Bhawani Singh

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Bhawani Singh
Maharaja of Jaipur
Jaipur rulers2.jpg
Reign titular 24 June 1970 – 28 December 1971
Predecessor Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur
Successor Monarchy abolished
Spouse Padmini Devi
Issue Princess Diya Kumari
Full name
HH Saramad-i-Rajahai Hindustan Raj Rajendra Shri Maharajadhiraj Sawai Bhawani Singh Bahadur
Father Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur
Mother Maharani Marudhar Kanwar
Born (1931-10-22)22 October 1931
Jaipur, Jaipur State British India
Died

17 April 2011(2011-04-17) (aged 79)
Gurgaon, Haryana

Education = Harrow School Doon School
Religion Hinduism
Bhawani Singh
Born (1931-10-22)22 October 1931
Jaipur, Jaipur State, British India
Died 17 April 2011(2011-04-17) (aged 79)
Gurgaon, Haryana
Service/branch Indian Army
Years of service 1951–1972
Rank Brigadier
Unit Presidents Bodyguards, 50th Parachute Brigade, 10th Parachute Regiment
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Awards Maha Vir Chakra

Brigadier Sawai Bhawani Singh Bahadur MVC (22 October 1931 – 17 April 2011) was the titular Maharaja of Jaipur from 24 June 1970 to 28 December 1971, when all titles, privileges, and privy purses associated with princely states in India were abolished by the 26th Amendment to the Constitution of India.[1] He died at age 79 due to multi-organ failure.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born to Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II and his first wife, Marudhar Kanwar of Jodhpur, Bhawani Singh was educated at Sheshbagh School, Srinagar, The Doon School, Dehradun, and later Harrow School in the United Kingdom.[3][4] As the first male heir born to a reigning maharaja of Jaipur for generations (all others, including his father, who was originally a minor noble, were adopted), his birth was a celebrated event in Jaipur. It is said that so much champagne flowed in celebration of his birth that the new heir was nicknamed "Bubbles".[5]

Military career[edit]

He was commissioned into Indian Army in the 3rd Cavalry regiments as a Second Lieutenant in 1951 and was selected for the President's Bodyguards in 1954 and where in he served till 1963.[6]

He was posted to 50th Parachute Brigade in 1963.[6][7] Later, he was posted as Adjutant, Indian Military Academy at Dehradun from January 1964 to 1967.[7][6]

In 1967, Sawai Bhawani Singh was second-in-command of the 10th Parachute Regiment, one of the two elite Special Forces battalions and became the Commanding Officer (CO) later in 1968.[7][6]

In 1970 Bhawani Singh helped train Mukti Bahini before the commencement of the Bangladesh Liberation War.[6][7]Later next year, Bhawani Singh commanded Para Commandos of the 10th Parachute Regiment in the 1971 war against Pakistan and was responsible for the capture of Chachro in Sindh.[8][7] He moved into the small town with his unit and blocked Chachro from one side and from the other side the town was blocked by 20th Rajput regiment jawans commanded by Col GC Bhandari of Jodhpur.[7] The 10th parachute regiment on the night of 5 December 1971, led by Lt Col Bhawani Singh, entered deep into the enemy territory in the Sind desert. For four days and nights in complete disregard to his own safety, he led skilful and relentless raids on posts held by the enemy's army at Chachro and Virawah.[7]During the fighting, he was said to have duped Pakistani troops into believing that a formation of Indian tanks was advancing on their position when in reality the vehicles were revving jeeps.[9] He inspired the soldiers through personal leadership and courage and captured large area of enemy's territory and in sheer panic and confusion the Pakistani army fled. He also captured large amount of ammunition during the successful raids. He was awarded the second highest gallantry award of Mahavir Chakra.[7] His battalion also got 10 gallantry awards for their action in these operations.[7][8]

He was awarded India's second highest military honour, the Maha Vir Chakra in 1972, for his gallantry in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.[6][7][8]

While the Indian Army was in action in Sri Lanka under Operation Pawan, then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi requested him to go to Sri Lanka and boost the low morale of his old unit (10 Para).[7] He was successful in this venture and, for this, the President bestowed upon him the rank of Brigadier in 1974. This is a rare honour when an army personnel has been given a promotion in rank after retirement.[7]

