Narrated by Lt. Gen. Himmeth Singhji, PVSM
This record in essence has been derived from writings of my late Father, Maj. Gen. Rawal Amar Singhji. He had mentioned that much of the information was given him by his widowed Great Grand Mother, wife of Thakur Shivdan Singhji. Personally, knowing Father’s great interest in things historical and his fondness of reading and researching history, the work is primarily his effort garnished with the recalls of my Great Great Grand Mother.
Father wrote a short ‘Foreword’. I quote relevant parts of it below: -
“Present day yardstick applied to the judging of individuals does not seem to give a prominent place to lineage, but the fact remains that it counts, and in the long run will have to be respected. Those, therefore, who have a background worth knowing should know it. It’s with the object of giving this information to the family, that I have written about the House of Ajairajpura”.
SURYA AND CHANDRAMA
The Maharajas of Amber and the House of Jaipur, the Maharanas of Udaipur and for that matter, the Rathores and other Rajputs are said to have descended from the Surya, Chandrama and Agni.
Such an assertion is indeed a confession of living in a paradise of one’s own making – a state of mind created by the technique of extreme exaggeration employed by the bards. And for the historian to have accepted and included it in their accounts of these Houses, can only lead to the conclusion, that they were either suffering from exuberance of imagination, or had a self-centered purpose which they wanted to be served.
All that can be said is that the Sun and Moon do play a part in the creation of all kinds of lives and to that extent only. They can be connected with human life as a whole and not merely the Rajputs.
Some consider the clan name Kushwaha as correct, others as Kachwaha or Kachawa.
Kushwaha, appears to be the most appropriate as there was a king of Ayodhya named ‘Ikshwaku’, founder of the "Suryavansha" dynasty, predecessor of Dashrath and Ram of the Ramayan days. As there is an etymological affinity between the two words, it is more likely that the name Kushwaha is derived from Ikshwaku.
Yet another belief is that Kushwaha is derived from ‘Kush’, one of the two sons of Ram and Sita. It, however, lacks substance as it is said that Kush was turned into a human being from Kush, the Sanskrit word for a blade of grass.
Ish Devji a Kushwaha Raja of outstanding merit, with his capital at Gwalior, is recorded to have died in 967 A.D. Brahmin genealogists place him as being the three hundred & third generation after Ikshwaku. The Kushwahas of Amber are descendants of Ish Devji.
Prithwi Rajji, the nineteenth generation after Ish Devji, succeeded his father Chandra Senji to the gaddie (throne) of Amber in 1503 A.D. Before him the Kushwahas lived in a state of fluidity in the general area but it was he who established suzerainty over the Rajya of Amber.
He had nine wives and eighteen sons. Apoorva Devi, the 1st wife was a famous Bhakti devotee (the reformist movement that preached humanism & devotion to God as the path to salvation), she was also known as Balan Bai. The 18 sons of Prithwi Rajji founded the major sub clans of the Kushwahas: -
Sons of Rani Apoorva Devi Rathore (Balan Bai)
1. Bhim Singhji - House of Narwal
2. Pichunji - House of Samrya.
3. Bharmalji - House of Bharmalote.
4. Gopalji father of Nathaji who founded the House of Nathawat Jagirs (estates) of Chomu, Samode, Renwal and Ajairajpura.
5. Sultanji - House of Suroth.
6. Jagamalji father of Khangarji after whom is named the House of Khangarote: Jagirs of Diggi, Jobner and Dudu.
7. Sahas Malji died issueless.
8. Saganji - Sanganer town named after him.
9. Balbhadraji - House of Balbhadrote: Jagir of Achrol.
10. Sayeen Dasji - House of Sayeen Dastoe: Jagir of Barhod.
11. Chatur Bhujji - House of Chathurbhujote: Jagirs of Bagru, Mehlan, Pipla and Chitora.
Sons of Sisodaniji
1. Kalyanji - House of Kalynot: Jagirs of Kalwar, Padampur and Ramgarh.
2. Bhikaji died issueless.
3. Tejaji also died issueless.
Sons of Rani Badgujarji
1. Ram Singhji: House of Ram Singhote; Jagir of Khuh Cunsi.
2. Partap Singhji: House of Partap Singote; Jagir of San Kotra.
Son of Rani Rathoreji II
1. Roop Singhji: became a sadhu (ascetic) and is believed to have founded the town of Roop Nagar near Ajmer.
Son of Rani Tanwarji
1. Pooran Malji: House of Pooran Malote.
Including the clans enumerated above there are 53 branches of the Kushwaha Rajputs.
These were troubled times for the Amber Raj dominated by family infighting. The youngest son, Pooran Malji succeeded his father only to be deposed by his eldest brother, Bhim Singhji. He in turn was replaced by his younger brother, Rattan Singhji who gave place to Askaraaji, probably a cousin. Bhar Malji, the third son, quelled the dissension in the family when he took over and thereafter his lineage became the rulers of Amber.
He was the fourth son of Prithwi Rajji and in the trying period after his father’s death did much to stabilize the hold of the Kushwahas & his elder brother Raja Bhar Malji on the gaddie of Amber.
In his father’s time he was given the Jagir (estate) of Chitwari including eleven other villages. The Chitwari Hills in early twentieth century were a favoured family hunting ground where game was plentiful specially panther, boar, chinkara and rabbit.
He had three wives. The first, Satya Bhamaji, daughter of Yadav Raja Udai Karanji of Karauli and mother of Nathaji. There were eight sons born to Gopalji.
He succeeded his father in 1565 A.D. to the Jagir of Chitwari. With his cousin, Maharaja Bhagwant Dasji and his son, later to be known as Man Singhji The Great, he campaigned for the Mughal King Akbar.
The important battles he fought were: -
1. Ahmednagar - 1561 A.D. against Muzaffar Beg.
2. Chittor - 1568 A.D. the occasion of Jauhar (the collective self-immolation by women in order to escape capture) for which the House of Jaipur has never been forgiven.
3. Ranthambore - 1568 A.D. against Surjan Hada of Bundi.
4. Haldi Ghati - 1576 A.D. against the House of Udaipur.
Nathaji had two wives: Chohanji from Bedla (Mewar) and Salankaniji from Toda Bhim. He had eight sons as follows: -
1. Manohar Dasji - Manohardasote Nathawats; Jagirs of Chomu, Samode, Renwal, Ajairajpura, Nangal, Udaipurya and Etawah.
2. Ram Sahaiji - Ram Sahaiji ka Nathawat: Jagirs of Raisar, Morija, Kalwara, Doongri, Bagawas, Bhootera, Beeroli and Rohirha
3. Kesho Dasji - Keshodasji ka Nathawats: Jagir of Bichoon. Ceased to exist in 1955 A.D.
4. Behari Dasji - His line ceased to exist after three generations.
5. Jaswant Singhji - Jasoontji ka Nathawat: Jagirs of Moondota, Sunrias, Mahaswas and Sunder Ka Bas.
6. Dwarka Dasji, Shyam Dasji and Bhan Malji all three died issueless.
Manohar Dasji succeeded his father in 1584 A.D. For services rendered to Maharaja Man Singhji The Great, he was granted the substantial Jagir of Harhota later to be renamed Chomu. His younger brother, Ram Sahaiji at this time became the Thakur of Chitwari which included the village Shyama Jat ki Dhani, later to be known as Samode.
