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A Princess Remembers: The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur

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She is the daughter of the Maharaja of Cooch Behar and the widow of the Maharaja of Jaipur. She was raised in a sumptuous palace staffed with 500 servants and she shot her first panther when she was twelve. She has appeared on the lists of the world's most beautiful women. Gayatri Devi describes her carefree tomboy childhood; her secret six-year courtship with the dashing, She is the daughter of the Maharaja of Cooch Behar and the widow of the Maharaja of Jaipur. She was raised in a sumptuous palace staffed with 500 servants and she shot her first panther when she was twelve. She has appeared on the lists of the world's most beautiful women. Gayatri Devi describes her carefree tomboy childhood; her secret six-year courtship with the dashing, internationally renowned polo player, Jai the Maharaja of Jaipur; and her marriage and entrance into the City Palace of the 'pink city' where she had to adjust to unfamiliar customs and life with his two wives. Jai's liberating influence, combined with Gayatri Devi's own strong character, took her well beyond the traditionally limited activities of a Maharani. This is an intimate look at the extraordinary life of one of the world's most fascinating women and an informal history of the princely states of India, from the height of the princes' power to their present state of de-recognition.


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She is the daughter of the Maharaja of Cooch Behar and the widow of the Maharaja of Jaipur. She was raised in a sumptuous palace staffed with 500 servants and she shot her first panther when she was twelve. She has appeared on the lists of the world's most beautiful women. Gayatri Devi describes her carefree tomboy childhood; her secret six-year courtship with the dashing, She is the daughter of the Maharaja of Cooch Behar and the widow of the Maharaja of Jaipur. She was raised in a sumptuous palace staffed with 500 servants and she shot her first panther when she was twelve. She has appeared on the lists of the world's most beautiful women. Gayatri Devi describes her carefree tomboy childhood; her secret six-year courtship with the dashing, internationally renowned polo player, Jai the Maharaja of Jaipur; and her marriage and entrance into the City Palace of the 'pink city' where she had to adjust to unfamiliar customs and life with his two wives. Jai's liberating influence, combined with Gayatri Devi's own strong character, took her well beyond the traditionally limited activities of a Maharani. This is an intimate look at the extraordinary life of one of the world's most fascinating women and an informal history of the princely states of India, from the height of the princes' power to their present state of de-recognition.

30 review for A Princess Remembers: The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur

  1. 4 out of 5

    Digi

    I selected this book because its written by my grandmother .She is the daughter of the Maharaja of Cooch-Behar, and the widow of the Maharaja of Jaipur. Raised in sprawling palaces. She shot her first panther when she was twelve. Later in her life, she won a seat in the Indian Parliament with the most staggering majority that anyone has ever earned in an election. Much prettier than today’s alleged beauties, in her heydays she, was considered by Vogue to be amongst the Ten Most Beautiful Women i I selected this book because its written by my grandmother .She is the daughter of the Maharaja of Cooch-Behar, and the widow of the Maharaja of Jaipur. Raised in sprawling palaces. She shot her first panther when she was twelve. Later in her life, she won a seat in the Indian Parliament with the most staggering majority that anyone has ever earned in an election. Much prettier than today’s alleged beauties, in her heydays she, was considered by Vogue to be amongst the Ten Most Beautiful Women in the World. She is also chosen as the fourth most beautiful woman of the century. The book gives the image of a princess’s majestic life .It describes the time of independence in 1947, when the princes lost their power. Somehow they seem to have adjusted remarkably well in very difficult circumstances. In short it’s a wonderful book that everyone should read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    I recommend this book for the first half which is a rich (not a pun, but a truth) description of the life of Indian royalty in the first half of the century. This is a rare peak at a bygone world that was not so long ago. The book is light on World War II and after that Gayatri Devi’s description of her life, particularly in politics, has little depth. Although her grandfather ruled a small kingdom near what is now Bangladesh, her mother’s active social life brought Gayatri into the orbit of Jai I recommend this book for the first half which is a rich (not a pun, but a truth) description of the life of Indian royalty in the first half of the century. This is a rare peak at a bygone world that was not so long ago. The book is light on World War II and after that Gayatri Devi’s description of her life, particularly in politics, has little depth. Although her grandfather ruled a small kingdom near what is now Bangladesh, her mother’s active social life brought Gayatri into the orbit of Jai the Maharaja of Jaipur a very large kingdom quite a distance away. The description of the courtship and the fabulous life that surrounds it makes the book. After the wedding (The clothes! The guests! The gifts! Polo! Traveling from palace to palace!) she is installed in a zenana (women’s quarters) in partial purdah (female sequester), with two sister wives in full purdah. After the exotic first half, the second is a let down. I was anticipating something, not sure what, about life during the war. There are some day to day observations about the rationing and how Jai led parades and troops. The post war narrative was a bigger let down. There is nothing on the partition. With Gayatri’s family’s kingdom on the border of the new Bangladesh, I expected, well, something. It is simply said that they worked with Louis Mountbatten and like other royals agreed that their kingdom will be part of India. There is little on how this came about or worked, but suddenly their palace was to be a hotel and museum. Their status seems diminished (the kids at school hear that it is) but they are still leading a life of hunting expeditions, polo matches and formal parties. Gayatri says she ran for office because the Congress Party was corrupt and not getting things done. She gives a rather unbelievable account of well managed things had been (i.e. maharaja’s arranged for water to be available in droughts, created parks and cared for roads) and how they had deteriorated. In office, it was hard to tell her goals or her point of view. There was a lot on campaigning and meeting dignitaries. She mentions hearing grievances of the people. As for clues on her style and/or politics, she had to have been well known: John F. Kennedy called her “India’s Barry Goldwater” and during riots, her husband warned her not to go since her prescience would be inflammatory. One political item takes several pages. In 1970 a constitutional amendment was proposed (and succeeded) to end stipends for former royals. Apparently, the British had negotiated these to get rulers to sign on to the new India. It does not seem that Jai and Gayatri needed this stipend since their wealth (the source is unexplained) seems to be extensive; Gayatri is sympathetic to her social peers and writes quite a bit to justify her stance. If you are interested in Indian royal life in the early 20th century this is the book for you. The photos are fabulous.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gorab

