Friday, May 25, 2012

Maharajah Dalip Singh Leaves for Bombay: March 2 1886

Maharjah Dalip Singh, son of Ranjit Singh, lived most of his life in exile in England after the age of 13. 

In 1886 he tried to visit India via steamer after a more than 35 year gap. Here is a scrap announcing he is on his way, and speculating on his motives. According to Wikipedia (take w/grain of salt), Dalip Singh's real interest was in reconverting to Sikhism after having been raised away from any Sikh community. (Will try to verify this.) 

As the CMG speculates, the British authorities were nervous about the symbolism of an exiled king returning. The authorities would in fact bar him from proceeding any further than Aden. He would go through a symbolic re-conversion there, but then be returned to England. Dalip Singh's estate in England, Elveden Hall, still stands; it was used, in 2004, as one of the "Indian" sets in Mira Nair's Vanity Fair

1 comment:

  1. Dalip Singh was a friend of Samuel White Baker, an explorer of the Nile. From the Wikipedia article ...
    "While Baker was visiting the Duke of Atholl on his shooting estate in Scotland, he befriended Maharaja Duleep Singh and in 1858–1859, the two partnered an extensive hunting trip in central Europe and the Balkans, via Frankfurt, Berlin, Vienna and Budapest. On the last part of the voyage, Baker and the Maharajah, hired a wooden boat in Budapest, which was eventually abandoned on the frozen Danube. The two continued into Vidin where, to amuse the Maharajah, Baker went to the Vidin slave market. There, Baker fell in love with a white slave girl, destined for the Ottoman Pasha of Vidin. He was outbid by the Pasha but bribed the girl's attendants and they ran away in a carriage together and eventually she became his lover and wife and accompanied him everywhere he journeyed. They are reported to have married, most probably in Bucharest, before going to Dubrushka, but Sir Samuel certainly promised that they would go through another ceremony on their return to England - where they had a family wedding in 1865.[2]"
    Pat Shipman's book "The Stolen Woman" is about this episode. She also has a book on Florence Baker - the stolen woman - who accompanied her husband in his African adventures.