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Brigadier H.H. Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh of Jaipur


Brigadier H.H. Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh was the titular Maharaja of Jaipur from June 24, 1970 to December 28, 1971. He served the Indian Army from 1951-1972 and received the prestigious award of Mahavir Chakra. He was bestowed with the rank of the Brigadier after his voluntary retirement from the Army. He was one of the richest Maharajas of India after post-independence. He died on April 17, 2011 in a private hospital in Gurgaon, Haryana due to multi-organ failure.

Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh’s Birth

He was born to Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II and his first wife, Maharani Marudhar Kanwar Devi Sahiba, daughter of the Maharaja of Jodhpur, on October 22, 1931. His birth was a very much celebrated affair in Jaipur as it was for the first time in many generations that a male heir was born to a reigning Maharaja of Jaipur. All other Maharajas of Jaipur, including his own father were adopted. It is said that during the celebration of his birth, a lot of champagne flowed because of which, he was nicknamed ‘Bubbles’.

Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh’s Education

He received his early education at Sheshbagh School, Srinagar and The Doon School, Dehradun. He was later sent to Harrow School in the United Kingdom.

Sawai Bhawani Singh Ascended the Throne

Sawai Bhawani Singh ascended the throne of Jaipur on June 24, 1970 after the untimely and accidental death of his father, His Highness Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II. He held the title of the Maharaja until 1971, when all titles and privileges associated to the princely states were abolished by the 26th Amendment to the Constitution of India.

His official title was as follows: ‘Brigadier His Highness Saramad-i-Rajaha-i-Hindustan Raj Rajendra Shri Maharajadhiraja Maharaja Sawai Shri Bhawani Singh Bahadur, Maharaja of Jaipur’.

Family Life of Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh

Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh married Princess Padmini Devi of Sirmur on March 10, 1966. Their marriage ceremony took place in Delhi. Her Highness Maharani Padmini Devi was the daughter of his father’s polo-playing friend, HH Maharaja Rajendra Prakash Bahadur of Sirmur, who ruled a large state with its capital at Nahan. Her Highness’s mother Maharani Indira Devi was the first wife of her father.

Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh and Maharani Padmini Devi were blessed with an only child - their daughter, Princess Diya Kumari. Princess Diya Kumari was born on January 30, 1971.

Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh later adopted his daughter’s elder son Padmanabh in November 2002, as he had no son to succeed his throne.

His Inspiring Military Career

He also served the Indian Army, living an inspiring military career. Here are some major details about Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh’s military life.

Year

Details

1951

Commissioned into the Indian Army in the 3rd Cavalry regiments as a Second Lieutenant

1954

Selected for the President’s Bodyguards

1954-1963

Served as the President’s Bodyguards

1963

Posted to the 50th Parachute Brigade

January 1964-1967

Served as Adjutant, Indian Military Academy at Dehradun

1967

Became the second-in-command of the 10th Parachute Regiment; one of the two elite Special Forces battalions

1968

Became the Commanding Officer (CO) of the 10th Parachute Regiment

1970

Helped in training ‘Mukti Vahini’ before the commencement of the Bangladesh Liberation War

1971

Commanded the Para Commandos of the 10th Parachute Regiment in the Indo-Pak war of 1971; was responsible for the capture of Chachro in Sindh; was awarded the second highest gallantry award ‘Mahavir Chakra’

1972

Took voluntary retirement

1974

Went to Sri Lanka during ‘Operation Pawan’ (upon request of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi) & was successful in boosting the low morale of his old unit of 10th Para; was bestowed with the rank of Brigadier (it is extremely rare for a retired Army officer to get a promotion in rank)

Even after his retirement from the Indian Army, Brigadier H.H. Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh served as the first Resident High Commissioner to the State of Brunei from July 1993 to January 1997.

His Political Career

Just like his late stepmother, Maharani Gayatri Devi, who was the third wife of his father, he also got involved in local politics. Sawai Bhawani Singh took part in the Lok Sabha elections of 1989 for the Indian National Congress Party but he lost it to the BJP leader Girdhari Lal Bhargava. He then retired from active politics.

Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh – one of the Richest Indian Maharaja Post-Independence

Following the footsteps of his father, who was India’s first hotelier prince, Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh turned his palaces into hotels. He transformed his Rambagh Palace into a luxury hotel in 1958. He also runs many other palaces as hotels such as his Raj Mahal Palace and other former royal residences. He is known to be one of the richest of Maharajas in India after the country gained independence.

Death

He was admitted to a private hospital in Gurgaon, Haryana on March 29, 2011. He died in the same hospital on April 17, 2011 due to multi-organ failure. Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh was 79 years old at the time of his death. His body was flown to Jaipur, where people came to pay their last respect to his body at the City Palace. He was then cremated on April 18, 2011 at Gaitore ki Chhatriya, which is the royal cremation site of Jaipur’s royal family.

Upon his death, his adopted son, Padmanabh was crowned as the new titular Maharaja of Jaipur.

 


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