French Sikhs rediscover French connection of The Black Prince
French Sikhs welcome the release of The Black Prince and are determined to travel across Europe to view the movie. The movie has rekindled interest in cities which Maharaja Duleep Singh visited during his tumultuous life -Paris to London to Moscow, from Nashik in Maharashtra to erstwhile French colony Pondicherry
The Black Prince has generated keen interest in cities and towns that Maharaja Duleep Singh visited during his lifetime, as depicted in the movie. Maharaja Duleep Singh, like his illustrious father, who had a French general to train the Fauj-e-Khas -the special army of the Khalsa, befriended the French so overwhelmingly that they expressed willingness to join him in his fight to rebel and overthrow the British empire.
Though The Black Prince has not been not screened in any of the French cities, a band of committed Sikhs in Paris have joined the chorus to popularise the movie and are determined to travel to the UK to see the movie. Social activist Kulwinder Singh France, established business person Gurdial Singh and Punjabi singer Bittu Banger with their team recently stood outside the only Gurdwara in Paris and expressed their joy at learning the French connection of Maharaja Duleep Singh.
““I will try to locate the hotel where Maharaja Duleep Singh died. I will get some scholars to do more research on his days in Paris.”Kulwinder Singh France“. ”
The Amrit Parchar ceremony exclusively for Maharaja Duleep Singh is a sight which many would love and as it would give them an opportunity to rethink their return back to the wonderful fold of Guru Nanak’s Sikhi.
They acknowledged the contribution of WSN associate and social activist Harjinder Singh Kukreja who enrolled them into The Black Prince. In recent times, they have learnt about the French-Sikh connection when the bust of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was officially installed by the French government in St. Lopez which was attended by a cross section of the alternative leadership of the Sikhs and Punjab as the political leadership could not find time to associate with the past. They ceremony held there was attended by Col. H. S. Attari -a descendant of Sikh general Sham Singh Attariwala, social activist and entrepreneur Harjinder Singh Kukreja, Councillor from Normandy, France -Vivek Pal Singh and General J. J. Singh -former Chief of Indian Army Staff.
“This little knowledge that the last Maharaja of the Sikh kingdom spent his time in Paris has boosted the morale of Sikhs living in Paris and given their lives in Paris a new meaning, a new twist, a new sense of belonging.” Gurdial Singh
Speaking to WSN, Kulwinder Singh said, “I will try to locate the hotel where Maharaja Duleep Singh died. I will get some scholars to do more research on his days in Paris.” Gurdial Singh said, “This little knowledge that the last Maharaja of the Sikh kingdom spent his time in Paris has boosted the morale of Sikhs living in Paris and given their lives in Paris a new meaning, a new twist, a new sense of belonging. The singer Bittu Banger said that he would try to find out where in Southern France he met his mother Maharani Jindan.
As you can see in the video, braving inclement weather, with kids in tow, this small gathering extolled the qualities of the Sarkar-e-Khalsa kingdom of Maharaja Ranjit Singh which made them proud. “Anything that reminds me of this golden period of Sikh history is close to my heart, said Gurdial Singh.
In the last three decades, there has been an influx of Punjabi and Sikh immigrants to France, particularly Paris. The Black Prince seems to have satiated the yearning of love and belonging that they have left behind in the Punjab.