The Last Sikh King

2019-03-29 Fri

This is the extraordinary story of Maharajah Duleep Singh who was the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire and the son and successor of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

At the age of five the boy prince sat on the throne of the Sikh kingdom, although his mother and uncle conducted the state's affairs in reality. On 13 December 1845 the British declared war on the Sikhs and, after winning the First Anglo-Sikh War, retained the Maharaja as nominal ruler.

After the close of the Second Anglo-Sikh War and the subsequent annexation of the Punjab on 29 March 1849, Dalip Singh was deposed at the age of ten. He, then, converted to Christianity with the approval of the Governor-General Lord Dalhousie and was placed under the guardianship of army surgeon John Spencer Logan.

At the age of 14 he went to England and became close with the British Royalty. By the age of 30, Maharaja Dalip Singh had a family and was finding it difficult to maintain his lavish lifestyle with the pension he received from the British government. A decade and half later, when he could no longer cope up, he took his boldest step.

He set sail for India along with his family and told the British he would revert to the Sikh faith and reclaim part of his land.The British could not risk a possible mutiny. En route to India, the maharajah was detained and placed under house arrest. His family returned to Britain. He died alone and a pauper, in Paris in October 1893 as a Sikh by faith.

The coin shown above is the Silver Rupee issued in the year VS 1885 / AD 1905. The obverse is inscribed with legend ‘Sikka Zad Bar Sim O Zar Fazl Sachcha Sahib Ast Fath-I-Gobind Singh-I-Shahan Tegh-I-Nanak Wahib Ast’ along with a Chattra or Umbrella with the Gurumukhi word “Sat” bellow. The Reverse has the date at top.

Image Courtesy: https://www.todywallaauctions.com