New Delhi: A letter penned during the revolt of 1857 by Nahar Singh, king of the then princely state of Ballabgarh is set to go under the hammer soon.
The handwritten letter to Lord Ellenborough, the Governor General of India from 1842-44 would be auctioned at the Bonhams "Photography and Travel: India and Beyond" in London, on October 4 and is expected to fetch an estimated 1,000 to 1,500 pounds.
"The letter, it seems was written as a ruse to deceive the British in the event of his capture... as he was fully committed to the cause of Indian Independence" says an official statement by the auction house.
In the letter, dated September 10 1857, Nahar Singh seeks the protection of Lord Elllenborough, whom he had met as a young man; offers his services to the East India Company; and promises "to explain many unspeakable matters and unsupportable calamities into which India is involved and to spend the remainder of my life in your service."
Singh also refers to earlier correspondence in similar terms with Lord Ellenborough and other senior British figures. Written four days before the British troops entered Delhi, the letter is handwritten on a sheet of paper with gold floral pattern. It is one of the 550 lots on sale at Bonhams. Nahar Singh is now regarded as a key figure in the first war of Independence and pivotal to the defence of Delhi. He acted as right hand man to Bahadur Shah, who had been declared the Emperor of India by the rebels, and had played an active and public role in the mutiny from its beginning.
The other highlights in the sale include one of the first printed depictions of the Taj Mahal, which appears in a volume of aquatint views of India by William Hodges, who travelled through the country in the 1780s. Hodges drawings were executed on the spot.
The books are estimated to fetch around 35,000 pounds. A rare set of photographic albums of the Dutch East Indies by the pioneering Victorian photographers, Walter Woodbury and James Page — featuring 248 images, including portraits of notable Indonesian figures, ethnographic studies, Dutch colonial life and topographical views from Sumatra to The Moluccas — is also estimated to sell between  40,000-50,000 pounds.

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