04 November 2011

Scandals... rumors... high society... gold diggers...

Wicked Women of the Raj
Read 30 July 2011
Author Coralie Younger

Anita Delgado, Spanish Rani of Kapurthala

Stella Mudge
Beginnings of a Maharani
The title of the book gives you little window to the content. Clearly it sounds about the wicked English women who lured the Rajas causing scandals and running away with their riches. Truely the relationships and marriages are scandalous -  they would be even in current times,  so you can imagine how it would be in early 1900s.
They are the fancy nautch girls from the East tentalising and luring the Princes and Kings with their white skin and women charms. These white women only marry these Rajas of course because of the wealth bestowed on them. Most of them are not even that beautiful but for the Indian princes they are fairy like. Where the Indian women followed Pardah and stayed within the threshold of their homes, these women were English speaking modern arm candies for tagging along in fancy parties of the British high society providing higher social standing for these Rajas.
 
Paramjit and Stella
Maharaja and Maharani of Kapurthala 
Most of these women later returned to their homelands later what with Indian climate being too hot for their white skin but not without all the jewels and gifts bestowed on them by these kings. Some of these jewels worth millions and considered as one of their kinds were lost to India forever. All that hullaballoo over corrupt money hidden in Swiss Bank accounts, also holds some of the historical Indian heirlooms of the Indian Kings passed on to the white queens.  

Martanda & Molly
Raja and Rani of Pudukkottai

Ranbir & Olive alias Jaswant Kaur
Maharajah & Maharani of Jind
 Infact I am not really angry with these women, they left their home and family to follow a stranger, who actually lures them only with his money and luxuries of a rich princely life in India. Some of them did stay dedicated and loyal to their husband  and their state living up to the image of the Maharanis. Am more furious with these so called honorable Princes who are just useless rich brats, enjoying their gun salutes, hunting trips, stable full of high breed horses, luxury villas in Switzerland or immitation Swiss Villas in their Indian territories, their multiple wives and concubines.

They were the lucky ones who were sent for education to the best of universities at the expense of their poor Indian subjects who barely met their needs. And what they did out there was mixing with the British stiff upper lip society, copying their lifestyle and canoodling with the white skinned beauties. Moreover they get married to these foreigners making them their public wives and their loyal Indian wives stay clad in Purdah, adoring their harems, producing male heirs for them. There was hardly any love lost, as the Princes acquired one wife after another even Europeans, producing multiple kids later claiming for a piece of the inheritance and fighting over the throne and British patronage. 
Elsie alias Sita Devi,
Maharajah & Maharani of Tikari

Bhagwat & Annabella
Maharana and Maharani of Udaipur


Along with their European wives these Indian princes could not bear the heat in India and fled to the cooler summers of London, Paris or Switzerland. All this without paying any attention to the administration of their territories and at the cost of public funds in the state treasuries. Generation after generation of these princes and their mixed lineage let the Indian wealth be fleeced on their sleazy romances and scandalous affairs.

Nawab of Bahawalpur with
 English wife Linda Syce
Now I know how British ruled us for so many years, all because of the incompetence and worthlessness of these Princes whose only objective was to spend their wealth on lavish lifestyle and White wives. Believe me one of the best thing that happened post-independence was abolition of princely states and their privy purses.

 Anyways coming back to the book, instead of writing that I am pouring my anger on the wasting Princes. So here it is about the book.

I loved the research put in by the author especially the pictures were quiet unique and rare. To be frank it was the classy B&W collection of pictures which attracted me to the book at first place and I had to buy it for the collection. The writing is also very lucid, simple and flowing. The author makes sure to add all the scandalous snippets and details to keep the reader engaged, asking for more. It mentions a lot of the Big princely states and some of the known personalities. Read it as you would be reading an old gossip magazine or story of downfall of a King. Don't question or get emotional like me ;))

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