Sundeep Bhutoria

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rani Lakshmi Kumari Chundawat – a remarkable lady

With Rani Lakshmi Kumari Chundawat at her residence
Wednesday, April 25, 2012: Yesterday afternoon I met Rani Lakshmi Kumari Chundawat at her residence. Rani ji is an amazing magnanimous lady – a countenance of grace, class and intelligence wrapped in charming personality.
About ten years ago I had communicated with this remarkable lady through letters but never got to meet her in person. So this time when she was unable to come for the April 24th Rajasthan Ratna Award function due to ill health, I decided that I must go and meet her personally.
I was impressed to find a spry 96-year-old elegant lady. Born in June, 1916, she would be 97 next month. She conversed with me in crisp English and was extremely gracious. She appreciated my recent efforts and initiatives to promote artistes, writers and theatre personalities from the state and also those living outside Rajasthan.
She autographed a copy of her book From Purdah to the People for me. The book From Purdah to the People is the story of Rani Lakshmi Kumari Chundawat's courageous struggle to leave the feudal society she was born into and make a public life for herself in modern India. She also discussed about the book Ananya Si Ananya authored by my late mother Prabha Khaitan.
Rani ji had joined the Indian National Congress and also been a member of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly and the Rajya Sabha. She had won Padma Shri in 1984 for her contribution to the Rajasthani literature.
The meeting with Rani Lakshmi Kumari Chundawat is one of the most memorable meetings of my life and I am grateful to her daughter Rajeshwari Kumari (picture) who had been kind enough to accompany me.
I also met other family members as well including her son Balbhadra Singh who has served in the Indian Police service.
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