Man Singh II

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Man Singh II
Man Singh II.jpg
Man Singh II at an early age
Maharaja of Jaipur
Reign1922–1948
Coronation18 September 1922
PredecessorSawai Madho Singh II
SuccessorSawai Bhawani Singh
Titular Reign1948–1970
BornSawai Mor Mukat Singh
21 August 1912
Thikana of Isarda, Rajputana Agency, British India
Died24 June 1970(1970-06-24) (aged 57)
Cirencester, England, United Kingdom
Consort(s)Maharani Marudhar Kanwar, Maharani Kishore Kanwar, Maharani Gayatri Devi
IssuePrem Kumari Singh
Sawai Bhawani Singh
Sawai Jai Singh III
Sawai Prithviraj Singh
Sawai Jagat Singh
HouseKachwaha
FatherSawai Singh (biological)
Sir Sawai Madho Singh II (adoptive)
MotherSugun Kunwar Singh (biological)
ReligionHinduism
Rajpramukh of Rajasthan
In office
30 March 1949 – 31 October 1956
Preceded byBhupal Singh
Succeeded byposition abolished
Gurmukh Nihal Singh (as Governor of Rajasthan)
Ambassador of India to Spain
In office
1965 – 1970[1]

Maj. Gen. Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II GCSI GCIE (b. Sawai Mor Mukut Singh; 21 August 1912 – 24 June 1970) was an Indian prince, government official, diplomat and sportsman.

Man Singh II was the ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Jaipur in the British Raj from 1922 to 1947. In 1948, after the state was absorbed into independent India, he was granted a privy purse, certain privileges, and the continued use of the title Maharaja of Jaipur by the Government of India,[2] which he retained until his death in 1970. He also held the office of Rajpramukh (Governor) of Rajasthan between 1949 and 1956. In later life, he served as Ambassador of India to Spain. He was a notable polo player.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Sawai Man Singh II, was born Mor Mukut Singh, the second son of Thakur Sawai Singh of Isarda by his wife Sugan Kunwar, a lady from Kotla village in Uttar Pradesh. His father was a nobleman belonging to the Kachhwaha clan of Rajputs. Mor Mukut grew up in the dusty, walled township of Isarda, a chief of thikana of the Rajawat sub-clan which lies between the towns of Sawai Madhopur and Jaipur in present-day Rajasthan. His family was connected to the ruling house of Jaipur and Kotah (where his father's sister was married). The then-Maharaja of Jaipur, Sawai Madho Singh II, had been born the son of a former Thakur of Isarda and had been adopted into the ruling family of Jaipur. After giving him up for adoption, Madho Singh's actual father had in turn lacked for an heir. He adopted the son of a distant kinsman and was succeeded by that lad as Thakur of Isarda. That lad was Sawai Singh, father of Mor Mukut Singh. In this manner, Mor Mukut could be reckoned near kin to Maharaja Madho Singh II of Jaipur.[citation needed]

After being adopted to become Maharaja of Jaipur, Madho Singh II had numerous (no less than 65) children by various concubines, but the highly superstitious Maharaja was warned by a sage against having legitimate heirs and thus took great care not to impregnate his five wives. On 24 March 1921, Madho Singh II adopted Mor Mukut to be his son and heir. The boy was given the name "Man Singh" upon his adoption. Madho Singh II died on 7 September 1922 and was succeeded by Man Singh as Maharaja of Jaipur and head of the Kachwaha clan of Rajputs. The new Maharaja was ten years old.[citation needed]

Maharaja of Jaipur[edit]

Upon obtaining his ruling powers, Man Singh embarked on a programme of modernisation, creating infrastructure and founding numerous public institutions that would later result in Jaipur being selected the capital of Rajasthan. At the time of the Independence of British India in 1947, the maharaja delayed acceding Jaipur to the Dominion of India. He finally signed an Instrument of Accession in April 1949, when his princely state became part of the Rajasthan States Union, initially retaining his powers of internal government. The Maharaja became Rajpramukh of the States Union, but the office was abolished when the Indian states were further re-organised in 1956. Although the Indian princes had by then relinquished their ruling powers, they remained entitled to their titles, privy purses, and other privileges until the adoption of the 26th amendment to the Constitution of India on 28 December 1971. Accordingly, Sir Man Singh II remained Maharaja of Jaipur until his death.[3]