    Priceless! Loved: The details which the princess remembers - from color of car to dresses while describing the royal events. The opulence on display, the personality, the cordial relations Details on how a king runs a kingdom and what are the different considerations Can be considered as a biography of her husband, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh Ji II, referred to as Jai by the queen. Structured well in 4 parts, with apt chapters and titles. Loads of images and insets. Literally priceless as there is no MRP o Priceless! Loved: The details which the princess remembers - from color of car to dresses while describing the royal events. The opulence on display, the personality, the cordial relations Details on how a king runs a kingdom and what are the different considerations Can be considered as a biography of her husband, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh Ji II, referred to as Jai by the queen. Structured well in 4 parts, with apt chapters and titles. Loads of images and insets. Literally priceless as there is no MRP on the book anywhere :P Loved the courtship period details. Beautifully expressed. The last part is not as good as the previous 3, in terms of writing, as well as the hardships and misfortunes of her life.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Pooja

    My first book about a Maharani from India and certainly not the last! I had been trying to concrete my thoughts since the moment I read this book and have been failing to find the right words. Taking time out of your everyday fiction reading and exploring the world of Indian Princesses and Queens was a delight. Coming from a highly educated and liberal background, the daughter of Cooch Behar, granddaughter of Baroda and the widow of Maharaja of Jaipur, Maharani Gayatri Devi's book keeps you exhilar My first book about a Maharani from India and certainly not the last! I had been trying to concrete my thoughts since the moment I read this book and have been failing to find the right words. Taking time out of your everyday fiction reading and exploring the world of Indian Princesses and Queens was a delight. Coming from a highly educated and liberal background, the daughter of Cooch Behar, granddaughter of Baroda and the widow of Maharaja of Jaipur, Maharani Gayatri Devi's book keeps you exhilarated. The first half of this book is about how Indian royalty looked like. The scenes are described so well that for a moment, you are transported to the palaces, richness, summer vacations at hill stations, hundreds of people at your service, studying abroad, meeting and being friends with princes and princesses, playing sports considered rich people's game, going to and conducting parties every once in a while , having the international ambassadors as guests, being respectable and God-like to your subjects and living a regal life without any pretense or regret. The second half is the Maharani's life as a political leader, campaigning and standing up against the corruptions in Congress party. I was expecting this half to be as grand as the first, that left me a bit disappointed. But looking at the phases of the Maharani's life, the incidences that led her being without a purpose and real joy, a sensitive heart can only show consolation. For me, it was a near balanced, stark honest and brave memoir. What impressed me the most was how sincere the book is without a hesitation of being judged. The author doesn't pretend to be someone she isn't. She lived a life of Queen with its perks, opportunities and also limitations, giving the readers a taste of Indian royalty. This really is a privilege for the readers. The book is far from being a formal account of dates and treaties. Spoken as a true storyteller, the author's life has been a fairy tale, sometimes the world is full of sweetness, light, hope and joy and other times, there is an absence of all of these. But the sense of moving on, keep holding on never ceases. Being the third wife of Maharaja of Jaipur, coming from a liberal place and accepting age-old traditions of her in-laws just because she loved her husband so much, tells a lot about a person. In the second chapter of her life, Gayatri Devi has played a crucial role in shaping the Indian politics, campaigning for a party she believed in, criticizing the government's decisions with a fine balance and giving her people a hope as a leader. Coming out from her comfort zone to work for the people who looked up to her, was difficult considering the traditions few decades back and it motivated many women from high society. Each page had to speak volumes, each word trying from the past to interact with the future generation in hope, zeal and belief. Maharani Gayatri Devi's autobiography brings the reader to an era not familiar to most of us and makes it difficult to forget. Since a small age, the students in India have been studying about the Struggle of Independence through the freedom fighters' looking-glass. Having a glimpse of Princely lifestyle was a treat. But with luxuries came the responsibilities and sometimes the disadvantages of being a Queen were far greater than the fun of it. Fabulous pictures, black cover with golden title and feel-good pages make the reading experience better. To sum it all up, I believe that works like this should be read more and more for they provide a perspective normally we fail to see. For those who are interested in the lives of Indian Queens, palaces, elephant processions, tiger hunts and royal parties, go for it. I thank Dr. Govind Sharma Sir for introducing me with such a personality.

