Gaj Singh (born 13 January 1948) is a former member of the Indian parliament and a former High Commissioner of India. He was the Maharaja of Jodhpur from 1952 until the royal powers, privileges and privy purses were abolished by an amendment to the Constitution of India in 1971.
Early years and accession
Gaj Singh is the son of Maharaja Hanwant Singh of Jodhpur by his first wife, Maharani Krishna Kumari of Dhrangadhra. He succeeded to the titles and dignities of his father when only four years of age, in 1952, when his father died suddenly in a plane crash. He was enthroned shortly afterwards.
The infant and his siblings were raised by their mother, Rajmata Krishna Kumari. At the age of eight, Gaj Singh was sent first to Cothill House, a prep school in Oxfordshire, England, and then to Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford, where he obtained a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
Singh's full title as Maharaja was His Highness Raj Rajeshwar Saramad-i-Raja-i-Hind Maharajadhiraja Maharaja Shri Gaj Singhji II Sahib Bahadur, Maharaja of Marwar.
In 1970, Gaj Singh returned to Jodhpur to take up his duties as Maharaja of Jodhpur and head of the Rathore clan. In 1973, he married Hemalata Rajye, daughter of the Raja of Poonch, a major feudatory state of Kashmir State and his wife Princess Nalini Rajye Lakshmi Devi of Nepal. They are the parents of two children, being:
- A daughter, Shivranjani Rajye (born 22 August 1974), and
- A son, Shivraj Singh (born 30 September 1975).
In 1971, the constitution of India was amended. The Maharaja and other princes were deprived of their privy purses, the government annuities that had been guaranteed to them both in the constitution and in the covenants of accession whereby their states were merged with the Dominion of India in the 1940s. The same amendment also deprived them of other privileges, such as diplomatic immunity. to the Constitution of India promulgated in 1971, the Government of India abolished all official symbols of princely India, including titles, privileges, and remuneration (privy purses).
Later, Gaj Singh served as Indian High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago. He also served a term in the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of the Indian Parliament.
In 2002, Gaj Singh celebrated the Golden Jubilee of his accession.
- ^ "The Constitution (26 Amendment) Act, 1971", indiacode.nic.in, Government of India, 1971, retrieved 9 November 2011
- ^ 1. Ramusack, Barbara N. (2004). The Indian princes and their states. Cambridge University Press. p. 278. ISBN 978-0-521-26727-4. Retrieved 6 November 2011., "Through a constitutional amendment passed in 1971, Indira Gandhi stripped the princes of the titles, privy purses and regal privileges which her father's government had granted." (p 278). 2. Naipaul, V. S. (8 April 2003), India: A Wounded Civilization, Random House Digital, Inc., pp. 37–, ISBN 978-1-4000-3075-0, retrieved 6 November 2011 Quote: "The princes of India – their number and variety reflecting to a large extent the chaos that had come to the country with the break up of the Mughal empire – had lost real power in the British time. Through generations of idle servitude they had grown to specialize only in style. A bogus, extinguishable glamour: in 1947, with Independence, they had lost their state, and Mrs. Gandhi in 1971 had, without much public outcry, abolished their privy purses and titles." (pp 37–38). 3. Schmidt, Karl J. (1995), An atlas and survey of South Asian history, M.E. Sharpe, p. 78, ISBN 978-1-56324-334-9, retrieved 6 November 2011 Quote: "Although the Indian states were alternately requested or forced into union with either India or Pakistan, the real death of princely India came when the Twenty-sixth Amendment Act (1971) abolished the princes' titles, privileges, and privy purses." (page 78). 4. Breckenridge, Carol Appadurai (1995), Consuming modernity: public culture in a South Asian world, U of Minnesota Press, pp. 84–, ISBN 978-0-8166-2306-8, retrieved 6 November 2011 Quote: "The third stage in the political evolution of the princes from rulers to citizens occurred in 1971, when the constitution ceased to recognize them as princes and their privy purses, titles, and special privileges were abolished." (page 84). 5. Guha, Ramachandra (5 August 2008), India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy, HarperCollins, pp. 441–, ISBN 978-0-06-095858-9, retrieved 6 November 2011 Quote: "Her success at the polls emboldened Mrs. Gandhi to act decisively against the princes. Through 1971, the two sides tried and failed to find a settlement. The princes were willing to forgo their privy purses, but hoped at least to save their titles. But with her overwhelming majority in Parliament, the prime minister had no need to compromise. On 2 December she introduced a bill to amend the constitution and abolish all princely privileges. It was passed in the Lok Sabha by 381 votes to six, and in the Rajya Sabha by 167 votes to seven. In her own speech, the prime minister invited 'the princes to join the elite of the modern age, the elite which earns respect by its talent, energy and contribution to human progress, all of which can only be done when we work together as equals without regarding anybody as of special status.' " (page 441). 6. Cheesman, David (1997). Landlord power and rural indebtedness in colonial Sind, 1865-1901. London: Routledge. pp. 10–. ISBN 978-0-7007-0470-5. Retrieved 6 November 2011. Quote: "The Indian princes survived the British Raj by only a few years. The Indian republic stripped them of their powers and then their titles." (page 10). 7. Merriam-Webster, Inc (1997), Merriam-Webster's geographical dictionary, Merriam-Webster, pp. 520–, ISBN 978-0-87779-546-9, retrieved 6 November 2011 Quote: "Indian States: "Various (formerly) semi-independent areas in India ruled by native princes .... Under British rule ... administered by residents assisted by political agents. Titles and remaining privileges of princes abolished by Indian government 1971." (page 520). 8. Ward, Philip (September 1989), Northern India, Rajasthan, Agra, Delhi: a travel guide, Pelican Publishing, pp. 91–, ISBN 978-0-88289-753-0, retrieved 6 November 2011 Quote: "A monarchy is only as good as the reigning monarch: thus it is with the princely states. Once they seemed immutable, invincible. In 1971 they were "derecognized," their privileges, privy purses and titles all abolished at a stroke" (page 91)