Pratap Singh Gaekwad

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Pratapsinha Gaekwad (29 June 1908 – 19 July 1968) belonging to the Gaekwad dynasty of the Marathas, was a Maharaja of Baroda who succeeded his grandfather Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III upon his death in 1939. He ruled for a period of twelve years, from 1939 to 1951[citation needed], when he was deposed by the Government of India and exiled to England. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Fatehsinhrao Gaekwad.

He founded the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in 1949 as per the wishes of his grandfather, Sayajirao, and settled the "Sir Sayajirao Diamond Jubilee and Memorial Trust" which still exists, and caters to the educational and other needs of the people of the former Baroda State.[1]

Biography[edit]

He was a hedonistic spend thrift who had a tendency to squander his state's money. He had inherited an estate that was conservatively valued in excess of $US300 million (in 1939 dollars), which included an assortment of jewellery estimated value of $US15 million.[2] He went on a 1948 six-week tour of the United States, where he and his second wife were welcomed into the salons of high society. They spent a reported $US10 million during their visit to America. The Indian Union did an audit of Baroda's treasury after the widely read news reports. The audit concluded that the Gaekwad had taken several inappropriate interest free loans from Baroda's treasury. He agreed to pay the money back in yearly installments from his income of of US8 million.[3]

When India gained its independence from Britain, it also sought to absorb the princely states. This was a thorny issue, as technically the Princes were independent rulers and their states were private domains. The British withdrawal from India left a vacuum, with the British releasing the princes from their subsidiary alliances. However, most were militarily weak, and pressure from the new Indian Union resulted in the maharajas and other princes acceding their dominions to the one of the new countries of India and Pakistan. Pratap Singh was so distraught after he signed the Instrument of Accession for Baroda that he wept in the arms of V. P. Menon.[4]

Family[edit]

His father was Fatehsinhrao Gaekwad and his mother was Padmavati Bai Saheba.[5] His father was heir apparent, but died at the age of 23 before he could ascend the throne. Fatehsinghrao was a disappointment to his parents. Fatehsinghrao's father, Sayajirao Gaekwad III, abstained from alcohol, but Fatehsinghrao was alcoholic,[6] which may have contributed to his early demise. Sayajirao was also disappointed in his son's mediocre academic performance, which he attributed to his children having so much wealth and too few goals.[7]

Pratap Singh first married the daughter of a Sardar of Kolhapur, Shanta Devi. He had eight children with her.[8]

He ignored the anti-bigamy laws that his grandfather had imposed and in 1943 took for a second wife, a glamorous divorcée considered ill-suited for the exalted role of his consort, Sita Devi of Baroda.[9]

Marriages and Children[edit]

Pratapsinhrao married twice. In 1929, he married Shantadevi (1914–2002), the daughter of a Sardar of Kolhapur, Mansinhrao Subbarao Ghorpade. The couple had three sons and five daughters:

  • 1. Fatehsinghrao Gaekwad II (2 April 1930 - 1 September 1988), who succeeded as the Maharaja of Baroda.
  • 2. Mrunalini Raje Gaekwad (25 June 1931-). Became the Maharani of Dhar and had a daughter.
  • 3. Premila Raje Gaekwad (17 April 1933-). Became the Rani of Jasdan and had a son and a daughter.
  • 4. Sarla Raje Gaekwad (1935-). Became the Maharani of Sawantwadi and had a son and a daughter.
  • 5. Vasundharadevi Raje Gaekwad (4 October 1936-). Became the Rani of Sandur and had three sons and a daughter.
  • 6. Ranjitsinhrao Gaekwad (8 May 1938 - 9 May 2012), who succeeded his brother as the Maharaja of Baroda.
  • 7. Lalitadevi Raje Gaekwad (3 December 1939-). Married a Dr. Kirdatt and had five children Aditya Kirdatt, Kavita Mohite,Sarita Shreyas, Shailesh Kirdatt and Chirayu Kirdatt (eldest to youngest).
  • 8. Sangramsinhrao Gaekwad (6 August 1941-). Married Asha Rajya Lakshmidevi (1946-), fourth daughter of Arjun Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana. He has one son and one daughter:
    • Pratapsinhrao Sangramsinhrao Gaekwad (26 August 1971-). Married the daughter of Pyar Jung Thapa, CAS of the Royal Nepalese Army.
    • Priyadarshini Raje Gaekwad (1975-) (i Maharani Priyadarshini Raje Scindia, of Gwalior).

