Did Duleep Singh Embrace
Christianity Of His Own Free Will?
A hundred and fifty years ago, on March 8, 1853 14-year-old Maharaja Duleep Singh, son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the last sovereign of the Khalsa Kingdom of Punjab, was proselytized into Christianity by the advice and consent of Lord Dalhousie, Governor General of India.
The British put forth a lie that it was Maharaja’s own free will. Several scholars have found this presentation questionable, but it has not yet been nailed once for all.
In this essay, an attempt has been made to present a proof positive that it was a devoted and missionary spirited Dr John Spencer Login, who got himself appointed as guardian of the 10-year-old Duleep Singh; wished and planned from day one to convert the lad, “young enough to mould” and “one who may yet influence so many thousands of people”.
Following sequence of Login’s own words, from Lady Login’s book, Sir John Login and Duleep Singh, published in 1889, and from Lady Login’s Recollections, by Login’s daughter, E Dalhousie Login, illustrates how devoted a Christian John was, and how eager he always was to place copies of the Bible, in hands of Jews and ranking Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. He was always anxious to be “useful” and he wanted his wife also to be “useful” to the cause of spreading Christianity.
It was with Duleep Singh’s money, given by his guardian, Dr Login, that American Presbyterian Mission ran 10 schools in Farukhabad “Whereby 400 youth were thoroughly educated in the Christian faith and some were being fitted to evangelize their own people.”
We also find how Login ‘connived’ with Bhajun Lal, a Hindu employee of the household, to bring the lad into the fold of Christianity. Conscious of the role he had played, the same Bhajun Lal tried to ‘blackmail’ Dr. Login to get rewarded for his ‘services’. He demanded such favours that Login could not have delivered under any circumstances, and finally succeeded in extracting sufficient cash, with which he established a flourishing business.
Some of the other officers who helped Login in his scheme became victims of the wrath of inhabitants during the ‘Mutiny’ in 1857.
Ten years before he came in contact with Duleep Singh, Dr John Login was posted in Herat. He was attached to Major D’Arcy Todd’s Mission to Shah Kamran. From there, he wrote to his mother on July 29, 1839:
“I think I ought to remain here – a wide field of usefulness is open to me, and I may, through Divine blessing, be preparing a way for a Christian Mission in this centre of Asia ere long. …
“There are several families of Jews here. I had yesterday a long conversation with two of them; they were much delighted with the epistle of St Paul to the Romans [from the Bible] which I read to them in Persian.”
In a footnote to this letter, Lady Login says:
“As they appeared much delighted with the small tract which Login got one of the Rabbis transcribe for them, he was induced to employ the same man on a transcription of Martyn’s Persian Testament. … Thirteen years after [in 1852] Login had the happiness of learning that this last named Jew had through this work been led into the truth of the Gospel, and died as a Christian in Bombay – Ferriers Caravan Journey, p 123.”
Lady Login wires: During his residence in Herat, Dr Login often came in contact with the members of Shah Kamran’s household. … The needlework done by the ladies was beautiful, and they were always sending the specimens of their skill – embroidered vests, and quilted chogas and rasais. Covers were made for Login’s Bibles and Prayer Book, and this opportunity was made use of by him to send a Persian Testament to have a cover made of it; and when he found it bore marks of having been read (by whom he never discovered) he offered to exchange it for a volume of Hafiz’s poems, which was eagerly accepted…
Login says: “The very first book in Pushtoo ever seen by Shah Kamran and his family was a New Testament which I had brought from India, and which had been published by the missionaries of Serampore in Persian characters. … It was in possession of Shahzadah Mohamed Yusef. … He had got it from me. … May I hope that it has been equally as useful as the Hebrew transcription. … In connection with this, I may mention, that I gave away several copies of Martyn’s Testament to people in Herat, and a Testament in Turki to Khalifa of Merv, a man of considerable sanctity among the Turcomans.” (Lady Login, Sir John Login and Duleep Singh, pp 36-38, – hereafter LL)
This then is the portrait of John Login, who would be appointed guardian of 10-year-old Duleep Singh, deposed Maharaja of Punjab. Would the boy be able to hold his own, under Login’s care? Or, would he be coached, influenced, or brainwashed into making decisions?
