Maharani Gayatri Devi

Maharani Gayatri Devi (23 May 1919 – 29 July 2009), often styled as Maharani Gayatri Devi, Rajmata of Jaipur, was born as Princess Gayatri Devi of Koch Bihar. She was the third Maharani of Jaipur from 1939 to 1970 through her marriage to HH Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II. [2] Following India’s independence and the subsequent abolition of the princely states, she became an extremely successful politician. Gayatri Devi was also celebrated for her classical beauty and became something of a fashion icon in her adulthood.

She died on 29 July 2009 in Jaipur, at the age of 90. She was suffering from paralytic ileus and lung infection[3]. | [edit] Early life Gayatri Devi as a child Her father, Prince Jitendra Narayan of Cooch Behar, West Bengal, was the younger brother of the Yuvraja (Crown Prince). Her mother was Princess Indira Raje of Baroda, the only daughter of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, an extremely beautiful princess and a legendary socialite. Early in her life, her uncle’s death led to her father ascending the throne (gaddi).

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Gayatri Devi studied at Patha Bhavana of Visva-Bharati University, Shantiniketan [4], and later in Lausanne, Switzerland, where she travelled with her mother and siblings, then studied secretarial skills in London School of Secretaries; Brilliantmont and Monkey Club London [1]. She first met Jai (Maharaja Man Singh of Jaipur), when she was 12 and he had come to Calcutta to play polo and stayed with their family[5]. She married H. H. Saramad-i-Raja-i-Hindustan Raj Rajendra Sri Maharajadhiraja Sir Sawai Man Singh II Bahadur[6] on 9 May 1940. 7] Maharani Gayatri Devi (as she was styled after marriage) was a particularly avid equestrienne. Gayatri Devi had one child, Prince Jagat Singh of Jaipur, late Raja of Isarda, born on 15 October 1949 [7], who was granted his uncles’s (father’s elder brother) fief as a subsidiary title. Jagat Singh was thus half-brother to Bhawani Singh of Jaipur. Gayatri Devi was once included in Vogue magazine’s Ten Most Beautiful Women list. [8] Gayatri Devi started schools for girls’ education in Jaipur, most prominent of which is the Maharani Gayatri Devi Girls’ Public School established in 1943 [9].

She also revived and promoted the dying art of blue pottery. [edit] Political career After Partition and Independence Day in India in 1947, Gayatri Devi ran for Parliament in 1962 and won the constituency in the Lok Sabha in the world’s largest landslide, winning 192,909 votes out of 246,516 cast [10], confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records. She continued to hold this seat on 1967 and 1971, Swatantra Party of C. Rajagopalachari, the second Governor-General of Independent India [4], running against the Congress Party.

When the privy purses were abolished in 1971, terminating all royal privileges and titles, Gayatri Devi was accused of violating tax laws, and served 5 months in Tihar Jail. She retired from politics and published her autobiography, A Princess Remembers, written with Santha Rama Rau, in 1976. She was also the focus of the film Memoirs of a Hindu Princess, directed by Francois Levie. There were rumors that she might re-enter politics as late as 1999, when the Cooch Behar Trinamool Congress nominated her as their candidate for the Lok Sabha elections, but she did not respond to the offer. 11] Her father Jitendra Narayan Bhup Bahadur was the second son of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan Bhup Bahadur and Maharani Sunity Devi of Cooch Behar. After the death of his elder brother Maharaja Raj Rajendra Narayan Bhup Bahadur, a bachelor, he ascended the throne of Cooch Behar in November 1913, few month’s after his marriage with Princess Indira raje Gaekwad of Baroda. Maharani Sunity Devi was the daughter of illustrious Brahmo social reformer Keshab Chandra Sen. [edit] Family

She had one son, Prince Jagat Singh, late Raja of Isarda(15 October 1949 – 5 February 1997) [7], who was granted his paternal uncle’s (father’s elder brother) fief of Isarda as a subsidiary title. Jagat Singh was married 10 May 1978 (and divorced 1987 from) M. R. Priyanandana Rangsita (b. 1952) who is the daughter of HSH Prince Piyarangsit Rangsita and HRH Princess Vibhavadhi Rangsita (nee Rajani) of Thailand. This was a notably adventurous marriage for Jaipur royalty, which had previously confined itself to marriages into other Indian reigning and formerly royal houses.

The marriage produced two grandchildren:[12] * Princess Lalitya Kumari (b. 1979) * Prince Devraj Singh, now Raja of Isarda (b. 1981) Apparently, both grandchildren use the royal surname “Rangsita” of their mother which descend from HM King Rama V of Thailand)[citation needed]. Today, they are her only surviving descendants, and as such, have claimed to be heirs of their paternal grandmother. Maharaj Jagat Singh was thus half-brother to Bhawani Singh of Jaipur, the eldest son of the late Maharaja by his first wife, a Jodhpur princess.

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