  5. 4 out of 5

    d.a.v.i.d

    Once, a long, long, time ago, there lived a young woman. She married a prince and became a princess. It was in a small and pink city of only three quadrillion people. The walled hamlet was in India. She soon was known, throughout the world as the most beautiful woman alive, the aesthetic opposite of my mother. And she also worked in the government before she retired to the UK. And she lived happily thereafter, pre-Boris Johnson. Now she is dead. (and less attractive) The end. (a true and touching memoir Once, a long, long, time ago, there lived a young woman. She married a prince and became a princess. It was in a small and pink city of only three quadrillion people. The walled hamlet was in India. She soon was known, throughout the world as the most beautiful woman alive, the aesthetic opposite of my mother. And she also worked in the government before she retired to the UK. And she lived happily thereafter, pre-Boris Johnson. Now she is dead. (and less attractive) The end. (a true and touching memoir)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Marcy

    I visited the Pink City of Jaipur as I traveled through the state of Rajasthan in India. The Pink Palace was alive in all its glory as I read this princess' memoirs. The people and rulers I had "heard" about from our guide in Jaipur were introduced by Gayatri as if they were alive and well, for she was the third wife of the adopted Raja, the last raja before the merger of Indian states fell under the new democratic country of India. Gayatri Devi tells about the enchanted lifestyle of a princess I visited the Pink City of Jaipur as I traveled through the state of Rajasthan in India. The Pink Palace was alive in all its glory as I read this princess' memoirs. The people and rulers I had "heard" about from our guide in Jaipur were introduced by Gayatri as if they were alive and well, for she was the third wife of the adopted Raja, the last raja before the merger of Indian states fell under the new democratic country of India. Gayatri Devi tells about the enchanted lifestyle of a princess in her own right of generations of princesses, before she married the love of her entire life, Jai, the raja of Jaipur. Dayatri's early life, and life as a Raja's wife took her all over in majestic style, to say the least, through India, to England, to Spain and to Thailand. Jai was a polo star in India and in England, and Jai and his wife lived in the lap of luxury, entertaining, and being entertained by royalty. I liken their lives to Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, and the "royals." Although Jai and Gayatri did much good for their "state," such as build schools and hospitals, and treat Muslims and Hindus as equals, it was hard for me to read that when the politics got tough in India, Gayatri could jet set anywhere in the world to escape the blues. Although the majority of the prince's wealth was taken away by the new government of India, Gayatri continues to live in Jaipur in Lilypool, in a much less extravagant style, but still in much more style than most people. She has worked hard as a leader in the Parliament, fighting for the rights of her Jaipur people. She expresses the truth about the people who are now in power in India, "They are obsessed by money and profit." Seeing so many people living in poverty with my own eyes throughout the north of India, I know her words to be true. Gayatri Devi describes the pomp and circumstance of a past life in India. Drought, poverty, illiteracy, and the destruction of beautiful artifacts continue to plague India. The rajas of the past that were described in this book, sincerely cared about the people they ruled.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Scot

    My elderly aunt picked up a little hardback copy of this book--simple black cover with golden print for the title--in a bookshop when she was wandering in India twentysome years ago. This year she gifted it to me on my birthday with the advice that India is complex and fascinating and I would do well to learn more about the country and visit it someday if possible. I didn't know exactly where Jaipur was on the subcontinent but I understood who a maharani would be, and when I flipped through the m My elderly aunt picked up a little hardback copy of this book--simple black cover with golden print for the title--in a bookshop when she was wandering in India twentysome years ago. This year she gifted it to me on my birthday with the advice that India is complex and fascinating and I would do well to learn more about the country and visit it someday if possible. I didn't know exactly where Jaipur was on the subcontinent but I understood who a maharani would be, and when I flipped through the musty old pages I found intriguing illustrations of tiger hunts, elephant processions, and gargantuan palaces. I quickly gathered that this would be a memoir of someone very very rich, and from her pictures I could see she was a dazzling beauty. She tells the story of her family life as one of the Indian elite royals who lived through the 20th century transition of India from part of the British Empire to a new democracy working out its future path. Her family connections were linked to power and wealth across the subcontinent, and the number of servants, possessions, and home arrangements she describes seemed extraordinary in their excess to me, but I see how it was a norm for her. She covers details of daily schedules for maharajahs, maharanis, and other members of the royal family, and shares what her fears, concerns, and personal hopes were as she moved through her distinctive life experience. Her progressive and Western educated mother set a pattern the author would follow in her own life as the third wife of the powerful monarch of Jaipur who was also an international polo star, for she helped erode the strict traditions of female segregation in domestic life, known as purdah. She gave an explanation of a polygamous family functioning manner that was foreign to me, but I learned from how it was so accepted and sensible from her perspective. Those interested in the rituals and ceremonies practiced among the royalty in colonial India will enjoy this book, and so will students of political science, for the author became a significant figure in an opposition party that arose to challenge the almost complete control the Congress Party political machine had on emergent India following the partition of India (the creation of Pakistan, the merging of the princely states and the areas under British authority into one unified land). It was a life of incredible privilege and wealth this princess lived, with houseguests ranging from Douglas Fairbanks in the 1920s to Jackie Kennedy in the 1960s, and flights to Monte Carlo, Buenos Aires, or London taken on a whim. This certainly wasn't a typical life story, and I ended up reading it during a tropical rainstorm in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, sitting on a balcony looking over the old part of that city. I was reminded that life can take us to exotic exciting places--and so can books.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Hazeanni

