London: A pair of earrings of Maharani Jind Kaur will be auctioned as part of the Islamic and Indian sale in London later this month.
The earrings, which belonged to Maharani Jind Kaur, wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, go for sale at Bonhams on April 24.
“These gold earrings are beautiful pieces of jewellery in their own right. They are also an important reminder of a courageous woman who endured the loss of her kingdom, and persecution and privation, with great dignity and fortitude,” said Oliver White, Bonhams head of Islamic and Indian art.
When Jind Kaur’s five-year-old son Duleep Singh was proclaimed Maharaja of Punjab in 1843, she was appointed Regent. The Punjab empire at the time stretched from the Indian Ocean to the Himalayas and the court was fabled for its artistic and scientific achievements and opulence and riches.
The East India Company invaded and annexed Punjab, despite armed opposition organised and led by Jind. She was deposed in 1846, separated from her son, and imprisoned.
British Army confiscated the Maharani’s personal wealth and the state treasury. The famous Kohinoor diamond and the Timur Ruby were sent back to London as gifts for Queen Victoria.
Jind Kaur made a daring escape from captivity, and fled to Kathmandu where the king of Nepal kept her under virtual house arrest at the direction of the British, who saw her as a continued threat. Duleep was sent to England, converted to Christianity and adopted as a godson by Queen Victoria.
Mother and son were eventually reunited after more than 13 years in 1861 when Jind Kaur moved to England. She died in 1863.
After Jind Kaur’s death, Duleep’s attempts to return to the Punjab and fulfil his mother’s dream of assuming his ancestral position, were thwarted by the British government.