||Bhupinder Singh (12 October
1891, Patiala–23 March 1938, Patiala) was the ruling Maharaja of the princely
state of Patiala from 1900 to 1938. He is perhaps the most famous Maharaja
of Patiala, best known for his extravagance, and for being a cricketer.
He was born at the Moti
Bagh Palace in Patiala, and educated at Aitchison College. At age 9, he
succeeded as maharaja of Patiala state upon death of his father, Maharaja
Rajinder Singh, on 9 November 1900. A Council of Regency ruled in his name
until he took partial powers shortly before his 18th birthday on 1 October
1909, and was invested with full powers by the Viceroy of India, the 4th
Earl of Minto, on 3 November 1910.
He served on the General
Staff in France, Belgium, Italy and Palestine in the First World War as
an Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel, and was promoted Honorary Major-General
in 1918 and Honorary Lieutenant-General in 1931. He represented India at
the League of Nations in 1925, and was chancellor of the Indian Chamber
of Princes for 10 years between 1926 and 1938, also being a representative
at the Round Table Conference. He married ten times, and had 88 children
by his wives and concubines.
He was well known for
the construction of buildings with bold architectural designs in Patiala,
including Kali Temple, Patiala, and Chail View Palace in the summer retreat
of Kandaghat. He was also known for an exceptional collection of
medals, believed to be the world's largest at the time. According to legend,
Maharaja Bhupinder Singh would be driven in a motorcade of 20 Rolls Royce
cars. He also got a unique monorail system built in Patiala known as Patiala
State Monorail Trainways.
He was captain of the
Indian cricket team that visited England in 1911, and played in 27 first-class
cricket matches between 1915 and 1937. For season of 1926/27, he played
as member of Marylebone Cricket Club. He donated the Ranji Trophy in honour
of Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji, Jam Sahib of Nawanagar. He was selected as
the captain of India on its first Test tour of England in 1932, but dropped
out on reasons of health two weeks before departure and the Maharaja of
Porbandar took over. Cricket ground at Chail was made by Maharaja Patiala
which is the highest cricket ground in the world. Most of the buildings
of Chail Military School were donated by Maharaj Patiala to Govt. of India.
In 1930, Maharaja Bhupinder
Singh felt slighted at the British Rolls Royce company’s refusal to accept
an order from him for a new Rolls Royce car. Reacting to the refusal, the
old Maharaja put some of his old Rolls Royce cars to haul garbage dung
and filth in Patiala city to the chagrin of the all-powerful Rolls Royce-loving
Viceroy and the British ruling establishment who quickly prevailed upon
the Rolls Royce Company to comply with the old Maharaja’s wishes.
His elder son, Yuvraj
of Patiala and younger son Raja Bhalindra Singh played first-class cricket.
Yuvraj played in one Test for India, in 1934.
Yuvraj (also known as
Yadavendrasingh) became the Maharaja on 23 March 1938. He was to be the
last maharaja, agreeing to the incorporation of Patiala into the newly
independent India on 5 May 1948, becoming Rajpramukh of the new Indian
state of Patiala and East Punjab States Union.
Bhupinder's grandson (son
of Yadavindra Singh) Amarinder Singh is a politician in India, and former
Chief Minister of Punjab
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