    A very engaging and fascinating memoir of the world most beautiful woman, Maharani Gayatri Devi, the Rajmata of Jaipur. It's offering rare glimpses on her parts of historical India back from the period of princely rule to her retirement from politics post Indira Gandhi. For me, this memoir served as a continuity to Royal India theme I had read; in particular were of her grandmothers, Chimnabai II and Sunity Devi. Her Highness used lots of nicknames here. Ayesha - Herself. The story was, prior to A very engaging and fascinating memoir of the world most beautiful woman, Maharani Gayatri Devi, the Rajmata of Jaipur. It's offering rare glimpses on her parts of historical India back from the period of princely rule to her retirement from politics post Indira Gandhi. For me, this memoir served as a continuity to Royal India theme I had read; in particular were of her grandmothers, Chimnabai II and Sunity Devi. Her Highness used lots of nicknames here. Ayesha - Herself. The story was, prior to her birth, her mother reads a novel by Rider Haggard and decided to name her newborn after the heroine. Being told that it was a Moslem name, and priest consultation concluded that her daughter auspicious name should start with the alphabet G, Ayesha remained as her calling name. Jai - Man Singh II, her consort. Bhaiya- Jagaddipendra Narayan, Maharaja of Cooch Behar. Her eldest brother. Jo Didi - The Second Highness, Maharani Kishore Kanwar, her elder sister-wife. Bubble - Bhawani Singh, Maharaja of Jaipur. The eldest son of Man Singh II Joey - Jai Singh III, Jo Didi eldest son. Pat - Prithviraj Singh, Jo Didi second son. Mickey - Prem Kumari. The eldest children and the only princess born to Sawai Man Singh II and Maharani Marudhar Kanwar, the first consort. Baby - Kamal, a daughter of Nawab Khusru Jung, a nobleman of Hyderabad that managing the financial aspect of Cooch Behar. The story began with an exciting journey to Baroda located in the northeastern part where her maternal grandparents reigning as the Gaekwad of Baroda and the Maharani Consort. I felt transposed to the Laxmi Palace while listening to her breeze and beautiful descriptions. On the second chapter, her mother got betrothed to the Maharaja of Gwalior who already had a wife. As the only princess of a premier Maharaja marrying a childless Maharaja of another premier state, this kind of alliance was highly desirable. (There were only 5 states with 21 gun salutes; Hyderabad, Mysore, Jammu and Kashmir, Baroda and Gwalior). The marriage prospects greatly to the advantage of Princess Indira Raje; especially after the birth of heir to the throne of Gwalior later. But the princess thought otherwise. She fell in love with a younger brother of the Maharaja of Cooch Behar which she met during the Delhi Durbar. To break the engagement, she wrote to her betrothed, informing His Highness, that she didn't want to marry him. An unprecedented action among Indian royalty. Then, she demanded to wed her beloved and met with disapproval. Only after 2 years, her parents finally relented but on condition, they would not take any part on the wedding. So, it's done in London with Miss Tottenham, lady companion to Chimnabai II and a lawyer acting as loco parentis. I think it's written in the destiny that Indira Raje will become a Maharani. Barely 3 weeks, the newlyweds received news of the death of the groom's elder brother. With it, her husband ascended the throne as the Maharaja Jitendra Narayan. Now, her part began with the childhood memories in Cooch Behar. I liked the fact that her reminiscence properly captured the household, everyday life, environment and surrounding without being overdone. She alternated that with brief history and anecdotes when appropriate. A smooth writer. I managed to unravel something here. In her grandmother's memoir (Sunity Devi), the cause of death of Maharaja Rajendra Narayan (her eldest uncle) was vague at best. Here, the reason given was alcoholic abuse due to broken heart of non-permission to marry Edna May, an English actress. Everybody knew she shot her first leopard at the age of twelve. Upon reading, I realized it's a part of royal duty in Cooch Behar as much as it was a royal leisure. When public lodged complain to the palace of threatening wildlife, upon investigation, the palace shooting unit will organise search to hunt the beast. It was in this manner that Her Highness shot that leopard. In term of love life, I saw history repeated itself though in much reduced gravity. It had to do with the fact that Jai already had 2 wives and 4 children. Both wives were of Rajput clan, being a sister and another one, the daughter to the Maharaja of Jodhpur. As she acknowledged, her marriage was not popular with the Rajput. She, probably being seen as an outsider entering the already dynastically correct matrimonies. Before this, we were entertained by her fairytale-like story and immersed ourselves in the richness of royal culture, festivities and journeys. Now this memoir entering it's tense phase. British was having it's war against fascism (Nazi) invasion of Poland; at the same time political agitations on national front and the princely armed forces recruitment to various front. She followed Jai's posting on the border of Afghanistan as a captain's wife. Returning from the war front, both of them were not under illusion that princely states will remain as it were if independent are to be achieved. Jai became the 1st ruler to accede his dominion together with armed forces, administration, government building and many more. His actions opened the floodgate of other princes to follow. Rulers in return, being compensated with privy purse and their dignity recognised in the new India. In recognition of his sacrifice to the independent nation of India, he was appointed as the Rajpramukh for life of a newly created Rajasthan state. It was at this time she started to be involved in official event as the hostess. In 1956, Jai being informed that the office of Rajpramukh will come to the end. Which hurt him very much as the none of the office holder were being consulted of this. I think this step was a prelude to Congress long-term plans to abolish whatever remain of princely order. Jai taken a wise step in converting Rambarg Palace to a palatial hotel. It make a good economic sense. City Palace also being converted into museum which should be commended for their tourism potential and preservation of the historical heritage of Jaipur. My thinking, Rajmata herself didn't realise her potential in political arena. She received an invitation to join the ruling Congress Party by Chief Minister of Rajasthan, though she declined and registered membership with Swatantra Party few years later. Her parliamentary candidacy on 1962 general election saw her winning with the biggest majority in the world of any election. I believe her upbringing and surrounding did a lot in shaping her thinking. Both sets of grandparents were progressive, future forward rulers. At one time, she even studied in school set up by the great poet and Nobel Prize receipent Rabindranath Tagore, where lessons conducted under the trees. To me, her political part was the best part of her memoir. It showed her maturity, philosophy, principles and love of one's motherland and how she, the former Maharani of Jaipur could contribute to the well being of a nation. I do pity when the privy purse abolished by Indira Ghandi. It's their dignity that being taken away. I think they had been deceived of their fair due of signing the Instrument of Accession. I also pity that she had being held in jail under Internal Security Act. She definitely didn't enter it to become a glamourous poster woman which probably will be the case if she accepted Congress's invitation in 1957. Whatever her shortcomings might be, she was a patriot.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shreya

