Last Princess of Sikh empire – Princess Bamba Sutherland (1869 – 1957)

Maharani Bamba

Maharani Bamba-1

Maharani Bamba-2

Last Princess of Sikh empire – Princess Bamba Sutherland (1869 – 1957)

This is the destiny of Princess Bamba who was born in a royal family but when died, their was no one to wept and  to roll down few tears for her?

Now a question again arises that the Punjab was annexed by British in 1849 and last king was Maharaja Duleep singh and when British went back, the daughter late Maharaja was alive and settled in Lahore. Why did the British not returned the state to heir of last Maharaja instead of giving it India under a secret treaty called as POWER OF TRANSFER and jeopardized with Maharaja once again after his death? Are British so ungrateful and thankless?

Why were the Sikhs betrayed again in 1947? Whereas last emperor late Maharaja Duleep Singh was duped by Lord Dalhousie. See : http://kohinoorofsikhs.blogspot.com/

The last of the survivors of the Maharaja’s family, Princess Bamba Sutherland, who lived like an unknown in Lahore, the capital of the kingdom of her father and grandfather, quietly slipped into its soil on March 10, 1957, almost unknown and unwept.

Princess Bamba Sutherland, the eldest daughter of Maharaja Daleep Singh, was born on September 29, 1869, in London. She was baptised Bamba Sofia Jindan Daleep Singh, named after her mother and grandmothers’ respectively.

When she was planning to visit India for the first time, she gave an advertisement in a local paper, inviting applications from a lady with cultural interests and musical background, who would like to accompany her on a visit to India. Marie Antoninette, a Hungarian of noble descent, applied and was accepted. Both came to India and lived at Lahore and Shimla. In the company of the Princess, Marie Antoninette met Umrao Singh Sher-Gil and this acquaintance led to their marriage and they left together for Budapest where their first child Amrita Sher-Gil, the most innovative painter of modern India, was born.

Henceforth, Princess Bamba visited India frequently and finally settled at Lahore. She purchased a house in the posh locality of Model Town and named it ‘Gulzar’ where she had an exclusive garden of roses spread on an area of one kanal. Here she married Dr David Waters Sutherland who was Principal of the King Edward Medical College, Lahore (now Medical University).

She had inherited a vast collection of paintings, art objects, historical documents and royal orders from her father and kept these in safe custody at Lahore. To understand the significance of these documents, mostly written in Persian, she placed an advertisement in a newspaper for hiring a suitable scholar and selected Pir Karim Bakhsh Supra for this job. Supra was well versed in Persian, Arabic and English. Soon her relationship with her teacher became full of respect and trust.

She bequeathed her collection of paintings and art objects to Pir Karim Bakhsh Supra, who, after her death, sold these to the Government of Pakistan. The collection, consisting of 18 oil paintings, 14 water colours, 22 ivory paintings, 17 photographs, 10 metallic objects and seven miscellaneous articles, are known as ‘The Princess Bamba Collection’.

These are now in the custody of the Department of Archaeology, Government of Pakistan, for preservation as a national asset.

Located in Gora Kabristan on jail road, Lahore, her grave remains decked with flowers brought by the descendants of Pir Karim Bakhsh Supra from ‘Gulzar’, Model Town, Lahore, the residence of late Princess Bamba Sutherland.

Note by: Kanwarjit Singh Kang.

Visit, Like and share Lahore – The City of Gardens: An online archive of 2000+ Historical Photos/Images of Lahore.

Courtesy : https://www.facebook.com/lahore.gardens/photos/a.343391813213.153232.285689198213/10151394611388214/?type=1

Ajmer kesri

Presented by : Ajmer Singh Randhawa.

6 Responses to “Last Princess of Sikh empire – Princess Bamba Sutherland (1869 – 1957)”

  1. asrandhawa Says:

    TRANSFER OF POWER IN 1947?

