The Sikh Encyclopedia The Sikh Encyclopedia Encyclopedia of Sikhism

Biographical

Search Now!

COURT, CLAUDE AUGUSTE

(0 votes)

COURT, CLAUDE AUGUSTE (1793-1880), general in the Sikh army, honorary general of France, Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, recipient of the Auspicious Order of the Punjab, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of England, and Member of several continental scientific and learned societies, was born at Saint Cezaire, France, on 24 September 1793. In 1813. he joined the French army. After Napoleon`s defeat at Waterloo in 1815 he was dismissed from service.

He left France in 1818 for Baghdad and joined the Persian forces which were trained at Kermanshah by a handful of exofficers of Napoleon`s army including Ventura.While in Persia, he met another Neapolitan adventurer Avi labile and together they travelled on to Lahore reaching there in early 1827. Maharaja Ranjit Singh gave Court employment in the artillery befitting his talents and scientific attainments. Court was responsible for the training of artillerymen, the organization of batteries and the establishment of arsenals and magazines on European lines.

The Maharaja had his own foundries for casting guns and for the manufacture of shells. Court supervised these in collaboration with Sardar Lahina Singh Majithia. When Court produced the first shell at the Lahore foundry, the Maharaja bestowed upon him an inam (prize) of Rs 30,000, and when he produced the fuse, he was rewarded with an inam of Rs 5,000. Court received a salary of Rs 2,500 per month, besides ajagir. He took part in the expedition of Peshawar (1834) and the battle of Jamrud (1837). He was promoted general in 1836. He continued to serve the State after the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

During the struggle for succession after the death of Karivar Nau Nihal Singh on 5 November 1840, Court along with Ventura sided with Sher Singh who was installed as Maharaja, with their help in investing the Fort of Lahore, on 20 January 1841. On 26 January, however, Court`s regiments mutinied, accusing their general of being responsible for the reduction of the promised increment of Rs 4 per month to their salary to one rupee per month. The troops ransacked his residence and chased him and his family up to Anarkali where Ventura`s guards stopped them.

Court then escaped to the British territory across the Sutlej where he stayed till Maharaja Sher Singh had negotiated his return to his regiments in April 1841. In January 1842, Court was sent with his brigade to Peshawar where he and Avitabile with their regiments stormed the Khaibar Pass on 56 April 1842 to help the British General Pollock to cross over from Afghanistan. Court returned to Lahore in July or August 1843 and after Maharaja Sher Singh`s assassination in September 1843, he fled to Firozpur, in British territory, and, ultimately securing his discharge from the Sikh army, proceeded with his Punjabi wife and the children to France in 1844.

He purchased an estate in the countryside and a residence in the city of Paris where he lived until his death in 1880. Court had antiquarian interests and contributed articles to the Journal of`the Asiastic Society of Bengal, Calcutta, and later to the Journal Asiatique in Paris. He conducted several excavations at Manikyala near Jehlum and later at Peshawar collecting coins, artifacts and inscriptions. One of them, the Manikyala Inscription, helped J. Prinsep to decipher the Kharoshti script, and is now preserved in the Lahore Museum. He also wrote his Memoirs covering his travels from 1818 to 1844, from Syria to Lahore. They present a minute description of the countries or provinces he visited, his interests extending from geology to archaeology. The last part of the book is devoted to the kingdom of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

References :

1. Lafont,J.M., La Presence Francaise dans Ie Royaume Sikh dii Penjab 1822-1849. Paris, 1992
2. Grey, C., European Adventurers of Northern India. Lahore, 1929
3. Gulcharan Sirigh, Ranjit Singh and His Generals. Jalandhar, 1976

Leave a comment

Joomla SEF URLs by Artio

All About Sikhs

AllAboutSikhs is a comprehensive web site on sikhism, sikh history and philosophy, customs and rituals,sikh way of life, social and religious movements, art and architecture, sikh scriptures,sikh gurudwaras. Based on the belief in One God, the Sikh religion recognizes the equality of all human beings, and is marked by rejection of idolatry, ritualism, caste and asceticism. This website serves to heighten the awareness of Sikhism and hopefully can be of some use to seekers of knowledge.

Visit AllAboutSikhs.com

Search Gurbani

SearchGurbani brings to you a unique and comprehensive approach to explore and experience the word of God. It has the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Amrit Kirtan Gutka, Bhai Gurdaas Vaaran, Sri Dasam Granth Sahib and Kabit Bhai Gurdas. You can explore these scriptures page by page, by chapter index or search for a keyword. The Reference section includes Mahankosh, Guru Granth Kosh,and exegesis like Faridkot Teeka, Guru Granth Darpan and lot more.

Visit SearchGurbani.com

World Gurudwaras

World Gurudwaras will strive to be most comprehensive directory of Historical Gurudwaras and Non Historical Gurudwaras around the world.The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.

Visit WorldGurudwaras.com

 

Get Latest Updates