High Commissioner[edit]

After his retirement from Indian Army, he served as Indian High Commissioner to Brunei from 1994 to 1997[10][9]

Royal life[edit]

Sawai Bhawani Singh ascended the throne of Jaipur on 24 June 1970 following the death of his father, and held the title of Maharaja until the abolition of the princely order, his Privy Purse and other royal entitlements by Indira Gandhi in 1971, although he remained generally honoured like most other erstwhile rulers.[9]

He married Princess Padmini Devi of Sirmur on 10 March 1966 in a ceremony held at Delhi.[11] She was the daughter of his father's polo-playing friend HH Maharaja Rajendra Prakash of Sirmur by his wife Maharani Indira Devi.[12] The royal couple have one daughter, Princess Diya Kumari (b. 30 January 1971).

Having half-brothers but no son, in November 2002 he adopted his daughter's elder son Padmanabh, who succeeded him as titular Maharaja of Jaipur upon his death.[9]

Other[edit]

In the same vein as his father, the first hotelier prince in India,[9] Sawai Bhawani Singh ran many palaces as hotels, including the Rambagh Palace, Raj Mahal Palace, or other former royal residences. He was the first Indian prince to turn his Rambagh Palace in to luxury hotel in year 1958.[9] He conducted certain ceremonies and customs from the traditional seat of royal power, the sprawling City Palace, Jaipur, part of which remains under the control of his family.[9] Among his friends were Bill Clinton and Mick Jagger.[9] He became one of the richest of India's maharajas of post-independent India.[9]

Political career[edit]

He was also involved in local politics, as was his late stepmother, Gayatri Devi, his father's third wife. In 1975 he was arrested and imprisoned for a short period during The Emergency due to political vendetta along-with Gayatri Devi but was released after protests from various people including Indian Army and Lord Mountbatten.[9]

Sawai Bhawani Singh contested the Lok Sabha elections in the year 1989 for the Indian National Congress Party but lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party leader Girdhari Lal Bhargava.[9]

He then retired from active politics and devoted his time to his family and the protection and continuation of Jaipur's traditional arts and heritage.

Death[edit]

Sawai Bhawani Singh, was admitted to a private hospital in Gurgaon, Haryana on 29 March and died on 17 April 2011 following multi-organ failure.[9][6][7]

Ashok Gehlot, then Chief Minister of Rajasthan announced three days of state mourning. His body was flown to Jaipur and kept at the City Palace for people to pay their last respect before being cremated.[13]

He was cremated on 18 April 2011 at Gaitore Ki Chhatriya, the royal crematorium in Jaipur with full state honours.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Twenty Sixth Amendment". Indiacode.nic.in. 28 December 1971. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Maharaja of Jaipur Bhawani Singh passes away". The Times of India. 17 April 2011. 
  3. ^ Maharaja of Jaipur Bhawani Singh passes away
  4. ^ "Brigadier Sawai Bhawani Singh". The Daily Telegraph (London). 18 April 2011. 
  5. ^ Royal vignettes: Jaipur: In touch with reality The Hindu – 20 October 2002
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Bubbles, the 'king' who tasted life in the trenches". The Telegraph, Calcutta. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "A decorated soldier of the 1971 Indo-Pak war". Times of Indiatoi. 18 April 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c "Heroes. The Parachute Regiment, Indian Army". The Parachute Regiment, Indian Army. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Brigadier Sawai Bhawani Singh". The Telegraph, London. 18 April 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  10. ^ [1][2]
  11. ^ Date and place of marriage taken from two pages "Bhawani Singh" and "Padmini Devi" on the Durga Diya website. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  12. ^ Maharani Padmini Devi, from the Durga Diya website. Retrieved 23 November 2009
  13. ^ "Maharaja of Jaipur Bhawani Singh passes away". The Times of India. 17 April 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
  14. ^ "Maharaja of Jaipur Bhawani Singh cremated". Times of India. 18 April 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
Bhawani Singh
Born: 22 October 1931 Died: 17 April 2011
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
title held not in pretence
— TITULAR —
Maharaja of Jaipur
24 June 1970 – 28 December 1971
Reason for succession failure:
Title abolished by Republic of India
Succeeded by
Title Abolished