Legend who owned first aircraft of India remembered on his 129th birthday
Kanwar Inder Singh/ royalpatiala.in/ Chandigarh
Maharaja Bhupinder Singh ,who was the ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Patiala (Punjab) in British India from 1900 to 1938, was born on October 12, 1891 at the Moti Bagh Palace, Patiala. His Father was Phulkian dynasty ruler Maharaja Rajinder Singh I of Patiala and mother Jasmer Kaur.
He 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.
Maharaja Bhupinder Singh was the first man in India to own aircraft, which he bought from the United Kingdom in 1910. For his aircraft he had an airstrip at Patiala built.He is perhaps the most famous Maharaja of Patiala, best known for his extravagance and for being a cricketer. His cricket and polo teams – Patiala XI and Patiala Tigers – were among the best of India. He was a great patron of sports.
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 along with Chail Palace and Oak Over and Cedar Lodge in Shimla which now houses the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab State Guest House respectively. He was known as a sportsman. 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 had a unique monorail system built in Patiala known as Patiala State Monorail Trainways.
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 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 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 for reasons of health two weeks before departure and the Maharaja of Porbandar took over. Most of the buildings of Chail Military School were donated by Maharaja of Patiala to the government of India. Sir Bhupinder Singh founded the State Bank of Patiala in 1917.
He served as the Chancellor of Chamber of Princes from 1926 to 1931. He worked tirelessly for his subjects’ betterment and introduced many social reforms in Patiala.
His elder son, Maharaja Yadavindra Singh and younger son Raja Bhalindra Singh both played first-class cricket, Yuvraj also played in one Test for India, in 1934. Raja Bhalindra Singh, later served as President of Indian Olympic Association.
Yuvraj Yadavindra Singh became the Maharaja on 23 March 1938. He was to be the first 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 Singh’s grandson Captain Amarinder is the Chief Minister of Punjab .