In 1958, Sir Man Singh was one of several rulers who realised the potential of tourism in Rajasthan, turning Rambagh Palace into a luxury hotel. Under his rule various laws of land reform were first introduced in his state, such as the Jaipur Tenancy Act. Later in 1956, the Jagidari (feudal) form of political administration were abolished during the government of the Congress Party in India. In 1962 he was elected to Council of States, the Rajya Sabha the Upper House of Indian Parliament with term till 1968,[4] however in 1965, the Indian government appointed Sawai Man Singh, Indian Ambassador to Spain. Utilising his various contacts in Europe, he spent much of his time in Europe to ensue new military technology and arms-deal for the Indian army (Crewe).

He was especially noted as an enthusiastic (10-Goal) polo player, winning among other trophies the World Cup in 1933. The Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur is named in his honour. During the 1950s, Man Singh owned Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, West Sussex, which was sold to L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology in 1959.[5]

Personal life[edit]

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy with the Maharaja and Maharani of Jaipur.
Man Singh II and Maharani Gayatri Devi.

Marriages[edit]

Man Singh II was married three times, and his three wives lived in the same household together, in accordance with Rajput custom. His first two marriages were to suitable brides chosen from the royal family of Jodhpur, whose Rajput heritage and social ranking were similar to his own. The senior Maharani, known within the palace as 'First her Highness,' was Marudhar Kunwar, sister of Sumer Singh, Maharaja of Jodhpur. She was about twelve years older than him and bore him two children: first a daughter, Prem Kumari, and then his eldest son and heir, Bhawani Singh. His second wife was Maharani Kishore Kanwar, niece of his first wife and daughter of Maharaja Sumer Singh of Jodhpur. She was five years younger than he and bore him two sons.

He was briefly involved with English socialite Lady Ursula Manners.[6][7]

In 1940, Man Singh II married for the third and last time. His bride was the legendary beauty Gayatri Devi of Cooch Behar, the daughter of Maharaja Jitendra Narayan of Cooch Behar and Maharani Indira Devi, princess of Baroda. She stands out among the Maharanis of Jaipur for having become a public figure and a celebrity of sorts, initially for being a fashion-conscious beauty and later for becoming a politician and parliamentarian. She bore him one son and survived him by thirty-nine years, dying in 2009.

Children[edit]

Man Singh was the father of four sons and a daughter, borne to him by his three wives. They were:

By his first wife, Maharani Marudhar Kunwar, one son and one daughter
  • Prem Kumari (1929–1970). In 1948, she was given in marriage to the Maharawal of Baria. She had one daughter.
  • Bhawani Singh (1931–2011), succeeded to his father's title in 1970. In 1967, he married Padmini Devi, daughter of the Raja of Sirmur, and had one daughter;
    • Diya Kumari (b. 1970). She has three children, including one son who was adopted by Bhawani Singh and declared his successor, namely:
      • Padmanabh Singh (b. 1998).[8] Born a commoner, he was declared royal and adopted by his maternal grandfather in 2002.
By his second wife, Maharani Kishore Kunwar, two sons
  • Jai Singh (b. 1933). he was given the title of Raja of Jhalai and the estate of Jhalai in appanage by his father. In 1983, he married Vidya Devi, daughter of the Raja of Jubbal, and has one son.
    • Ajay Singh
  • Prithviraj (1935–2020); received the title Raja of Bhagwatgarth. In 1961, he married Devika Devi, a princess of Tripura and a niece (sister's daughter) of his step-mother Gayatri Devi. They had been living separately from each other by the time she died in 2009, a few months before her aunt. Gayatri Devi tended to support her step-son and deprecate her niece in the matter of their marital differences, and Prithviraj Singh remained close to his step-mother all his life.[9] Prithviraj and Devika had one son together:
    • Vijit Singh, who in 1991 married Minakshi Devi, daughter of the Maharaja of Lunawada, and has three children; two sons named Vedant Singh (b. 1992) and Siddhant Singh (b. 1996), and a daughter Mokshita (b. 1993).
By his third wife, Gayatri Devi (1919–2009)[10]
  • Prince Jagat Singh, (1949–1997) received the title Raja of Isarda was married in 1978 (divorced 1987) to a Thai princess. He had two children by her, namely,
    • Lalitya Kumari (b. 1979), daughter
    • Devraj Singh, (b. 1981), son

