Ganga Singh

General Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, GBE, KCB, GCStJ (3 October 1880 – 2 February 1943), was the ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Bikaner (in present-day Rajasthan, India) from 1888 to 1943. As a member of the Imperial War Cabinet, he was present in the Palace of Versailles during The Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mirrors.[1][circular reference]

Maharaja Ganga Singh
His Highness the Maharaja Sahib of Bikaner
Ganga Singh c1930.jpg
21st Maharaja of Bikaner
Reign1888–1943
PredecessorDungar Singh
SuccessorSadul Singh
Born13 October 1880
Bikaner, Bikaner State, British India
Died2 February 1943(1943-02-02) (aged 62)
Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India
Consort(s)Maharani Shri Vallabh Kanwarji Sahiba
Tanwarji Maharani Sahiba
Bhatiyanji Maharani Shri Ajab Kanwarji Sahiba
IssueRam Singh
Chand Kanwarji
Sadul Singh
Bijey Singh
Vir Singh
Shiv Kanwarji
FatherMaharaj Shri Lal Singh Sahib
MotherMaji Shri Chandravatiji Sahiba

He is widely remembered as a modern reformist visionary.

BiographyEdit

Ganga Singh was born on the auspicious day of Vijay Dashmi on 13 October 1880[2][3] to Maharaj Shri Lal Singh Sahib and his wife Maji Shri Chandravatiji Sahiba.[3] He hailed from Royal Rajput family of Bikaner State.[4][5] He was brother to Dungar Singh, whom he succeeded on 16 December 1888.[citation needed]

He received his early education from Pandit Ram Chandra Dube. He was educated privately at Mayo College, Ajmer, where he studied for 5 years. Later on, he was tutored by Sir Brian Egerton, who also provided him administrative training.[3]

 
Sir Ganga Singh with his son Sadul Singh in 1914

For military training, he was sent to Deoli in 1898 and attached to the 42nd Deoli Regiment, which had the reputation of being one of the finest regiments in India under the command of Lt. Col. Bell. He served in China during the Boxer Rebellion (1900). During the First World War, he commanded the Bikaner Camel Corps which served in France, Egypt and Palestine.[6]

As a ruler, he established a Chief Court in Bikaner, presided over by a Chief Judge who was assisted by two judges. Bikaner was the first State in Rajasthan to take such a step. He announced the establishment of a Representative Assembly in 1913. He later established a High Court with a Chief Justice and two sub-judges by an edict in 1922. Maharaja Ganga Singhji was the first prince in Rajputana to grant full charter of powers to a high court.

A life insurance and Endowment Assurance Scheme was introduced for the benefit of the employees. Also, facilities of a saving bank were made available to the people. He was one of the first rulers to introduce through legislation a Sharda Act by which child marriages were stopped.

He had a personal gun salute of 17-guns granted in 1918 and a permanent local gun salute of 19-guns granted in 1921. He was an Honorary ADC to the Prince of Wales when he visited the United Kingdom for the Coronation in 1902,[7] later serving him when he became His Majesty King George V, the King-Emperor, in 1910. A Member of the Central Recruiting Board-India 1917, he represented India at the Imperial War Conference 1917, the Imperial War Cabinet and the Paris Peace Conference 1919 and was Chancellor of the Indian Chamber of Princes from 1920–26. He also represented India as a delegate at the fifth session of the League of Nations in 1924.[8]

 
Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh (middle row, second from the left) in the Imperial War Cabinet, No. 10 Downing Street, 1917.

As well, the Maharaja served as Patron of Benares Hindu University and Sri Bharat Dharam Mahamandal, as Vice-President of East India Association and the Royal Colonial Institute, a Member of the Indian Gymkhana Club and of the Indian Army Temperance Association, the General Council of Mayo and Daly Colleges, the Indian Society of Oriental Art, the Indian Society-London, the Bombay Natural History Society, and was the first Member of the Indian Red Cross Society. Singh was a famous Indian freemason in his time.

He was also the third Chairman of the Indian Public Schools Society (The Doon School) from 1929 to 1930.

