James Skinner: From Half-Born Mercenary to Sikandar Sahib
Back in the 18th century, when the British were still trying to get a handle on this new land they had claimed, an adventurous Anglo-Indian solider burst onto the scene in the most dramatic way. Born to a Scottish father and a Rajput mother in Bengal, he grew up to become one of the most colourful men of his time – at times more ‘Indian’ than ‘Anglo’; at times a loyal soldier, at others a mercenary.
But straddling two worlds was not a curse for James Skinner. Although a disadvantage at times, he elevated it to an art and used it to earn great fame and fortune. Knighted by the Mughals, respected by the Marathas as well as the British, and fondly referred to as ‘Sikandar Sahib’ by common folk, Skinner enjoyed the best of all worlds.