Manohar Dasji campaigned with Maharaja Man Singhji The Great for the Mughal King Akbar for three years (1585 – 1588) in North Western India & Afghanistan, culminating with the capture of Kabul & the defeat of the four major Afghan tribes including the Yusufzai and Mandar. Manohar Dasji’s battle trophies of enemy standards and colours were presented to Man Singhji with the request that they be incorporated in the Jaipur Colours. This Man Singhji did with pleasure and thus was created the Amber (Jaipur) ‘Panchranga’. The Red, Yellow, Green and Dark Blue have been taken from the captured Standards and the White from the old Jaipur Colours of the Kachnar Tree (Bauhinia variegata) in full bloom in the middle on a white backdrop. He also granted Manohar Dasji and his descendants the privilege of carrying the Old Jaipur Colours with a small ‘Panchranga’ in the top flag pole corner. The original Amber flag, the Kachnar Dhvaj (Jadhshahi) was Lord Ram’s pennant, as described by Pt. Bhavabhuti the celebrated 8th century Sanskrit poet and playwright in his epic “Uttararamacharita”.
Manohar Dasji had five wives: Sahaj Kanwarji, Amal Kanwarji, Lad Kanwarji, Ratan Kanwarji and Jhumek Deviji.
He had thirteen sons. In order of birth they were – Jai Singhji, Mathura Dasji, Indra Jitji, Prithwi Jitji, Rawat Singhji, Karan Singhji, Achalji, Kalyanji, Akhai Rajji, Madan Singhji, Kirti Singhji, Har Ramji and Gokul Dasji.
Karan Singhji, the sixth son succeeded his father, the five elder brothers having pre-deceased the father or adopted to other Jagirs.
A sadhu (ascetic) living at Harhota who often met Karan Singhji suggested he move the village to an adjoining piece of land considered good by him. This he did and established Chomu Gadh (fort), later to be known only as Chomu.
Karan Singhji campaigned with Maharaja Jagat Singhji of Amber in the Kangra Hills and while there died in 1621 A.D.
He had six wives one of whom committed sati (the practice of a widow burning herself to death) on hearing of her husband’s demise. He had two sons: Sukh Singhji and Chatur Bhujji.
Sukh Singhji succeeded his father to the Jagir of Chomu. He was the trusted right-hand man and leading military commander of Mirza Raja Jai Singhji of Amber.
At this time Aurangzeb was battling his brothers for the Mughal throne. Having secured the throne, he deputed Jai Singhji to quell the empire’s rebellious elements; primarily Shivaji. Sukh Singhji accompanied Jai Singhji on this campaign. Shivaji, till then undefeated, was out maneuvererd & defeated in the Battle of Purandar 1665, forcing him to the negotiate for peace.
Sukh Singhji accompanied Mirza Raja Jai Singhji and his son Ram Singhji, bringing Shivaji to Delhi for negotiations. But when he found that Aurangzeb intended to play dirty with Shivaji, he assisted the Amber father and son, in helping Shivaji to escape. It is believed Aurangzeb, because of the incident, carried a grudge against Ram Singhji and showed it after the death of the father. The storm, however, was weathered with no damage to the Amber Raja by tactful advice given to Ram Singhji by Sukh Singhji.
Sukh Singhji made considerable improvements at Chomu. He had three wives and one son, Raghunath Singhji.
Raghunath Singhji succeeded his Father to the Jagir of Chomu in 1672 A.D. He was a contemporary of Bishan Singhji of Amber.
His more famous campaign was the Battle of Soghar against the Jats in 1691 A.D. Around 500 enemy combatants were captured, in keeping with the Rajput honour code they were not slaughtered; greatly angering the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb who had ordered the ruthless suppression of the Jats. He died while out of Chomu and one of his three wives committed Sati. He had one son, Mohan Singhji.
Mohan Singhji succeeded his Father in 1696 A.D.
The succession battle after Aurangzeb’s death was fierce and finally his third son Bahadur Shah, succeeded him.
Due to this state of flux Sawai Jai Singhji II who was at Delhi with his brother, Bejay Singhji could not come for the latter’s daughter’s marriage to Raja Budh Singhji of Bundi; the ‘Kanyadaan’ (ritual of giving away the bride) was done by the Thakurs of Chomu and Samode.
Time had lessened the ill-feeling between the States of Udaipur and Amber generated during the raj of Man Singhji at Amber. Desiring further improvement, Jai Singhji II while travelling in the proximity of Udaipur called on Maharana Amar Singhji and asked for his daughter in marriage. The Udaipur family agreed provided if his daughter gave birth to a son he would succeeded Jai Singh II to the gadi of Amber, notwithstanding the sons born earlier to senior Maharanis or others. Jai Singhji agreed and the Sardars (warlords) of Amber, including Mohan Singhji were accordingly informed. Mohan Singhji, who was accompanying Jai Singhji II, speaking for the Jaipur Sardars told the Udaipur family that no guarantee on succession could be given but that they had no objection to the marriage. The marriage took place and in course of time Rani Shishodaniji gave birth to Madho Singhji.
During this period the sister of Maharana Amar Singhji was married to Maharaja Ajeet Singhji of Jodhpur.
While Jai Singhji II and Ajeet Singhji were at Udaipur, Bahadur Shah launched a campaign and seized Jodhpur and Amber. The three Houses immediately joined forces and re-secured their two capitals. On the way they also captured the Sambar salt lakes, (holding of the Delhi Mughals) and it was equally shared by Jodhpur and Amber. It continued to be their property until the merger of the States with the Union of India in 1949.
Later Ajeet Singhji finding the hold of the Mughals weak on the District of Ajmer annexed it. S. Jai Singhji at the request of the new ruler, Muhammad Shah at Delhi deputed Mohan Singhji to recapture it, which he did after the Battle of Taragarh, in 1723 A.D. For services rendered Mohan Singhji was given the additional Jagir of Renwal in the same year.
Trusting Mohan Singhji and wanting to better control his out-lying Districts, S. Jai Singhji II made him the ‘Ijaradar’ (Governor) initially of Khoh and later of Dausa, Hastera, Shekhawati and Torawati. (In the 1940s when Father was the Home Minister and visited these districts the older generations fondly remembered the rule of our ancestors; their contributions being many to the development of the area) The ‘Ijara’ arrangement was like a fiefdom; a fixed amount being paid to the Ruler and the remainder revenue to be used for development of the District and living requirements of the ‘Ijaradar’. This arrangement continued for three generations and ceased after Ranjeet Singhji passed away.
S. Jai Singhji’s II in 1728 A.D moved the seat of the Raj from Amber to the newly constructed city of Jaipur. Mohan Singhji built a haveli (house) in Jaipur in 1729 A.D. Unlike the other havelis, the Chomu haveli was allowed to abut the city walls & to have its own entrance into the city making Mohan Singhji’s ingress & egress above scrutiny; indicating the great trust the House of Jaipur had in him.
Mohan Singhji was also a great builder, carrying out extensive additions to Chomu fort including creating the formidable city moat.
He had three wives and Mertaniji committed Sati when he passed away in 1744 A. D. He had two sons, Jodh Singhji and Bhagwat Singhji.
Of some interest will be the purchasing power and gold equation of the period. These are subsequently stated; as a reference an anna is 1 ⁄ 16 of a rupee or equal to 6.25 paisa.
1. A gold mohar costing close to Rs.400/- is the 1950s was priced Rs.11/-
2. Four men, a horse and a pair of bullocks could be fed for a day on 6 annas (38 paisa).
3. One maund (37.32 kg) and ten seers (1.25 kg/seer) of wheat cost Rs.1/-
4. A quilt, 16 yds. long cost 12 annas (75 paisa). Dying it cost ½ an anna.
5. Daily wages were: labourer man – ½ anna, woman – 1 pice (1/3 of a paisa); a skilled mason was paid 2 annas (12 paisa).
