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Raja Dhian Singh on Horseback, 1838
Raja Dhian Singh was the Hindu prime minister during the reign of the first Sikh maharaja of the Panjab, Ranjit Singh.
He was the second son of Mian Kishora Singh Dogra, and the middle one of three brothers from Jammu who served the maharaja.
He became chamberlain of the royal household in 1818, took part in military campaigns and was awarded many honours and grants of land.
After Ranjit Singh’s death, Dhian Singh became caught up in intrigues at court over the acquisition of power and influence.
He assassinated Chet Singh, the most trusted courtier of Ranjit Singh’s son and successor, Kharak Singh, who was then slowly poisoned.
On the day of Kharak Singh’s death the following year, his son and heir was also killed, leaving Sher Singh, Ranjit Singh’s second son, to rule with Dhian Singh’s support.
Sher Singh was likewise assassinated, by another court faction, in September 1843, and soon afterwards Dhian Singh was also murdered.
Source: V&A Museum
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19th century Indian Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers