From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Maharaja Duleep Singh
Mains level : Subsidiary Alliance
A member of parliament has made a demand in the Rajya Sabha to exhume the remains of Maharaja Duleep Singh from his grave in England, and have them brought to Amritsar.
Maharaja Duleep Singh
- Singh was the youngest son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the last ruler of Punjab. He was declared Maharaja of Punjab in 1843 at the age of five.
- In 1849, after the second Anglo-Sikh war, Singh was forced to give up claims of sovereignty in exchange for a pension of £40,000 a year. He was 10 years old at that time.
- In 1853, he converted to Christianity, and settled in the UK in 1854.
- According to the Royal Collection Trust, in July of 1854, Singh was received by Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace.
- He is believed to have become a close friend of the royal family and during the summer of 1854, visited them frequently at Osborne.
- Significantly, in 1849, after the British defeated the Sikhs in the war, Singh was forced to sign a legal document that amended the Treaty of Lahore.
- It required him to not only give up claims of sovereignty over the region, but also the Koh-i-noor diamond.
- The diamond eventually made its way to England, where the British East India Company presented it to the Queen.
- The diamond is now a part of the British Crown Jewels kept in the Tower of London.
Why are his remains in England?
- In 1864, Singh married Bamba Müller in Cairo and then moved to Elveden in England.
- Queen Victoria became the godmother of their eldest son, who was named Victor Duleep Singh after the Queen’s eldest grandson Prince Albert Victor.
- In 1886, he is said to have tried to return to India. He also re-converted to Sikhism.
- He was refused permission to visit India by the British Secretary of State, and the reconversion ceremony was performed in Aden, Yemen.
- After this, Singh lived in Paris and is believed to have sought the help of Irish revolutionaries and Russians to launch a revolt against the British in Punjab.
- He planned to launch the revolt from Pondicherry, which was a French territory then.
- Ultimately, however, Singh was unsuccessful in doing so. While he died in Paris in 1893 at the age of 55, his body was brought to England, where he was buried.