On their Father’s death, Jodh Singhji succeeded to the Jagir of Chomu and his younger brother, Bhagwat Singhji was given the Jagir of Renwal. A little earlier Ishwari Singhji ascended to the gaddi of Jaipur. There was, however, bad blood between him and his younger brother, Madho Singhji, the son of the Udaipur princess.
The Jagirdars of Jaipur, with Jodh Singhji in the forefront arranged conciliation between the brothers but it was short lived due to vested advice given to Madho Singhji by his relatives in the Udaipur and Jodhpur ruling families. It resulted in a major battle between the two; Chomu supporting Ishwari Singhji and Udaipur and Jodhpur Madho Singhji. The battle took place at Rajmahal near Deoli with total victory for Ishwari Singhji. To commemorate the victory Ishwari Singhji built the Isarlat Sargasooli Tower in Jaipur’s Tripolia Bazar.
Ishwari Singhji died in rather sad circumstances. Let down by his Army Commander, Har Govind Natani, who unusually was from the mercantile class; it is said that he consorted with the enemy allowing the Mahrattas to lay siege on Jaipur City. Ishwari Singhji committed suicide, taking poison.
Madho Singhji succeeded Ishwari Singhji to the gaddie of Jaipur. Recalling Mohan Singhji’s non-committal at the time of his mother’s marriage and Jodh Singhji’s siding with Ishwari Singhji, he was initially cool towards the Thakur of Chomu. A few years later when Madho Singhji asked Jodh Singhji if he could be trusted in view of his past commitments he replied, my allegiance is not to individuals but to the House of Jaipur; distrust between them thereafter was cleared. Madho Singhji deputed Jodh Singhji and his son, Ram Singhji to check the invading Holkar army; being led by their celebrated commander Gangadhar Tantiya. The Holkars were decisively defeated in the Battle of Kakor, Uniara 1759 A.D.; both Jodh Singhji & Ram Singhji died in battle.
Earlier, for services rendered by the family to the House of Jaipur Hamir Singhji, the eldest son of Jodh Singhji was given the Jagir of Samode with the title of Rawal. He died while still young and unmarried and was succeeded by his younger brother, Ram Singhji from Chomu. Though married he was childless when he died with his father in the Battle at Kakor. His younger brother Sultan Singhji succeeded him to the Jagir of Samode.
Jodh Singhji had seven sons:
1. Hamir Singhji.
2. Ram Singhji
3. Sultan Singhji
4. Ratan Singhji who succeeded Jodh Singhji to the Jagir of Chomu.
5. Gulab Singhji died issueless.
6. Bhopal Singhji got a separate Jagir.
7. Bahadur Singhji who succeeded Bhagwat Singhji, the brother of Jodh Singhji and the Thakur of Renwal.
For all practical purposes except in name, Bhopal Singhji started the Jagir of Ajairajpura. It was a large holding and included the villages of Lawan, Dholi, Jalsu, Duni, Belaudarpur, Chobriwala, Malani, Tolawas, Hundawas, Shyampura and Jaitpura. He built the Lawan Fort which stands even today. Lawan and Duni later became Thikanas by themselves confirming the large holding of the initial Jagir.
Bhopal Singhji was a soldier statesman held in high esteem by the then Jaipur Maharaja Sawai Partap Singhji. He was to confer on him the title of ‘Musahib' (courtier) and the day for bestowing of the ‘Siropa’ had been decided. The day previous unfortunately, Bhopal Singhji had an altercation at the City entrance, near Govind Deoji’s Temple, with the Dewan’s son, a favourite of the Maharaja. The next day when he went to the Palace he was told the ceremony had been postponed as the day was not auspicious. Connecting it with the previous day’s incident, Bhopal Singhji annoyed and upset immediately handed in all his pattas (property title deeds) and Jagir to the Maharaja’s representative at the Palace and decided to leave Jaipur. Some of these pattas were claimed and taken over by his cousins the Jagirdars of Chomu and Samode.
On his way to Bindraban where he was to spend the rest of his days in prayer & meditation, Bhopal Singhji with his son Bakhtawar Singhji stayed a while at Alwar. Where the son married the daughter of the brother of the Alwar Maharani; the bride being from the Gaur subcaste came to be called Gaurji.
When Bahadur Singhji succeeded to the Jagir of Renwal he asked his nephew, Bakhtawar Singhji to return from Alwar. He did so, but shortly after left for Hyderabad (Deccan) and served with distinction in the Nizam’s army rising to a worthy position. For services rendered he was given a ‘Siropa’ and a beautiful Deccan Sword that remained in the family until Kalyan Singhji lent it to a friend, who regretted it had been stolen.
The son predeceased the father by a few days; dying in battle in 1786 A.D. Gaurji committed Sati. The family members of Chomu and Samode decided that the second son (Hanwant Singh) of Bahadur Singh of Renwal should succeed Bhopal Singhji. They also stated that they would do everything possible to have the old Jagir of Bhopal Singhji restored to Hanwant Singhji.
The ‘Dastar Bandhi’ (succession ceremony) was done when Hanwant Singhji was ten years old and his elder brother Vikramadityaji living. However, the elder son, predeceased his Father and as by that time the promised lands had not been restored to Hanwant Singhji he requested his parents that he should be named the successor to Renwal. If nothing of the old Jagir materialized, the Father, Bahadur Singhji agreed that Hanwant Singhji should succeed him and Prithwi Singhji, the third son, given the village of Hamirpura. This the mother later had changed to equal division of Renwal between the two brothers. For subsistence, as an interim measure, Hanwant Singhji was to be given the village of Ajairajpura which was a part of the Renwal holding.
When Bahadur Singhji passed away in 1817 A.D. Hanwant Singhji was away in Marwar. In his absence the ‘Dastar Bandhi’ (succession ceremony) was performed and Prithwi Singhji became the Thakur of Renwal. On his return finding that Bhopal Singhji’s Jagir had not been restored to him and having lost his birth right to Renwal. Hanwant Singhji appealed to Kishen Singhji of Chomu and his mother to correct the injustice done to him. Unfortunately, little was possible in immediate compensation as Prithwi Singhji supported by Beri Salji of Samode, who held an important position in the Jaipur court and used his influence with the Maharaja to prevent any change. The Mother however, got Prithwi Singhji to execute a document giving Hanwant Singhji’s descendants the right to Renwal should his line cease.
Kishen Singhji of Chomu had no son and had decided to adopt Shivdan Singhji the elder son of Hanwant Singhji. This too was denied by Rawal Beri Salji and his son, Laksman Singhji became the Thakur of Chomu on Kishen Singhji’s death.
Hanwant Singhji had two wives and four children. The first wife was from Gagrana in Ajmer District. They were Rathore. She had two issues: Shivdan Singhji and a girl. The second wife was again a Rathore from Rajala and was named Jodhiji. She gave birth to two boys: Shroji Singhji and Jeevan Singhji.
Shroji Singhji had two sons and a daughter. The sons predeceased him and the daughter married the Thakur of Patan - a Jadhav. Jeevan Singhji had a daughter and son. The son passed away before the Father and the girl was married to the Thakur of Gyar near Ladhu.
Hanwant Singhji died in 1825 A.D.
Shivdan Singhji succeeded his father. He was married to Mertaniji, a Rathore from Lunwa (Merta). Both were very religious and charitable; their piety, generosity & kind heartedness was remembered for decades after their passing.
