Raja Surat Singh Majithia C.S.I  (d. 1881), son of Atar Singh Majithia, was a soldier, commander and notable ShergillJatJagirdar of the Lahore Darbar, Details of his early career and of his service under Maharaja Ranjit Singh are scanty. During the First Anglo-Sikh War he was responsible for maintaining order in Naushera. Raja Surat Singh was commandant of the Sikh battalion posted at Peshawar during the first Anglo-Sikh war. After the peace settlement of 1846, he was retained in the Lahore army by British Resident Sir Henry Lawrence, and posted to Lahore. He fell foul of Wazir Lal Singh who became his enemy and ordered the resumption of his Jagir. Surat Singh played a prominent role in events leading to the Sikh national rising against the British in 1848.He commanded 2,000 men in the division sent under Sidhu JatJagirdar Raja Sher Singh Attariwala to Multan to quell DiwanMulRaj`s revolt.

In September 1848, he as well as Raja Sher Singh`s troops joined the rebels. His appeal to the Khalsa troops in the name of their sovereign, Duleep Singh, and his call to arms against the feringhees brought an immediate response. Many disbanded Sikh soldiers, religious leaders and laymen joined the standard of revolt. MulRaj`s troops deserted and rallied round him. He moved northwards, plundered Chiniot and Jhang and fought the British at Sadullapur, Chelianwala and Gujrat along with Raja Sher Singh`s force which had swelled to 12,000 men and 28 guns.AtSadullapur, 6 km from the town of Ramnagar, at a principal ford on the River Jehlum, the Sikhs nullified General Thackwell`s manoeuvre against their flank and safely crossed the river to join Chatar Singh Attariwala  force.

At Gujrat, the force under Raja Surat Singh was the last to yield. After the annexation of the Punjab, Surat Singh`s jagirs were confiscated and he was removed to Banaras with an annual pension of Rs 720. He lived at Banaras in privation till 1857, when during the mutiny he helped the British and saved the Banaras treasury and In June 1857 a corps of Ludhiana Sikhs serving in the 37th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry in Benares was accused of disloyalty and had guns directed at them. This incensed the corps who charged at the guns, suffering many loses. Nearby a Sikh regiment was guarding the Benares treasury, and on hearing the treatment of the Ludhiana Sikhs, threatened to mutiny. Surat Singh visited the regiment and using his personal influence discouraged them from rebelling, He contained the jewellery of Maharani Jind Kaur, on 6 July 1857, he received a swordcut on his leg which made him lame for the rest of his life. For these services, Surat Singh was allowed to return to the Punjab, his pension was raised to Rs 4,800 and he was granted a permanent jagir in Dumri and Gorakhpur. In his village of Majitha to which he came back in 1861, he was appointed an honorary magistrate and was invested with civil and judicial powers. In 1877, the titles of Raja and Companionship of the Star of India we re conferred upon him. He died in 1881 and was succeeded by his eldest son Umrao Singh Majithia . His granddaughter through Umrao Singh Majithia was the world famous artist Amrita Sher-Gil.His younger son Sardar Sir Sundar Singh Majithia became a prominent politician in the Punjab.

References :-

  • Suri, SohanLal, `Umdatut-Twarikh. Lahore, 1885-89
  • Griffin, Lepel, Chiefs and Families of Note in the Punjab. Lahore, 1940
  • Hasrat, BikramaJit, Anglo-Sikh Relations (1799-1849). Hoshiarpur, 1968
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