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The Black Prince Tries To Revive Sense Of Punjab’s Pride And Sovereignty

By Dr. Sawraj Singh

The movie, The Black Prince tries to rekindle the sense of pride among the Punjabis and the Sikhs and reminds them that Punjab was at one time a great Sovereign Sikh state. The Sikhs are the advanced guard of the Punjabis. Therefore, in the modern age, the kingdom of Punjab was put on the world map under the Sikh Empire. Maharaja Dalip Singh and Maharani Jindan emerge as the symbols of Punjabi pride, true Sikh identity and Sikh sovereignty.

This movie shows transformation of Dalip Singh from a fun loving British aristocrat to a committed revolutionary Sikh who wanted to regain his lost kingdom which the British imperialists took away from him by treachery and deceit. His mother, Maharani Jindan, plays the central role in this transformation. She helps him understand the real and deceptive nature of the British imperialists who want to alienate him from his people by injecting feelings of inferiority for his culture, religion and heritage. Maharani Jindan reignites his love and admiration for his people and his background.

One wishes that the movie should have highlighted the role of Maharani Jindan in transforming Dalip Singh. There are two incidents which played a crucial role in this transformation. The first, when the mother and the son meet in Calcutta after a long separation of twelve years. She was  almost blind. She was  very saddened on finding out that Dalip Singh was  no longer in the Sikh form and had also embraced Christianity.

She tells Dalip Singh how very young sons of Guru Gobind Singh chose to be buried alive in a wall rather than give up their religion and embrace Islam. She said that she lost her kingdom, her home and her family but she never felt as sad as she was feeling at that time when she found out that her son had lost his religion. Dalip Singh was greatly moved and promised his mother that he would come back to the fold of the Sikh religion and his culture and heritage.

The second incident is when she is dying in England. She tells him that her last wish is to be cremated in Punjab since she could not go back to Punjab while she was alive. Again, Dalip Singh was deeply moved by his mother’s passionate love for Punjab. He tried to go back to Punjab but was never allowed to do so by the British government not even for cremating his mother. He had to do that in Nasik near Mumbai and her ashes were immersed in the river Godavari.

Maharaja Dalip Singh is the first Punjabi who played active role in the world politics. He interacts with the Irish and the French revolutionaries. He tried to meet Russia’s Czar so that a united front of all the powers in the world who opposed the British imperialism can be forged. He tried to link liberation of Punjab not only with kicking out the British imperialists out of the Indian subcontinent but with liberation of all the countries and nations which were enslaved by the British imperialists. He was also the first Punjabi to use the world media to present his case to the world. He wrote a letter to the Times London, the leading newspaper in the world at that time.

One cannot help compare Present Punjab and Punjabis to those at his time. It becomes clear that even though Punjabis were physically enslaved at that time yet their spirits were free. However, now we are facing the worst slavery, we have lost our culture and value system and have become slaves of the western imperialist consumer culture.  Just compare Maharani Jindan’s love and respect for the Sikh form and principles. Many Sikh girls today look down on the Sikh form and only want to marry a clean shaven boy. Dalip Singh and Maharani Jindan loved Punjab so much that they were willing to sacrifice everything, including the life of extreme luxury in order to be allowed to come back to Punjab.

The young people in Punjab today are so eager and desperate to leave Punjab that they are willing to do anything for migrating to the western countries. A seventeen years girl in Patiala found out that a seventy years old man from Canada lost his wife and was here looking for a new partner. She said that she is willing to marry him or develop any kind of relation with him so long he is willing to help her get a Canadian visa.

I was shocked when I heard a young man who was leaving for Canada that he was never going to come back to Punjab. I heard from many people in North America that their children do not want to go to Punjab but this was the first time I heard that from a person who is going to Canada for the first time in his life.

I sincerely hope that this movie will rekindle our pride for Punjab by showing us the glory of the Kingdom of Punjab. This movie will also make us proud to be Sikhs because this Empire was led and founded by the Sikhs. This movie will also give a big impetus to the movement to bring back the remains of Maharaja Dalip Singh to Punjab for proper cremation as a Sikh and undo the injustice done to him even after his death when he was buried according to the Christian rites even though he was an Amritdhari (Baptized) Sikh.

Dr. Sawraj Singh, MD F.I.C.S. is the Chairman of the Washington State Network for Human Rights and Chairman of the Central Washington Coalition for Social Justice. He can be reached at sawrajsingh@hotmail.com.

 

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