Saturday, July 1, 2017

A Princess Remembers - The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur

I got my hands on A Princess Remembers by Gayatri Devi in last book fair. At 50 INR in second hand book stall this was a treasure.

Book Blurb
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.
Maharani Gayatri Devi was the last Queen of Jaipur in Rajasthan. Gayatri Devi was listed in Vogue as one of the most beautiful women in the world.
Gayatri Devi is her highness of Jaipur who considered as the most beautiful women on the earth. In her autobiography, she has narrated her childhood life to her present life. A nicely described book about how kings and queens lived and what difficulties they faced as rulers. The book is divided into three to four parts. The first contains a childhood life of the princess in Cooch Behar and Baroda. Cooch Behar was a kingdom and Baroda was her maternal home of the princess. She shared how her mother single-handedly raised children while coordinating and ruling kingdom. She has nicely described her families' duty along with her life at Cooch Behar.

The second part consists her palace life in Jaipur as Maharani after her marriage. There she confronted a pardah (similar to Hijab or Burqua in Hindu culture) system in India and how free minded women like her face problems in pardah system. This part describes her happy marriage life. There was a sharp difference between Jaipur Palace and Cooch Behar. She had dealt it with a strong and positive mind.

The third part consists situation of various kings of India after independence. They were left without their kingdoms and they felt uselessness. They have dealt situation by participating in elections. Same was the case of Gayatri Devi. Although they have been elected as Member of Parliament from their party named Swatantrata Star, after becoming Member of Parliament her husband passed away. The sudden death of her husband made Gayatri Devi shocked and she made herself busy in fulfilling her husband’s dreams. 

The fourth part consists of the emergency laid by government and its after effects and how she has to go to Tihar jail. She also described her present situation and working. 

She has wonderfully written the life of the princess and its pro and cons. She made it more through beautiful photographs of her life’ memory. Overall nice book to give a look at princess’s life. Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover Page: 4.5/5
  2. Content: 4/5
  3. Story line: 3/5
  4. Overall: 3.5/5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads


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