Death[edit]

The unveiling ceremony of Sawai Man Singh's statue in Jaipur on Rajasthan day, 30 March 2005

In 1970, Man Singh had an accident while playing polo in Cirencester, England. He died later the same day. He was survived by his four sons. He was succeeded as Maharaja of Jaipur and head of the Kachwaha clan by his eldest son, Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh of Jaipur. Following his death Indira Gandhi was finally able to repress the power of India's former rulers in democratic India as they formed a large bulk of her opposition party, the Swatantra party.

A statue of Sawai Man Singh was installed at the Ram Niwas Bagh in Jaipur, the statue was unveiled at a grand function on 30 March 2005.[10] A Cricket Stadium in Jaipur was named after him. His wife Gayatri Devi also made a school after him and was named Maharaja Sawai Man Singh Vidyalaya.

His successor, Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh of Jaipur died on 17 April 2011, aged 79.

In Popular Culture[edit]

In 2015, Zee TV released a television show Ek Tha Raja Ek Thi Rani, which was based on the life of Rana Indravardhan Singh Deo (loosely based on Man Singh II). Siddhant Karnick played the role of Man Singh II.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Taknet, D. K. (7 July 2016). Jaipur: Gem of India. ISBN 9781942322054.
  2. ^ Ramusack, Barbara N. (2004). The Indian princes and their states. Cambridge University Press. p. 273. ISBN 978-0-521-26727-4. The crucial document was the Instrument of Accession by which rulers ceded to the legislatures of India or Pakistan control over defence, external affairs, and communications. In return for these concessions, the princes were to be guaranteed a privy purse in perpetuity and certain financial and symbolic privileges such as exemption from customs duties, the use of their titles, the right to fly their state flags on their cars, and to have police protection. ... By December 1947 Patel began to pressure the princes into signing Merger Agreements that integrated their states into adjacent British Indian provinces, soon to be called states or new units of erstwhile princely states, most notably Rajasthan, Patiala and East Punjab States Union, and Matsya Union (Alwar, Bharatpur, Dholpur and Karaulli).
  3. ^ Careers Digest, Vol. 7 (1970), p. 488: Swai Man Singh : The Maharaja of Jaipur State who died in London recently at the age-of 59, was the 39th ruler of the Jaipur State. A progressive statesman, he was the last Indian Maharaja to sign the Instrument of Accession. He was the Rajpramukh of Rajasthan from April 7, 1949 to October 1956."
  4. ^ "SINGH, SHRI SAWAI MAN – RAJYA SABHA MEMBERS BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 1952 – 2003" (PDF). Rajya Sabha Secretariat. p. 34. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Visit Historic Saint Hill Manor". Saint Hill Manor. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  6. ^ d'Abo 2014, p. 99.
  7. ^ "Londoner's Diary: Alexa's Chung's neighbours make Christmas shopping tricky..." London Evening Standard. 7 November 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  8. ^ Colacello, Bob. "Inside Paris's 25th Annual le Bal des Débutantes". Vanity Fair.
  9. ^ Talukdar, Rakhee. "Royals won't tell what Gayatri will holds". Saint Hill Manor. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  10. ^ a b Sharma, Abha. "The people's princess". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 27 December 2013.

Works cited[edit]

  • d'Abo, Lady Ursula (2014). Watkin, David (ed.). The Girl with the Widow's Peak: The Memoirs. London: d'Abo Publications. ISBN 978-1907991097.