Jindans gravestone to be displayed in UK


JindanA Victorian headstone that marked the temporary resting place of Maharani Jindan Kaur will be unveiled at Ancient House Museum, Thetford, Norfolk UK on March 12.

Maharani was the wife of one eyed Maharaja Ranjit Singh "Lion of Punjab" and mother of Prince Duleep. Jindan Kaur's grandson was Prince Frederick Duleep Singh who gave the historic ancient house to Norfolk town of Thetford.

The 2×2 foot marble stone that had remained untouched beneath catacombs of the old Kensal Green Dissenters Chapel in northwest London for alt a century and half was discovered only last year, stunning experts on the survival of this piece of history.

Chairman of Friends of the Cemetery, Barry Smith, while explaining how the stone was stumbled by accident said "They had found the stone under tonnes of rubble and human remains now, the Grade II listed chapel built in the Greek revival style in 1834.

The stone, blackened by years of mould, was given to a local restorer to put the pieces together and clean marble back to gleaming white.

The importance of stone according to Harbinder Singh, director Anglo Sikh Heritage Trail UK, only began to come clear when Sikh Gurmukhi script was seen on a piece of broken stone.

"Belated as it is, importance of the stone cannot be understated. It will not only re-ignite interest in the life and tribulations of this remarkable woman but also graphically demonstrate how Sikh heritage remained literally scattered around the shores of Britain, the country which has significantly influenced and shaped the fate of Sikhs since 1800," claimed Harbinder Singh.

The historian Peter Bance, who translated the inscription said "It was amazing that a relic of late Maharani had been discovered as she was in England for just two-and-half years."

According to him, after Jindan Kaur's death her body was taken to India for last rites, as cremation as per Sikh tradition was illegal in Britain at that time. "This is an exceptional Sikh artifact," added Bance.

In mid 1840's Jindan Kaur had given the British plenty of trouble during her short reign as the Regent of Lahore following death of her husband.

After being toppled from power and sent to exile, British who also called her "Messalina of Punjab" brought her to England where she died in 1863.

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