Thursday, July 30, 2009

Maharani Gayatri Devi - India's Brightest Star Has Gone

By Manuwant Choudhary

I never met Maharani Gayatri Devi but in a strange way I've always felt I know her so well when news came of her death at the age of 90 my eyes moistened.

She was one person I always wanted to meet..even if it was only to touch her feet and take her blessings as is the Indian tradition.

I feel saddened by her passing away and mourn, just as Jaipur mourns her death.

But Maharani Gayatri Devi was not just the Queen of Jaipur but of entire India.

She proved that one can still remain a Queen even after governments take away all your privileges and titles if being a Queen means winning the hearts and minds of people.

An international icon, she was said to be the world's most beautiful woman.

But I did have a connection with Gayatri Devi since my family belonged to the Swatantra Party and she won the Jaipur seat for the party winning some 1,92,000 votes of the 2,50,000 votes polled, which means 77 percent of the voters vote for her, thereby entering the Guiness Book of World Records.

And why even I did have a connection with her, as I've been trying to revive the old Swatantra Party.

Tomorrow I leave for Bombay to attend 50 Years of the Founding of the Swatantra Party.

Gayatri Devi's passing away just two days before the Swatantra Party's Founding Day has a message for us.

Gayatri Devi was Swatantra Party's brightest star, so this day the bright blue flag with the white star stays at half-mast.

But the flag must be raised tomorrow so that we can once again offer the Indian people a real credible alternative, something that tempted a Gayatri Devi to consider joining an opposition party.

In her book `A Princess Remembers', she writes, "Rajaji (C. Rajagopalachari, founder of the Swatantra Party), had broken with the Congress Party the year before, because he felt Prime Minister Nehru's acceptance of socialist doctrine was quite out of keeping with the needs of Indians."

She says, "Rajaji used to tell us often `What has happened to the Congressmen? They have got fat and prosperous?'"

Rajaji described Gayatri Devi as the Rani of Jhansi - a great Indian heroine, who led her troops against the British in the cause of freedom.

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