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Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “Gayatri Devi: The Maharani that the World Loved” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Gayatri Devi: The Maharani that the World Loved

The erstwhile Maharani of Jaipur, Gayatri Devi, 90, long celebrated for 1 her beauty, grace and poise, died of a prolonged illness in Jaipur on July 29, 2009. Born on May 23, 1919 in the royal family of Cooch Behar, now in West Bengal, Gayatri Devi became the third Maharani of Jaipur in 1939 after her marriage to Sawai Man Singh II. Known to her family as Ayesha, Gayatri was the daughter of Prince Jitendra Narayan of Cooch Behar and Princess Indira Raje of Baroda. She studied at Shantiniketan and in Switzerland.

Even as she later came to be known as Jaipur’s Rajmata, Gayatri Devi was famed not only for her beauty and charisma, but also for her contribution to arts and culture, girls’ education and sports as well as politics.

The Rajmata was far from just another pretty face with the most beautiful woman tag. After entering active politics in 1962 under the Swatantra Party, she won the Jaipur Lok Sabha elections the same year defeating. her Congress rival with a record margin.

Gayatri Devi retained the Jaipur seat for two more terms, in 1967 and again in 1971, till the Emergency and Indira Gandhi’s abolishing of royal privileges. During the Emergency, she spent five months in Delhi’s Tihar Jail.

The world of extraordinary wealth and access was there for Gayatri Devi from the very start. She lived with her parents in the swish part of London, close to Harrods, the world’s most famous departmental store, which boasted it could get anything in the world for its customers.

Though she was just the lisping four-year-old daughter of a prince of Cooch Behar, a small princely state compared to Jaipur, Baroda and Hyderabad, the young princess describes the courtly respect she received from the shop attendant. Soon enough, her shocked mother Indira Devi found that Gayatri’s daily forays into Harrods had left the family with a large bill.

That early extravagance was somehow in keeping with the life she was soon to lead, as wife and companion of the dashing and very rich Sawai Man Singh, known as Jai for Jaipur. The princess describes the subterfuge of their romance, mainly in London because her family disapproved of a man who already had two wives, the younger of whom was called Jo after her home state Jodhpur.

Despite her royal mien and titles, few will deny Rajmata’s endeavours towards girls’ education in Rajasthan, a state which was always acknowledged as feudal. She funded several schools and educational institutions for girls in Jaipur, of which the Maharani Gayatri Devi College for Girls, still remains one of the state’s most sought after.

Maharani Gayatri Devi to all who admired her grace, and Ayesha, to her friends, she was that rare and beautiful creature who was without vanity; but never without courage. She saw her husband, Maharaja Man Singh, with whom she had fallen in love when she was 12 and he 21, fall to his death while at a polo match at Cirencester in 1970; in 1975, she was imprisoned during the Emergency for her opposition to the Congress Party; and in 1997, she lost her only child, Jagat Singh. She was the first princess to stand for Parliament, was elected thrice, and genuinely felt for Jaipur. Through the abolition of the privy purse in 1971, prolonged court cases, and slights from successive governments who refused to let her install a statue of her beloved Jai, as she called her husband, she kept her dignity intact. Photographed by the legendary Cecil Beaton in 1943, she was repeatedly named one of the most beautiful women in the world, but style to her was never an object of display. Her clothes had to do with rites of passage, remnants of a life fully lived, not material acquisitions—her trousseau, for instance, had sheets from Florence, shoes and bags from Ferragamo, nightgowns in mousseline de soie from Paris and saris embroidered in gold.

She left life the way she lived it, despite a painful knee surgery. She was involved in two girls’ schools, most prominently, the Maharani Gayatri Devi School; was always vocal about politics; fanatical about polo; particular about the people she socialised with; and Jaipur’s most gracious hostess, holding court in Lilypool that her husband built after their first home, Rambagh Palace, was transformed into a hotel. In her death, India has lost a royal icon and a stylish witness to almost a century of change.

Gayatri Devi who was Maharani of Jaipur state from 1939 to 1970, was an excellent marksman, a tennis player and a keen rider, with a deep knowledge of horses. She was attached to all her children, fond of flowers like lilies and gladioli and birds. She spent the last three decades of her life after her husband’s death in 1970 at the picturesque Lilypool—an elegant sprawling bungalow surrounded by greens and a lily pond that she had built with her husband on the premises of Jaipur’s Rambagh Palace.

Rambagh Palace was close to her heart. It was there that Gayatri Devi was first brought and presented to the local nobility in Jaipur after her wedding in Europe.

A discerning fashionista, who chose the best brands of the day, she was often compared to former US First Lady and style icon Jacqueline Kennedy, whom she had met. The Maharani, who spent the early years of married life in luxury hunting, partying and holidaying in Europe, forayed into politics in 1962 by contesting and winning Lok Sabha elections from Jaipur.

She was also the central character in a movie, Memoirs of a Hindu Princess directed by Francois Levie. Gayatri Devi was related to a number of erstwhile royal families in India. Her maternal grandparents were Maharaja Sayajirao and Maharani Chimnabai of Baroda who was related to the royal families of Jodhpur, Dewas, Tripura and Pithapuram.

Maharani Gayatri Devi was one of the few royals whose liberal outlook took her well beyond the traditionally-limited activities of a Queen mother and won unprecedented success in the political arena which was the envy of even former US President John F Kennedy.

Celebrated for her classical beauty and who became something of a fashion icon in her adulthood, Gayatri Devi, styled as the Rajmata, was known for her strong character and was a particularly avid equestrienne.

After Gayatri won the Jaipur seat in the Lok Sabha in 1962, Kennedy introduced her during an event as “the woman with most staggering majority that anyone has ever earned in an election.” She tasted victory in the world’s largest landslide poll win bagging 192,909 votes of 246,516 cast and the achievement was endorsed by the Guinness Book of Records.

Gayatri Devi contested as the condidate of Swatantra Party of C Rajagopalachari, the last and only Indian Governor-General of India.

She continued to hold this seat in 1967 and 1971 running against the Congress. This enraged the-then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who retaliated in 1971 by abolishing the privy purse, and stopping all royal privileges, breaking the treaties agreed upon in 1947.

Gayatri Devi was accused of breaking tax laws, and served five months in Tihar Jail in Delhi during the Emergency. She retired from politics after that experience.

Princess Gayatri Devi of Cooch Behar was the third Maharani of Jaipur from 1939 to 1970 through marriage to Maharaja Sawai Man Shigh II. Early in her life, her uncle’s death led to her father ascending the throne. In Switzerland, she travelled with her mother and siblings, then studied secretarial skills in London School of Secretaries; Brilliantmont and Monkey Club, London.

When she married the Maharaja, she entered the glittering life of City Palace of the pink city, and had to adjust to the unfamiliar customs and to life with wives of other royals.

Gayatri Devi had one child, Prince Jagat Singh of Jaipur. She started schools for girls’ education in Jaipur, most prominent of which is the Maharani Gayatri Devi Girls’ Public School. She also promoted the dying art of blue pottery.

In 2006, India’s first 3D documentary movie “Rajmata Gayatri Devi’s Legacy”, based on her life, was made by the students of Arena Multimedia in Jaipur. Rajmata, who faced tragedies as great as her former triumphs, herself inaugurated the movie through the medium of a digital art exhibition on November 16, 2006.


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