Saturday, December 03, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

 

19th August

 

1847 Maharani Jind Kaur placed arrested in Saekhupura Jail.

==> Maharani JIND KAUR: was daughter of Sardar Manna Singh Auhlakh, a resident of village Chandh, district Sialkot, Tehsil Jafarwall. She was wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and mother of Maharaja Dalip Singh. Once the British government gained control of the Khalsa Raj's affairs, she was initially kept under house arrest at Saekhupura and subsequently jailed at Chunar fort (U.P. district Mizapur). However, she escaped in a beggar's attire and reached Nepal, where she lived with dignity. In 1861, Maharani Jind Kaur reached England to visit her son Maharaja Dalip Singh, where she died on Aug. 1, 1863 at the age of 46. Her body was brought back and cremated in Nasik Nagar, on the outskirts of Bombay.

On March 27, 1924, Maharaja Dalip Singh's daughter, Bamba Dalip Singh, brought the ashes of Maharani Jind Kaur from Nasik Nagar and buried it next to Maharaja Ranjit Singh's samadh. Sardar Harbans Singh Rais of Atari performed the last rights (antim Ardas) on this occasion.

-Ref. Mahan Kosh (pp. 523)

Here are a few glimpses of her life from Maharani Jind Kaur by Dr. B.S. Nijjar that also sheds light on the sad, unfortuante affairs of Sikh state after the death of Sher-i-Punjab, and offers a rare glimpse of the treachery of some Dogras and Brahmins.

At one time the Dogras has become so influential that the Raja Hira Singh wanted to be the king by pushing aside Maharaja Dalip Singh. The Sikh army did not like him. They liked Maharaja Dalip Singh.

There was a general discontent among the Sikh army and they were not happy with the way Rani was behaving. She had became louder in her demands. She asked for more jagirs for her brothers and more yearly allownaces for herself. She spoke of the designs against every survivor of the royal family and of intending flight to the southern side of Satluj where the English would at least secure for her son, his father's protected territory. This, of course, was a great miscalculation on her part.

Rani an Accomplished Administrator

However, Rani issued a proclamation praising the fidelity of the Khalsa troops. She had shown considerable energy and spirit in conducting the State business, with the courage and determination seldom shown by any woman in Sikh history. Lord Hardinge had un-willingly praised her for her regular life and devotion to the State affairs. She commanded the obedience of regimental committee as well as Sardars, who were also represented in the Supreme Council of Khalsa. However, she committed the impardonable sin of compromising with the Army. Several conferences with the military officers took place and at one of those, the Sardars said that the army would not let the Government go on.

Weakness of Rani

Harding wrote to Ellenborough about administration of Rani Jind Kaur, on October 23, 1845 A.D., Rani now reviews the troops unveiled, and dressed as a dancing woman, which displeases the old but gratifies the yourng; but her irregularities are so monstrously indecent that the troops have held her horse and advised her to be more chaste or they would no longer style her the Mother of all the Sikhs.

The officers adamantly told the Rani that that army could govern very well for itself. The demand of the increase in pay was, however, not conceded nor was it definitely refused. But the troops were declaring loudly that Rani and her brother were unfit to reign and must be imprisoned or put to death and Peshaura Singh [son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, but not of Jind Kaur] be seated on the throne. The general joy expressed at the death of Hira Singh [son of raja Gulab Singh dogra] and Pandit Jalla, was thus giving place to appreciation of the order and justice prevailing under their rule. The Khalsa army now became openly independent of the Civil authority and almost acted as Kingmakers.

Jawahar Singh Comes to Power

After the overthrow of of Raja Hira Singh and his favourite Pandit Jalla, the ministerial office was not immediately filled and for some time all power of the Sikh Kingdom remained in the hands of the Army Panchayat. In May, 1845, A.D., however, Jawahar Singh brother of Rani came to power as he was appointed to the exhalted office of Prime Minister for five months from May 1845 to September 1845 A.D. The Prime Minister immediately did his best to win over the army. He raised the salary of the soldiers by half a ruppes and thus consolidate his position. [An average soldier made about Rs/. 11 a month at that time.]

The Dogra Rajas could not tolerate the high position of Jawahar Singh and thus spared no effort to exploit the Khalsa soldiers against him. Raja Gulab Singh instigated Pishaura Singh, another son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to revolt as he was to be fully supported by the former. At the instigation of the Dogra Rajas, Prince Pishaura Singh revolted and occupied Attok, but was defeated by Jawahar Singh's forces and murdered. It was a blunder on the part of Jawahar Singh as the Sikh army did not appreciate this hasty step of their Prime Minister and turned against him. Raja Lal Singh, the Commander-in-chief of the Khalsa Army, all the more, exploited this situation. A meeting of the Army Panchayat was called and the matter was put before them.

Ultimately Jawahar SIngh was summoned to appear before the Army Panchayat. Jawahar Singh was not unaware of the fury of the Army Panchayat. He rather fully anticipated his fate. Therefore, he took his nephew Maharaja Dalip Singh with him in the hope that the presence of the Maharaja might influence the Khalsa troops in his favour in securing a pardon.

But the fierce and infuriated soldiery sorrounded the elephant on all sides, and the boy Dalip Singh was rougly snathced from the arms of his uncle. Jawahar Singh bowed before the troops, and with folded hands, implored them to hear him for a moment. They, however, would not allow him to utter a word even. He was stabbed with a bayonet on the left, and as he bent over on the right, a man sent a bullet through his brain. Jawahar Singh fell from the 'howdah' a corpse, and his body was dragged from the elephant and mangled with swords of those who sorrounded it.

Bawa Rattan Singh and Bhai Chaittu, the councillors of Jawahar Singh, were killed without any ceremony, on the same spot. The cash, in gold and silver coins, which Jawahar Singh and the Rani had brought with them and their fort, was now plundered by the soldiers, and the Rani and her slave girls were compelled to retire to the tents which had some days previously been pitched for their reception. The whole thing was, thus, well premeditatd and planned. The boy Dalip Singh was separated from his mother for a while and kept with the soldiery, fearing that the Rani in her rage and excitement might destroy herself and her child. When these fears had subsided, the prince was again made over to his mother. The soldiers. however, kept a strict watch over Rani's tents the whole night, to prevent any accident. She passed the night in fearful screams and shrieks, lamenting over the death of her beloved brother and cursing the Khalsa. As morning broke, she was permitted to to see the mangled body of her brother. Her lamentations and painful cries renewed with a violence which moved the bystanders to pity and melted even the iron hearts of those who had been instrumental in causing her brother's murder.

Weeping bitterly, Jind Kaur threw herself and her child on the body of her brother. When partly by entreaties and partly by force, she was separatd from the corpse, she rolled upon the ground, tearing her hair and her clothes. This hearth rending spectacle touched the sympathies of the most valorous spectators. The scene was terminated at noon, when the Maharaja with great difficulty, was persuaded to return to the city. The corpse of the murdered prime minister was also carried to the city, where his funeral obseques were performed outside the Masti Gate, in the presence of several Sardars of the court.

From: Maharani Jind Kaur by Dr. B.S.

1928 All Parties Sikh Conference rejected Nehru report.

 

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