Punjab was annexed by the British on March 29, 1849, but Login was privy to the secret of planned annexation long before that. He was anxious to get charge of the 10-year-old Maharaja Duleep Singh.
On March 18, he wrote to his wife in England:
“I am not, of course, at liberty to tell you all I know, but Lawrence says that as it will be public in England soon, I may tell you this much – that annexation is determined on by the Governor General.” (LL, p 149)
Again on March 28, he wrote:
“I showed both Henry and John (Lawrences) the paper I drew up, and of which I sent you a copy, and I believe they have come to the conclusion to recommend me very strongly to Government for the charge of the young Maharaja Duleep Singh, when the Punjab is annexed.” (LL, p 149)
After the Annexation
On 6th of April 1849, Dr John Spencer Login was installed as Governor of the Lahore Citadel. The Maharaja, the Toshakhana and all the State prisoners, including Dewan Mool Raj, Governor of Multan, came under his charge.
Login gave a Bible, in Persian, to Dewan Mool Raj, when he was locked up in Lahore Citadel*, for his trial. In return Mool Raj sent him a sheet of paper with “Ram, Ram, Ram” written on it. (LL, p. 171)
Login wrote to his wife in 1850:
“I told you, I think, that when at Lahore I had a letter from Lucknow, telling me of my old friend Azeemoolah’s death; he had written me only a few days before, asking my advice whether he should accept an appointment offered by the King. I advised him: “No”; that he had plenty already of this world’s goods, and that he should now take rest and time to think and prepare for the fate that must befall all men; that I wished him to compare what is written in his own books with what our Bible says (I had given him one) and ask God to give him light to understand and do His will.” (LL, p. 226)
Now, as guardian of young Duleep Singh, Login misses no time at all in putting his plan into action. He starts teaching him precepts from the Bible. His favourite segment was Mathew from the New Testament. In a letter dated May 6 and 8, 1849 he wrote:
It is an amusement to him [Duleep Singh] to have an English writing lesson with me, so I give him a precept to write out and translate, “Do unto others as you would they should do unto you.” [Mathew 7;12] I intend. As I cannot put the Bible in his hands yet to let him have such principles as these. … (LL, p 159)
Duleep Singh was too young and not in a position to ask him, if the British would have wanted the Sikhs to do to them, what they did to the Sikhs.
On November 28, 1849 Login informed his wife:
“I have just returned (two pm) from him [Lord Dalhousie]. He told me that after much consideration, it had been determined to remove the Little Maharajah to Futtehghur; and that he wished much that I continue in charge of him there on my present allowances* and do all that I could to make him comfortable. … told me that he did not wish to restrict me to Futtehghur, but that I might take him to Agra or Delhi…wherever I liked, and eventually to England in course of a year or two. I then had an opportunity of giving him my ideas of sending some Sikh nobles to England, and showing them something of our power and resources.” (LL, pp 188-89)
Duleep Singh was taken from the Lahore Citadel to be exiled to Fatehgarh, District Farukhabad, in U.P. He was accompanied by his nephew, 6 ½-year-old Kanwar Shiv Dev Singh, son of Maharaja Sher Singh – another lad Login wanted to convert.
In Duleep Singh, Login saw the possibility of a medium to influence thousands more. On March 6, 1850 he wrote to his wife from Fatehgarh:
“I am disappointed at having to leave Lahore, before arrival of Dr Duff, after having had so much to do these last few years in urging him to take up Punjab. He was much pleased at my sending him my subscription [Rs 500], as it showed him I was in earnest.”
He was also anxious to seek the help of his wife in influencing the lad, who had been separated from his mother.
“I shall be glad when you join me, for I cannot expect to have more than two or three years in which we can influence the young Maharajah’s mind favourably towards our domestic life; and I must not lose them on any account.… Is it not worth running some risk to health, by coming back so soon to occupy a position of such usefulness, towards one who may yet influence so many thousands of people?”
