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Meet the 20-year-old ‘king’ of Jaipur, a polo star who spends his multimillion-dollar fortune travelling the world and studying in NYC and Rome. Thus read the headline of a prominent website.  As they say goldfish have no hiding place, Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh has always been in the media spotlight due to royal heritage, polo exploits on the field and dashing personality. Yes, when it comes to royals, generally the focus is always on their multi-billion fortune, palaces, fancy cars and their clothes. Pacho, as Padmanabh Singh is popularly known, has all the embellishments that makes him a “celebrity royal”. But there is the other side of Pacho, which hardly gets mentioned in the media. Although the accident of birth may have given all the royal trappings, what makes him special is that the young maharaja remains grounded despite his royal status and media attention.

Mother Diya Kumari, who has come out of the palace to serve the people, has greatly influenced his personality.  Padmanabh says he greatly admire his mother’s commitment to various sections of the society and how she is working to bring a change in their lives. On his part, the young maharaja is also heavily into conservation — namely water.

He was quoted saying, “Saving water is critical, particularly in Jaipur and our desert state of Rajasthan. We’re also trying to install solar panels at our residence, the museum at City Palace and Jaigarh Fort. It’s challenging because these are all heritage structures, but I’ll be very proud if we can make it happen.”

Urvashi Singh, who brings out Rajputana Collective, with a view to busting this stereotypical image of Rajputs, says these stereotypes take away the merit of the work royals are doing.  Pacho too is a victim this image. The social work he has been doing to uplift the people of Sawai Modhpur and Jaipur along with his mother always get overshadowed by his catwalk in Milan.

Designer Raghavendra Rathore, who has known Pacho since he was a child, says, “He’s humble to the core. Even at this young age, he has managed to sensitise his personality to the new order of modern India, giving weightage to substance over opulence, channelling his energies and effort in preserving the idea of Indian heritage.”

This is the reason why Padmanabh says that when he meets people “I don’t keep my royal status in mind”. In fact, he says whenever he acts in a way which was not appropriate, his parents and grandmother bring him “back to reality”.

 

 

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Asif Ullah Khan

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