Jean-François Allard

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Jean-François Allard
Jean-François Allard.jpg
Portrait of Jean-François Allard, by Joseph-Désiré Court
Personal details
Born1785
Saint Tropez, Kingdom of France
(present-day France)
Died1839(1839-00-00) (aged 53–54)
Peshawar, Sikh Empire
(present-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan)
RelativesPrincess Bannu Pan Dei (spouse)[1]
AwardsFlag of France (1794–1815, 1830–1958).svg Légion d'Honneur
Sikh Empire flag.jpg Kaukab-i-Iqbal-i-Punjab
Military service
AllegianceFlag of France (1794–1815, 1830–1958).svg First French Empire
Sikh Empire flag.jpg Sikh Empire
RankCaptain
UnitFlag of France (1794–1815, 1830–1958).svg 7th Hussar Regiment
Sikh Empire flag.jpg Fauj-i-Khas
Battles/warsBattle of Waterloo

Jean-François Allard (French pronunciation: ​[ʒɑ̃ fʁɑ̃swa alaʁ]; 1785–1839), born in Saint Tropez, was a French soldier and adventurer.

Allard served in Napoleon's army, where he was twice injured. He was awarded the Légion d'honneur,[2] and was promoted to the rank of Captain of the French 7th Hussar Regiment.

After the Battle of Waterloo Allard drifted, going to Persia where he visited Abbas Mirza to propose his services. He was promised the rank of Colonel, but never actually received the troops corresponding to his function.[3][4]

In 1820, Allard left for the Punjab, where in 1822 he entered the service of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh. He was commissioned to raise a corps of dragoons and lancers. On completion of this task, Allard was awarded the rank of general, and became the leader of the European officer corps in the Maharaja's service. While serving under Maharaja Ranjit Singh, he fell in love with Princess Bannu Pan Dei of Himachal Pradesh. They married had seven children. In 1835, Allard returned to his hometown Saint-Tropez along with his wife and built "Pan Dei Palais" to commemorate their love. When he returned to India, to serve in Maharaja's army once again he left Pan Dei at Saint-Tropez, fearing that she might become Sati, if he dies in India for any reason.[1]

Another European who took service in the Punjab with Allard in 1822 was the Italian Jean-Baptiste Ventura. They were joined four years later by the Neapolitan Paolo Di Avitabile, and the Frenchman Claude August Court.[2] A Spaniard, by the name of Oms, also served with them for a period.

General Allard with family. Sikh painting, 1838.[2]

Allard was a charming and gentle man, very different from some of the other European mercenaries in the Punjab. He made the effort to learn Persian, and is said to have composed poetry in his new language.[citation needed]

He was an amateur numismatist, and contributed greatly to the early study of Ancient Indian coins.[5]

In June 1834, Allard returned to France on leave, going back to the Punjab 18 months later. He continued to serve the Maharaja until his death in 1839.

Allard was awarded the Légion d'Honneur (French for Legion of Honour) by Napoleon Bonaparte, and the Kaukab-i-Iqbal-i-Punjab (Persian for Bright Star of Punjab) by Ranjit Singh.[2]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Explained: A love story that ties Saint-Tropez with Himachal Pradesh". Indian Express. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d Sikh art and literature by Kerry Brown p.43ff
  3. ^ John Gorton, A General Biographical Dictionary, p. 16
  4. ^ Chambers's encyclopaedia p.152
  5. ^ Proceedings of the Numismatic Society, 1836/1837-1838/1839. Royal Numismatic Society (Great Britain) p.71 [1]

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