On May 16, 1850 Dr Login wrote to his wife:
“Since last writing I have seen the Governor General … I have spoken strongly about getting a good tutor looked for in England, for the boy; but I see that he thinks it would not be prudent to get Dr Duff to recommend one, as it might think that it was with the intention of making the lad a Christian, so I must do it through another channel…
“If you see Dr Duff in Edinburgh, you can explain to him that Lord Dalhousie is afraid if he were asked to recommend a tutor that it might imply an interference with the boy’s religious faith; I trust, however, that God helping, we shall be enabled, as “written epistles” [Bibles – written as letters – contained in the New Testament.] to manifest the spirituality and benevolence of a Christian life, if we cannot otherwise preach to him…
“Observing that Guise, Barlow, Tommy Scott, and I have morning prayer together, he asked me to order his porohut (priest) to come to him also at a fixed hour daily to read in his holy book (the Grunt’h). This I think indicates devotional feeling, that may hereafter be directed aright; …” (LL, pp 216-17; Emphasis added)
[Guise and Tommy Scott’s sister and brother were killed during the Mutiny in 1857.]
On May 19, 1850 Login wrote to his wife:
I have, it is true, all the pleasure, which I could desire, from the expenditure of the Maharaja’s money, quite as much as if it were my own. So much has been left to my discretion in the way of applying it. After putting his house and grounds in order, I intend to get up a school for the children all round Futtehghur, in which he can take an interest, and also find other ways to give him a taste for benefiting the poor, and making the people round him happy.
A footnote reads as follows: “Within the last three months we have started a day-school for girls of respectable caste as an experiment. The Reverend Gopee Nath Nundy’s zealous and exemplary wife and daughter superintend it (vernacular and industrial). I look for great results eventually.” (LL, p 218; Emphasis added)
[The Mission was destroyed by the mutineers in 1857.]
There is no doubt that Dr Login was a benevolent zealous Christian. In a letter from Fatehgarh, July 16, 1850 Login wrote:
“I have just been looking at my account at the Cawnpore Bank, and find it rather low. I have had rather unusual expenses since you left – I mean more than I calculated on. Besides paying the necessary subscriptions to the Funds (Bengal Military and Orphan), which, as you know are specially heavy in my case, I have had to pay, for instance:
Dr Duff’s Mission in Punjab 500
Brian Hodgson’s children 250
Lahore Mission 100
Church of Lahore 100
Of course, this besides our various subscriptions as usual, such as:
The Lawrence Asylum
The Free Church Mission
The C M Society [Church Missionary Society]
I feel sorry indeed that I cannot engage [for Duleep Singh] the tutor, so highly recommended by Dr Duff.”
Maharaja Duleep Singh had been betrothed, before the Second Anglo-Sikh War, to be married to the daughter of Sardar Chattar Singh Attariwala. Dr. Login wrote to the Governor General asking for advice in the matter. Duleep Singh was only 11 years old then.
On April 13, Dalhousie wrote to Login:
“The marriage of the Maharajah is a more difficult matter for us to arrange. I should object decidedly, and do not wish to countenance any relations henceforth between the Maharajah and the Sikhs, either by alliance with a Sikh family, or sympathy with Sikh feeling. The [11-year-old] Maharajah having personally desired to break off his betrothal with Chuttar Singh’s daughter, appears to have opinions of his own as to marriage. If he chooses to marry one of the Rajah of Coorg’s daughters, after having everything about her explained to him, I can’t see why he should not. There are two, one* that His Highness wants to send to England, another about seven or eight for whom he does not propose English education.” (LL, pp 230-31)
Now was the time to change the domestic staff, in line with needs and objectives. In a Memorandum to Lord Dalhousie, Login wrote:
On departure from Lahore, Duleep Singh’s “retinue consisted principally of Mahomedans; and even the Sikh priests and many of the Brahmins … declined to accompany him.
“Soon after the Maharajah’s arrival at Futtehghar, his old servant Mean Kheema, a Mahomedan who had been with him ever since his birth, and was much attached to him (the same who advised him to sign the Treaty with a good grace), claimed his promise to let him return to his family and country; it became necessary, therefore, that I should appoint a trustworthy successor. Bhajun Lal, a young Brahmin of Furuckabad, was recommended, as being of excellent moral character, and having received a good education at one of the American Mission at Furruckabad.…
“He could read and speak English fairly, which was a great recommendation to the young Maharajah, who was anxious to learn the language. He was therefore, installed as confidential personal attendant.” (LL, p 232)
Lady Login arrived from England in December 1850. She had a Christmas present waiting for her.
