The former king of Jaipur, Late H.H. Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh was born to Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II and his first wife, Maharani Marudhar Kanwar Devi Sahiba, the daughter of Maharaja of Jodhpur, on October 22, 1931.
So, how do we remember the late Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh ji of Jaipur, who would have turned 85 today, had he not passed away in 2011?
Most Maharajas today are remembered for being born in the royal family and living a life of luxury, for inheriting loads of money and mansions and have absolutely nothing to worry about. But Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh of Jaipur was so much more than being just a king of some princely state in India. Let’s get to know these not-so-popular sides or phases of the former maharaja’s life!
Being a Maharaja, he had lots of money and could have easily lived a life of extreme luxury flying abroad or spending exorbitantly. But Sawai Bhawani Singh ji of Jaipur chose to serve the nation and even volunteered for active service in wars.
Bhawani Singh ji led his troops as a young commanding officer of the Parachute Regiment during the Indo-Pak war of 1971 to the war zone in Sindh, Pakistan and also returned being victorious.
It is not common for a royal to risk his life for the country.
Late HH Sawai Bhawani Singh ji could be seen spending quality time with Her Highness Rajmata Padmini Devi ji and the little Princess Diya Kumari of Jaipur.
Bhawani Singh ji duly deserved the Mahavir Chakra, which was awarded to him to celebrate his bravery and heroic exploits. Let me tell you that the Mahavir Chakra is the second highest gallantry award of India.
In Thakur families, good girls didn’t sing. Thakurs were the patrons of music and musicians used to come and sing for them. But this girl in Bhawani Singh ji’s proximity, Rajnigandha Shekhawat, who is today a popular singer known for Sufi-rock, Bollywood, folk and classic singing, had a dream to sing.
She was giving her parents a tough time finding a suitor groom for marriage as she used to deny all. It was then that Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh ji spoke to her about it. She told HH about her dream to become a singer and how staying in Jaipur or marrying would not allow her to do so at the moment. But she was too afraid to speak about this with her father.
On Rajnigandha’s next birthday, Sawai Bhawani Singh ji casually asked her to sing and she was allowed to sing because of His Highness. When she sang ‘Kesariya Balam’ the former Maharaja also recommended her father to let her pursue her dreams.
You would be delighted to know that on October 22, His Highness’ birthday, we celebrate World Singing Day as well.
During the time of ‘Operation Pawan’ when the Indian Army was in action at Sri Lanka, Bhawani Singh ji was asked by the then Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi, to visit Sri Lanka to boost the morale of his old unit. He kept the honour of request by the Prime Minister and went there and was also successful in boosting the low morale of his old unit of 10th Para.
He was then bestowed with the rank of Brigadier for life and began to be addressed as Brigadier H.H. Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh. This is a very rare event for some retired Army officer to get a promotion in rank.
Post-Independence when the princely states merged to form the dominion of India, HH Sawai Bhawani Singh ji of Jaipur transformed his palaces into hotels. He opened new doors to boost tourism and increase the wealth they already had by converting palaces into luxury hotels such as the Rambagh Palace, Raj Mahal Palace and other royal residences and was thus one of the richest Indian Maharajas post-independence.