They had three sons & two daughters; Kan Singhji, Govind Singhji and Anand Singhji, the daughters were married to the Thakur of Bir (Marwar) and his younger brother. At the birth of Anand Singhji, Baba Harji Ramji, a famous Dadupanthi Sadhu (a sect against formalism and priestcraft) was visiting Ajairajpura. The Father was a disciple of the Sadhu. Shivdan Singhji offered his new born son to Harji Ramji as his disciple. Harji Ramji was pleased by the gesture and said he would take the boy when he was a little older. Because of this affiliation, until the next visit of the Sadhu, Anand Singhji instinctually became vegetarian. It is said if a meat dish even touched his food, he would become sick. This was mentioned to Harji Ramji on his next visit when the boy was 12 years old, he was amused and said henceforth he would have a ‘grihastha’ (householder) chela, from that day Anand Singhji ate meat without any discomfort. He also predicted that Anand Singhji’s progeny would be the Thakurs of the four Thikanas of Chomu, Samode, Renwal and Ajairajpura. People took it as a blessing, little realizing that the prophesy would one day come true.
Shivdan Singhji passed away in 1860 A.D.
Kan Singhji succeeded his father, Shivdan Singhji on his death. By now any hope of securing the Jagir of Bhopal Singhji was given up and Kan Singhji became the Thakur of Ajairajpura. Income then from the Jagir was Rs.2000/- annually and the Estate had to provide four horses with sowars for service to the Jaipur State.
Lakshman Singhji of Chomu had no heir and when he died claimants came from Renwal and Ajairajpura; the Rawal of Samode having no male issue. The Jaipur Maharaja Sawai Ram Singhji after interviewing the claimants chose Kan Singhji. Unfortunately, on returning to the Renwal Haveli, where the two families lived, he suddenly took ill and died. Some believed the Renwal claimants had used a tantric device to kill him. As he had no issues the Jaipur Maharaja selected his younger brother, Govind Singhji to succeed him. It is said the new Thakur’s food and drink were carefully supervised for many years to ensure he too was not killed by poisoning by his Renwal cousins.
Kan Singhji was married to the daughter of the Thakur of Tamroli (Marwar), they had no issue.
Anand Singhji the youngest brother, succeeded Kan Singhji on his death in 1862 A.D.
When Rawal Bejay Singhji of Samode died without a male issue, the Thakur of Chomu tried to have his brother, Anand Singhji adopted but the Jagir went to the Renwal cousin. Initially Maharaja Sawai Madho Singhji had agreed to Anand Singhji’s adoption but later changed his mind which possibly was the reason for the disenchantment between Govind Singhji & the Maharaja for the remainder of their lives.
Anand Singhji was married into the Gudha Thikana of Jodha Rathores. He had two sons, Kalyan Singhji and Devi Singhji. As Govind Singhji had no son he decided to adopt his nephew, Devi Singhji from Ajairajpura.
In keeping with the status of a future Thakur of Chomu, Devi Singhji’s marriage was arranged in the important Jodhpur Thikana of Nimaj. A little before the marriage party was to leave, the Nimaj Thakur was advised by the Jaipur Ruler, still playing mischief with Govind Singhji, that Devi Singhji’s succession was yet to be approved and therefore the claim to the status of a future Thakur of Chomu was uncertain. This could have led to innumerable problems but for Anand Singhji’s request to Maharaj Sir Partap Singhji to intervene, who then assured the Nimaj family that if Devi Singhji did not succeed to Chomu he would give him an equal Jagir in Jodhpur, and the marriage went through.
Because of the influence of their kind hearted and pious mother, Mertaniji, there was much love and affection between the brothers. In keeping with this attachment Anand Singhji looked after the affairs of Chomu for his brother.
The friction between the Jaipur Maharaja and the Chomu Thakur continued over the years and came to a head when his seat immediately to the right of the Ruler at the Jaipur Durbar (court) was allotted to another person. This seat for generations had been allotted to Chomu for outstanding gallantry, devotion to duty & sacrifices made for the House of Jaipur. Understandably, the two brothers were livid when informed about it and Govind Singhji was even considering not attending the next durbar but the younger brother told him to leave the matter in his hands. At the next durbar when they reached the rightful chair and finding it occupied, Anand Singhji bodily lifted the occupant and told his brother to occupy it. He then took a chair behind Chomu Thakur, challenging the assembly to dare remove his brother. When S. Madho Singhji was told of the incident, not wanting to lose face, he cancelled the durbar but then onwards the Chomu Thakur retained his rightful place.
Notwithstanding ill feelings between the Maharaja of Jaipur and The Thakur of Chomu, Anand Singhji in his later years was personally liked by and had easy access to S. Madho Singhji. Anand Singhji though of robust health died young at the age of 47.
He succeeded his father, Anand Singhji in 1895 A.D. He continued to look after the affairs of Chomu and did so even after his younger brother become the Thakur. He introduced a fair amount of administrative reform in the Thikana and is remembered with respect by the people of Chomu.
He and his brother, Devi Singhji were the founder students of Mayo College; a boarding school, set up by Lord Mayo the British Viceroy, for sons of royalty and aristocracy. Both got their diplomas from Mayo College. Kalyan Singhji was a good sportsman representing the School in tennis and excelling as a batsman in cricket. He rode well and did so most mornings from a young age. He was a competent polo player and enjoyed pig sticking. All throughout his life he was interested in shooting at which he was good.
He was knowledgeable about animals and those who knew him invariably sought his advice when acquiring elephants, camels and horses. He wrote a book on animal husbandry which received favourable comment.
The Political Department in India 1910 A.D. was looking for a companion for the then young Holkar of Indore and offered Kalyan Singhji the appointment but he regretted as The Maharaja of Jaipur and his brother at Chomu did not want him to leave Jaipur. Shortly afterward he and his brother accompanied Maharaja S. Madho Singhji to England for the coronation of King Edward VII.
Rawal Fateh Singhji of Samode had no male descendant when he passed away. Kalyan Singhji forfeiting his due right of adoption, successfully sponsored and actively presented the case of Sangram Singhji, the eldest son of his brother, both, in the courts and to the Maharaja. The counter claim by Khichanji of Renwal for her son was defeated; but in the process Kalyan Singhji earned the ill feelings of his cousin’s family.
Keshri Singhji of Renwal died without a male issue. In keeping with the commitment given by Prithwi Singhji in the past, Kalyan Singhji asked his brother if he could process the case for adoption for his second son, Amar Singhji. He gladly gave his consent and after a protracted legal presentation the case was approved by the Legal Department and required only the formal approval of the Maharaja, who was visiting Hardwar. Appreciating that delay may pose other problems, Kalyan Singhji took his son to Hardwar and Amar Singhji did a ‘Nuzzer’ to Maharaja S. Madho Singhji which was accepted, implying informal acceptance of his succession to Renwal. The losing candidate again was sponsored Khichanji of Renwal.
A little earlier Devi Singhji’s first wife had passed away and he had married again this time into the Khimsar family. Khichanji carrying a grudge against the Ajairajpura family over the succession episode of Devi Singhji, brain washed the second wife to get her husband, to sponsor the case of her first son. When Kalyan Singhji got to know of his brother’s change of heart, without hesitation he told him that he was withdrawing the candidature of his son. The noble gesture was in total keeping with the largeness of heart and generosity that Kalyan Singhji showed throughout his life. Bhawani Singhji, the fourth Chomu son and the first born to the Khimsar wife became the new Thakur of Renwal. Interestingly, his son Giriraj Singhji had no male issues, and with the abolition of the Jagirdari system in 1951, he chose not to adopt a male child, thus the Renwal lineage came to an end after him.
Now in his fifties, Kalyan Singhji gave up his administrative commitments at Chomu. He was however, pressed into the Jaipur State Services and successfully headed the State Industries Department ‘Karkhanejat’. When his eyes started failing, he asked to be relieved of his duties which was agreed to and thereafter he spent much of his time with his grandchildren.
