Maharaja Surat Singh of Bikaner

Maharaja Surat Singh (r.1844-1885) of Bikaner
with his munim

by Bikaner court artist
circa 1850 CE

Gouache on paper
12 x 9.1 in. (30.5 x 23.1 cm.)

Back: “no. 440, inspection of accounts”
(on a wet stamp): “This painting belongs to the personal collection of H H
Maharaja Bikaner”

This composition shows either documentation of daily activities of the ruler or inspection of the court records. Daily activities were recorded in almost all the kingdoms like Haqiqat Bahida in Mewar and Roznamcha in Dhundhar.

Maharaja Surat Singh is shown seated with his munim (accountant) who is jotting records in a bahi (accounts book). The ruler is dictating or instructing by waving his hand. The ruler is shown clad in an orange shawl and is seated on a maroon mat and an attendant is appointed to stir the air with a hand fan.

Maharaja Surat Singh was an observant ruler and invaded many kingdoms including Bahawalpur and made many peace treaties with kingdoms like Jaipur, Jodhpur and the British government.