• Maharani Gayatri Devi (1940-2009) was also known as Rajmata of Jaipur • Gayatri Devi was born on May 23, 1919. • Died July 29, 2009 • May 9, 1940, at the age of 21, Gayatri Devi was married to Maharaja of Jaipur, Sawai Man Singh II. • She was related to several other former royal families in the nation. • She was One of the most elegant women in the world, who always insisted that she was ordinary. • She was a good shooter as well as an excellent rider and a brilliant polo player.
Maharani Gayatri Devi was not just a legend from Jaipur; she was in fact an epic legend figure. Maharani Gayatri Devi was known worldwide for her beauty and poliical grip. She was once included in the list of Ten Most Beautiful Women in the world by Vogue magazine. Many historians even say that till date, no other woman belonging to the royal family was seen with more nicety and royalty than the Maharani Gayatri Devi. Maharani Gayatri Devi worked in many areas, from politics to social work and performed her responsibilities well in all areas. She is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for achieving an overwhelming victory in the 1962 Lok Sabha election with the most votes. Her life was a matter of curiosity for people. Many stories about him have become famous. So now let’s talk about the world famous Maharani Gayatri Devi.
Gayatri Devi was born on 23 May 1919 in London. Prince Jitendra Narayan, father of Gayatri Devi, was the younger brother of the Crown Prince of Cooch Behar (Bengal) and her mother Indira Raje was the only daughter of the Maratha Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III of Baroda. After the death of Sayajirao Gaikwad’s brother, he was placed on the throne and from here began the royal journey of Gayatri Devi.
Gayatri Devi grew up in a magnificent palace. Her family & friends used to affectionately call her ‘Ayesha’. Gayatri Devi liked to play games and hunting in the woods from the very beginning. She hunted the first of her life at the age of 12. Hunting was considered very common and loving thing to do for her.
Gayatri Devi had been leading a royal and luxurious life since birth. She had a huge collection of royal attire, precious diamonds and jewelry. Maharani Gayatri’s house was considered one of the richest royal houses of that time. She was a good shooter as well as an excellent rider and a brilliant polo player. She was also very fond of cars and owned many expensive cars. Not only that, she also had some Rolls Royce and an aircraft in her personal collection. It is believed that she had specially imported the first ever Mercedes W126 and 500SEL in India.
Maharani Gayatri Devi did her early studies at Glendower Preparatory School in London. Then she studied at Vishva Bharati University Shantiniketan, then in Lausanne Switzerland and then pursued secretarial skills from the London College of Secretaries.
"There were many Maharanis (Queens) in India, but Maharani Gayatri Devi had a different identity. She made her place in Famous Fashion and Lifestyle Magazine Vogue's list of the ten most beautiful women in the world. The beauty of the Queen was a part of discussion not only in India but also global. Gayatri Devi was considered the fashion icon of that era. Her way of dressing was very special and unique. She was known for her love of jewelry and wearing French chiffon saris. Her style was popular enough that women used to copy her style back then. Apparently, people admired and followed her."
When Gayatri Devi was 12 years old, she met Sawai Mansingh II who was also called “Jai”. Jai came to Calcutta to play Polo with his father and he stayed with Gayatri Devi’s family. It is said that Mansingh have fallen in love with her upon seeing her. On 9th May, Maharani Gayatri Devi was married to Sawai Man Singh II at the age of 21 in 1940. After this she became the third Maharani of Jaipur.
Gayatri Devi got married, but did not know how much problems she would have to face. In the house of Maharaja Mansingh, women had to follow the curtain practice (face-cover). On the other hand, Gayatri Devi was of modern views and did not believe in such practices. Gayatri Devi decided that she would encourage women. For this cause, she also opened a special school for girls. It is said that she defended the rights of women throughout her life.
On October 15th 1949, Queen Gayatri Devi gave birth to a son named Prince Jagat Singh. In the same year, she also got the status of Rajmata of Jaipur. Everything was going so well in the life of Rajmata Gayatri Devi, and then suddenly two major incidents happened, which made the life of a queen monotonous and meaningless.
The first when her husband Sawai Man Singh II died while playing polo on 19th June 1970 and the second when she lost her only son Rajkumar Jagat Singh in 1997. After that, she started to feel very sad and lonely.
Political life of Rajmata Gayatri Devi: After India’s independence and partition the Kings, Maharajas and Royal houses also lost their power. In the year 1962, Maharani Gayatri Devi entered into politics on behalf of the Swatantra Party founded by C. Rajagopalachari. In the same year she contested from her constituency and became an MP (Member of Parliament). In 1965, she was invited by Lal Bahadur Shastri to join the Congress, at that time her husband Sawai Mansingh II was recruited as Indian Ambassador to Spain by the Congress Government but Maharani Gayatri Devi did not join hands with the Congress Party due to her ideals and formed an alliance with the Jan Sangh under the leadership of Bhairo Singh Shekhawat. The Swatantra Party and the Jan Sangh coalition won a major victory in the 1967 elections. Maharani Gayatri Devi defeated her rival on the Congress side with a huge margin that her name was also recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. She held that position from 1967 to 1971.
In 1971, when all the princely states were abolished and merged under the central government, then their politics and titles were taken away from the royal houses including Maharani Gayatri Devi. When Emergency was imposed in the country by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, then Queen Gayatri Devi was accused of not declaring her assets. Because of which she had to spend even 5 months in Tihar Jail in Delhi.
Maharani Gayatri Devi was a Member of Parliament for a total of 3 times. After the 1976 Emergency, she was highly upset with Indira Gandhi and retired from politics saying that ‘the country where democracy is in the hands of dictators, I have nothing to do with politics’. In the same year, she wrote her autobiography “A Princess Remembers” by Sant Ram Rau. There was a battle of political supremacy between Gayatri Devi and Indira Gandhi. As a result, once when Indira Gandhi ill-treated and called her a ‘doll of glass’ in Parliament.
Death: After 5 months, Maharani Gayatri Devi came out of prison, but physical problems caught her. This began to grow slowly due to which she was admitted to King Edward Hospital in London, where she was undergoing treatment. At the same time, she had expressed her desire to return to Jaipur after which she was brought back to Jaipur by air ambulance.
On 17th July 2009, she was re-admitted to the Santokba Durlabhji Memorial Hospital in Jaipur, after which she died on 29th July 2009 at the age of 90 from Lungs failure.