Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

End of a Royal era

Quebec province, Canada: I arrived here last Tuesday. This morning I went to Masena border of US for a day trip. It was a little over an hour's drive from Montreal. On entering the US border there is an Indian reserve represented by the flags of five nations including the US and Canada.
After coming back from Masena amid chilly weather I heard the news of the demise of Shri Bhawani Singh ji, Maharaja of Jaipur and a war hero. My association with him wasn't very old. I had first met him formally in 2000 at the City Palace with a request to associate with Education For All project.
At that time I had just started the project. On some earlier occasions we had exchanged pleasantries when our paths crossed in a conference or some function. He he was serving as the High Commissioner to India in Brunei.
I remember, he had asked me various questions and after carefully going through the papers and about 40 minutes into our meeting he said "Yes." He agreed to become member of the advisory board of the project.
Shyly I gathered the courage and said that it would be better if he gave me his consent in writing. He handed over a sealed envelope to me saying it was ready. I was surprised to find that he had prepared his consent in advance.
Later, I realised that his office has already gathered the information about the Project and also about others who had joined the Project as members of the advisory board. This kind of planning and organizing skill were not known to me till that time.
I recall one more incident. Once during his birthday the Maharaja invited school children to the City Palace and spent time with them showering gifts and goodies. I have also heard similar things about Diya Kumari this year on her birthday. It is good that she is following her father's footsteps.
After that, I met the Maharaja on various social occasions and at the Jaipur Polo matches last year. He was at the final match last year but this year he was conspicuous by his absence. In fact at the City Palace party, which he usually attended, he was not there this year. Maharani Padmini did inform me that he was not keeping well. With the pasing of Bhawani Singh, an era of Jaipur Raj Pariwar has come to an end. Among the Indian royalty, his was a towering presence. The history of Jaipur, Rajasthan and the Indian Royal families would never be complete without him.
ess bee

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