Mrs Login tells us:
“It was whilst Login was away from his charge on this occasion that the Maharajah took an important step, by suddenly announcing his intention of embracing the Christian religion. … The whole subject gave rise to an extensive official correspondence…” (LL, p 241)
Login submitted a long report and several statements from persons at Fatehgarh, acknowledging which Sir H. Eliot, Secretary to Government wrote to Login on February 17, 1851:
“The Governor-General is entirely satisfied by this statement and by the documents transmitted in support of it, that no improper influence had, either directly or indirectly, been used by you, or by any of the English gentlemen who have been connected with His Highness’s establishment, to induce His Highness to abjure his original faith and to profess Christianity. His Lordship requests that his conviction on this head be made known to you and may by you communicated to others.” (LL, p 263)
Lord Dalhousie reported the “case so important and so novel” to the Court of Directors, in England, for consideration.
On June 11, 1851 Sir Henry Eliot conveyed to Login a letter from the Court of Directors saying:
“We concur entirely in the views expressed by Lord Dalhousie.”(LL, p 265)
Commenting on this letter from the Court, Sir Eliot wrote:
“It is Governor-General’s wish, that if the Maharajah’s desire shall not have been a transient fancy, he should henceforth receive every aid and guidance which can be given to him.” (LL, p 265)
Hence, after this, he was given every necessary aid and guidance to embrace Christianity – including chopping off his ‘long and abundant’ hair, and presenting them to Login’s wife.
The Truth Behind the Coverup
Here are some excerpts from Login’s statement and the supporting documents, which were sent by Login to the Governor-General, to show that conversion was Duleep Singh’s own decision, and that he had no involvement in it. Login used his co-conspirator Bhajun Lal’s statement for coverup. Also presented were letters from Duleep Singh, written for him by Bhajun Lal.
Duleep Singh’s letter of December 2, 1850 to Login, when he was at Calcutta, to receive his wife coming from England, said:
“Will you kindly send me a nice Bible, for I like very much to read, because yesterday [December 1] Bhajun Lal read to me…” (LL, p 249)
His letter dated December 7 said:
“I have begun to read the Bible. And generally read one or two chapters.”
On December 20, 1850 Captain J Campbell (7th Madras Cavalry) thus reported to the Government:
“On Sunday, the 8th inst., His Highness the Maharajah communicated to me through Master Thomas Scott, his desire to become a Christian, as he termed it…”
It is strange that Duleep Singh, to whom Bible was read for the first time on December 1, ‘decided’ to become a Christian on December 8.
One also wonders why Captain Campbell did not wait for the Maharaja’s guardian, Dr Login to report his ward’s decision to the Government. Was it an emergency or was it preplanned?
Bhajun Lal in his statement given to Login said:
“When the Maharaj began to learn out of an English book, by the name of “English Instructor.” There were some lines at the back end of the book with a few words about Christian religion. Yu [Dr Login] once said to Maharaj, “These are records about our religion; if you want to read them, then read; if you don’t want to read, then leave them” but His Highness say to me, :Never mind, I will read them, because I want to know everything; then they were read…
“Now, Sahib, after sometime you went to Calcutta. Maharaj saw one copy of Holy Bible into my hand, and asked of me, “Will you sell this over to me?” I replied and said, “Maharaj, I don’t want to sell it to you, but I can present you, if you can read a chapter out of it without any assistance.” So he did read, and I presented. After some short time, he asked me to read to him, and let him hear it, and according to his orders I did read. First day I read 6th* chapter St. Mathew, and few others during the week…” (LL, p 246)
Bhajun Lal did not mention the role he had played in creating prejudice in young lad’s mind about the truth of Hindu religion, though he himself was a Brahmin. He used the same method, which Christian missionaries usually employed – i.e., telling tall tales from Hindu mythology and tradition.
