Rajmata Gayatri Devi was cremated today, in Jaipur, the city proud to claim her as theirs. A blue blood by birth, she was part of the Cooch Behar royals, when there was still such a thing as Indian royalty. She was the third Queen of Sawai Man Singh II, the ruler of Jaipur in 1939.
She was known by many titles – Maharani, Queen Mother or Rajmata of Jaipur, political leader, builder of schools, advocate for women – so many among them. But perhaps the one she wore best, as if by birthright also, was true beauty.
Vogue magazine called her one of the ten most beautiful women in the world. She was beyond those lists, as far as I’m concerned. They also carry names that aren’t good enough to list beside hers, here.
There was a grace from within her – something you see in someone once or twice in a lifetime. She exuded a confidence, some inner knowledge of times past.
She was from an era even before hers, it seemed. And she brought it to us – that history, that richness, that unadulterated confidence and spirit.
Her eyes always spoke to me, in photographs.
They said: be the woman that you are, be the woman that you need to be, be a woman of courage and grace.
And forever she shall.
She may have left the material world at 90 years of age, but a true maharani never fades.
Photos from: Sepia Mutiny, hindu.com, India Today, indiannetzone.com, mdggirlsguild.