Royal Saga

People’s Princess

Written by Aditya Tiwari

She has the welfare of the people in her genes. Princess Diya Kumari of Jaipur, instead of enjoying the opulent lifestyle, has opted to serve the people. For her, this is not something new as from grandfather Maharaja Man Singh, grandmother Rajmata Gayatri Devi to her father Brigadier Bhawani Singh – all have come out of the palace to serve the people. After death of Rajmata Gayatri Devi and her father Brigadier Bhawani Singh, it was incumbent on her to continue this legacy.
Taking a leaf out of Rajmata Gayatri Devi’s vision, Diya Kumari’s first step towards serving the people was establishment of The Palace School and then The Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh School. Diya Kumari is the view of that education plays a vital role in transforming both individual lives and the society. Her idea behind the school was that children should learn only when they were ready to learn and books should not be dumped on them. Educated at Delhi’s Modern School, and Jaipur’s MGD School and armed with a diploma in arts from London, Diya Kumari, who is often called a “hands-on princess”, is completely rooted in reality, unaffected by the royal grandeur and glamour. In 2013, she took a leap of faith by joining the Bharatiya Janata Party and contested Rajasthan Assembly elections from Sawai Madhopur. Facing a political giant in Dr Kirori Lal Meena, the unfazed princess created the biggest election upset by defeating Dr Meena by a huge margin. Diya Kumari says the reason for her victory was firm belief in herself. Diya Kumar says she is a firm believer in the power of positive thinking. “I believe in blind optimism”. “No options. A lot of us are working against so many odds but you have to believe in your goals and know that they can be achieved.” On contesting election from Sawai Madhopur instead of any constituency in Jaipur, Diya Kumari says she choose to contest from Sawai Madhopur because it was a part of the erstwhile Jaipur state. “I have a personal connect as our family originated from one of the thikanas in the district. It’s part of our family history as well as my grandfather Sawai Man Singh was adopted from Isarda. It’s one of the most backward areas of Rajasthan and I feel fortunate to have been given a chance to do something for this region which means so much to my family,” she says. And she certainly has a plan in place. “A lot of work needs to be done. Sawai Madhopur is not developed like Jaipur but it has got a huge potential as it has one of the best sanctuaries in India – the Ranthambore National Park. I think the right kind of tourism promotion can do wonders there.”
She is also running an NGO called Princess Diya Kumari Foundation, which is a social outreach initiative for the uplift of the downtrodden section.
Married to Maharaja Narendra Singh, Diya Kumari has three children. The eldest son is Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh, who ascended the titular throne of the Pink City after the death of his grandfather Brig Bhawani Singh, who had adopted him. The younger son, Lakshya Raj Singh, too has become Maharaja of Sirmaur (Himachal Pradesh). Since his maternal grandmother of Rajmata Padmini Devi is the daughter of the former and last Maharaja of Sirmaur, Rajendra Prakash who passed away in 1964.

Since Rajmata Padmini Devi hails from Sirmaur, the erstwhile nobles of the area had requested that Lakshya Raj is anointed as the new Maharaja and the head of the Sirmaur family as there is no male heir to the erstwhile State. Padmini Devi had agreed to the request. The youngest of the sibling’s daughter is Gauravi Kumari is studying at Mayo College in Ajmer.

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Aditya Tiwari

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