Saturday, August 01, 2009

Jaipur's Queen Gayatri Devi dies at 90

-- From Wikinews
Thursday, July 30, 2009

Maharani Gayatri Devi, formerly the Rajmata of Jaipur and one of the last of India's surviving royalty, died Wednesday, July 29, after a ten-day illness. She was 90 years old.

Born in 1919 into the royal family of Cooch Behar, in 1939 Devi married Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur, becoming his third wife.

After India gained independence in 1947, the popular Devi ran for parliament in 1962 as a member of the Swatantra Party, winning her constituency with a then-record 78% of the vote. Devi won reelection twice, but she ran afoul of tax laws after the abolition of privy purses in 1971 and was jailed for five months.

After her release from prison, she withdrew from politics and published an autobiography, A Princess Remembers, in 1976; the 1997 film Mémoires d'une princesse des Indes (Memoirs of a Hindu Princess) was based around her life.

A funeral planned in Jaipur for today has drawn thousands of attendees. Gayatri Devi is survived by two grandchildren.

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