    मुझे आश्चर्य है कि इस पोस्ट को नकार दिया गया, अधिकांश लोगों ने इसे पढ़ा ही नहीं, सिर्फ यह जानकार कि यह रानी बंबा, महाराजा रंजीत सिंह की पोती है, इति श्री कर ली? जबकि सच्चाई यह है कि बंबा अकेली ही संयुक्त पंजाब की महारानी थी और इस अधिकार को उससे कोई छीन नहीं सकता था!

    स्वतंत्रता प्राप्ति के पश्चात सभी भारतीय राजाओं ने (शायद ४६७) स्वेच्छा से या सरदार पटेल के दबाव में आकर अपने अपने राज्यों का भारत में विलय स्वीकार किया और लिखित रूप में यह दस्तावेज़ उनके हस्ताक्षरों के साथ भारत सरकार को सौंपे!

    हैदराबाद के निज़ाम, दमन दीव, पांडिचेरी, गोवा और काश्मीर ने यह विलय स्वीकार नहीं किया और इन दस्तावेज़ों पर हस्ताक्षर नहीं किये! काश्मीर पर पाकिस्तानी कबायलियों के हमले के कारण (कबायली पटटन (श्रीनगर से मात्र ३० किलो मीटर दूर) तक आ पहुंचे तो २७ अक्टूबर १९४७ को काश्मीर के महाराजा हरी सिंह ने इस दस्तावेज़ पर हस्ताक्षर किये थे और अगली सुबह सिख रेजिमेंट की टुकड़ियां हवाई जहाजों से श्री नगर पहुँच गयीं थीं जिन्होंने इन कबायलियों को मार मार कर उडी तक पहुंचा दिया था ! यदि नेहरू युद्ध विराम की घोषणा न करता और इस मसले को यू ऐन ओ न ले जाता, यदि यद्ध कुछ दिन और जारी रहने देता तो आज परिस्थितियां कुछ और होतीं और पूरा कश्मीर भारत का होता?

    खैर दीव, दमन, पांडिचेरी और गोवा तथा हैदराबाद को भी फौजी आक्रमण से भारत में मिला लिया गया लेकिन सवाल यह उठता है कि पंजाब राज्य के विभाजन के उपरांत भी भारतीय पंजाब के भारत में विलय के दस्तावेज़ों पर किसने हस्ताक्षर किये जबकि पंजाब की महारानी बंबा जीवित थीं और लाहौर में थीं?

    न तो सिखों द्वारा भारत का संविधान स्वीकार किया गया और न ही पंजाब के विलय का कोई आधिकारिक दस्तावेज़ सरकार के पास है तो क्या यह एक जबरदस्ती कब्ज़ा नहीं है? और क्या इसी कारण सिखों को पंजाब में जान बूझ कर झूठे पुलिस मुकाबलों में नहीं मारा जाता, क्यों युवकों को प्रताड़ित किया जाता, सिखों को समूल नष्ट करने के पीछे भी क्या यही कारण तो नहीं कि जिससे वे कभी भविष्य में इस प्रान्त पर अपना दावा कर सकें ? आखिर सिखों को भारत में प्रताड़ित कर भारत सरकार क्या साबित करना चाहती है? यदि सभी भारतीय राज्यों का आधिकारिक विलय, उनके राजाओं की सम्मति से हुआ तो पंजाब की महारानी बंबा द्वारा पंजाब के भारत में विलय के किसी भी आधिकारिक दस्तावेज़ हस्ताक्षर पर न करके इसे अस्वीकार कर दिया गया था !

  2. Harjinder PS Sandhawalia Says:

    V Good info. Need to search more in this issue.

  3. asrandhawa Says:

    आशचर्य तो इस बात का है कि संपूर्ण भारत की छोटी से छोटी रियासत के राजा से भी भारत में विलय के दस्तावेजों पर हस्ताक्षर करवाये गए, रियासत के विलय के एवज में उन्हें मासिक भत्ता भी दिया गया लेकिन इतने बड़े सिख साम्राज्य की एकमात्र महारानी बंबा से न तो भारत में विलय के दस्तावेजों पर हस्ताक्षर करवाये गए न ही उन्हें उनके साम्राज्य सिख देश पंजाब के भारत में विलय के एवज में कोई मासिक भत्ते या पेंशन ही दी गई?

