“I wonder, why I didn’t read this book earlier, an account of one of the most formidable and greatest woman in the world. A must read for every Indian.”

 

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

On the centenary of Maharani Gayatri Devi’s birth anniversary, her publishers, Rupa, have released a new edition of her memoirs. Embellished with a portrait by Pietro Annigoni on the cover and with additional photographs from the family archives to heighten the momentousness of the occasion.

Those who have read the book will remember the glimpses that it gives into a bygone time of privilege – the palace was staffed with 506 domestics – and wonder at the experience of being the third and most beautiful young wife of a worldly Maharaja – her own liberal family objected vociferously to the wedding.  Love it most certainly was but it also heralded a crossover time for the then royal families of India with Indira Gandhi stepping into power and imprisoning Gayatri Devi on a flimsy charge. Unlike the other royal wives Gayatri Devi’s cosmopolitan upbringing allowed her to step into the shoes of a political campaigner for a brief while.

The late Maharani of Jaipur originally wrote the book with the help of journalist Shantha Rama Rau, but Rau’s name has been left out of this particular publication possibly because it added nothing to the original and many previously wondered at the inclusion.

 

Reviewed by:

Anjana Basu

Added 17th June 2019

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Anjana Basu