SARDAR AROOR SINGH - The Maharajah's Valet

1/23/2009 4:54:59 AM

Recent discoveries have found various images of England's ealry Gursikh Aroor Singh, who was employed by Maharajah Duleep Singh at Elveden Hall and accompanied him on his doomed voyage to India and later to Europe. Images found show that Aroor Singh returned to England after the Maharajah's death

Aroor Singh[i] of District Amritsar was a valet-cum-personal Secretary to Maharajah Duleep Singh when he purchased the Elveden Estate in the early 1860’s. He accompanied the Maharajah and his family when they left England for India in 1886, and when Duleep Singh was arrested in Aden. While the Maharani and the children went back to England, Aroor Singh stayed with Duleep Singh, and was one of the four Sikhs chosen to participate in the ceremony of Pahul when the Maharajah was initiated back into Sikhism on 25 May 1886.[ii] From here he travelled with Duleep Singh to Moscow via Paris and Berlin. The Lahore Tribune described him as the Maharajah’s ‘Aide de Camp’.[iii]

 Aroor Singh, Elveden, c.1877

He often used the alias Partab Singh when travelling for Duleep Singh, as British Intelligence was keeping an eye on him. He spent a number of years in Europe with the Maharajah, later being sent to India as his ‘accredited ambassador,’ and as an emissary to get support from other Indian Maharajahs. He was arrested on the 5 August 1887 in Calcutta by British Intelligence, who described him as a ‘dull and heavy man,’[iv] and  a ‘Europeanized Sikh,’[v]  because of his love for the love of ‘brandy, ice and claret and Vichy water,’ when arrested. Aroor Singh was detained at Chunar for three years, and released from prison on the 15 December 1890 with permission to return to England if he wished. He was present at the funeral of the Maharajah at Elveden, where he placed flowers.[vi]


'Hush' by the French artist James Tissot, 1875 (with Hookam Singh and Aroor SIngh sitting in front of Maharajah Duleep Singh)


Aroor Singh at Elveden with old collegues, c.1893


Aroor Singh at a studio in Thetford, c.1893 












Aroor Singh, Old Buckenham, Norfolk, c.1905 


[i] Also spelt Arur Singh

[ii]  Singh, Ganda, Correspondence of Maharajah Duleep Singh (Patiala, Punjabi university, 1977), p. 103

[iii]   Lahore Tribune 2 July 1887

[iv] Singh, Ganda  Correspondence of Maharajah Duleep Singh, p.440

[v] Singh, Harbans, Encyclopaedia of Sikhism (Patiala, Punjabi University, 1992), Volume I,  p.200

[vi] Campbell, Christy, Maharajah’s Box (London, HarperCollins, 1999), p.427



    5/25/2009 3:59:23 AM

    i cant believe when i see all these images from the time of the maharaja duleep singh and maharaja Ranjeet singh, but the history is still not clear.

  • SATPAL SINGH (chandigarh india)
    5/30/2009 9:39:35 AM

    SIR, I am very much attached with MAHARAJA RANJIT SINGH and his family members, NOW after viewing the photgraphs of SARDAR AROOR SINGH i came to know some rare information, which is realy very useful to me.I hope in future you continue to provide us with some more rare photographs & other material of this family. thank you very much once again.

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