    ऐसा घोर अन्याय ? क्या यह अन्याय भी सिखों के साथ हुआ अन्याय नहीं कहा जाएगा? हो सकता है वे (महारानी) भी सिख धर्म से प्रेरित होकर अपने पूर्वजों का धर्म ग्रहण कर लेतीं?

    वैसे भी जरूरी नहीं कि सिख देश की महारानी या महाराजा भी सिख ही हों जैसे कि कश्मीर का उदाहरण हमारे सामने है, वहां का राजा हिन्दू है लेकिन प्रजा का धर्म मुस्लिम, हिन्दू तो अल्पसंख्यक हैं, कुल आबादी का शायद १०% ही होंगे?

  4. asrandhawa Says:

    Sophia Duleep Singh:
    Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary

    A Book Review by BOYD TONKIN

    SOPHIA: PRINCESS, SUFFRAGETTE, REVOLUTIONARY, by Anita Anand. Bloomsbury, USA, 2015. English, Hard Cover, pp 432. ISBN-10: 1632860813; ISBN-13: 978-1632860811.

    During the second World War, already approaching 70 and living safe from the Blitz at Penn in the Chilterns, the Princess Sophia Duleep Singh doted on the little daughter of the beloved housekeeper she called “Bosie”.

    Sophia had never had children of her own — [probably because the British government had imposed the requirement that she and all her siblings from the Sikh Royal family refrain from doing so!]

    As the granddaughter of Ranjit Singh, the all-conquering “Lion of the Punjab” whose sprawling kingdom in the late 1840s was usurped the British through the treachery and guile of the Hindu Dogra employees of Royal Court, as much as conquest, the exiled princess carried the name of a family that still commanded loyalty across Punjab.

    It might have set off a political earthquake in the Raj had she wed an Sikh prince of her rank or had heirs to the throne.

    Unlike her brothers, she could not marry into European society either. Sophia adored, mentored and protected little Catherine, known as “Drovna” (Sophia’s own middle name was Alexandrovna). One day, as Drovna herself told the author of this biography, she asked the girl to make a “solemn promise”. It was this: “You are never, ever not to vote … When you are allowed to vote you are never, ever to fail to do so.”

    She never has.

    Sometimes you hear biographers complain that all the great figures have gone. They must either revisit the over-documented giants of the past or else make do with vaguely interesting obscurities.

    In this book, her confident and compelling debut, the BBC journalist and presenter Anita Anand leaves that argument in shreds. Uprooted heiress to a lost kingdom, Queen Victoria’s cherished god-daughter, celebrity aristocrat, anti-imperialist campaigner, First World War nurse, militant suffragette and feminist hell-raiser, Sophia Duleep Singh (1876-1948) is a gem of a subject (and symbolic gems, from the famed Koh-i-Noor diamond stolen by his British captors from her father, onwards, punctuate this story).

    The debutante and dog-breeder lodged by the affectionate but controlling Queen in a “grace-and-favour” house at Hampton Court matured into an agitator. Her chosen causes linked the twin rebellions that did so much to bring about “the strange death of Liberal England”.

    In its Christmas Eve editorial for 1910, the suffragist newspaper The Vote argued that “The Feminist movement is intimately associated with the aspirations of Young India”.

    Sophia embodied, and deepened, that relationship.

    Hampered not only by social convention but by divided loyalties, she never quite became a leader. As the Edwardian suffrage movement turned to direct-action militancy (Emmeline Pankhurst’s “argument of the broken pane of glass”), Sophia stood in the front rank of protest. “She would not desert her sisters”, while truncheons swung, West End shop-windows shattered and Kew Gardens burnt.

