Princess: The Autobiography Of The Dowager Maharani Of Gwalior - Vijayaraje Scindia; Manohar Malgonkar;Century, 1985, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Gently bruised at the head of the spine and top corners with commensurate ruffling to the dust wrapper. Leans slightly.
Reprint. Illustrated with black and white photographs. From the cover: “Vijayaraje Scindia, the Dowager Maharani of Gwalior, is one of India’s most popular political leaders, a princess whose appeal to the masses amazes both her admirers and her critics. For Vijayaraje grew up in a world of feudal privilege and married one of the richest men in India, a high-ranking Maharaja who ruled Gwalior, a kingdom the size of Portugal with over four million subjects. As his wife she played hostess to kings, viceroys and fellow princes, entertaining them to cocktails in the glittering durbar hall and to banquets that ended with a silver train of brandy and cigars circling the table top. It was a life of great splendour, spent in a variety of palaces — Jaivilas was so large it was quicker to go by car from one wing to the other — but the splendour was cut short by Independence, which marked the end of the supremacy of the Indian princes. Vijayaraje could have withdrawn to some safe tax haven but she chose instead to involve herself in politics, joining first the Congress party and then, when she became disillusioned, the opposition. It was a brave move that brought down on her the wrath of the ruling elite in the form of tax raids, fines, threats of confiscation, and even, during the Emergency, a term of imprisonment — a sentence shared with fellow Maharani, Gayatri Devi of Jaipur. Supported by the loyalty of her husband’s subjects, who kept faith with her, Vijayaraje rose serenely above her troubles. Her only son, however, did not, and today, for the first time in three centuries, the Scindias are a house divided. In Princess Vijayaraje Scindia tells her own remarkable story. She has always refused to accept high office, but there is no doubt that her influence is immense. For the striking figure in an immaculate, snow-white sari is at home not only among the politically sophisticated, but among the people to whom she seems an image of Mother India.”