This Biography is about Maharaja Sadul Singh who was the Ruler of the State of Bikaner from 1943 till the integration of the State in Greater Rajasthan in 1949. In spite of the briefness of his reign, the Maharaja played a notable part in the happenings which had occurred in the said period. During these years India was passing through troublous times; events were moving so quickly, often overlapping, that they seemed to be unending like the waves. At such a critical time when the threat of country's balkanization loomed large, Maharaja Sadul Singh had played a meaningful part. By his singleness of purpose and action the Maharaja had averted the breaking up of the country into fragments. His role had proved useful and effective to the cause of India's unity and oneness. The Maharaja along with his progressive group of Princes had exhibited oneness of purpose and thought and brought about a cohesive and united India. Because of his unparalleled contribution the Maharaja was hailed as the co architect of Indian unity.
The histories, biographies and books that deal with the period - extending from 1943 to 1949 - have given peripheral position, for one reason or the other, to the Maharaja's role in the shaping of events, though he deserved something more. He was one of the main figures on behalf of the princely order who had played a constructive and positive role at the critical phase in India's history, when fateful decisions were made.
I have always nurtured a lively curiosity about my paternal grandfather whom I never had the privilege of knowing. Maharaja Sadul Singh was my grandfather and is the subject of this book. He died three years before I was born and so a key piece in my life is missing. We are, all of us, compositions of the genes, strengths and weaknesses of our forbearers. When they are living it is clear to see the similarities and differences that exist, when we do not know them then one can only speculate as to what particular aspects of their qualities we have inherited, which characteristics that makes us like them or different. My knowledge of my grandfather is only by word of mouth from my father and other members of the family and most especially by the staff and retainers who worked with him closely, and of course, by the many files of correspondence relating to his time in our archives.
I have over the years tried to construct a mental picture of what my grandfather must have been like. The first and most important facets that struck me is the human angle; he was born into a most noble and royal family as yet fate, always capricious scatters her favours most selectively. Maharaja Sadul Singhji's mother was a Princess of Pratapgarh, Vallabh Kanwar Ranawatji. He also had a remarkably lovely sister Princess Chand Kanwar, the affection between brother and sister is very clear to see in the photographs of them together, her protective arm around her little brother. He was still a child when the scourge of tuberculosis struck his mother. Those were the dark days before the invention of penicillin when TB was a major killer of men, women and children alike. Despite all efforts made by Maharaja Ganga Singh she succumbed to this fatal illness leaving Sadul Singh without a mother. Though I cannot know this for certain but I strongly feel that in the absence of their mother Princess Chand Kanwar took over the maternal role towards her younger brother.
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Art & Culture (744)
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