Lesser-known tales about the Last Maharaja of Punjab

Rooprai says, “Through stories supported by videos and photos, we will remember him, his life, and how he and his mother Maharani Jind Kaur (Rani Jindan) went from royalty to poverty.

Published: 04th September 2021 07:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th September 2021 07:33 AM   |  A+A-

Maharaja Duleep Singh

Express News Service

To mark the 183rd birth anniversary of the last Maharaja of Punjab, Maharaja Duleep Singh, Vikramjit Singh Rooprai — author, educator, and heritage activist — will hold a storytelling session at  Ikk Panjab Restaurant Rajouri Garden, today (September 4). Commencing at 10:00am, the two-hour session will focus on the travails of the child king, and how he landed on foreign shores through deceit by Britishers.  

Rooprai says, “Through stories supported by videos and photos, we will remember him, his life, and how he and his mother Maharani Jind Kaur (Rani Jindan) went from royalty to poverty. In childhood, he was forced to become a king as his predecessors were assassinated. His mother tried to help him running the kingdom. However, traitors in the palace imprisoned her and she was taken to the United Provinces (present day Uttar Pradesh). She was treated so badly that she was forced to beg on the streets. By the age of 15, Maharaja Duleep Singh was taken to England and forced to convert to Christianity. He spent most of the last years of his life there, and was found dead in a hotel in Paris.”

More such stories about the Maharaja’s life will be unraveled at the session, scheduled in Hindi and English. Rooprai has primarily worked on the history of India for 12 years now. “I started with Delhi, then moved on to north and Central India, including Punjab. And for the past six years, the focus of my sessions has been Panjab. The fact is that our history is rich and a lot of facts are still getting unraveled. My purpose is to read and research history and further spread the message to people, especially the younger generation,” adds the 38-year-old.

To make sure social distancing and Covid protocols are followed, the session is scheduled in the morning when the restaurant is relatively less busy. “The theme of this restaurant resonates with the ethos of undivided Panjab, so there is no better place than this to do a session on Maharaja of Panjab, Duleep Singh. It is also better to do it in such a place, which is frequented by youngsters and these are the ones to whom we would like to take our message.” Rooprai organises these sessions whenever the lockdown restrictions are eased. “But this is our first session post lockdown in Delhi,” he concludes.


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