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Mysore royal's sudden demise may trigger a war

December 11, 2013 09:44 IST

Mysore royal's sudden demise may trigger a war

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Gouri Satya

Wadiyar demise could heighten pressure on family, embroiled in litigation against the government on property takeovers, says Gouri Satya

The head of Mysore’s former royal family, Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, 61, passed away on Tuesday afternoon.

The erstwhile Yadu dynasty’s senior suffered a massive heart attack and was rushed to a private hospital, where efforts to revive him failed.

Wadiyar, whose father, Jayachamaraja Wadiyar, was the last ruler of the kingdom before it merged to become part of the present state of Karnataka, is survived by wife Pramoda Devi. They have no natural heir. His parents, Jayachamaraja and Tripurasundara Ammanni, had five daughters -- Gayathri Devi, Meenakshi Devi, Kamakshi Devi, Indrakshi Devi, Vishalakshi Devi -- and this son.

The father had died in the Bangalore palace early, too, at the age of 55 years.

Srikanta Datta was a link to the royal past, continuing the age-old tradition of the Dussehra celebrations in the Mysore palace, including the traditional durbar while seated on the golden throne -- though the rich scale had suffered as the state government had taken over the public celebrations and the conduct of the Vijaya Dasami.

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Photographs: Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar's Facebook page

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Gouri Satya

He was also a two-time member of the Lok Sabha, elected from Mysore on a Congress party ticket. He had then quit the Congress and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party but had lost. Later, because of health and other reasons, he stayed away from politics. Only last week, he had been elected president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association.

Though he ventured into some commercial ventures, these were not fruitful. However, he successfully ran a private museum in the Mysore palace, which has a rich collection of artefacts.

As a student of the Maharaja’s College here, from where he graduated, he played cricket, leading to his active interest in the game.

There were rumours that he had chosen a successor but his sudden death without naming a heir leaves many doubts on succession and management of his vast property, much of which is caught in litigation, either in the high court at Bangalore or the Supreme Court.

The state government had decided to take over the palaces in both Mysore and Bangalore, resulting in litigation. Some of his and his sisters’ properties, such as spacious lands, are also embroiled in litigation.

All this had put a lot of stress, mental and financial, on the erstwhile royal family. They could not have peaceful possession of their ancestral property and the situation continues frustratingly for them, unlike many other erstwhile rulers now enjoying their properties without hassles.

Though built by the royal family from their funds, a portion of the Mysore palace is now under the control of a Palace Board; only the rear and old portion, built by a former ruler was left for Srikanta Datta to live. For some time, he had been mostly staying in the Bangalore palace. The pressure on the family is likely to heighten with his passing away and without having named a successor.

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Photographs: Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar's Facebook page

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The Wadiyar Dynasty Tree

* Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar III (1799-1868) was restored the kingdom after the death of Tippu Sultan in 1799

* His adopted son was Chamaraja Wadiyar (1881-1901). As he was a minor, Krishnaraja Wadiyar’s wife, Vanivilasa Sannidhana, was incharge of the affairs of the state

* Chamaraja Wadiyar sons were Krishnaraja Wadiyar, (1901-1940) who succeeded Chamaraja Wadiyar, and Kantirava Narasaraja Wadiyar, the Yuvaraja of Mysore

* Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV had no sons and so he adopted his nephew, Kantirava Narasaraja Wadiyar’s son, Jayachamaraja Wadiyar, (1940-1947) the last ruler of Mysore

* Jayachamaraja Wadiyar had only one son, Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, who passed away on Tuesday, and five daughters

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Image: Mysore Wadiyar's Royal Insignia 'Gandaberunda'
Photographs: Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar's Facebook page

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