    To the outrage of George V, the trouble-making diva of Faraday House even sold suffragist papers right outside Hampton Court. Bailiffs trooped into her home to seize goods after the disenfranchised Princess refused time and again to pay her taxes or to stump up court fines for non-payment. But she couldn’t get herself arrested. The wary government whose agents had spied on Sophia and her family since infancy hesitated to martyr the offspring of the Lion of the Punjab.

    This official reluctance to send the suffragette Princess to Holloway hints at both her prestige – and her powerlessness. After her political awakening, she spoke, spent, marched and toiled not only for the destitute Asian sailors of the East End, the liberation of women and the freedom of Punjab and the subcontinent but (after 1914) for the Sikh soldiers wounded on the Western Front.

    Stricken Sikh warriors could scarcely believe “that the granddaughter of Ranjit Singh sat by their bedsides in a nurse’s uniform”. The honour of the Punjab walked with her.

    In 1918, her role in organising a successful flag-day for Sikh and other troops triggered near-panic among the mandarins of Whitehall and New Delhi. Yet the Lion’s granddaughter, forever “watched and judged by others”, could never quite enter the engine-room of reform or insurrection. That enforced marginality leaves the biographer with a challenge. However headstrong and impassioned, Sophia often stood slightly on the outside: too grand, too foreign, even too close to the Establishment that supervised and, via the family pensions. bankrolled her.

    She can even appear like Woody Allen’s Zelig: in every picture, but never quite at its centre. She often sounds entrapped, frustrated, thwarted: an exotic bird in her gilded cage. Therefore her life becomes the story too of the overlapping circles that converged on her.

    Anand fluently folds these impinging histories into her narrative. The first section chronicles the rise and fall of the Sikh kingdom and the platonic love-affair that yoked Victoria to the dispossessed Maharajah Duleep Singh, “so handsome and charming”, through his profligate spending at Elveden Hall in Suffolk, his liaisons with showgirls and scandalous second marriage to a secret British spy, his lurch into Sikh nationalism and return to Sikhism, up to the broken exile’s dying reconciliation with the Queen Empress.

    “All was made up between us,” Victoria wrote.

    [Denied an education by his captors, Duleep Singh was relegated to the decadent life of British nobility, his mentor and closest friend being the Probce of Wales, later to succeed Victoria as King Edward VII.]

    Sophia’s two remarkable sisters also grab starring roles.

    Irascible Bamba — the ledest sister — much more of a hard-core revolutionary, fled England for Lahore as soon as she could after the British fled the subcontinent, but slid back into the family’s trademark ambivalence when she married the army doctor Lieutenant-Colonel David Sutherland.

    Catherine, meanwhile, deserves a biography of her own. She made a happy, independent life in Germany with her former governess and life-long companion, Lina Schaeffer.

    One of Anand’s many haunting photos shows the three sisters as debutantes at Buckingham Palace in 1895, all gorgeous in silk, satin and lace, with Catherine the loveliest of the lot. Bollywood, eat your heart out. But this, of course, was the only kind of coming-out that Catherine’s age allowed.

    Sometimes, the march of events on so many fronts hurries Anand’s prose. She can slip on occasions into lurid headline shorthand, for instance calling the General Strike of 1926 a period of “chaos and rage” when “the nation was convulsed by panic”. It was less apocalyptic than that.

    Names cause the odd wobble: the cities of “Jalandhar” and “Jullunder” that Sophia reportedly visits are the same place (and one that lends a running joke to that shrine to Punjabi humour, the BBC comedy series ‘Goodness Gracious Me‘).

    No matter: Anand has triumphantly rescued Princess Sophia from the pampered oblivion in which a fearful Raj sought to bury her. In doing so, she traces the excruciating double binds, emotional as much as political, that tied imperial Britain to the jewel in its crown.

    Only at her life’s end could Sophia glimpse a relationship less twisted by class, colour and power. Victoria had given her god-daughter a sumptuously dressed doll, “Little Sophie”. The Princess treasured it all her life. In her old age, she passed the doll to Drovna. The gift of the Queen Empress went to the housekeeper’s child.

    [Courtesy: The Independent. Edited for sikchic.com]

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