History- Important places, persons in news

Persons in news: Maharaja Duleep Singh


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.

Kohinoor connection

  • 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.
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