I remember him clearly charming all of us and in particular my sister of whom he was very fond. Most mornings he would come to our home in his ‘baggi’ (horse carriage) and eat a light breakfast with my sister and recount the doings of the Jagirdars (chieftains) the night previous. In spite of his cataract problem, he would take us children shooting to the village. Each one’s bag was checked out in his presence and it always surprised me how he managed to have the best score in spite of his very poor sight. One day by accident I got to know that the shooting was actually done by his favourite attendant.
It was a bit of a charade; game would be pointed out to my grandfather who understandably could not see it. Grandfather would then hand the gun over to the favourite servant who would do the shooting. Obviously, the grand old man would not stay away from shooting with his younger generation, eye sight or no eye sight!
In father’s reminiscence Kalyan Singhji invariably came out as a wonderful human being who gave much joy to others and himself fully enjoyed his time on this earth.
He was married to Govind Kanwarji, a Champawat Rajput from the Hariadhana Thikana in Jodhpur. She was a wonderful lady who I remember well. After Grandfather’s death she stayed with us and I spent some of my most enjoyable moments with her talking of the old days and my ancestors. In spite of having spent her entire life in purdah she had a modern and enlightened mind. I married late and she was ever match making for me. Her last few years she was bed ridden and died when she was in her nineties. They had five children, all boys.
Man Singhji was the eldest he married into the Badgujar Rajputs of the Deogarh Thikana in Gwalior State. Their only child, a daughter, died while still young. Man Singhji held a gazetted appointment with the North Western Railways and was in Quetta at the time of the devastating earthquake of the thirties. Always frail, he died young at the age of forty one.
Amar Singhji the second son, my father, in time became the Thakur of Ajairajpura.
Daulat Singhji the third son, was dauntless and daring and was commissioned in the 32 lancers in World War I. They were the first unit to enter Baghdad and were awarded the Battle Honour for Mesopotamia 1916-18. Unfortunately, Daulat Singhji died in Mesopotamia in 1919 of yellow fever. After his death he appeared in his mother’s dream and requested her to build a temple for him so that he may look after the family. He is known as Maharaj Kanwarsa and his temple is located in the Ajairajpura Haveli in the walled city of Jaipur. The family holds the scroll and plaque in recognition of his services, presented posthumously by the British King. At the partition of India in 1947, 32 Lancers were redesignated 13 Lancers and went to Pakistan. In the reallocation of troops on communal basis, the Sikh Squadron of the Regiment came to Poona Horse, a Regiment allotted to India.
Ram Singhji, was Kalyan Singhji’s fourth born son. (His biography shared later, is a mix of Gen. Himmeth Singhji’s notes with inputs from Ram Singhji’s grandson Arjun Singhji.)
Zorawar Singhji, the youngest son joined the Jaipur State Forces and was rated a superb football goalkeeper. Soon after his marriage he sought early retirement, involving himself in his father-in-law’s business activities and taking to long prayer and meditation sessions. He married Thakur Kishen Singhji’s daughter, from Amravati in Maharashtra. They had no children, so they adopted Th. Kishen Singhji’s granddaughter from his son. Their adopted daughter Baisa Chitra Kumari married her university friend Shri Nirmal Sethia, from the famous Indian business family of the U.K.; they had two sons Rishi & Puru, and a daughter Richa.
MAN SINGHJI & ZORAWAR SINGHJI
In An Ancestor's Collage
Born June 10, 1899, he succeeded his father in 1944 and was to be the last Thakur of Ajairajpura; the Jagirdari system being abolished in 1951. Ajairajpura’s status under Amar Singhji’s stewardship was that of a senior Tazimi Thikana (peerage) of Jaipur State.
Initially, he studied at Jaipur but later spent nine years at Mayo College, graduating with a Higher Diploma. He had an outstanding school career excelling both at academics and sport. He won prizes in most scholastic subjects and also represented the College in football, hockey, gymnastics, athletics and polo, captaining the hockey and gymnastics teams. He was appointed a Monitor in 1916 and Head Monitor in his final year at school, 1918. His passing out order from Mayo College was second in the Order of Merit.
On leaving Mayo he joined H.H. Alwar’s personal staff, possibly because Grandfather and Alwar were cricketing cronies. While at Alwar in 1921 he married the daughter, Sardar Kanwar, of the Thakur of Meelkheri. When young I often accompanied my mother to her village and can recall the fort and the excellent partridge shoots. My maternal Grandfather, Thakur Rampratap Singhji though not too tall, with his full beard was an imposing figure, always more than kind to us children. The family was essentially rural orientated and my mother’s younger brother and nephew could run down rabbits and partridges! The day of our arrival, invariably an overly fattened, castrated goat would be slaughtered and I still retain the smell of the fat heavy meat, which I never liked but was considered a delicacy.
Father left Alwar State Service to join the Bombay Baroda & Central Indian Railway (BB & CIR) as Assistant Traffic Superintendent and saw service at Bulsar (Valsad), Ahmedabad and Kota. In his interview for the appointment, when asked how he would go about commanding his juniors, he promptly replies, ‘I have always commanded people; when young it was the retainer’s children and later the retainers themselves’. The interview went no further and his appointment was confirmed on the spot.
In 1925 he resigned from BB & CIR and returned home to be appointed Assistant Commandant of the Jaipur State Transport Corps. He became Commandant in 1926. Subsequently, he went on a cavalry course to 2nd Royal Lancers at Meerut for a year. In the Regiment’s Dining Book his name features as dined in on 11.09.1929 and dined out on 12.09.1930. He was attached to the Squadron in which Capt. Maharaj Rajendrasinhji was serving and obviously they must have played a little cricket together, as later, when he was an Army Commander and I a young officer cricketing for the Services, if I got out to a wild stroke, he would say, I played the game like Father.
Soon after his return he was seconded to Maharaja Jaipur's personal staff in 1931. Promoted Major, he became the Household Comptroller in 1933. In the late thirties he became Minister in Waiting and then Army Minister and finally Home Minister which post he held from 1944 to 1948. Maharaja Jaipur conferred the title of Rawal on Amar Singhji & the British that of Rai Bahadur. When he retired, he held the rank of Maj. Gen. in the State Forces.
Sardar Patel, the first Home Minister of Independent India sent him to Manipur as the Chief Administrator to assist in the merger of the princely state. The Maharaja and he had been classmates at Mayo. He was there for just over a year in 1949 and 1950. On his return he briefly held an adviser appointment with H.H. Jaipur but soon gave it up because of his eczema problem. For a few years the attacks were terrible and he had to be bandaged nearly all over. Always generous and never having worried over money, these were also the years of financial stringency. They were weathered and with the sale of a bit of landed property, financial stability achieved. The experience left a mark on him and thereafter he became somewhat of a recluse, restricting himself to the company of a few personal friends. Some of them who come to mind are Nawab Sahib Loharu, Rawal Sahib Nawalgarh, Sen Sahib and Thakur Sahib Mahlan. The latter was a simple man with no claim to intellect yet was often to be found with Father. Possibly, having suffered a bruised ego he found Mahlan’s company undemanding!
In the fifties he also seriously took to gardening, personally working many hours in the garden himself. Whenever I came home on my yearly vacation from the army, invariably there was something new that he had done to the garden and always for the better. He repeatedly won the prize for the best garden in Jaipur, so stopped competing after a few years. Today a small part of the garden is still retained and in it proudly stands a Chinar tree, imported from Kashmir in the thirties and nursed to maturity by Father.
