Raja Francis Xavier shiam rikh

1. During the mutiny of 1857, (Now a days called First war of Independence), Tajpur was in the hands of Choudhary Pratap Singh. Choudhary Pratap Singh retendered signal services to Britishers during the Mutiny. After the Mutiny the victorious Britishers invested the personal title of ‘RAJA’ on Choudhary Pratap Singh and in lieu of his services the Britishers also gave him large area of land comprising more than 300 villages.

2. Raja Pratap Singh died in 1873 leaving behind a huge territory and three worthy sons viz Jagat Singh, Shiam Rikh, and Shiv Nath Rikh. After the death of Pratap Singh his eldest son Jagat Singh succeeded him. The British Government conferred on him the title of ‘RAJA BAHADUR’ as a personal distinction, unfortunately he died at a young age of 35 years in 1885. At his death, the property passed to his younger brother Shiam Singh who was awarded the personal title of ‘RAJA’ by the British Government. This personal title after 10 years was declared hereditary which passed on to his successors till 1952 when the Zamindari was abolished.

3. Being educated in England Raja Shiam Rikh was a man of wide culture. He had in him a great public spirit and he gave special attention to improvement of Agriculture. Under his rule from 1885 to 1942 the economic condition of his subject improved considerably. The British Government, realising his sterling qualities of head and heart made him a Statutory Civil Servant and Honorary Magistrate. As a further recoginition of his public services, he was awarded the converted title of ‘Kaiser – I – Hind” in 1900 and was elected as a member of Legislative Council in 1910. For providing distinction to his family by a deed poll on 7th Feb 1910 changed the surname Singh to family surname of ‘RIKH’. His younger brother followed suit.

4. Under his patronage Urdu and Hindi poetry flourished. He arranged Kavi Sammelan and Musheyearas. Maulvi Masoom Ali’Simab’ (1960 – 1926) was in court post. Masoom Ali “Simab” enriched the Urdu literature by his Urdu poems which were very popular among the masses. Maulvi Sahab was very close to Raja Shiam Rikh. Even when Maulvi Sahab left Tajpur he wrote very affectionate letters to Raja F.X Rikh. Raja Shiam Rikh was also a great builder and built numerous magnificent Palaces.

5. Kr. Shiv Nath Rikh was his younger brother. The love and union of hearts of these two noble brothers is a by-word among the people of Tajpur and when his younger brother Shiv Nath Rikh adopted Christianity in 1899 Raja Shiam Rikh also drew into the Catholic fold and changed his name and became Francis Xavier Shiam Rikh.

6. After the death of his wife Raja F.X Shiam Rikh was seriously thinking of retiring from the world and become a humble brother in the order of St. Francis of Assissi. But his religious guide Francis Romulus, advised him to remain in their world to be an example to others of his family and subjects. So, he married a second time, a lady named Margaret Mary, hailing from Mangalore and belonging to the distinguished COELHO family. The people of Tajpur still remember her with affection as a devoted wife, a loving mother and a tender hearted generous “Rani”.

7. In the 1st decade of this century – the two brothers Raja F,X Rikh and Kr. Shiv Nath Rikh resolved to build a church in keeping with their piety and status. Hence a magnificent Church was built on the bank of River Karula, which was blessed and opened by his Grace Dr. Charles Gentill, Archbishop of Agra, amidst a distinguished gathering and scenes of great enthusiasm and splendour.

8. Six years later on January 8th, 1919, the two princely brothers” were made “Knights of the Grand Cross of St. Gregory the Great” – a very rare papal decoration – in recognition of their meritorious services to the catholic religion.

9. Raja Shiam Rikh was considered one of the strongest pillars of the British Raj in India. He arranged several “Shikara” for several British Governors. In 1911 when the Grand Durbar was held in Delhi – he was allotted one of the two seats from. The other was Nawab of Rampur.

10. He was not the Raja as generally understood – Pompous, Haughty, Aloof and unconcerned about their people except as far as squeezing the revenue from them. He truly loved his subjects, went among them, worked for their welfare and helped them when success and necessity arose. This is the testimony of their subjects. He charity was not confined to the limits of his State. Many deserving cases and Institutions were benefitted by him in India and Abroad, even as far as Europe. The Allahabad University has recorded his generosity on the marble stone in the Senate Hall. But most of his benefactions are recorded in the book of life, for he avoided publicity and he gave help quietly to humble persons and institutions. Truly, as the people around love to recall, his were the golden days and under him Tajpur State reached its Zenith and the Rikh family gained its highest prestige in the country as well as abroad.

11. Thus, after a most useful life, spent in the service of God and to the benefit of his subjects, this illustrious “Raja” passed away to a better life in 1942 at Bangalore where he had retired for reasons of Health. The last remains of this noble Raja and his beloved Rani rest in suitable marble tomb in the cemetery at Bangalore.