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» Brief History of Faridkot

Faridkot (Punjabiਫ਼ਰੀਦਕੋਟ) is a small city and a municipal council in Faridkot district in the state of PunjabIndia. It's a division with headquarters at Faridkot consists of three Districts Faridkot, Bathinda and Mansa. There are 8 Sub Divisions, 8 Tehsils and 9 Sub-Tehsils within these Districts. Total area of the District is 1475.70 km≤. Prior to independence large part of the district was under the princely rule of Maharaja of Faridkot and later it became part of the Patiala & East Punjab States Union (PEPSU) in 1948. Faridkot was carved out as a separate district on 7 August 1972 out of the areas of Bathinda District (Faridkot Tehsil) and Firozpur District (Moga and Shri Muktsar Sahib Tehsils). However in November 1995, the Faridkot District was trifurcated when two of its sub divisions viz. Shri Muktsar Sahib and Moga were given the status of independent districts.

» Origin

The history of the Faridkot District pertaining to the ancient period has been traced to the Indus Valley Civilization. A few sites explored in the Moga Tehsil (now a separate District) link it with Indus Valley Civilization sites explored in the Rupnagar District. A vast area, including the present area of Faridkot District was under the influence of Indus Valley Civilization.

The state was captured in 1803 by Ranjit Singh, but was one of the districts that came under British influence after the 1809. The last Ruler of Faridkot was LL. Raja Sir Harindar Singh Brar Bans Bahadur. Before partition there was a majority Muslim population in Faridkot. There are many mosques in Faridkot which are taken care of by Sikh villagers.

Brar himself was a boy-king who grew up amid the final gasps of India's royal families. He was crowned maharajah of the tiny kingdom of Faridkot in western Punjab - the last maharajah it would turn out - at the age of three, upon his father's death.

Maharaja Harinder Singh, crowned at the age of three in 1918, was the last ruler of the Faridkot estate and was married to Narinder Kaur. The royal couple had three daughters, Amrit Kaur, Deepinder Kaur and Maheepinder Kaur and one son, Tikka Harmohinder Singh. Tikka Harmohinder Singh died in a road accident in 1981. One of his daughters, Maheepinder Kaur, died. Amrit and Deepinder are in their 80s.

After India won independence from Britain in 1947, Faridkot and hundreds of other small kingdoms were absorbed into the country, royal titles and power were abolished and the royal families were given a fixed salary from the Indian government. That payment, the 'privy purse', was abolished in 1971. Some royals slipped into penury, while some converted their former palaces into luxury hotels to provide them an income.

A few, like Brar, held onto their enormously profitable real estate and continued to live a rarefied life. The Faridkot riches were legend in India's Punjab state. The estate includes a 350-year-old fort, palaces and forests lands in Faridkot, a mansion surrounded by acres of land in the heart of India's capital New Delhi and similar properties spread across four states.

Indian maharajah, Brar crowned as a toddler and rich beyond imagination falls into a deep depression in old age after losing his only son. After his own death a few months later, his daughters, the princesses, don't get the palaces, gold and vast lands they claim as their birthright. Instead, they are given a few dollars a month from palace officials they accuse of scheming to usurp the royal billions with a forged will. The fight rages for decades. Chief judicial magistrate Rajnish Kumar Sharma, in the northern city of Chandigarh, finally gave his ruling on the case filed by the maharaja's eldest daughter, Amrit Kaur, in 1992. On 26 July 2013, an Indian court brought this chapter to a close, ruling that the will of Maharajah Harinder Singh Brar of Faridkot was fabricated. His daughters will now inherit the estimated £2.6 billion estate, instead of a trust run by his former servants and palace officials.

Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Amritsar
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