Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Maharani Jindan - 'The Inspiration'


Maharani Jind Kaur was popularly known as Jindan, was youngest wife of the first Maharaja of the Sikh Empire, Ranjit Singh, and the mother of the last Maharaja, Duleep Singh ,and also the last Sikh queen of Punjab empire.She was also known for her beauty, personal charm and strength.She was born in Chachar, Gujranwala (now in Pakistan),and The daughter of Manna Singh Aulakh , who held an humble position at the court as an overseer of the royal kennels.


Maharani Jindan Kaur's life – much of which was spent raging against the British empire for cheating her out of the Punjab, then a vast country stretching from the Khyber Pass to Kashmir – is the subject of a film called Rebel Queen, which premiered at New York's International Sikh film festival .
Her revolt began when her husband, the Maharaja of the Punjab, died of a stroke in 1839 and the British tried to wrest the kingdom from the heir to the throne, her
infant son, Duleep Singh. During her rule as regent, Jindan waged two disastrous wars against the British that led to the annexation of the Punjab. She may have made huge strategic errors due to her military inexperience and young age (she was in her early 20s), but Jindan was a fierce ruler.

In 1844, at a young age of six years, Duleep Singh was crowned as the Maharaja upon the untimely death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839. While Maharaja Ranjit Singh was alive, his empire was strong and able to resist the expansion of the British in India. However, soon after the Maharaja’s death, the British were able to make inroads to the empire through cunning and the greed of ministers in the empire. During this time, most of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s sons died fighting over the crown.

Maharani Jind Kaur was aware of the ill intentions of the British.In 1845, the Maharani became the Regent of Punjab for Maharaja Duleep Singh. The British disliked Maharani Jindan because of what they described as ‘characteristic strength of man’s qualities’. She remained politically involved in managing what was left of the empire. As a regent she became the symbol of sovereignty of the Khalsa in the name of her son. She managed the army, addressed the court and participated in various other state matters. She also reconstituted the Khalsa Council by establishing a balance between panchayats and civil administration. She refused to co-operate with British Govt. and the British saw that her influence on Duleep could lead to an uprising among the Punjabi people. They decided to separate mother and son.

Nine-year-old Duleep was taken to England where he converted to Christianity, living the life of a typical English gentleman. The Maharani Jindan, however, was dragged from the court of Lahore by her hair and thrown into the fortress of Sheikhupura and then Chunar Fort in Uttar Pradesh.

A year later she escaped from the Chunar Fort, disguised as a servant, and was given asylum in Nepal, where she remained in virtual imprisonment for 11 years. She arrived penniless at Kathmandu on 29 April 1849 and was assigned a residence at Thapathall and an allowance by the Nepalese government. The British kept an eye on her, believing that she was still intriguing to revive the Sikh dynasty. Under British pressure the Prime Minister of Nepal, Jung Bahadour, turned hostile towards the Maharani and levied the most humiliating restrictions on her.

In 1860, Maharaja Duleep Singh came to Calcutta, where the son and mother had an emotional reunion after 13 years. The Maharaja could clearly understand the pain of his mother and decided to take his mother along with him to England.

In August 1863, Maharani Jindan died peacefully at her London residence. Her body was temporarily housed at Kensal Cemetery, when in 1864, Maharaja Dalip Singh had it transported to India for cremation. She was cremated in Nasik (Bombay) as authorities in Punjab would not let Maharaja Dalip Singh cremate the body there for fear of an uprising. A small memorial was built in Nasik, but typical of British attitudes at the time, they built a sewer canal over the memorial. In 1924, her granddaughter, Princess Bamba Sutherland had her ashes dug out and brought to the former capital of the Sikh empire, Lahore, Punjab.

She is an Inspiration for women.She was one of the most remarkable characters of 19th-century history whom stood up aganist British all alone ,discarded sati pratha ,and led the courts, had meetings with chief ministers and the armies.

Here's "kisa Maharani Jind Kaur" by Amandeep Singh Pharwala.

No comments:
Write comments