Tuesday, December 20, 2016

On the trail of Duleep Singh

The search for the story behind the Koh-i-Noor diamond continues. One afternoon we went in search of more facts from local history about Duleep Singh, the last Maharajah of the Punjab. We started at Elveden church, where Duleep Singh is buried.

Basically the story is that the British forced Duleep Singh to resign his throne and exiled him to England.  The Koh-i-Noor diamond was "passed" to Queen Victoria and ended up in the Crown Jewels.  Duleep Singh settled at Elveden Hall (up the road from mum's).

Duleep Singh wanted to be buried in India, but the British refused to honour his request and brought his body back to Elveden where he is buried in a Christian graveyard, despite the fact that he had re-embraced the Sikh religion. Duleep Singh is buried next to his wife, the Maharani Bamba, and his son.

There's a statue of Duleep Singh on Butten Island, Thetford, so we went there next. Duleep Singh wanted to return to the Punjab but was not allowed as the British feared it would cause unrest.  He tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade the Czar of Russia to invade India from the north and reinstate him as the ruler of the Punjab. Until his death, he struggled to reclaim his throne.

"To this day the Sikh nation aspires to regain its sovereignty."

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