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Sikh Community Stands Divided Over Duleep Singh's Proper Sikh Cremation In India But His Children Had Buried Him Next To His Wife Bamba!

By: Neena | June 30, 2017

He spent 20 years fighting the British to get back his lost kingdom. Duleep Singh was, say the filmmakers, among the first leaders in India's fight against British rule. But all this he did from afar - he was never allowed to return to the Punjab, the British realising his presence in the region would create rebellion.

He died, impoverished, in Paris, having been turned back from Yemen as he tried to reach his motherland.

And it was his children who decided to bury him at the church in Elvedon, by the grand house where he lived for many years, and next to the grave of his wife Bamba and their youngest son Alfred.

For in India, he was largely forgotten, regarded as a king who abandoned his people after the Punjab fell to the British, the last Indian region to be conquered by them, a Sikh who converted to Christianity, and came to England to live a lavish life on a Suffolk country estate, leaving his subjects to the mercy of the British East India Company.

But the reality is somewhat different, and is a tragic tale of a King exiled from his land, separated from his mother as a young boy, given British guardians, renouncing his Sikh faith to become Christian.

It was only when his mother was allowed to see him 13 years after their forced separation, that he really learned who he was.

Today the Sikh community is divided over whether the Maharajah should be returned to India for a proper Sikh cremation. He had returned to his Sikh faith before he died, and his place, say campaigners, is back in India. But others say not only is he buried where his family wanted, his ancestral home would no longer be in India, as Lahore, the centre of the Sikh Empire pre-Partition, is now in Pakistan.

Similar claims over the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond persist today.

The Maharajah rests today at his Suffolk resting place, his grave tended lovingly by church staff, while Punjabi Sikhs come on Pilgrimage to salute their King.

The Black Prince which will be released on the 21st of July will bring the story of the forgotten Maharajah, to the wider world.

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