    This is a slow read.. I generally have a fascination of palaces and grandeur described with minute detailing. This is what Maharani does.. I traveled Cooch Behar, Jaipur and Europe with the book. It remains dreamy in three fourth of the book, which I absolutely dig for and takes a political turn in the last part with the Maharani getting involved in post Independence politics. An absolutely dreamy read.. and all I could say after putting it down is wish I was a Princess :) :)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Prabhat sharma

    A Princess Remembers::the memoirs of the Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur(Paperback) by Gayatri Devi of Jaipur and Santha Rama Rau : Cooch Behar Princess Gayatri Devi daughter of Maharaja Jitendra Narayan and Princess Indra Raje of Baroda. Date of birth 23-05-1909. She studied at Glendower at Glendower Preparatory School, London, Vishwabharati Vishwavidyalaya, Shantiniketan and at Lausanne, Switzerland. Later she studied at London School of Secretaries, Brillantmont and Monkey Club London. She ha A Princess Remembers::the memoirs of the Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur(Paperback) by Gayatri Devi of Jaipur and Santha Rama Rau : Cooch Behar Princess Gayatri Devi daughter of Maharaja Jitendra Narayan and Princess Indra Raje of Baroda. Date of birth 23-05-1909. She studied at Glendower at Glendower Preparatory School, London, Vishwabharati Vishwavidyalaya, Shantiniketan and at Lausanne, Switzerland. Later she studied at London School of Secretaries, Brillantmont and Monkey Club London. She has narrated her childhood at Palace in Cooch Behar and travels in Europe and UK with her parents and other siblings. Here she along with her studies, she practiced equestrian, Polo and participated in Shikar in forests. She was married to Savai Man Singh II of Jaipur on 09-05-1940,. She was his third wife. She had one son Jagat Singh who is half-brother of Bhawani Singh who is son of the first wife of Sawai Man Singh. First important event described is independence of India, after which her State merged with Rajputana. Second event is when elections are declared in 1962. She contests for the post of Member of Parliament. She convenes meetings with people of her constituency and visits various people. She has described them as a poor but they are dressed in coloured clothes and have dressed their animals. After election, she has described that all her sisters and other Kings and families attended Parliament as visitors. hird, she contests and wins for Lok Sabha, lower house of the Parliament membership second time in 1967 as member of Swantra Party. Fourth, in 1971 she rejects to join ruling party Congress and contests as member of Swatantra Party. Her husband is made ambassador of India to Spain. Fourth, In 1971, Swatantra Party joined hands with Jan Sangh Party and contested for post of Member of Legislative Assembly of Rajasthan. She lost but she won election to the post of Member of Parliament. In 1971, vide Constitutional amendment, the Privy Purses and Privileges of Kings were abolished. Fifth, In 1971 emergency was declared under the Constitution. She was arrested and put in Tihar jail in New Delhi for violation of tax laws. After 5 months, she was released. She retired from politics. It is a worth reading book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ritumbhara Chinnabalan

    Being someone who’s always been fascinated and held respect towards the lives and Valour of Indian Kings and Queens, I couldn’t bypass picking this Incredible book by Gayatri Devi, The queen of Jaipur!! Through the first half, Gayatri Devi takes us through her fascinating world recounting every facet of life - Right from her Childhood in Cooch Behar, To getting married to Raja Man Singh ll of Jaipur and the following beautiful period., The later half of the book takes us through The Difficulties K Being someone who’s always been fascinated and held respect towards the lives and Valour of Indian Kings and Queens, I couldn’t bypass picking this Incredible book by Gayatri Devi, The queen of Jaipur!! Through the first half, Gayatri Devi takes us through her fascinating world recounting every facet of life - Right from her Childhood in Cooch Behar, To getting married to Raja Man Singh ll of Jaipur and the following beautiful period., The later half of the book takes us through The Difficulties Kings faced during Independence as an outcome of - Loss of their rights alongside The Nation being affected due to Poor Breakdown of Administration by The Congress!! Paving way to Gayatri Devi’s Political Life Opposing The Congress under Rajaji’s Swatantra Party, Getting Elected and Serving her people to the Best!! On the whole, This has been An Extremely beautiful catalogue by the Queen that facilely transported me to her Era helping me understand how things were back then!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Yash Sharma

    Gayatri Devi : The Maharani Of Jaipur -------------------------------------------------------------------- I must frankly confess that I am a socialist and a republican, and am no believer in kings and princess, or in the order which produces the modern kings of industry who have great power over the lives and fortunes of men than even the Kings of old, and whose methods are as predatory as those of the feudal aristocracy. - Jawahar Lal Nehru A princess remembers, The memoirs of the maharani of Jaip Gayatri Devi : The Maharani Of Jaipur -------------------------------------------------------------------- I must frankly confess that I am a socialist and a republican, and am no believer in kings and princess, or in the order which produces the modern kings of industry who have great power over the lives and fortunes of men than even the Kings of old, and whose methods are as predatory as those of the feudal aristocracy. - Jawahar Lal Nehru A princess remembers, The memoirs of the maharani of Jaipur is a royally written book. Although, it's a literature about the life and times of a former Maharani, but while reading this I feel that I was reading about the life of a political dynast of the 21st century India. Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur tells us about her early childhood days in the state of 'Cooch Behar'. She was the daughter of the maharaja of Cooch behar state. She also shared about her travels abroad with her mother and father. Though, her father passed away when she was very young. Her mother was the daughter of the 'Gaekwar of Baroda'. Gayatri Devi, was the third wife of the maharaja of Jaipur. Throughout the book she mentioned her love for her husband. How they travelled together in Europe, America, Southern America, and other kinds of sojourn together. She also shared her political journey as a Member of the Parliament from the Jaipur constituency. And her dissatisfaction with the incompetent and corrupt attitude of the politicians of the 'Great Indian Politics' and inhumane 'Bureaucracy'. Kings, Queens and other members of the Royal families of India, enjoyed their life at the expenses of their subjects. Although, there were few princely states who before the Indian independence had done some good amount of development of their States, and Jaipur was one of them. Albeit, when India gained its Independence from their colonial masters, most of the people at that time thought that a new dawn will start in the Indian history, but instead of creating an equatable and a just society 'we the people of India' had just replaced the old monarchs with the new ones, who calls themselves as the dynast. I will end with this bon mot :- 'A country gets the government it deserves'. My Ratings : ⭐⭐⭐⭐(4/5) I hope you like this, Thanks for reading, Jai Hind. For more information You can visit - https://dontbignorant.in/

