Bhawani Singh

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Bhawani Singh
Maharaja of Jaipur
Head of the House of Kachwaha
Jaipur rulers2.jpg
18th Maharaja of Jaipur
Reign24 June 1970 – 17 April 2011 (titular)
PredecessorSir Man Singh II
SuccessorPadmanabh Singh
Born(1931-10-22)22 October 1931
Jaipur, Jaipur State, British India
Died17 April 2011(2011-04-17) (aged 79)
Gurgaon, Haryana, India
SpousePadmini Devi
IssueDiya Kumari Singh
Full name
Brig. HH Saramad-i-Rajahai Hindustan Raj Rajendra Shri Maharajadhiraj Sawai Bhawani Singh Bahadur
FatherSir Man Singh II
MotherMarudhar Kanwar
Military career
Service/branchIndian Army
Years of service1951–1975
(active service)
UnitPresidents Bodyguards, 50th Parachute Brigade, 10th Parachute Regiment
Battles/warsIndo-Pakistani War of 1971
AwardsMaha Vir Chakra

Brig. Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh Bahadur MVC (22 October 1931 – 17 April 2011) was the last titular Maharaja of Jaipur from 24 June 1970 until 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 Sir 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 as a Second Lieutenant holding a short-service commission in 1951 and was selected for the President's Bodyguards in 1954. On 31 July 1957, he received a regular commission as a lieutenant (seniority from 22 October 1954, and seniority as second lieutenant from 22 October 1952) with the service number IC-9015.[6] Promoted to captain on 22 October 1958,[7] he served in the President's Bodyguard till 1963.[8]

He was posted to 50th Parachute Brigade in 1963.[8][9] Later, he was posted as Adjutant, Indian Military Academy at Dehradun from January 1964 to 1967,[8][9] during which time he was promoted to major on 22 October 1965.[10]

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.[8][9]

In 1970 Bhawani Singh helped train Mukti Bahini before the commencement of the Bangladesh Liberation War.[8][9] Later next year, Bhawani Singh as an acting lieutenant-colonel commanded Para Commandos of the 10th Parachute Regiment in the 1971 war against Pakistan and was responsible for the capture of Chachro in Sindh, for which he was decorated with the Maha Vir Chakra (MVC):[9][11]

The citation for his MVC reads as follows:[12]

Lieutenant-Colonel Sawai BHAWANI SINGH (IC-9015), The Parachute Regiment

"On the night of 5 December 1971, Lieutenant Colonel Sawai Bhawani Singh, who was commanding a battalion of the Parachute Regiment (commandos), led his men deep into the enemy territory and for four days and nights, with complete disregard for his personal comfort and safety, made skilful and relentless raids on the strongly held enemy posts at Chachro and Virawah. His inspired leadership and personal courage led to the capture of large areas of the enemy territory and created panic and confusion among the enemy, forcing him to retreat leaving large number of prisoners and equipment.

In this operation, Lieutenant Colonel Sawai Bhawani Singh set an example of personal courage, exceptional qualities of leadership and devotion to duty in the highest traditions of the Indian Army."

Promoted to substantive lieutenant-colonel on 17 June 1973,[13] Singh took early retirement from the army with effect from 23 May 1975.[14] 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).[9] He was successful in this venture and, for this, the President bestowed upon him the honorary rank of Brigadier on 29 November 1991.[15] This is a rare honour when an army personnel has been given a promotion in rank after retirement.[9]

High Commissioner[edit]

After his retirement from Indian Army, he served as Indian High Commissioner to Brunei from 1994 to 1997.[16][17]

Royal life[edit]

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.[17]

He married Princess Padmini Devi of Sirmur on 10 March 1966 in a ceremony held at Delhi.[18] She was the daughter of his father's polo-playing friend HH Maharaja Rajendra Prakash of Sirmur by his wife Maharani Indira Devi.[19] The royal couple had 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 Singh, who succeeded him as head of the erstwhile royal family of Jaipur upon his death.[17]


In the same vein as his father, the first hotelier prince in India, 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 1958. 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. He became one of the richest of India's maharajas of post-independent India.[17]

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 by Congress government at center, due to political vendetta along-with Gayatri Devi but was released after protests from various people including Indian Army and Lord Mountbatten, who spoke to Indira Gandhi.[17]

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.[17]

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.


Bhawani Singh was admitted to a private hospital in Gurgaon, Haryana on 29 March and died on 17 April 2011 following multi-organ failure.[8][9][17]

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.[20]

He was cremated on 18 April 2011 at Gaitore Ki Chhatriya, the royal crematorium in Jaipur with full state honours.[21]


  1. ^ "Twenty Sixth Amendment". 28 December 1971. Archived from the original on 6 December 2011. 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 Archived 20 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine The Hindu – 20 October 2002
  6. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 26 October 1957. p. 270.
  7. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 3 January 1959. p. 3.
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Bubbles, the 'king' who tasted life in the trenches". The Telegraph, Calcutta. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h "A decorated soldier of the 1971 Indo-Pak war". Times of Indiatoi. 18 April 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  10. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 18 December 1965. p. 272.
  11. ^ "Heroes. The Parachute Regiment, Indian Army". The Parachute Regiment, Indian Army. Archived from the original on 8 June 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  12. ^ "Part I-Section 1". The Gazette of India. 12 February 1972. p. 183.
  13. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 10 August 1974. p. 905.
  14. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 26 July 1975. p. 981.
  15. ^ "Hony. Brigadier Rank to Maharaj Kumar (sic) Bhawani Singh" (PDF). Press Information Bureau of India - Archive. 15 December 1991. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 September 2010. Retrieved 19 October 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ a b c d e f g "Brigadier Sawai Bhawani Singh". The Telegraph, London. 18 April 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  18. ^ Date and place of marriage taken from two pages "Bhawani Singh" and "Padmini Devi" on the Durga Diya website. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
  19. ^ Maharani Padmini Devi, from the Durga Diya website. Retrieved 23 November 2009
  20. ^ "Maharaja of Jaipur Bhawani Singh passes away". The Times of India. 17 April 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  21. ^ "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
Man Singh II
Maharaja of Jaipur
24 June 1970 – 28 December 1971
Reason for succession failure:
Title abolished by Republic of India
Succeeded by
Padmanabh Singh