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A glimpse into Sikh history

The Princess Bamba Collection in Lahore Fort is really a priceless treasury of the Sikh empire and its own glorious achievements

The Mai Jandan Haveli in the Lahore Fort is really a repository of invaluable arts, beautifulpaintings and crafts of the Sikh rulers and their own families.

Lahore: The hall is dim with pools of dark spaces stretching in to the shadows. Though it really is hot outside even, the gallery’s interiors are quiet and cool, housing one of the most precious artworks ever sold — the Princess Bamba Collection.

Commissioned by Sikh rulers from European master artists, the paintings hold on the wall, each one of these spotlighted.

We are in the Mai Jandan Haveli in the Lahore Fort, a repository of invaluable arts, crafts and beautiful paintings of the Sikh rulers and their own families. On the upper side of the Sikh Gallery, the Haveli is available to the general public now. The Princess Bamba Collection comprises 14 watercolours, 18 oil paintings, 22 ivory paintings, 10 metallic objects, 17 photographs, and seven miscellaneous artefacts.

Portrait of Rani Jindan, Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s wife, seated on a cushion. Perhaps by August Schoefft a sketch in oils, Lahore 1841.

The paintings belonged to Maharaja Ranjit Singh, founder of the Sikh ruling dynasty of the Punjab, and his son Maharaja Dalip Singh.

For quite a long time the collection remained a family group treasure and in old age it had been inherited by Dalip Singh’s daughter Princess Bamba Jindan, who died in 1957.

A most the pieces were taken off the Sikh Darbar in Lahore and taken up to England following the British annexed Punjab in 1849, a decade following the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1839.

Storied collection

Anjum Dara, curator of the Sikh Gallery and the Princess Bamba Collection, said that today’s collection was acquired by the federal government of Pakistan and declared a national asset by its Department of Archaeology.

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In England, Dalip Singh married a European girl in 1864 and had six children, the eldest of whom, Princess Bamba Sophia Jindan Dalip Singh was the initial owner of the collection.”

 – Anjum Dara | Curator

“Dalip Singh was nine yrs . old when British took over Punjab in 1849. They kept the boy in Lahore initially, but because of concern with rebellion, they sent the young king to Fateh-garh (in present-day India),” Dara said. “Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s wife, Rani Jindan, moved to Nepal where she set up a solid resistance to British rule. She actually is thought to have headed off to the forests; there is absolutely no documented record of her last whereabouts.

&ldquo ends;}In 1856, the British took Dalip Singh to England. There, he married a European girl in 1864 and had six children, including Princess Bamba Sophia Jindan Dalip Singh (born September 29, 1869), who was simply the eldest.”

After her childhood in England, Princess Bamba moved to Lahore, her father’s birthplace, living till her death there. On her behalf deathbed, the artworks received by her to Pir Karim Bakhsh Supra, who sold it to the Pakistan government later.

Former Pakistani parliamentarian Ramesh Singh Arora said the Princess Bamba Collection is near to the heart of each Sikh. “It really is matter of pride for all of us Pakistanis these paintings come in Lahore, that was the administrative centre of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s empire. The Maharaja was called the ‘Lion of Punjab’ no doubt he was worth this honour,” Arora said.

Maharaja Sher Singh, among Ranjit Singh’s sons (left) and Maharaja Dalip Singh as a kid.

Former Secretary of the Punjab Archaeology Department, Chaudhry Ejaz, said the ongoing works ought to be shown to the planet. “These priceless treasures can promote tourism as Sikhs from over the global world will be keen to see these masterpieces,” Ejaz said.

The unique collection gives an insight in to the rich, glorious amount of Maharajah Ranjit Singh, marked by way of a secular vein. Sikhs, Gurkhas, Punjabi Pathans and Muslims all served in his army. Noteworthy on the list of paintings is Darbar of Maharaja Ranjit Singh by August Theodore Schoefft, a Hungarian-German artist, because of its large sized canvas unusually, I92 x 100 inches, which illustrates a Sikh court.