A Princess Remembers is an intimate book presenting extra ordinary life of one of the world’s most fascinating women and an informal history of the princely states of India from the height of prince’s power to their present state of de-recognition.
Gayatri Devi, Princess of Cooch Behar raised in Indian Royalty with fairy tale like childhood and care-free tomboy attitude along with her Brothers and Sisters. The books vividly cover her adventurous trips to London and Europe. It also describes the secret six-year courtship culminating into marriage with world renowned polo player, Jai, the Maharaja of Jaipur.
Jai’s liberating influence combined with Gayatri Devi’s own strong character, took her ell beyond the traditional duties of a Maharani. She founded several progressive schools (which survive till today) and had unprecedented success in Political arena.
The book cover simply says it is a memoir of the Maharani of Jaipur. But honestly it offers much more than simply a recount of this charismatic women’s life journey in the royals of India. I would like to divide the review into two parts. The first part begins with a marvellous introduction of a royal world way beyond our imaginations. It brings to life all those fairy tales we used to hear in our childhood. It reconfirms on solid account that yes, the Indian kingdoms were glamorously rich, traditional, and quite enormous of their time. Maharani’s childhood days give the readers a detailed glance into the travels, parties, restrictions, traditions, hunts and a number of incidences of the life of royal families in 1920’s. Her sensational yet immensely beautiful romance and later wedding with the late His Highness Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur creates a perfect mood of awe and praise for the couple. It introduces the personal understanding between them and constantly mentions the supportive nature of His Highness as a husband and a friend. This part deals with the concerns and issues faced by the Maharani in entering a new city with different culture and even language.
The second part however makes the book as the one with a very sad ending. The crumbling powers of the erstwhile rulers of princely states, the unacceptable political motives of the new government and the capabilities of the Maharani to cater to the needs of her own people in the city of Jaipur. The tragic death of His Highness is what marks the end of this women’s energy and the desire to move on with life. Her life revolved around her Maharaja. At every point of her life since she was 12, he was there as the wind beneath her wings. It is quite difficult to describe the pain with which she must have written the last chapters of the book.
But, nevertheless, I would like to recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the great history of our country, story of a courageous women and a beautiful love story in our recent past