Maharani Gayatri Devi (1919-2009)
Maharani Gayatri Devi, the famous Rajmata of Jaipur was born in Coach Bihar, West Bengal on the 23rd of May. Daughter of Jitendra Narayan and Indira Raje, Gayatri Devi was known for her extreme beauty and strong personality.
As a student of Patha Bhawan of Shantiniketan, she was the batch mate of Indira Gandhi, the most celebrated woman prime minister of India. Later on she studied in Lausanne in Switzerland. She went on to study Secretarial Skills at the London School of Secretaries.
She got married to the king of Jaipur, Sir Sawai Mann Singh II on the May of 1940. She was the third wife of the king and soon was known as the “third highness”. She was like a whiff of fresh air to the otherwise cold and lifeless palace of Jaipur. She brought in glamour and discipline in the palace.
Gayatri Devi didn’t just bask in the glory of her wealth and beauty. She entered active politics in 1962 and won in the Lok Sabha election with record votes. As a political leader she was equally popular among the classes and masses. She worked for the upliftment of the otherwise neglected women of Rajasthan.
In 1971, after the abolition of the Privy Purses, Gayatri Devi was charged of breaking the tax laws. She was arrested and imprisoned in the Tihar jail for 5 months. After that she left active politics but went on to work for the common people in her own way.
She wrote her autobiography, A Princess Remembers, along with Santha Rama Rau. Voted as the most beautiful women in the world by the Vogue magazine, Gayatri Devi will always be fondly remembered as a true woman of substance. She lived her life on her own terms and with great style. She died due to lung failure at the ripe age of 90 on 29th July 2009.