Login’s daughter tells us :
“This young man [Bhajun Lal] was aware…that he [Duleep Singh] was skeptical with regard to many of the “pious stories” in the Shastras, e.g., that of the virtuous Rajah who distributed daily in alms ten thousand cows before he broke his fast, and yet came short of eternal salvation, because his servants, unknown to him, had placed amongst the daily tale of cows one that had already been numbered in the charitable dole!” (E Dalhousie Login, Lady Login’s Recollections, p 95, – hereafter EDL)
In December 1851, Lord Dalhousie visited Fatehgarh, and dined with Logins and Duleep Singh. [Later, on April 18, 1854 Dalhousie presented to Duleep Singh, a Bible as his parting gift.]
We are told that:
When at length [Duleep Singh’s] hair was allowed to be cut off and he brought it to Mrs Login as a memento; it was long and abundant as a woman’s.” (LL, p 278)
With offer of his beautiful hair at the altar of his guardians, not only Logins but also others who had played their overt or covert role in this endeavour felt a sense of achievement. Maharaja now became favourite of all the British officials. He was taken round to Agra, Delhi, Meerut, Saharanpur, Aligarh, etc. He was a trophy on display at all Military stations. He and the Logins spent the summer of 1852 in Mussoorie hills.
Login’s wish of getting back to England had not yet been fulfilled. Now was the time to push for it. He had more than earned it.
On September 24, 1852 Lord Dalhousie recommended to Dr Login, immediate baptism of Duleep Singh :
“I am advocate for his [Duleep Singh’s] going to England, and shall do my best to persuade the Court to it; and if it should help in marriage between him and little Coorg.*
“If Duleep Singh is to go to England, let him be quietly baptized and by his own name of Duleep Singh. Indeed I am prepared to advise his being baptized now.”(LL, p 296)
Now Login had obtained advice and consent of the Governor-General.
On March 8, 1853 Maharaja Duleep Singh, not even 15 years old, was baptized “in his own house. In the presence of about twenty of the European residents of Futtehghur, and about an equal number of the Maharajah’s principal native servants, who had been invited to attend.” Lady Login says: ”At the last moment, by a happy inspiration, I made the suggestion that there would be a special appropriateness in the use of Ganges water for the sacred rite, seeing the veneration in which the Ganges (Ganga-jee) is held by all Hindoos.” (EDL, pp. 96-97)
Proselytizing Sikh Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last sovereign of Punjab, was a feather in Lord Dalhousie’s cap also. On March 16, 1853 the Governor-General wrote:
“I regard it as a remarkable event in history and in every way gratifying.” (LL, p 307)
Lady Login, perhaps justifiably, blames the Sikhs for not having made efforts for Duleep Singh’s religious education. She says:
“As a matter of fact, very little effort was made by his own people to instruct him in the Sikh religion. Though every inducement was made them, very few of his Sikh attendants, none of his Sikh priests, or Grunt’hees, and even one Brahmin porohut (family priest) consented to come with him from Lahore. The last-named had been prevailed on by Login with difficulty, making many conditions.” (EDL, p 94)
On January 31, 1854 Lord Dalhousie wrote to Login:
“I have just received the Court’s leave for the Maharajah to go to England.” (LL, p 318)
Duleep Singh had been baptized; and Login had high hopes in his nephew Kanwar Shiv Dev Singh also falling in line. But he was still under his mother’s control, who saw the Kanwar, next in succession to Duleep Singh.
Login proposed to the Governor General that Duleep Singh should not be separated from his nephew Shiv Dev Singh.
Dalhousie had already written to Login in his letter of November 29, 1853:
“You give so many good reasons why the Shahzadah should go with His Highness, if he goes to England, that no objection will be made by Government. In that case all your arrangements will be approved.”(LL, pp 317-18)
In February 1854, Dalhousie wrote to Login:
“No objection will be raised to the Shahzadah going to England, if the Maharajah desires it.” (LL, p 323)
When Login told the Kanwar to get ready to go to England, his mother sent a strong protest to the Governor General, accusing Login of his moves to convert the Shahzadah also to Christianity.