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sanya Lakhani

    I'd give it more than 5 stars if I could. Greedily gobbled this one up - this book has it all - the British raj, India in its prime, Postcolonial Independent India, the dirty politics that plagued us as a new nation, and the grace and poise of India's royalty - really transports one to the bygone era of princely states, polo matches, and french chiffon saris. Wish I read this while I was lazing by the pool in Rambagh or Rajmahal in Jaipur! I would have loved to meet her and have a signed copy si I'd give it more than 5 stars if I could. Greedily gobbled this one up - this book has it all - the British raj, India in its prime, Postcolonial Independent India, the dirty politics that plagued us as a new nation, and the grace and poise of India's royalty - really transports one to the bygone era of princely states, polo matches, and french chiffon saris. Wish I read this while I was lazing by the pool in Rambagh or Rajmahal in Jaipur! I would have loved to meet her and have a signed copy sigh... Of course some of her accounts are hard to believe - one can really see the naivete and ignorance of a young princess in her earlier years of hunting (she claims they hunted panthers and tigers to save the local community). A reductionist viewpoint on how well managed things would have been if the Rajpramukh was still in office (no droughts, parks and cared for roads) and how they had deteriorated. Would love to discuss and understand what exactly her goals or point of view were... in some parts I found her measured in the telling of her story, but then again it was perhaps for the sake of brevity and a page count. Great read for those who love royal accounts and retellings.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tamanna A. Shaikh

    It's a wonderful book. Almost like a crumbling fairy-tale. A simple, honest recount of a fading life. And of the princely provinces. What I liked the most was that it gives a fairly good description of the glory of royal India--the days when most of India was under British Raj and/simultaneously that of the Indian kings and princes. It was a glorious time in the history of India. There was no democracy and yet absolute peace, prosperity and a rapport of trust and love between the ruler and the r It's a wonderful book. Almost like a crumbling fairy-tale. A simple, honest recount of a fading life. And of the princely provinces. What I liked the most was that it gives a fairly good description of the glory of royal India--the days when most of India was under British Raj and/simultaneously that of the Indian kings and princes. It was a glorious time in the history of India. There was no democracy and yet absolute peace, prosperity and a rapport of trust and love between the ruler and the ruled. I wished to be in that era as I read on. Besides the descriptions of the magnificence of royalties--their architecture, wealth-all; are evident of the richness the country once had. Those rulers then were way sophisticated, mannerly and civilized compared to the crass and brash politicians of today. After all, they WERE royal blood. Interestingly, Maharani Gayatri Devi, as an individual wasn't impressive to me at all, in contrast with what I had expected, but if that's what it takes for her to be honest, salud! Who did impress me was her mother Indira Raje--powerful woman that!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Agrja Saxena

    What a remarkable lady... I remember watching her interviews as a child and being in awe of her even though she was of a considerable age by then.. grace, poise, sophisticated, enigmatic, charming, knowledgeable- I doubt words would do her justice... and all that I got from watching her on screen, so I had to read her book... and although she came from a privileged family, she seems so ordinary and humble.... never lost the zest for life, despite having gone through tumultuous times- as an arist What a remarkable lady... I remember watching her interviews as a child and being in awe of her even though she was of a considerable age by then.. grace, poise, sophisticated, enigmatic, charming, knowledgeable- I doubt words would do her justice... and all that I got from watching her on screen, so I had to read her book... and although she came from a privileged family, she seems so ordinary and humble.... never lost the zest for life, despite having gone through tumultuous times- as an aristocrat or in her personal life... wish we had more of such books on indian influential women of the eras bygone!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ketki Chandavarkar

    Beautifully written... Exactly how a princess lived her life and the opportunities and excess that it allows. Also the description of the indian landscape from pre to post independence is good and heart breaking. The views are from a privileged stand point and she accepts that her views are biased. But a true indian princess story.. thoroughly enjoyed it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aditi Kudalkar

    Exciting, fascinating, warm, exquisite, emotional, heartbreaking. And how do they say it, "दिल को छू लिया" Exciting, fascinating, warm, exquisite, emotional, heartbreaking. And how do they say it, "दिल को छू लिया"

  18. 5 out of 5

    Aradhita

    I guess the ideal way to review a book would be to mention how it made you laugh and cry with the narrator, how it was so well written, you felt you could relate with her even though she was a Maharani, actually quite unrelatable with your mundane life. But I'll take the easy way out and just say that this is hands down one of the best autobiographies I have ever read. I guess the ideal way to review a book would be to mention how it made you laugh and cry with the narrator, how it was so well written, you felt you could relate with her even though she was a Maharani, actually quite unrelatable with your mundane life. But I'll take the easy way out and just say that this is hands down one of the best autobiographies I have ever read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sonam Dubey