FamilyEdit

MarriagesEdit

He married firstly in July 1897 HH Maharani Vallabh Kanwarji,[2][3][9] daughter of Maharawat Sir Raghunath Singh Bahadur of Pratabgarh;[2][3][9] she died 19 August 1906.[2][3][9] He married secondly in May 1899 Tanwarji Maharani Sahiba,[2][3] daughter of Thakur of Sanwatsar.[2][3] He then married thirdly HH Maharani Ajab Kanwarji Sahiba,[2][3] daughter of Thakur Bahadur Singh of Bhikamkore.[2][3]

ChildrenEdit

Name Titles Birth Death Notes
Ram Singh[2] Maharajkumar of Bikaner 30 June 1898 30 June 1898
Chand Kanwar[2][3] Maharajkumari of Bikaner 1 July 1899 31 July 1915
Sadul Singh[2][3] Yuvaraj of Bikaner, later His Highness the Maharaja Sahib of Bikaner. 7 September 1902 25 September 1950 Succeeded his father as 22nd Maharaja of Bikaner.[2][3] He reigned from 2 February 1943 until his death in 1950.[10][11]
Bijey Singh[2][3] Maharajkumar of Bikaner, later Maharaj of Chhatargarh[2] 28 March 1909 11 February 1932 Succeeded to estates of his grandfather Maharaj Shri Lal Singh.[2][3]
Vir Singh[2][3] Maharajkumar of Bikaner 7 October 1910 27 March 1911
Shiv Kanwarji[2][3]
  • 1916 – 1930: Maharajkumari of Bikaner
  • 1930 – 1940: Yuvarani of Kotah
  • 1940 – 1991: Maharani of Kotah
  • 1991 – : Rajmata of Kotah
1 March 1916 Married HH Maharajadhiraj Maharaja Mahimahendra Maharao Raja Shri Bhim Singh II of Kotah when he was Yuvaraj of Kotah.[2][12] Later, she became Maharani of Kotah, and then Rajmata of Kotah.[2][12]

DeathEdit

He died 2 February 1943 in Bombay after a reign of 56 years, aged 62, and was succeeded by his son Sadul Singh as His Highness the Maharaja Sahib of Bikaner.[2][3]

AchievementsEdit

 
Ganga Singh in 1919
  • Singh constructed the Ganga Canal. He inspired people to come and settle in this new Command area. A large population settled there from the surrounding areas of Punjab. Among them the Sikh families mostly land owners, migrated to this region in the 1920s, when the canal was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh of the former Bikaner state bringing waters of the Satluj river from the adjoining Ferozepur District in Punjab. There were no permanent settlements in this area (except for a few towns under the old Bikaner state
  • He successfully dealt with the worst famine of the year 1899–1900 AD in the region. This famine inspired the young Maharaja to establish an irrigation system to get rid of the problem permanently.
  • He developed the city of Sri Ganganagar and its surrounding area as the most fertile grain bowl of Rajasthan
  • He also constructed the Lalgarh Palace at Bikaner (named in memory of his father Lall Singh) between 1902 and 1926.
  • He brought railways and an electricity network to the state.
  • He introduced prison reforms. Bikaner prisoners wove and crafted carpets of India that were sold in the international markets.
  • He established partial internal democracy such as election to the municipalities and appointed a council of ministers to aid and advice.
  • Some land reforms were also introduced.
  • He induced enterprising Industrialist and agriculturists from neighbouring state for starting new ventures in his state.
  • He built the existing temple above the Samadhi of Ramdev Pir at Ramdevra in year 1931.
  • Founder several schools and colleges, especially of women
  • He donated two ornately designed silver gates to be used as main doors of Karni Mata temple at Deshnok.

