SUCHET SIṄGH, RĀJĀ (1801-1844.), the youngest of the Ḍogrā trinity who rose to high positions at the court of Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh, was born on 18 January 1801, the son of Mīāṅ Kishorā Siṅgh. He started his career at a young age, appointed to the duty of laying public petitions before the Mahārājā in the wake of his elder brother, Dhiān Siṅgh, assuming, in 1818, the important office of ḍeoṛhīdār or chamberlain to the royal household. He lacked the political and administrative ability of his brothers, Gulāb Siṅgh and Dhiān Siṅgh, yet he won the favour of the Mahārājā by his handsome bearing and engaging manner. In 1822, he was created Rājā of Bandrālṭā and Sāmbā. He was also made the commander of the Chāryārī Sowārs, Raṇjīt Siṅgh's crack cavalry brigade. He usually remained at the court performing sundry protocol duties. Foreign visitors to the Sikh capital have paid Suchet Siṅgh generous compliments, describing him as 'the beau ideal of a Sikh soldier,' 'a gay courtier and gallant soldier,' and the great dandy of the Punjab. 'Suchet Siṅgh was also given assignments in the field. He took part in the Peshāwar campaigns of 1834-35 and 1837 and was charged with the administration of ṭonk and Bannū area in 1836. In recognition of his services in the Peshāwar campaigns, Jasroṭā was farmed out to him in July 1835, Aṭalgaṛh and Koṭhī were given him as jāgīr in December 1836, and Nadauṇ worth 70,000 rupees in May 1838. In 1838, he was assigned to administer the territories of General Avitabile.
During the lifetime of Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh Suchet Siṅgh betrayed no political interest but, after his death, he was involved in the murder of Chet Siṅgh Mahārājā Khaṛak Siṅgh's favourite, in October 1839. After the deaths of Mahārājā Khaṛak Siṅgh and Kaṅvar Nau Nihāl Siṅgh in November 1840, he supported Rāṇī Chand Kaur against Kaṅvar Sher Siṅgh, but transferred his allegiance to the latter as he invested the Fort of Lahore in January 1841. He escorted Kaṅvar Partāp Siṅgh during his meeting with Lord Ellenborough, the British governor-general, at Fīrozpur in December 1842. At one stage, on 15 August 1843, according to Sohan Lāl, the court historian, Ajīt Siṅgh and Lahiṇā Siṅgh Sandhāṅvālīā, who had planned the murder of Dhiān Siṅgh, proposed that Suchet Siṅgh replace his brother as the prime minister. When with the installation of young Duleep Siṅgh as Mahārājā of the Punjab, Hīrā Siṅgh was appointed Wazīr, Suchet Siṅgh felt jealous. He conspired with Jawāhar Siṅgh maternal uncle of the young Mahārājā, to wrest the office of Wazīr from his nephew. Gulāb Siṅgh, the eldest of the Ḍogrā brothers, dissuaded him from opposing Hīrā Siṅgh. He, in fact, took Suchet Siṅgh with him when he left for Jammū on 5 December 1843, but the latter kept up communication with the army at Lahore inciting it against Hīrā Siṅgh and his adviser, Paṇḍit Jallā. Encouraged by the response to his overtures, he ordered his Chāryārī troops to move to Lahore, himself reaching there with a small escort on 26 March 1844. Hīrā Siṅgh encircled his camp with his artillery and Suchet Siṅgh was killed in action on 27 March.
Suchet Siṅgh had amassed a vast fortune. He held jāgīrs worth 3,06,865 rupees annually. He had secretly kept a part of his treasure, worth, about 15,00,000 rupees, at Fīrozpur in British territory, which later became a matter of discord between the Sikh State and the British Government.
K. Jagjīt Siṅgh