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and was able to view and picture how royals used to live. Start of this book was very fascinating than the end. This book has beautiful photographs as well. However I feel not much information has been shared about Gayatri Devi's son in this book. Overall a good read and a must book in your shelf. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and was able to view and picture how royals used to live. Start of this book was very fascinating than the end. This book has beautiful photographs as well. However I feel not much information has been shared about Gayatri Devi's son in this book. Overall a good read and a must book in your shelf.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lakshmi

    A great recount of that magnificent life. It gave glimpses to royals' pre-independence and the changes which they went thru. A great recount of that magnificent life. It gave glimpses to royals' pre-independence and the changes which they went thru.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aryan Prasad

    This is the autobiography of Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur, who made a Guinness record by winning the Jaipur seat in 1962 Lok Sabha Elections on a Swatantrata Party ticket. First Half of the book over a rich insight into lives of pre indpendce Royalty. The second part was on how she took up to electrical politics, the disinformation campaign agsint princes, end of privy purses and how she was targeted during the Emergency.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Simran

    It's like magic when words can make your imagination run. It's like escaping into another world. The memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur had the power to spill this magic. The story of her life in her words is a work of immense detailing (which any reader fascinated by royalty & history would love to go through), Beginning from her childhood in the Palace of Cooch Behar and all the details about their stays at Palaces and summer houses all over the world. Her childhood infatuation turning into lov It's like magic when words can make your imagination run. It's like escaping into another world. The memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur had the power to spill this magic. The story of her life in her words is a work of immense detailing (which any reader fascinated by royalty & history would love to go through), Beginning from her childhood in the Palace of Cooch Behar and all the details about their stays at Palaces and summer houses all over the world. Her childhood infatuation turning into love for the Maharaja of Jaipur, the kiddish girly day dreams, the secret courtship and the actual day of the wedding after a lonnnggg wait. Her story is nothing less than a fairy-tale. There is no doubt about the fact that she was indeed a great lady, who not only was one of the most beautiful women of her times, who not only lived a lavish life, but also worked endlessly for the good of her people. After her childhood and marriage, she goes on to describe in detail the time of Indian Independence. Through her words, one can actually feel what the Indian Independence had done to the lives of the Royalty. She also gives a critic on the new government and way of life after independence. And later, the abolition of the Privy Purse and other privileges for the Princes. It was hard to imagine before reading her memoirs , that the rulers of the former Princely States would have gone through such a drastic change. But ruling family members like the Maharani Gayatri Devi, did not give up the opportunity to work for the welfare of their former subjects. She went on to play an active role in politics, doing as much as she could. Though her way of writing is good in the sense that it is simple and detailed, the only thing I did not quite like about her memoirs is the way in which she described the death of her family members. There seemed to be no strong sense of emotion in here words. Even when she described the death of her Husband. Much better was expected, keeping in mind the fact that the Maharani is greatly educated from institutions all around the world , and also spent time in Shantiniketan, in contact with Rabindranath Tagore. Keeping aside the little flaws, The Maharani has done commendable justice to her memoirs. A life so lavishly lived, a life that went through such drastic changes and yet lived with a kind heart is worth reading and appreciating. May her soul rest in peace.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Megha Tyagi

    To begin, reviewing this book is quite emotional as a sensitive reader and a native from Rajasthan. The book cover simply says it is a memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur. But, honestly it offers much more than simply a recount of this charismatic women's life journey in the royals of India. I would like to divide the review into two parts. The first part begins with a marvelous introduction of a royal world way beyond our imaginations. It brings to life all those fairy tales we used to hear in ou To begin, reviewing this book is quite emotional as a sensitive reader and a native from Rajasthan. The book cover simply says it is a memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur. But, honestly it offers much more than simply a recount of this charismatic women's life journey in the royals of India. I would like to divide the review into two parts. The first part begins with a marvelous introduction of a royal world way beyond our imaginations. It brings to life all those fairy tales we used to hear in our childhood. It reconfirms on solid account that yes the Indian kingdoms were glamorously rich, traditional and quite enormous of their time. Maharani's childhood days give the readers a detailed glance into the travels, parties , restrictions, traditions, hunts and a number of incidences of the life of royal families in 1920's. Her sensational yet immensely beautiful romance and later wedding with the late His Highness Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur creates a perfect mood of awe and praise for the couple. It introduces the personal understanding between them and constantly mentions the supportive nature of His Highness as a husband and a friend. This part deals with the concerns and issues faced by the Maharani in entering into a new city with different culture and even language. The second part however makes the book as the one with a very sad ending. The crumbling powers of the erstwhile rulers of princely states, the unacceptable political motives of the new government and the incapabilities of the Maharani to cater to the needs of her own people in the city of Jaipur. The tragic death of His Highness is what marks the end of this women's energy and the desire to move on with life. Her life revolved around her Maharaja. At every point of her life since she was 12, he was there as the wind beneath her wings. It is quite difficult to describe the pain with which she must have written the last chapters of the book. But, nevertheless, I would like to recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the great history of our country, story of a courageous women and a beautiful love story in our recent past.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ciea✨

    GIVE ME MORE OF INDIAN ROYALTY. THAT BEING SAID, LET THE GRANDEUR OF GRACEFUL-PRINCESSES-TURNED-STRONG-RAJMATAS BE THE CENTRE OF ATTENTION.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marcia Hartsock