My recall of Father is, as it should be, in two phases: the pre-1950 when he worked very long hours and thereafter when he was more or less a man of leisure. He was undoubtedly an autocrat, constantly on the go in the earlier years and a much mellowed person in later life. When home from boarding school, I saw him briefly in the mornings but rarely at night, as he came home late either from office or a party at the Club. After retirement he spent most evenings at home and I loved being with him before dinner, which he normally had early. At these evenings the topics would range wide and I found he understood human beings and their nature rather well. Above all, at these talks I acquired a value system from him of which I am truly proud.
Mother ruled the house and had tremendous courage. After Father retired and during the trying times immediately afterwards, she was a tower of strength, willing Father to face and resolve their financial problems. On his death, having lived most of her life in the sheltered world of purdah and its small intrigues and gossip, without Father her world collapsed. She lost interest in life and was unhappy mostly (inspite of the creature comforts provided her) and was bedridden for the last few years, she passed away in 1986.
My parents had five children. The second, an unnamed male died at birth. The other four born were: Raghubir Singh - 18th Oct. 1922, Krishna Kumari – 5th Dec. 1925, Mahabir Singh – 23rd Sept. 1926 and I, Himmeth Singh on 21st June 1928. They also informally adopted and raised their granddaughter Basia Shashi Kumari.
Ram Singhji, Kalyan Singhji’s fourth son was born in 1901.
He started off his career as ADC to the Patiala Ruler, a cricketing friend of his father. Unable to adjust to Maharaja Bhupinder Singhji’s boisterous eccentric ways he returned to join the Jaipur State Services. He was selected as an officer for the Sawai Man Guards, the elite battalion of the Jaipur State Forces, now absorbed into the Indian army as 17 Rajputana Rifles. He had a quick rise to the rank of Major, the Maharaja seeing his abilities for administration and man management appointed him the Municipal Commissioner of Jaipur. As the MC of Jaipur City he immediately instilled discipline and brought cleanliness to the city. Ram Singhji along with the Prime Minister of Jaipur, Mirza Ismail, planned and oversaw the creation of the “new” Jaipur that lies outside the old walled city.
He was later appointed Superintendent of Jaipur State Prisons. After the merger of Jaipur State into the Union of India he took over as Deputy Inspector General (DIG) and then as Inspector General (IG) Prisons for Rajasthan. As IG Prisons he set about reforming the prison system. He had very progressive ideas on criminal psychology, prisoner education, rehabilitation, and skills development. He had a fearsome and respectable reputation being impeccably honest with unimpeachable integrity. Ram Singhji’s prison reforms, till today a bible for jail authorities in Rajasthan, are detailed in the book “Jaipur: Gem of India” by DK Taknet.
He married Rajkumari Sobhyavati Devi, daughter of Maharaj Karan Singhji of Ratlam. They had two sons, Jai Singhji and Bijai Singhji, and a daughter whom they lost in her early childhood. The couple raised their grandniece Baisa Rani Kumari (Ratlam) as their daughter.
Throughout his life he stayed psychically fit with a regular exercise routine which included a daily walk, massage, and exercise with mugdars (wooden clubs). He was a strict disciplinarian, a stickler for punctuality, known for his hair trigger temper if things were awry. Being the last survivor of his generation, only passing on in 1988, he saw the reneging of the treaties with the Indian kingdoms by the Nehru family that had taken control of the Congress party; this angered him greatly and he was vocal about his displeasure.
My father, Lt. Gen. Himmeth Singhji, in propriety did not write in detail about his generation, as that is the task of the succeeding one. To continue recording the family history, I requested my cousins the grandchildren of Amar Singhji & Ram Singhji, to furnish information about their parents. Additionally, in the earlier narrative I have taken the liberty to add some details sourced from Amar Singhji’s original text of the history & also added some fact checked historical data.
Prior to proceeding further with the family history, one must add an historical context to the post 1947 era. In 1947 the British quit India. Mh. Sawai Man Singhji II in 1949, believing that democracy better served the interests of the common man, in a philanthropic gesture, merged the State of Jaipur with the newly created democratic Union of India. Mh. Jaipur would retain certain ceremonial roles & be given a privy purse to meet his household expenditure. Similarly, the thikanedars would retain their lands but have no administrative role in their tithes. However, shortly after Sardar Patel’s death in 1950; the Indian Home Minister who was the architect of the merger of the royal houses with India. JL Nehru the Prime Minister of India started reneging on the treaties signed with the principalities. Later Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi also a PM, amended the Constitution of India in 1971 to do away with all the treaties with the Indian kingdoms. Thus, as I pen this in 2021, under the law there is no longer a Thakur of Ajairajpura, nor a Maharaja of Jaipur. That said, the general population has deep respect for the Maharaja, and similarly thikanedars are treated with great courtesy in their ancestral villages. One trusts that in the near future this wrong will be righted, as the merger of the princely states was a noble act of such generosity, that I dare say, is unheard of in the annals of human history.
He was the eldest child of Amar Singhji; born on 18th October 1922.
After completing his early schooling in Jaipur, he joined Mayo College where he excelled in Cricket, Football, Tennis and Squash. Whilst still at school, as a 15-year-old, he played cricket for Rajputana State in the Ranji Trophy. In 1939, he was appointed Head Monitor of Mayo College.
After finishing his education, he wanted to join the Air Force, but was persuaded by the Maharaja of Jaipur to join the Jaipur State Railways which was part of the Bombay Baroda and Central India Railways. As the Second World War had erupted in 1939, soon after completing his training he was sent to the Eastern Front in Burma to manage the transportation of the allied troops and their supporting war material.
Had WW 2 not interrupted his sporting activities, he surely would have played Cricket for India. After the war he represented the Indian Railways in Cricket and Football, and was ranked India no. 3 in Squash.
After the amalgamation of the BB & CIR into the Indian Railways; Raghubir Singhji was transferred to the Western Railways. As Sr. Deputy General Manager, he was responsible for the creation of “Palace On Wheels”, the world famous luxury train for tourists which consists of Royal Carriages belonging to the erstwhile Maharajas of Rajasthan. He had a very successful career in the Indian Railways, retiring as Chief Commercial Manager, Western Railways.
Post retirement he took up an appointment with Zuari Agro looking after their liaison work with the Rajasthan Govt. He was also deeply involved with his Alma mater Mayo College, Ajmer, serving as a lifetime member on its Governing Body.
In 1948, he was married to Baisa Asha Lata, Daughter of Thakur Jaipal Singhji of Jalalpur (Aligarh) & Baisa Vidyawati Kumari née of Chingrawli (Bulandsahar). They had one son Vikramaditya & the couple informally adopted Baisa Manju Kumari; Asha Baisa’s younger cousin from her maternal side.
Asha Baisa was educated at Tika Ram Girl’s School, Aligarh. She did her graduation from Banaras Hindu University and her LLB from Baroda University, where she was awarded the Gold Medal for being the best Law Student. Throughout her higher studies she was actively involved in India’s Freedom Struggle. After marriage, as the eldest daughter-in-law, she played a stellar role in keeping the extended family together; she ensured that a pension from the joint family funds was provided to Man Singhji’s widow, she took charge of and adroitly handled the property & legal affairs of the family. Her daily “open-house” tea parties were the gathering ground for all generations of the family and invariably distant family members also marked their attendance. She was the epitome of a homemaker, known for her warm hearted and generous nature.
BAISA KRISHNA KUMARI
She was the third child of Amar Singhji; born on 5th Dec. 1925
Amar Singhji being a broad-minded man saw that his daughter received a formal education, a rarity in Rajputana in those times. Krishna Baisa was sent as a boarder to a convent, Sophia School (Ajmer) from where she completed her Sr Cambridge schooling; she was good at academics and noted for her excellent knitting & embroidery.
