family claims descent from the Jat Sansi tribe, of Rajput
origin. Their ancestor Raja Shah, or Salvahan, son of
Raja Gaj Singh of Jaisalmer, went to the Punjab after the
death of his father, where he destroyed Lahore and
rebuilt the town of Sialkot. Salvahan had sixteen sons,
all of whom seem to have founded independent
principalities, from whom many of the Punjab hill Rajas
claim their descent. Jaudhar, fifth in descent from
Savahan was the ancestor of the houses of Patiala, Nabha,
Jind, Malaudh, Bhadaur, Faridkot, Kaithal and Atari,
through his eldest son. The Sindhanwalias claim descent
through his second son.
Ranjit Singh Gujranwala, the Lion of the Punjab, expelled the Afghans from the Punjab in 1799, and established himself, as an independent ruler of a new kingdom in the northern parts of the province in 1801. His reign was one of almost continual warfare and conquest, mainly at the expense of the Muslim rulers of Northern India. Nevertheless, he carved out an independent kingdom for the Sikhs and controlled a vast area of Northern India. His death in 1839, ushered in a period of instability during which power struggles and succession disputes were common. Although he had secured the succession by siring an heir in the person of his son, Kharak Singh, he had also accepted a number of reputed sons. His court had been more debauched than most, and his ambitious wives and concubines conducted harrowing intrigues in order to secure power through powerful favourites and pretended children. Ultimately, this infighting sapped the state of its strength, weakened the administration and demoralised the army.
Conflict with the King of the Oudh and his British allies resulted in repeated losses of territory. Eventually the British annexed the remnants of the kingdom in 1849. The twelve-year old Maharaja Duleep Singh and his mother were pensioned and exiled to England. He received an English education and converted to Christianity, becoming a perfect English gentleman and a lion of Victorian society. Financial embarrassment and boredom drove him to attempt all manner of intrigue with the French, Germans, Russians and Indian nationalists. All in the hope of regaining his throne or, at least, an increase in his pension. The Maharaja and his family had been on close friendly terms with Queen Victoria. His children continued as such well into the reign of the King-Emperor George V, enjoying precedence at courts and levees, immediately after the Royal Family.
STYLES & TITLES (before annexation):
The ruling prince: Maharajadhiraja (personal name) Singh Bahadur, Shir-i-Punjab, Maharaja of the Punjab, with the style of His Highness.
The Consorts of the ruling prince: Maharani (personal name) Kaur Sahiba, with the style of Her Highness.
The Heir Apparent: The Tika Sahib Bahadur.
The younger sons on the ruling prince: Shahzada (personal name) Singh Bahadur
STYLES & TITLES (after annexation):
The head of the family: Maharajadhiraja Duleep Singh Bahadur, with the style of His Highness.
The Consort of the head of the family: Maharani (personal name) Duleep Singh, with the style of Her Highness.
The sons of the head of the family: Prince (personal name) Duleep Singh.
The unmarried daughters of the head of the family: Princess (personal name) Duleep Singh.
The married daughters of the head of the family: Princess (personal name) (husband's surname).
ORDERS & DECORATIONS:
The Order of the Propitious Star of the Punjab (Kaukab-i-Iqbal-i-Punjab): founded by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Sher-i-Punjab in 1837. Awarded in three classes.
The Order of the Propitious Star of the Punjab, third class, badge.
The Order of Guru Govind Singh (or the Order of Ranjit Singh): founded by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Sher-i-Punjab in 1822. Awarded for military services and for outstanding courage, in three classes (1. Grand Cross, 2. Commander, and 3. Officer).
The Order of Guru Govind Singh, second class, breast star (L) and third class, badge (R).
Campbell, Christy. The Maharajah's Box; An Imperial Story of Conspiracy, Love, and a Guru's Prophecy, Harper Collins Publishers, London, 2000.
Major W.L. Conran and H.D. Craik, Chiefs and Families of Note in the Punjab. 3 Volumes. Government of the Punjab, Lahore, 1910-1911.
Duleep Singh Papers, India Office Records (MSS. Eur. E337), Oriental and India Office Collection, British Library, London.
Sir Lepel H. Griffin, KCSI. The Punjab Chiefs. Historical and Biographical Notes of the Principal Families in the Lahore and Rawalpindi Divisions of the Punjab. New Edition Bringing the Histories down to date, by Charles Francis Massy. "Civil and Military Gazette" Press, Lahore, 1890.
Jean-Marie Lafont, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Lord of the Five Rivers. Oxford University Press, 2002.
Tony McClenaghan, Indian Princely Medals: A record of the Orders, Decorations and Medals of the Indian Princely States. Lancer Publications, Spantech & Lancer, New Delhi, 1996.
Ganda Singh (ed.), The Duleep Singh Correspondence. Punjabi University, Patiala, 1977.
Photographs from the Indian collection, Victoria and Albert Museum, Kensington, London, 2000.
CopyrightęChristopher Buyers, January 2001 - August 2008