Like many first generation Punjabis, it was late when I came across the last King, the man who would have ruled as a young boy over my Indian ancestors.
I’d heard from my parents when I was growing up, about the exiled Maharajah Duleep Singh, stolen from India by the British as a boy, to live as a favourite of Queen Victoria, a court, never to return to the Punjab to reclaim his kingdom from his conquerors, living out his life as an English country gent. But that was all.
It was when I moved to East Anglia a few years back that I decided to seek him out. The beautiful churchyard in Elveden in Suffolk where he’s buried is truly peaceful. And about as far removed from a Maharajahs life as it could be.
I’ve visited his grave many times since, my family too. It never fails to move me.
What is it about this Indian king who died in 1893, that affects us so much?
For me, it’s a connection to my past, a reminder of where I come from, the essence of who I, and every other Sikh born in the UK, really is.
It is astonishing that it has taken so many years for his extraordinary story to reach mainstream cinema.
Now the filmmaking team behind the Oscar winning Twelve Years a Slave, has brought the story of The Black Prince to the big screen.
And those behind the 10 year struggle to get the film made, are hoping that history will now look back on this exiled Maharajah, with compassionate eyes. Read full article and watch video here