Shiv Kumari of Kotah, Indian Hindu royal, died she was 95.
(1 March 1916 – 12 January 2012)
Born in 1916 (although other sources indicate 1913 and 1915) she was married to Maharao
Bhim Singh of Kotah in 1930. She was not, however, bound by the
traditional restrictions of the Purdah. Kumari’s father ensured that she
received modern education along with her male siblings at home. The Rathor Rajput princesses was skilled in shooting and bagged more than forty tigers both before and after her marriage.
As the Maharani of Kotah she became committed to the cause of education along with her contemporary and friend, Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur. Kumari is vice-president of the latter’s Maharani Gayatri Devi Girls’ Public School in Jaipur.
While her husband was the ceremonial governor of Rajasthan,
Kumari was also active in politics and was elected to the Rajasthan
Legislative Assembly as an independent member from Khanpur (Jhalawar
District) from 1966-71. Along with her husband and family she traveled
all around the world in the early decades of India’s independence.
Kumari was active in the socio-economic uplift of the Rajput
community and is the vice-president of the Rajput Sabha. Like her
contemporaries in Indian royalty she remained interested in the
preservation of wildlife and jungle habitat. She managed a small estate
near Kota called Nawal Bagh, which had been bequeathed to her by Maharao Bhim Singh.
Following the death of Maharao Bhim Singh in 1991, Kumari became the
Rajmata (Queen Mother) while her son Brijraj Singh became the next
Maharao. The royal residence of Umaid Bhawan was converted into a hotel
but she continued to reside in the upper portions of the palace until
her death in January 2012.
Kumari died on the evening of 12 January 2012. She had been admitted
to the Intensive Care Unit of the Bharat Vikas Parishad Hospital in Kota
on 9 January following a deterioration in the functioning of her
kidneys. On the afternoon 12 January she was brought back by her family
to her residence, the Ummed Bhawan Palace, without any improvement in
her condition and the doctors declaring her death only a matter of time.
Her last rites were performed on 13 January 2012.
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