Maharaja Nau Nihal Singh
Maharaja Nau Nihal Singh (born March 9,1821- died November 6,1840) was the grandson of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. His father was Maharaja Kharak Singh, the eldest son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. He was married to Bibi Nanaki, daughter of Sardar Sham Singh Attari.
The death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Lion of the Punjab, left the Sikh Kingdom with no ruler of the unique strengths of Ranjit Singh. The fabled leader had by the sheer power of his will built an army which was the main check to British expansion in India. He was the Sikh Akbar, the Sikh Napoleon. His Khalsa army included European Officers, Panjabi Muslims, Rajputs, Poorbias and even an American Officer. And then there were his Sikhs, the fabled Cavalry, the fearless Nihangs and the feared legendary Hari Singh Nalva; the mere mention of his name could turn attacking enemies homeward.
- To this day his name is used by Afgani & Pakistani mothers to quiet a child at bedtime.
Muslims, Hindus, Jains, Parsis and Christians could freely practice their religions, even the death penality had been outlawed by the enlightened ruler. The people of the Panjab lived in peace free from foreign rule. Security had at long last come to the land of the 5 rivers.
But Kartar Singh, the Maharaja's oldest son was no Ranjit Singh. Given to the use of opium, wine, stronger spirits and womanizing the new ruler soon became suspicious of his Vazir, a holdover from his father's court, Dhian Singh Dogra. He turned to his childhood mentor and friend Chet Singh who attempted to reduce the powers of the Dogra brothers. But Dogra rumours were spread, (an English sell-out mentioned) and soon Chet Singh was murdered. Kartar Singh was placed in 'haveli arrest' and slowly poisoned to death with (mercury) in his food. His son Prince Nau Nihal, on paper at least, ruled in his father's name but actually left the running of the government to the Dogras. He left Lahore.
A Convenient Death
Kanvar Nau Nihal Singh had proven himself in battle. Cut of the same cloth as his grandfather he was a threat to the power and intrigues of the Dogras in the Lahore Court. One wonders if there would be a divided Panjab or a nation of Pakistan today had he lived to rule. Without the unrest and saber rattling after the murder of his less capable sucessor, Sher Singh, would there ever have been a battle of Chillianwala or Gujrat. Imagine, Dalhousie without an excuse?
We will never know, for returning to Lahore to light the fire of his father's funeral pyre he was soon dead. While walking back to the city, an old gate crashed down upon him and a companion. The companian was killed. The new Maharaja's injury was said to be minor, he was able to walk. Nevertheless, he was pushed onto a Palki, which strangely was right at hand, by Dhian Sing Dogra who rushed the new Maharaja into the fort and had the doors to the rulers rooms locked. His family and courtiers were kept from him for 2 days. An eye witnesses to the accident described his initial injury as being slight. Two days later Dhian Singh Dogra announced that Maharaja Nau Nihal Singh had died from his injuries. Courtiers were shocked to see the body, his head was now severly crushed.
The Dogra brothers, Gulab Singh and Dhian Singh are believed to have been behind the gate's sudden collapse.
article being composed
(this article is to be continued, currently researching Nau Nihal's philanthropy military service, etc. Tarn Taran, the Golden Tackt or Gaddi, etc.