In 1943, Pratapsinhrao married Sita Devi of Baroda. The couple had one son:

  • Sayajirao Gaekwad (8 March 1945-8 May 1985)

Titles[edit]

  • 1908-1939: Shrimant Yuvaraja Pratapsinhrao Gaekwad, Yuvaraj Sahib of Baroda
  • 1939-1941: His Highness Farzand-i-Khas-i-Daulat-i-Inglishia, Shrimant Maharaja Pratapsinhrao Gaekwad, Sena Khas Khel Shamsher Bahadur, Maharaja of Baroda
  • 1941-1943: His Highness Farzand-i-Khas-i-Daulat-i-Inglishia, Shrimant Maharaja Sir Pratapsinhrao Gaekwad, Sena Khas Khel Shamsher Bahadur, Maharaja of Baroda, GCIE
  • 1943-1944: Major His Highness Farzand-i-Khas-i-Daulat-i-Inglishia, Shrimant Maharaja Sir Pratapsinhrao Gaekwad, Sena Khas Khel Shamsher Bahadur, Maharaja of Baroda, GCIE
  • 1944-1945: Lieutenant-Colonel His Highness Farzand-i-Khas-i-Daulat-i-Inglishia, Shrimant Maharaja Sir Pratapsinhrao Gaekwad, Sena Khas Khel Shamsher Bahadur, Maharaja of Baroda, GCIE
  • 1945-1946: Colonel His Highness Farzand-i-Khas-i-Daulat-i-Inglishia, Shrimant Maharaja Sir Pratapsinhrao Gaekwad, Sena Khas Khel Shamsher Bahadur, Maharaja of Baroda, GCIE
  • 1946-1968: Major-General His Highness Farzand-i-Khas-i-Daulat-i-Inglishia, Shrimant Maharaja Sir Pratapsinhrao Gaekwad, Sena Khas Khel Shamsher Bahadur, Maharaja of Baroda, GCIE

Honours[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Genealogy of Baroda

  1. ^ "Founder of MSU". Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda website. 
  2. ^ The Maharajahs by John Lord 1971 Random House ISBN 0-394-46145-2
  3. ^ The Maharajahs by John Lord 1971 Random House ISBN 0-394-46145-2
  4. ^ Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre, Freedom at Midnight (New York: Simon and Schuster; ISBN 0-671-22088-8), p. 214
  5. ^ [1] INDIAN PRINCELY STATES WEBSITE -Baroda
  6. ^ Maharanis: a family saga of four queens / Lucy Moore, New York : Penguin, 2006 pg 91 ISBN 0-14-303704-8
  7. ^ Maharanis : a family saga of four queens / Lucy Moore, New York : Penguin, 2006 pg 77 ISBN 0-14-303704-8
  8. ^ [2] INDIAN PRINCELY STATES WEBSITE - Baroda
  9. ^ Tribune India August 13, 2006,
Pratap Singh Gaekwad
Born: 29 June 1908 Died: 19 July 1968
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Sayajirao III
(as Maharaja of Baroda)
Maharaja of Baroda
1939–1948
Succeeded by
Monarchy abolished
(Merge within the Republic of India)
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
None
— TITULAR —
Maharaja of Baroda
1948–1951
Reason for succession failure:
Monarchy abolished in 1948
Succeeded by
Fatehsinghrao Gaekwad

See also[edit]

Sita Devi Gaekwar - Maharani of Baroda