Obituary: The Maharaja of Nabha - People - News - The Independent

Obituary: The Maharaja of Nabha

Pratap Singh was the last of the former Punjab princes to have ruled his home state - as Maharaja of Nabha, in north India, - before it was merged into the Union of Indian States after independence in 1948.

A pioneer in the field of wildlife preservation, Singh established the Wildlife Society of India in the early Sixties and devoted his energies to enhancing environmental consciousness at a time when few were even aware of the importance of such issues. Passionately fond of cars, of which he possessed several rare specimens, Singh was also the moving spirit behind the Vintage Automobile Association of India.

Nabha state, some 150 miles north of Delhi, comprised around 947 square miles of territory and its Maharaja was accorded a 13-gun salute by the Viceroy of India. Along with the neighbouring princely states of Patiala, Faridkot and Jind, Nabha traces its origins to the warlike Phul misl, or clan, and was one of Punjab's Phulkian states in the mid-19th century. The Phulkian states played a crucial role in the two Anglo-Sikh wars of the 1840s, helping the bedraggled army of the British East India Company extend its suzerainty over the turbulent, but wealthy, Punjab, which was ruled for nearly 40 years by the legendary one-eyed Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Pratap Singh Malvendra Bahadur was born a Jat Sikh of the Sidhu clan, the son of Maharaja Ripudaman Singh, in 1919. He was only nine when Ripudaman Singh was exiled, after a running feud with the neighbouring Maharaja of Patiala led to clashes between the armies of the two principalities.

Bhupendra Singh, the Maharaja of Patiala - who was famed for his sexual prowess and appetite, had 365 wives and was forever on the lookout for pretty women - kidnapped a girl from Nabha after she refused his overtures. A furious Ripudaman Singh tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to negotiate her release and eventually retaliated by kidnapping several Patiala beauties. This led to clashes between the two armies until the situation became serious and the Viceroy intervened and established a commission to adjudicate the dispute. The commission ruled against Ripudaman Singh who was forced to abdicate in 1928 in favour of Pratap, then only nine years old.

Till 1940, however, when Pratap Singh was anointed Maharaja at the age of 21, a Council of Regency comprising state ministers and British Agents ruled the state. But after ascending the throne, Singh worked hard to build up the Nabha State Imperial Service troops into a formidable force. After independence this levy became a part of the Punjab Regiment of which one battalion still bears the title "Nabha Akal".

Singh ruled Nabha until it was merged with the Union of India in 1948 as part of the Patiala and East Punjab States Union. This later merged into the larger, modern-day Punjab a few years later.

Kuldip Singh

Pratap Singh Malvendra Bahadur, maharaja: born Nabha 21 September 1919; Maharaja of Nabha 1940-48; married Princess of Dholpur (two sons, one daughter); died New Delhi 22 July 1995.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

HR Manager (standalone) - London

Up to £40,000: Ashdown Group: Standalone HR Manager role for an SME business b...

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week