In March 1854, Login received a letter from the Governor General:
“I have sent you a huge memorial from the mother of the Brat [Shiv Dev Singh] you have brought, accusing you of many enormities, of which child-stealing is the least!” (LL, p 328)
As a result of the mother’s protest, the idea of taking the Shahzadah to England was dropped.
In an official letter of April 18, 1854 Login was informed:
“The Government entirely acquits you of attempting to influence the Shahzadah’s religion.”
Bhajun Lal’s Payoff
Bhajun Lal was conscious of the role he had played, in league with Login, to convert the young Duleep Singh to Christianity; and the following cover up. He was hoping to go to England with the Maharajah. He knew that Login would not refuse to comply with his wishes. But, his parents would not allow him. Lady Login tells us:
“Bhajun Lal up to this time  had fully determined to go to England with his master; but his people knew well that if he did so, he would take the opportunity of declaring himself a Christian; they were therefore bent on preventing his going. His convictions were very strong; but in his own case he had not the courage to throw off the bondage of Hindooism, though he had helped the Maharajah in his decision with all the energy of which his nature was capable.” (Emphasis added)
Bhajun Lal’s parents were conscious of the hand in glove relationship that the ‘confidential’ employee of the household had with the Guardian. They wanted to cash that relationship.
Lady Login writes :
“On the occasion of his [Bhajun Lal’s] brother’s marriage he was induced by his father to prefer a request that in the public [marriage] procession through the city the sowaree/cavalcade of His Highness, i.e. the horses, carriages, and elephants, should form a prominent feature, and that the Maharajah’s tents, etc., should also be lent in which to celebrate the wedding festivities.”
Evidently, the first part of this fantastic demand was ludicrous. To any other person, Login would have not only flatly refused, but would also have administered a rebuke for making such a proposal. But Login understood, Bhajun Lal wanted a payoff, for the role he had played in Maharaja’s conversion and the cover up, since the Maharaja and the Logins would soon be off to England.
Login was in no position to honour such a demand. He cleverly wriggled out of the predicament with the excuse that the bridegroom and the bride were of a tender age.
“He told Bhajun Lal that he could only grant his request on one of two conditions, viz., either the marriage was deferred, until the bride and bridegroom were of an age to understand the importance of the contract they were about to enter into (in which case, besides the loan of the things asked for, the Maharajah would bestow a sum of money to set up the young people up in the world), or else, a bond or agreement should be given to the young girl, to the effect that, in the event of her boy-husband dying while she was still marriageable, she should be permitted to select another partner for herself, from among the widowers or unmarried youth of her husband’s family.” (LL, p 321)
Bhajun Lal’s family’s demand was fantastic, but it amounted merely temporary pomp and show, which was not worth submitting to Login’s long lasting conditions contrary to Brahmin customs.
“Poor Bhajun Lal, in whom family affection and love of money were equally ruling passions, was persuaded by his relatives to send in his resignation, and thus cut himself adrift from his chance of becoming a Christian. … A handsome present of money and a horse were given to him on leaving. …
“It may be as well to mention here all that is known of the later history of Bhajun Lal. He wrote occasionally to Dr Login, but his letters were full of money-getting; he became a bunniah in the city of Furruckabad, and at the time of the Mutiny proved himself faithful, and was of great use, though he was unable to save the property of the Maharajah from loot and destruction. He is now the head of the great firm of tentmakers at Futtehghur (Bhajun Lal & Co). (LL, pp 321-22)
In response to the complaint by Shiv Dev Singh’s mother, Sir H Elliot, Secretary to the Government, wrote to Login:
“You will inform the Ranee that the Raj of the Punjab is to end for ever, and that any contemplation of the restoration of her son, or of anybody else to sovereignty there is a crime against the State, It is her duty to instruct him [Shiv Dev Singh] accordingly. If on any future occasion, either she or her son is detected in expressing or entertaining expectations of restoration to power, or to any other position than that which he now occupies, the consequences will be immediate and disastrous to his interests.” [LL, p 276)
Duleep Singh sailed for London on March 19, 1854. Dalhousie gave him a Bible as a parting gift. (LL, p 330)
En route, the party stopped in Egypt; visited Cairo and Alexandria. “While at Cairo he was taken round to visit the American Mission Schools*, and was greatly interested to see so many orphan girls being educated in Christian religion.” (LL, p 332)
Login was Knighted by Queen Victoria. Duleep Singh was given by her a status equal to that of an English Prince, and he was considered chief of the native princes of India.
