Tarique Anwar, BeyondHeadlines
New Delhi: Brigadier Bhawani Singh, the last maharaja of Jaipur, an ancient city in western India, has passed away at the age of 79, prompting two days of mourning in his former kingdom. Singh died of a multiple organ failure on the nate night of April 16 at a private hospital in Gurgaon.
The Jaipur king, who belonged to Hinduism’s Rajput warrior caste and held a brigadier’s rank in the Indian Army, received the country’s second highest military award, the Mahavir Chakra, for his role during India’s second war with arch-rival Pakistan in 1971.
During the fighting, Singh apparently duped Pakistani troops into believing that a large formation of Indian tanks was advancing on their position while in reality the vehicles were a clutch of noisy jeeps.
Singh, who studied in two of India’s most prestigious schools as well as in Britain’s Harrow School, also served as New Delhi’s ambassador to Brunei for four years from 1993.
The mortal remains of the last titular Maharaja of Jaipur Brigadier Bhawani Singh was consigned to flames here today with full state honours.
Padmanabh Singh, his grandson, lit the pyre amid the chanting of Vaidik mantras at ‘Gaitore Ki Chatriya’, the crematorium of royal family at Amber road.
The funeral procession began from the city palace and passed through different parts of the walled city before reaching at the cremation ground.
It was attended by large number of people and members of the erstwhile royal families including former Jodhpur Maharaja Gaj Singh.
Rajasthan Governor Shivraj Patil, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, PCC president and Union Minister Dr. CP Joshi, Union minister Namonarayan Meena, Rajasthan Medical and Health Minister Duru Miyan, Rajasthan Assembly Speaker DS Shekhawat were among other dignitaries who were present and paid floral tributes.
The maharaja, partly British educated and a keen polo player, is survived by wife Padmini Devi and daughter Diya Kumari.
The state government of Rajasthan, an arid region of western India home to Jaipur and a number of similar historic cities that draw thousands of tourists each year, declared two days of state mourning.
Singh ascended the throne to become the 40th maharaja in 1970 following the death of his father, Man Singh.
A year later, India abolished all royal titles and removed their privileges.
Jaipur was one of hundreds of tiny royal kingdoms that dotted India until the country?s independence from Britain in 1947.