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PERRON, PIERRE CUILLIER

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PERRON, PIERRE CUILLIER (1755-1834), in chief and all powerful deputy in northern India. Perron endeavoured to extend Maratha influence up to the River Sutlej. When in 1800 the British emissary, Mir Yusaf `Ali Khan, came on a mission to the court of RanjTt Singh, Perron did not wish an entente to take place between him and the English and wrote to him as well as to the Malva chiefs not to trust them and drive their agent out of their territory.

For a short period, the shadow of Perron loomed large over the Sikh area below the Sutlej. In 1801, the Sikh chiefs of Patiala, Nabha, Jind, Kailhal, Ladva and Thanesar, harassed by the depredations of the Irish adventurer George Thomas, solicited his aid. Perron readily agreed and a Maratha force, 12,000 strong, under Louis Bourquien quickly expelled George Thomas from their territories. But Perron started treating the Malva Sikh chiefs as dependants of the Scindia and subjected them to severe exactions. Contemporary British opinion that Perron could have easily reduced the Sikhs and become master of the Punjab was a mere conjecture.

So were the reports of a military alliance between RanjTt Singh and Perron signed at Karnal. Though some evidence of Perron`s overtures to Ranjit Singh is available, yet it is established that the latter shrewdly refused to enter into a pact with the Marathas, then on the verge of a war with the English. In 1803, Perron lost favour with Daulat Rao Scindia. Fearful of Maratha vengeance and certain of the overthrow of Maratha power in their impending clash with the English, he fled across into British territory. He reached Europe in 1805, and lived in retirement in France till his death in 1834.

References :

1. Grey, C. and H.L.O. Garrett, European Adventurers of Northern India. Lahore, 1909
2. Franklin, W., The Military Memories of George Thomas Calcutta, 1803
3. Compton, H., A Particular Account of the European Adventurers offindostanfrom 1784-1803. London, 1893

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