TitlesEdit

  • 1880–1887: Maharaj Ganga Singh of Bikaner .
  • 1887–1898: His Highness Maharajadhiraj Raj-Rajeshwar Narendra Shiromani Maharaja Shri Ganga Singh Bahadur, Maharaja of Bikaner
  • 1898–1900: 2nd Lieutenant His Highness Maharajadhiraj Raj-Rajeshwar Narendra Shiromani Maharaja Shri Ganga Singh Bahadur, Maharaja of Bikaner
  • 1900–1901: Major His Highness Maharajadhiraj Raj-Rajeshwar Narendra Shiromani Maharaja Shri Ganga Singh Bahadur, Maharaja of Bikaner
  • 1901–1904: Major His Highness Maharajadhiraj Raj-Rajeshwar Narendra Shiromani Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh Bahadur, Maharaja of Bikaner, KCIE
  • 1904–1907: Major His Highness Maharajadhiraj Raj-Rajeshwar Narendra Shiromani Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh Bahadur, Maharaja of Bikaner, KCSI, KCIE
  • 1907–1909: Major His Highness Maharajadhiraj Raj-Rajeshwar Narendra Shiromani Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh Bahadur, Maharaja of Bikaner, GCIE, KCSI
  • 1909–1910: Lieutenant-Colonel His Highness Maharajadhiraj Raj-Rajeshwar Narendra Shiromani Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh Bahadur, Maharaja of Bikaner, GCIE, KCSI
  • 1910–1911: Colonel His Highness Maharajadhiraj Raj-Rajeshwar Narendra Shiromani Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh Bahadur, Maharaja of Bikaner, GCIE, KCSI
  • 1911–1917: Colonel His Highness Maharajadhiraj Raj-Rajeshwar Narendra Shiromani Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh Bahadur, Maharaja of Bikaner, GCSI, GCIE
  • 1917–1919: Major-General His Highness Maharajadhiraj Raj-Rajeshwar Narendra Shiromani Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh Bahadur, Maharaja of Bikaner, GCSI, GCIE, KCB
  • 1919–1921: Major-General His Highness Maharajadhiraj Raj-Rajeshwar Narendra Shiromani Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh Bahadur, Maharaja of Bikaner, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, KCB
  • 1921–1930: Major-General His Highness Maharajadhiraj Raj-Rajeshwar Narendra Shiromani Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh Bahadur, Maharaja of Bikaner, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, GBE, KCB
  • 1930–1937: Lieutenant-General His Highness Maharajadhiraj Raj-Rajeshwar Narendra Shiromani Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh Bahadur, Maharaja of Bikaner, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, GBE, KCB
  • 1937–1943: General His Highness Maharajadhiraj Raj-Rajeshwar Narendra Shiromani Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh Bahadur, Maharaja of Bikaner, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, GBE, KCB

HonoursEdit

(Ribbon bar, as it would look today; UK decorations only)[citation needed]

       

       

       

       

       

BritishEdit

Mentions in despatchesEdit

  • 1901, 1914, 1918

Foreign honoursEdit

Academic honoursEdit

MemorialsEdit

The University of Bikaner was renamed after him as Maharaja Ganga Singh University, Bikaner by an act passed in 2003.[16]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ The Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mirrors#Subjects
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "bikaner9". www.royalark.net. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Akram, Daniyal (7 August 2018). "Maharaja Ganga Singh: The Visionary Maharaja of Bikaner". Royal Archives. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  4. ^ Hughes, Julie E. (1 March 2013). Animal Kingdoms. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-07480-4.
  5. ^ http://www.ctevans.net/Versailles/Documents/Whos%20Who.pdf
  6. ^ "Who's Who in the Peace Conference" (PDF).
  7. ^ "No. 27460". The London Gazette. 1 August 1902. p. 4970.
  8. ^ Fifth Assembly Geneva, 1 September – 2 October 1924 – League of Nations
  9. ^ a b c "partab4". www.royalark.net. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  10. ^ "bikaner10". www.royalark.net. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  11. ^ McClenaghan, Tony (1996). Indian princely medals : a record of the orders, decorations, and medals of the Indian princely states. New Delhi: Lancer Publishers. ISBN 1-897829-19-1. OCLC 36051619.
  12. ^ a b "kotah6". www.royalark.net. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  13. ^ "Court Circular". The Times (36810). London. 3 July 1902. p. 8.
  14. ^ "No. 27337". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 July 1901. p. 4917.
  15. ^ "No. 32178". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1921. p. 7.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit

Ganga Singh
Rathore Dynasty
Born: 3 October 1880 Died: 2 February 1943
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Dungar Singh
Maharaja of Bikaner
1887–1943
Succeeded by
Sadul Singh