Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Saint Tropez

On July 12, 2016, the Government of Punjab presented a bronze bust of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to the People of France, to be installed in Saint Tropez, France, on September 17, 2016. Chief Minister S. Parkash Singh Badal handed over the bust to His Excellency Alexender Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India, at a function held in Punjab Bhawan, Chandigarh. The bust was presented in the presence of D eputy Mayor in charge of Tourism, Saint Tropez, Mr Henri Prevost Allard, a fourth-generation direct lineal descendant of General Jean Francoise Allard of France – one of Mahara Ranjit Singh’s leading foreign generals. The gesture underlines the close historical links between Punjab and St Tropez. General Allard was born in St Tropez, though he lies buried in Lahore. A military ceremony will be held to install the bust in General Allard Square next to the general’s statue in St Tropez. The bust has been sculpted by Prabhat Murti Kala Kendra in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. It is 2 feet 8.68 inches tall and weighs 110 kgs. Others present on the occasion were Mr Claude Maniscalco, Director of Tourism, Saint Tropez, Minister for Tourism S Sohan Singh Thandal, Director Tourism NPS Randhawa, Director of Alliance Francaise Chandigarh and other Indian and French officials. Also released on the occasion was a booklet – Imperial Snapshots: Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his Men – containing a collection of paintings, copies of which the CM has dedicated for a permanent exhibition in St Tropez. The CM honoured the French dignitaries with shawls and a kirpan. The gathering was addressed by the CM, the French Ambassador, Mr Henry Prevost Allard and Minister for Tourism.

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