As Jaipur, the city she had been synonymous with for almost seven decades, paid homage to her on the first death anniversary on Thursday, an all-religion prayer meeting held at her residence had the ominous shadow of the family feud.
While her “proud grand children”—Devraj and Lalitya— took the opportunity to pay fond tributes to their grandma at the meeting held at Lily Pool on Thursday evening by vowing “to continue her mission and legacy,” most of the Jaipur royals were conspicuous by their absence. The only exception was Brigadier Bhawani Singh, the eldest stepson of the Rajmata, who is siding with her grandchildren in their fight over Gayatri Devi’s estate.
Recalling his grandma for her beauty, elegance and grace and also for her accomplishments, especially in the field of girls’ education and undying love for Jaipur, Devraj Singh said “Jaipur was most dear to her and the city”. He pledged to continue the bond their grandma had with the city.
The all-religion party was marked by the presence of a sizeable number of Rajput men and women dressed in traditional outfits but Rajmata’s two stepsons—Prithvi Singh and Jai Singh—remained absent. Surprisingly, even Brigadier Bhawani Singh’s wife Padmini Devi and daughter Diya Singh did not turn up for the prayer meeting.
For the peoples’ popular princess who made it to the Guiness Book of World Records for her landslide victory on the Jaipur parliamentary seat in 1962 , there were hardly any political faces to pay tributes to her. The three prominent political leaders present at the meeting were, curiously all Rajputs— Rajasthan Assembly Speaker Deependra Singh Shekhawat, BJP leader Rajendra Singh Rathore and Lokendra Singh Kalvi of the social justice front.