) and in 1863 (to scatter his mother's ashes).
Dalip Singh's wish for his body to be returned to India was not honoured, in fear of unrest, given the symbolic value the funeral of the son of the Lion of the Punjab might have caused, given growing resentment of British rule. His body was brought back to be buried according to Christian rites, under the supervision of the India Office in Elveden Church beside the grave of his wife Maharani Bamba, and his son Prince Edward Albert Duleep Singh. The graves are located on the west side of the Church.
A life-size bronze statue of the Maharajah showing him on a horse was unveiled by HRH the Prince of Wales in 1999 at Butten Island in Thetford, a town which benefited from his and his sons' generosity.[7][18]
In an auction at Bonhams, London on 19 April 2007, the 74 cm high white marble portrait bust of Maharajah Duleep Singh by Victorian sculptor John Gibson RA in Rome in 1859[19] fetched £1.7 million (£1.5 million plus premium and tax).[20][21]
A film titled, Maharaja Duleep Singh: A Monument Of Injustice was made in 2007, directed by P.S. Narula.[22]

Heraldry [edit]

coat of arms was granted, commissioned by Prince Albert.

Family [edit]

Dalip's mother, Maharani Jind Kaur, was in exile in Nepal. In 1860 he was allowed to return to India and he decided to bring his mother back to England. She died in England in 1863.
Dalip Singh married twice, first to Bamba Müller and then to Ada Douglas Wetherill. He had eight children in total, six from his first marriage to Bamba:
He also had two children from his second marriage to Ada Douglas Wetherill:
  • Princess Pauline Alexandra Duleep Singh
  • Princess Ada Irene Beryl Duleep Singh
All the eight children died without legitimate issue, ending the direct line of the Sikh Royalty.[24]
There is a memorial at Eton College in England to Princes Victor and Frederick, Maharajah Duleep Singh's two sons who studied at Eton in the 1870s.[6]

Maharani Bamba Müller [edit]

Maharani Bamba Müller was an Arabic-speaking, part-Ethiopian, part-German girl, whose father was a German banker and whose mother was an Abyssinian Coptic Christian slave. She and Dalip met in Cairo in 1863 on his return from scattering his mother's ashes in India; they were married in AlexandriaEgypt on 7 June 1864. The Maharani died in London on 18 September 1887..

Ada Douglas Wetherill [edit]

Some sources describe Ada Douglas Wetherill as a French princess. In fact, she was neither French nor a princess. This is very likely a fiction created to give her some legitimacy later in life. Wetherill had been Dalip's mistress before he decided to return to India with his family, and upon being stopped in Aden by the British authorities he abandoned his family and moved to Paris, where she joined him. She stayed with him through his years in Paris and also travelled with him to St PetersburgRussia, where he failed to persuade the Czar of the benefits of invading India through the north and reinstalling him as ruler.[25]
Queen Victoria and Maharaja Dalip Singh reconciled their differences before he died. Out of loyalty to Maharani Bamba, the Queen refused to receive Ada, who she suspected had been involved with the Maharaja before Maharani Bamba's death in 1887.[26]
"What became of the Alhambra lass [a music hall in Leicester Square, London] and the dusky tadpoles that drove about the King's Road in Brighton history does not tell"[27]

Possible descendant [edit]

It has been claimed that Dalip Singh may be the great-great-grandfather of Bob Goddard, a British debt collector for Halifax. Genetic evidence suggests that Goddard has an unusual combination of minor blood groups that is rare among thewhite British population but common among Asians. The genealogical history of Goddard's family suggests his grandfather, Charlie Goddard, was born in 1888 as the illegitimate child of an English maid serving at Breckles Hall in Norfolk. It was rumoured that the father may have been an Indian prince, believed to be PrinceFrederick Duleep Singh, who was a resident at Breckles Hall when Charlie was born.[28] Further speculation suggests that Duleep Singh's descendants include George Herbert, 8th Earl of Carnarvon, whose grandfather may have been Prince Victor Duleep Singh.[29] There is also a report of a family that resides in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada who are descendants of the Maharajas. This Punjabi/ Sikh family is believed to be one of the first Sikh settlers in Britain with roots in the Dunoon, Glasgow and Perthshire regions of Scotland.

Further reading [edit]

  • Sikh History in 10 Volumes, by Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer. Published by Sikh University Press, Belgium, 2009-2012.
  • Sir John Login And Duleep Singh, by Lady Lena Login. W. H. Allen & Co., London. 1890.
  • Maharaja Duleep Singh Correspondence, by Dhuleep Singh, Ganda Singh. Published by Punjabi University, 1977.