PERRON, PIERRE CUILLIER (1755-1834), French adventurer and soldier of fortune who became Daulat Rāo Scindia's general in chief and all powerful deputy in northern India. Perron endeavoured to extend Marāṭhā influence up to the River Sutlej. When in 1800 the British emissary, Mīr Yūsaf 'Alī Khān, came on a mission to the court of Raṇjīt Siṅgh, Perron did not wish an entente to take place between him and the English and wrote to him as well as to the Mālvā 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 Paṭiālā, Nābhā, Jīnd, Kaithal, Lāḍvā and Thānesar, harassed by the depredations of the Irish adventurer George Thomas, solicited his aid. Perron readily agreed and a Marāthā force, 12,000 strong, under Louis Bourquien quickly expelled George Thomas from their territories. But Perron started treating the Mālvā 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 Raṇjīt Siṅgh and Perron signed at Karnāl. Though some evidence of Perron's overtures to Raṇjīt Siṅgh is available, yet it is established that the latter shrewdly refused to enter into a pact with the Marāṭhās, then on the verge of a war with the English. In 1803, Perron lost favour with Daulat Rāo Scindia. Fearful of Marāṭhā vengeance and certain of the overthrow of Marāṭhā 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.
B. J. Hasrat