On 6 Feb 1945 Krishna Baisa married Ram Pratap Singhji of Kod (Dhar, MP). Ram Pratap Singhji was educated at Daly College, Indore & St Xavier's College, Bombay. He excelled at Tennis, Cricket & Bridge. After completing his education, he joined the Indore State Police, later he was transferred to the IPS after the merger of the Indore State into the Union of India. He retired as Deputy Inspector General of Police & settled in Indore.
Baisa Krishna Kumari & Ram Pratap Singhji had four children; Suraj Singhji, Baisa Shashi Kumari, Baisa Madhvi Kumari & Ashok Singhji.
Krishna Baisa was a warm-hearted soft-spoken person. She is remembered amongst the police fraternity for her outstanding work with the Police Family Welfare Centres.
He was born on the 23rd of Sept 1926, in Jaipur; the fourth child of Amar Singhji.
Both him and his younger brother Himmeth Singhji were kept in the same class and sent to Mayo College, Ajmer. After a short two-year stint at Mayo College, both brothers were transferred to St. Joseph’s Academy, Dehra Dun, an all “White” school which had recently opened its doors to boys of Indian nobility, from where they completed their school education. At school Mahabir Singhji excelled at tennis, cricket, swimming & springboard diving.
Thereafter, the brothers joined St. Xavier’s College, Bombay for their college education. Where they set out to have a good time putting studies on the back burner! Spending most of their time playing competitive tennis & cricket, or, at the racecourse betting on horses, watching films and generally having a good time. Their class attendance was so deficient that the college authorities asked them to return home. Their father a strict disciplinarian, in modern parlance, told the brothers to “shape up or ship out”.
Mahabir Singhji chose to study at the Allahabad Agriculture Institute, where he found his calling getting a BSC degree in Agriculture with honours in first division.
After graduation he was offered a teaching position in a college in United States of America. His father did not give him permission to accept it as it was too far away from home.
He chose to take up a job in the Tea Plantations of Assam. In 1953 he joined Jokai Tea Company and moved to Assam. After completing twenty years of service with Jokai India Ltd. He went on to join Brooke Bond India Ltd and became the Managing Director of their principal group of plantations in Assam, the Doom Dooma Tea Company.
Subsequently Unilever acquired Brooke Bond in 1984, where Mahabir Singhji was appointed Executive Director. He also was appointed as a consultant on the tea industry by the World Bank & the Asian Development Bank. After an illustrious career he retired in 1989. He was an intelligent man of principles who took forward the legacy of his father in abiding by the qualities of being scrupulously honest, hardworking, fair and just across all aspects of his career.
Mahabir Singhji in April 1956 married Baisa Jeet Kumari the d/o of Th. Harnath Singhji of Khatipura (Jaipur) & Thakurani Tope Kanwar née of Nangal (Jaipur). They had two daughters Baisa’s Nikita Kumari and Vandana Kumari.
Baisa Jeet Kumari was educated at MGD School, an institution established by HH Maharani Gayatri Devi to bring girls out of purdah and empower them. She excelled at school; being appointed Vice President of the School Council & House Captain, in sports she was Captain of Netball & Badminton. After marriage, as a tea planter’s wife she devoted herself to her family & extensive garden. She was an autodidactic horticulturist winning prizes for her flowers & jams. In the Assam tea garden tennis circuit Mahabir Singhji & her were virtually undefeatable as a mixed doubles pair. Once they moved back to Jaipur she started a horticulture and landscaping company, Haryali. She was responsible for the landscaping of the newly constructed hotel ITC Rajputana.
Mahabir Singhji had a modern outlook for his times; he encouraged his wife to wear pants, learn tennis and golf & never felt the need to have a male child. Nikita Baisa accompanied him on all the “shikars” and was not treated any different from his friend’s sons. She was encouraged to swim in cold lakes in the winter along with their dog to go and fetch the ducks that had been shot & to sit with him on a machan during leopard hunts. Being quick witted and friendly by nature, with a wonderful sense of humour he was popular across all age groups and is very fondly remembered in the Tea Industry.
He was born on the 21st of June, 1928; the fifth and last child of Amar Singhji.
Himmeth Singhji & his elder brother by little over a year, Mahabir Singhji, were kept in the same class & sent to Mayo College, Ajmer. After two-years both brothers were transferred to St. Joseph’s Academy, Dehra Dun from where they completed their schooling. Himmeth Singhji excelled at Athletics, Basketball, Hockey, Tennis & Cricket.
For their college education the brothers joined St. Xavier’s College, Bombay. Where they were more interested in having a good time, than focusing on their studies! Spending most of their time playing competitive sports, or, at the racecourse betting on horses to hopefully double their pocket money. To entertain they had an unlimited dining account at the gourmet restaurant Harvic in the Bombay Fort area. As a result, their class attendance was so deficient that the college authorities asked them to return home. Their father a strict disciplinarian, in modern parlance, told the brothers to “shape up or ship out”.
Himmeth Singhji chose to join the army where he found his true calling. He graduated from the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun with the Sword of Honour. He represented the Joint Services Cricket Team in the Ranji Trophy, and would have likely played for India had he chosen cricket over his army career. He was also an excellent golfer playing to a +2 handicap at his best.
He was commissioned in 4 Guards (1 Rajput) an elite battalion of the Indian army, later commanding the regiment in the 1971 Indo-Pak War. 4 Guards excelled in the War of Liberation of Bangladesh; they were awarded the Battle Honour for Akhaura & were the first unit to enter Dacca. They were adjudged to be amongst the best regiments in the Eastern Sector; being awarded the Theatre Honour for East Pakistan. Himmeth Singhji was put up for a Maha Vir Chakra, but due to differences between his Corp Commander Lt. Gen. Sagat Singhji, arguably India’s finest field commander, & the armchair General JS Arora who was GOC-in-C Eastern Command, all gallantry awards for 4 Guards and other units in 4 Corp (Gen. Sagat’s Corp) were watered down. However, justice was later done when the celebrated author Mukul Deva was commissioned to write a book on the “Blitzkrieg” campaign of 4 Guards in the 1971 Indo-Pak War, it is entitled “The Garud Strikes”.
Himmeth Singhji rose to the rank of Lt. General; he had the distinction of commanding all three premier institutes of the Indian army; Indian Military Academy, College of Combat MHOW, and National Defence College. On his last posting as Commandant NDC, whilst on a study tour to the Emirate of Qatar he was noticed by Sheikh Hamad-bin-Khalifa-Al-Thani, the Crown Prince and Defence Minister of Qatar. Sheikh Hamad asked him to join him as an advisor after retiring. Himmeth Singhji accepted and spent four years in Qatar. Whilst at Qatar he was instrumental in ensuring that Qatar secured its rights to its off shore natural gas reserves that were being claimed by the Bahrainis. British colonial records for the Middle East are housed at the National Archives, New Delhi, from where Himmeth Singhji sourced records asserting Qatar’s territorial rights over the natural gas fields. On the strength of these documents a case was presented to The International Court of Justice. By happy coincidence Maharaj Sri Nagendra Singhji of Dungarpur, the President of the ICJ, was with Himmeth Singhji at Mayo College; putting that aside, he presided over the matter ruling in favour of Qatar. These off shore natural gas fields are now the major source of revenue for the Emirate of Qatar.
Never one to “retire”, Himmeth Singhji on his return to India at the request of Rajmata Gayatri Devi setup a school for rural children; Lalitya Kumari Bal Niketan, at Jagga ki Baodi, Jaipur. As Captain of the Rambagh Golf Club, he took the govt to court to save the golf links & their surrounds from being constructed upon by the Jaipur Development Authority. On this land the citizenry of Jaipur now has an 18-hole green golf course & an extensive recreational area named Central Park.
