Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday released the book 'Prince, Patron and Patriarch Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala', co-authored by the Maharaja’s grandson, Brigadier (Retd) Jagjit Singh, and Cynthia Frederick.
Besides the authors, Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore was also present on the occasion, which saw the Chief Minister hail the Maharaja as one of the scripters of modernization of Kapurthala. He recalled how his own grandfather Bhupinder Singh, along with Maharaja Jagatjit Singh, brought Patiala and Kapurthala on the world map through modernization.
Describing the book as a candid tribute by a grandson to the erstwhile exceptional royal king of Kapurthala, the Chief Minister regaled the august audience with anecdotes showcasing the far-sightedness of the Maharaja, whom he recalled meeting once as a 6-year-old, and the valour of his grandson, Brigadier Jagjit Singh.
The 1920s and the 1930s were Europe’s golden years, and some of the Indian rulers visited the region to see what they could bring back to Punjab for the state’s betterment, he added. His family association with Maharaja Jagatjit Singh went back 12 generations, said the Chief Minister, adding that the book went beyond a narration of historical facts to give a new perspective to the golden era.
Captain Amarinder spoke highly about Brigadier sukhjit Singh, and read out a para from the book recognizing the valour displayed by Brig Sukhjit in the 1971 Indo Pak war for which he was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra. The Chief Minister spoke about Jagjit Singh’s inspirational leadership on the battlefield, where he used his skills and courage to lead an operation to capture enemy tanks at Malakpur under heavy artillery and mortar fire. Unruffled, he surged ahead and in the ensuing engagement, eight tanks and some Pakistani officers were captured, recalled the Chief Minister. Eventually, Jagjit Singh left the Army on matter of principles, he added.
Disclosing that Brigadier Sukhjit Singh wrote a letter to him advising him to join Army when he was only 14 years old, the Chief Minister stated he had always looked up to him as his brother. "Though I had already decided to join Army and at the time of receiving the letter I had no idea who Brig Sukhjit Singh was, I later came to know of him after joining the Army and since then we have been in constant touch,” said Captain Amarinder.
Speaking on the occasion, Governor Badnore said he was honoured to stand between members of two royal families. He described the book as more than a coffee table book and said extensive research had gone into the book, which was set in the backdrop of the period between the first and second industrial revolutions, that saw many notable events and developments take place the world over.
In India, this was the period that saw some of the most legendary rules, such as Ganga Singh in Rajasthan, as well as Bhupinder Singh and Jagjit Singh in Punjab. All these royals did great work for their states, he said, adding that eventually though the Rajasthan royal families turned their palaces into hotels, in Punjab their benevolence led to them give up everything for the welfare of the people. The Governor cited the example of the school being run in Kapurthala Palace and the Sports Institute in Moti Bagh in Patiala.
Speaking on the occasion, Cynthia Meera Frederick, a conservation architect who was intrigued by the Maharaja's love for French architecture, thanked the Chief Minister for launching the book and said that it was only befitting that the book was formally being launched in Chandigarh as Maharaja Jagatjit Singh was passionate about architecture and urban planning. He thoroughly embraced modernity and was a very forward looking ruler who would have appreciated Chandigarh both aesthetically and for what it represents, she added. The city and its facilities would have transfixed him, as Maharaja Jagatjit Singh was an admirer of urban space science, she added.
Talking about the challenges faced in writing the book, Brigadier Sukhjit Singh said the book would go a long in dispelling long-held notions about the monarchs being generally labeled as feudal Thakurs and Nawabs, who were the reason for everything ailing the society. For a society which now believes in ostentatious display of wealth, the book on a Maharaja who seamlessly stood for equality would stimulate thought in the right direction, Brig Sukjhit further said.
The ceremony was also attended by Cabinet Ministers Brahm Mohindra, Manpreet Singh Badal and Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Senior Advisor to CM Lt. General T S Shergill, Principal Secretary to CM Tejveer Singh, Special Secretary to CM Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, DGP Suresh Arora, DGP Intelligence Dinkar Gupta, former Chief of Army staff V P Malik and former Union Minister Pawan Bansal.
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