    This is a fascinating book about a long gone era. Gayatri Devi's memoirs capture the details of a life few people ever led, that of an Indian Maharani, but her experiences before Indian's independence are all the more compelling when contrasted to her life since 1947. Having spent time in Jaipur myself, and now having in-laws there, this account makes me even more interested in Jaipur's history over the last century. India, like every country with a long history, cannot be understood from one acc This is a fascinating book about a long gone era. Gayatri Devi's memoirs capture the details of a life few people ever led, that of an Indian Maharani, but her experiences before Indian's independence are all the more compelling when contrasted to her life since 1947. Having spent time in Jaipur myself, and now having in-laws there, this account makes me even more interested in Jaipur's history over the last century. India, like every country with a long history, cannot be understood from one account or perspective, and these memoirs provide a viewpoint that seems to be lacking in other accounts I have read of the relationship between the princely states and British India, and later, the New Delhi government of independent India. The author proudly defends her husband, the last Maharaja Man Singh, his relationship with his subjects and the leadership he provided for the improvement of the city he loved. She was much more independent that prior Maharanis, eventually lived outside of 'purdah', and ran very successfully for political office. Like others active in political opposition to the government, she was imprisoned during Indira Ghandi's State of Emergency, and spares nothing in her criticism of Mrs. Ghandi's leadership. The book was published in 1995, so her last words from the early 1990s are not hopeful for India, particularly the region of Jaipur. She passed away a few years ago, and it would have been nice to hear if she felt any better about the direction of her country in her last decade. In the book she laments that the former grounds of the Rambagh Palace (converted to a luxury hotel by her husband) were acquired by the government for housing and commercial activity. She suggests that the land be converted to a public park, which indeed it now has become - Central Park.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Anju Vijay

    Thought it might be clear to me in a day about how I feel about this book and I still honestly, have no clue. Gayatri Devi is the third wife of the last Maharaja of Jaipur before the coalition of princely states to Indian Union. She talks about her life in Cooch Behar and then in Jaipur after getting married. I have heard about the wealth and luxury of the royal families and I am immensely invested in anything related to Indian Royalty. But boy was I wrong in estimating the royal life they had. i Thought it might be clear to me in a day about how I feel about this book and I still honestly, have no clue. Gayatri Devi is the third wife of the last Maharaja of Jaipur before the coalition of princely states to Indian Union. She talks about her life in Cooch Behar and then in Jaipur after getting married. I have heard about the wealth and luxury of the royal families and I am immensely invested in anything related to Indian Royalty. But boy was I wrong in estimating the royal life they had. its much more than any of us could fathom and one can see how rich and exuberant their wealth was. I always thought I can rate an auto biography but I am unable to do so here. This could be because of some of the conflicting opinions I had regarding their actions and the feeling that some part of it was being exaggerated. Nevertheless, she was one of the biggest critics of Congress and has talked about their corruption and malpractices that used to go on. I enjoyed this part but I am also mesmerized by her childhood and basically anything royal which is pretty much most of the book. I am left with a deep desire to visit Jaipur and I definitely will.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lydia

    A moving autobiography. Gayatri Devi lived from 1919-2009. She saw India go from a country of kingdoms where she was a princess in Cooch Behar (south of Calcutta) and later the queen of Rajasthan, one of the richest kingdoms in northern India, to a country establishing its own government once the British Empire dissolved. She was the youngest of three wives--beautiful, spirited, athletic and modern-and later was elected to Lower House Parliment in New Delhi while her husband Jai, the majaraji, w A moving autobiography. Gayatri Devi lived from 1919-2009. She saw India go from a country of kingdoms where she was a princess in Cooch Behar (south of Calcutta) and later the queen of Rajasthan, one of the richest kingdoms in northern India, to a country establishing its own government once the British Empire dissolved. She was the youngest of three wives--beautiful, spirited, athletic and modern-and later was elected to Lower House Parliment in New Delhi while her husband Jai, the majaraji, was given a seat in Upper House Parliment. He was made Ambassador to Spain and she followed. Jai was an international polo player in addition to all of his other duties. Sadly, after many of her family had died, she was also imprisoned for 5 months by Indira Ghandi on spurious charges, but finally was released and able to spend the last years in a house built for her on the earlier castle grounds in Jaipur. A very readable book for anyone wondering about the lives of the last generation of maharajas, or especially for those traveling to Jaipur, India.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Abhilash Nandi

    I could write a lot about how wonderful a life Gayatri Devi lead, or how boring the autobiography became sometimes. But this book is much beyond the petty scales of a normal autobiography. It's about one of the remarkable figures of pre and post independence India. She still remains hidden from the limit our general knowledge, which is a shame for all of us. We should have followed the ideals of these people after 1947 rather than a confused and selfish family. As a book, it's not upto the mark. As I could write a lot about how wonderful a life Gayatri Devi lead, or how boring the autobiography became sometimes. But this book is much beyond the petty scales of a normal autobiography. It's about one of the remarkable figures of pre and post independence India. She still remains hidden from the limit our general knowledge, which is a shame for all of us. We should have followed the ideals of these people after 1947 rather than a confused and selfish family. As a book, it's not upto the mark. As expected from the people of India at the time, who still researched and followed the Victorian Era.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Damyanti

    I cannot begin to describe how beautifully this autobiography is written by Gayatri Devi herself. She remembered each and every memory from her childhood like it was yesterday. Her description of India before and after the colonial times is exquisite. Although she was a princess herself, her life was no fairy-tale. The loss she suffered throughout her life were very saddening but she took even that in her stride and went on living her life.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    This is a very interesting account of a Princess who was born in British India in an area which now borders Bangladesh. She laters marries the Maharaja of Jaipur.This books reveals the complexities of Indian culture and the changes that had to occur when India became. I highly reccomend this book to anyone fascinated by India.

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