Rest of the story is beyond the subject of this essay. However, it is worth noting that Duleep Singh became very bitter, after fighting the East India Company, for years, and failing to get any compensation for his personal properties, left in Punjab; for his property destroyed by the mutineers in Fatehgarh (U P) and for revision of his annual allowance, keeping in view an average of 200,000 pounds a year surplus, in Punjab revenues, to which he was entitled through the Treaty of Bhyrowal – “Five-Lakh-Fund”/400,000 to 500,000 rupees a year, for him and his dependants.
At one time Duleep Singh’s lawyer told Lady Login:
“..The India Office do not seem to be very communicative, and in private they are only abusive – I may say, vulgarly abusive! …They can be shown to be in the wrong; but to attain redress is another question.” (EDL, p. 254)
On the way to Renunciation of Christianity and back to Sikhism
Login-appointed Brahmin teachers at Fatehgarh used to tell tall tales from Hindu tradition and Hindu mythology, to create disbelief in truth of Hindu religion. Similarly, Duleep Singh took advantage of his knowledge of the Bible to quote from scriptures and ridicule Christian pronouncements.
“He [Duleep Singh] used his acquaintance with the Scriptures, even at this juncture, in a mere profuse quotation of texts, torn from their contexts, and with an utter irrelevance to their meaning, which produced an effect of profanity.” (EDL, Lady Login’s Recollections, p 264)
Maharaja Duleep Singh’s plans to return home fail but he succeeds in fulfilling his wish to re-embrace Sikhism
Maharaja’s financial position was very precarious. He considered himself poor, yet he had to maintain the status of a Prince.
Since 1858, after coming of age, he was allowed 25,000 pounds a year. He had to pay every year 5,654 pounds for interest on 198,000 pounds that had been loaned to him for a residence, by the Government. There were other heavy deductions, such as 3,000 pounds for insurance on his life, and substantive amounts towards pensions for the widows of Sir John Login, and Colonel Oliphant, who had risen to Login’s position after his death. That reduced his income so much that he could not keep up his establishment at Elvedon, which Government had arranged to sell at his death. He thought it advisable to move to India, where on his present means, he believed, he and his children would enjoy greater advantage than in England, (EDL, p 249)
He was also determined to re-embrace Sikhism.
“On August 23, 1884, he announced his departure for India, as he could not otherwise undergo all the rites of re-initiation as a Sikh!” (EDL, p 256)
In March 1886 Maharaja Duleep Singh publicly announced, from England, his plans to come to Punjab, and issued an appeal to his countrymen to help him.
In April 1886, he sailed for India by S S Verona, with his wife Maharani Bamba, and their six children – three sons: Victor Albert Jay, 20; Frederick Victor, 18; Albert Edward, 7; and three daughters: Bamba Sophia Jindan, 17; Catherine Hilda, 15; and Sophia Alexandria.
Before leaving for India, he had wound up his affairs in England, closed his house and decided to live in India, “because with his limited resources, he could not maintain his position in England. Living in India would be cheaper.” The only condition imposed on him was that he would not be allowed to visit or live in Punjab.
When the ship arrived at Aden, on April 21, 1886 the British Resident in London, Brigadier General A S T Hogg went up the ship and told Duleep Singh that he could not proceed further, under orders from Lord Dufferin, Governor-General of India.
After fruitless negotiations, 43 days later, on June 3, 1886, Duleep Singh left on a French ship, for Marseilles, France. His family had left for England on May 6, 1886.
At the time of starting from England, he had planned to re-embrace Sikhism, fully, by taking Pahul at the Akal Takht, or at Hazur Sahib, Nanded. Since, that was not possible, he took Pahul (initiation ceremony with a double-edged sword) with permission of the Viceroy, at Aden, on May 25, 1886.