The Indian Maharajas in Love Traps
· Movements of Sayajirao Gaekwad III were under surveillance all the time
· Hari Singh of J & K was blackmailed to the tune of 45 lakhs of rupees
Dr. Hari Desai’s Weekly Column “Back tyo Roots” in Asian Voice,the Newsweekly of ABPL Group, London
Web Link: http://bit.ly/2hWhsVE
· During the time of Hari Singh’s uncle, Maharaja Pratap Singh, the British were supreme in Kashmir. It was well-known that the British intervened in Kashmir and deposed Maharaja Pratap Singh as a result of the machinations of his brother (and Hari Singh’s father), Amar Singh. Pratap Singh had no heirs and consequently the next in succession was his nephew, Hari Singh. Unwilling to see the throne go to the latter, Pratap Singh adopted a distance Prince, but this was set aside in 1925 and Hari Singh installed in the gaddi.” This is recorded by K. M. Panikkar, who served the Maharaja between 1930 and 1935 as his Constitutional Advisor, in his Autobiography first published in 1954 when the Maharaja was still alive. Hari Singh died in 1961.
· Ambassador Panikkar, who was also the Editor of The Hindustan Times in 1923, describes the plot to involve the young prince in a compromising situation with some woman and to blackmail him.
· The British government directed that the Maharaja should be spared of publicity and thus the victim was referred to as ‘Mr. A’ throughout the proceedings. But as the details of the story leaked out, the world’s curiosity was excited…Ultimately the government itself came out with the statement that the heir apparent of Kashmir, Raja Hari Singh, was ‘Mr. A’! Due to this bitter experience, the Maharaja distrusted everyone. The British government directed that the Maharaja should be spared of publicity and thus the victim was referred to as ‘Mr. A’ throughout the proceedings. But as the details of the story leaked out, the world’s curiosity was excited…Ultimately the government itself came out with the statement that the heir apparent of Kashmir, Raja Hari Singh, was ‘Mr. A’! Due to this bitter experience, the Maharaja distrusted everyone.
· The case of Maharaja Sayajirao was mentioned by his great grandson, Maharaja Fatehsinghrao Gaekwad as his “sex scandal” in the biography he wrote. Of course, Sayajirao’s scandal was first exposed by his own medical officer, Dr. Sumant Mehta, who accompanied him to Europe. Dr. Mehta had described “the old-man roaming around with the young lady” and this led to a friction between the Maharaja and the Maharani. In “Sayajirao of Baroda: The Prince and the Man”, Fatesinghrao notes : “Almost for the first time in his forty-eight years, he became involved in a sex scandal. It was no more than the conventional trick employed by a husband-and- wife team to extort money from a rich man, and indeed Indian princes who were unfamiliar with western norms of morality were looked upon by such people as their natural prey.” The Maharaja’s movements were under surveillance all the time.
· Both cared for the downtrodden. Both stressed on spreading education in their respective States and even opening schools for the antyajs – dalits (scheduled Castes). Both lived for the people of their State but both had to undergo miserable life so far as their own family tragedies encountered them at various stages. It may be a coincidence that both had to face the love traps at London, had to face the trauma and flush out huge amount as compensation. Of course, despite such sad encounters, both are known as benevolent rulers.