Himmeth Singhji was a keen shikari, though not fond of big game hunting, he restricted himself to partridge & hare shooting with the occasional duck shoot. He was an excellent shot winning a Team Silver Medal, with his friends Rawal Rajeshwar Singhji of Samode and Th. Jayendra Singhji of Uniara, at the National Trap & Skeet Championships in the 60s.
Himmeth Singhji in Feb 1960 married Baisa Prafulla Kumari d/o Rao Chandra Pal Singhji of Jatau & Rani Chandra Kumari née of Rampura (Jalaun). They had one son, Mrityunja Singh.
Baisa Prafulla Kumari, was born on 9th March 1938, she is better known by her pet name Jane. She was a founder student of MGD School, an institution setup by HH Maharani Gayatri Devi to bring girls out of purdah and empower them. Jane Baisa excelled at school being appointed the Head Girl. Thereafter, she did her BSc in Home Science from Lady Irwin College, New Delhi. After marriage she set up Shipria a garments & furnishings export business. She was also an accomplished artist; selling her Batik paintings whilst the couple was posted in Ethiopia. Always being out going and adventurous, well into her 70s, she went skydiving with her granddaughter & undertook a yatra to Kailash Mansarovar in China, where the final leg of the journey was on horseback. Throughout her life she was involved in philanthropic work, being appointed the President of the General Body of Digantar Shiksha Evam Khel Kud Samiti, Bhavgarh, Jaipur (a free school for underprivileged children), a Trustee in Help In Suffering (an animal hospital & shelter), Vice President of the Board of Governors of MGD & President of MGD Girl’s Guild. After her husband’s passing, she founded the General Himmeth Singh Memorial Trust; which supports war veterans and their families. She has produced a film “The Garud Triumphs” & a book “The Garud Strikes” on the actions of 4 Guards in the 1971 war. In remembrance of her younger brother JP Singhji (John), she produced a film “Of Love & Artistry” detailing his work promoting Rajasthani folk artists, which won awards on the international film festival circuit. She being of a warm and kind nature is affectionately referred to as Jane Jija (Jija meaning elder sister) by all the people whose lives she has touched.
He was born on 1st June 1927, Ram Singhji’s 1st son.
Jai Singhji did his schooling at Col. Brown Cambridge School, Dehra Dun. Where he excelled at academics, tennis & cycle polo.
Maharaja Sawai Man Singhji seeing that Jai Singhji was academically gifted, in 1945 granted him a scholarship to study Engineering at Purdue University in Indiana, from where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1949. He then was accepted for an MBA at UCLA, Los Angeles, California; which he completed in 1951.
Jai Singhji was a lifelong donor and supporter of Purdue University and was part of the President’s Council at the University. Noting his contributions, Indiana State Senator, Sheila Klinker presented him with the State Flag of Indiana giving him permission to display the flag at his premises. He also was an ardent supporter of the Red Cross, who had helped him settle in as a young 17-year-old who had just landed on American shores.
After completing his education, under pressure from his mother, he moved back to India. He joined Esso, the multinational oil company. He had a very successful career initially handling sales & marketing, and later HR in India. After a few years Esso posted him to New York City, then brought him back to India to handle HR & training for SE Asia. With the nationalization of multinationals in the 70s he moved to Indian Oil, from where he retired as General Manager (Personnel).
In 1954 Jai Singhji married Rajkumari Shashi Prabha Raje from the royal house of Dhar (M.P). They had two sons Hari Singhji & Arjun Singhji. However, due to personality differences the couple divorced in 1972. They both did not remarry.
After retirement to keep himself occupied he opened a garden restaurant with live Rajasthani music attached to his bungalow at Jaipur. After much deliberation on choice of names he settled on “Indiana” in honor of his Alma mater Purdue University, Indiana! This ‘hobby” suited his gregarious personality and love for food.
Jai Singhji enjoyed the company of younger people, and his ability to hold a conversation on a wide host of subjects endeared him to all. He also was an excellent bridge player. Being worldly wise & a fount of knowledge people from all walks of life came to him to seek his advice.
He was born in Patiala on February 14, 1934, the second child of his father Ram Singhji who was then ADC to the Maharaja of Patiala.
Bijai Singhji was initially educated at Colonel Brown Cambridge School, Dehradun, later he transferred to St. Joseph’s Academy, from where he graduated in 1949. At school he excelled both at academics & sports winning colours in Cricket, Hockey, Football and Athletics. As an accomplished all-round student, he was appointed a Senior Prefect at the academy.
Thereafter he attended Maharaja College, Jaipur. Whilst in College he was recommended for the Shreemati Vijay Laxmi Pandit Scholarship for studies at Fairleigh Dickenson College in Rutherford, New Jersey, USA. In all probability the reason he did not take up the scholarship was that his mother refused to sanction the foreign sojourn as her elder son, Jai Singhji, had already left India for the USA.
He joined the Assam Frontier Tea Company in Dibrugarh, Assam, and rose to be Manager of the Talup Tea Estate. At this point he had a spiritual awakening and became a follower of Satya Sai Baba. With spiritual ardor he planned religious meetings (Satsangs) for the tea plantation workers. However, at that time Assamese tea plantation workers were getting politicized and a movement of “Assam for Assamese” was gaining traction. Thus, the upper echelons of management did not like him getting familiar with the work force, nor his bringing religion into the workplace. So, in 1980 Bijai Singhji decided to take early retirement and moved back to Jaipur.
He was married to Baisa Jaya Kumari of Khudala (Pali). They did not have any offspring. Jaya Baisa shortly after marriage developed incapacitating rheumatic arthritis. Over the next 40 years Bijai Singhji took personal care of his wife refusing to employ a nurse; never losing his smile, pleasant demeanor, nor his sense of humor. His nephew, Umrao Singhji, from Bijai Singhji’s maternal side of the family (Ratlam) was like a son to him & Jaya Baisa.
His spirit of service extended beyond his wife to the wider community. He was passionate about growing and distributing tulsi plants, wheat grass, books of scripture & religious calendars. It was noted by all that he displayed the unique characteristics of a saint.
THE HISTORY OF THE AJAIRAJPURA FLAG
Manohar Dasji campaigned with Maharaja Man Singhji The Great for the Mughal King Akbar for three years (1585 – 1588) in North Western India & Afghanistan, culminating with the capture of Kabul & the defeat of the four major Afghan tribes including the Yusufzai and Mandar. Manohar Dasji’s battle trophies of enemy standards and colours were presented to Man Singhji with the request that they be incorporated in the Jaipur Colours. This Man Singhji did with pleasure and thus was created the Amber (Jaipur) ‘Panchranga’. The Red, Yellow, Green and Dark Blue have been taken from the captured Standards and the White from the old Jaipur Colours of the Kachnar Tree (Bauhinia variegata) in full bloom in the middle on a white backdrop. He also granted Manohar Dasji and his descendants the privilege of carrying the Old Jaipur Colours with a small ‘Panchranga’ in the top flag pole corner. The original Amber standard, the Jharshahi (tree-marked) flag, was Lord Ram’s pennant, as described by Pt. Bhavabhuti the celebrated 8th century Sanskrit poet and playwright in his epic “Uttararamacharita”. It’s worthwhile noting, that modern TV soap operas ahistorically show Lord Ram’s flag as a sun against a white backdrop, an incorrect prop to depict him as a king of the Rajput Solar Dynasty.
The image of the flag is Amar Singhji's rendition.