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H.H. Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur


Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II served as the last ruling Maharaja of Jaipur state, who ruled the princely state between 1922 and 1949, after which the state acceded unto the Dominion of India. He was a notable sportsperson and an admired polo player. He also served as the Ambassador of India to Spain in his later life.

Birth and Early Life

He was born on August 21, 1911 as Shri Mor Mokut Singh, the second son of Thakur Sawai Singhji of Isarda Thikana by his wife Sugan Kunwar from Kotla (Uttar Pradesh). Thakur Sawai Singhji was a nobleman belonging to the Kachhawa clan of Rajputs. Mor Mokut grew up in the township of Isarda, which was a chief Thikana of the Rajawat sub-clan, lying between the present-day towns of Sawai Madhopur and Jaipur.

Man Singh II of Jaipur shot his first tiger

Man Singh II of Jaipur shot his first tiger

Adoption and Crowning as the Maharaja of Jaipur

Later on March 24, 1921, the then Maharaja of Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II adopted Mor Mukut Singh to be his son and heir. He was named Man Singh upon adoption. Maharaja Madho Singh II died and was succeeded by Man Singh, who was enthroned on the Gaddi of Jaipur on September 7, 1922, becoming the Maharaja of Jaipur and the head of the Kachhawa clan of Rajputs. Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II was just 11 years old at the time of his crowning. He, however, obtained his full ruling powers on March 14, 1931. His official title goes as follows:

His Highness Saramad-i-Rajah-i-Hindustan Raj Rajendra Shri Maharajadhiraj Sir Sawai Man Singh II

 Crowning of Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II

Crowning of Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur

Family Life

His Highness Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur was initially married to brides from the royal family of Jodhpur, where their social ranking and Rajput heritage matched perfectly.

His first wife, Maharani Marudhar Kanwar was the daughter of Maharaja Sardar Singhji of Jodhpur. They got married on January 30, 1924. The couple had two children – Baiji Raj Prem Kumari (nicknamed as Mickey Bai Sa) born in 1929 and Maharaja Kumar Shri Bhawani Singhji (nicknamed as Bubbles) born in 1931.

He then got married to Maharani Kishore Kanwar, the daughter of Maharaja Sumer Singhji of Jodhpur on April 24, 1932. His second wife was also the niece of his first wife, Maharani Marudhar Kanwar, who was the sister of Maharaja Sumer Singhji. Maharani Kishore Kanwar bore him two sons – Maharaja Kumar Shri Jai Singh in the year 1933 and Maharaja Kumar Prithvi Raj Singhji in the year 1935.

Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II with Maharani Gayatri Devi

Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II with Maharani Gayatri Devi

Then, he got married to his third wife, Maharani Gayatri Devi, who was the daughter of Maharaja Jitendra Narayan of Cooch Behar and his wife, Indira of Baroda, on May 9, 1940. His courtship with the legendary beauty, Gayatri Devi, the Princess of Cooch Behar was the most famous relationship he had. Maharani Gayatri Devi then gave birth to his fourth son, Maharaja Kumar Shri Jagat Singhji in the year 1949.

His Contribution to the Army and the Indian State Forces

Sawai Man Singh II went to Royal Military Academy at Woolwich to obtain scientific and up-to-date knowledge of modern military science. On acquiring complete ruling powers, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II built the New Model Army of Jaipur and became their chief Commandant. He was also the first to offer his personal and state forces service at the time of World War II. It was because of his efforts that two additional battalions of Jaipur Forces got recognition as the India State Forces Units by the Government of India.

Sawai Man Singh II as the Chief Commandant Army of Jaipur

Sawai Man Singh II as the Chief Commandant of New Model Army of Jaipur

1939

His forces offered commendable service in the war in 1939. They also won many medals and distinctions for their bravery.

1940

He was attached to the 13th Lancers at Risalpur for training. He later served the North-west frontier.

April 1941

Joined his regiment, the Household Cavalry, in the Middle East. After a while, he was appointed to the Middle East Head Quarter as the Liaison Officer to the Indian State Forces.

February 1944

Deputed to the Eastern front

April 1944

Revisited the Middle East

March 1945

Went to the Burma front

1946

Attended the Victory Parade in London. He was bestowed with the honourary rank of Major General and subsequently Lt. General by the British government.

 

His life post India’s Independence

At the time of India’s Independence in the year 1947, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur acceded Jaipur to the Dominion of India. In March 1949, he surrendered his sovereignty and merged his princely state with the new state of Rajasthan. After the integration of the Jaipur state, he was appointed the Raj Pramukh of Rajasthan in the year 1949.

Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II

Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur as the Raj Pramukh of Rajasthan

Though the Indian princes gave up their ruling powers post-independence, they remained entitled to their titles, privy purses and other privileges. Similarly, Sawai Man Singh II remained to be the Maharaja of Jaipur until his death.

Polo

Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II had keen interest in polo and was as an enthusiastic (10-Goal) polo player. He also led the Indian team and won several matches, including the World Cup Polo in the year 1957.

man singh II Polo

Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II – an Enthusiastic Polo Player

Rambagh Palace Hotel

Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II was among those Indian rulers, who recognized the potential of tourism in the Rajasthan state. He was the first Maharaja to have transformed the Rambagh Palace, a royal residence, into a luxury hotel.

Rambagh Palace Hotel

Rambagh Palace Hotel

Death

In the year 1970, Highness Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur suffered an accident while playing polo in Cirencester, England. He died a little later the same day. He was then succeeded by eldest son Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh from his first wife, Maharani Marudhar Kanwar, who became the Maharaja of Jaipur and the head of the Kachhawa clan of Rajputs.

 

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