The Royalty of Mysore
by Vimala Ramu
(Bangalore, Karnataka, India)
With massive changes sweeping over the country in the 20th and 21st century, our Kannada nadu, the golden state of Mysore also underwent many inevitable changes. With the handing over of the power to the Central government, the concept o f royalty also underwent sea change with successive generations.
Just as the national and international politics are meaningful to the residents of Delhi, royalty had a special connotation for the citizens of Mysore city.
My father had been posted in Mysore during late1930’s.Like all the Mysoreans he also used to sport a jari (gold thread) bordered Mysore Peta (pagdi) incongruously with the Western suit. He used to be a regular visitor to the Mysore palace. For me, royalty in those days meant the gold embroidered dark green woolen shawl with thick gold and red border and the gold thread garland strung with big artificial pearls and the pendant embroidered with Ganda bherunda, the mythical two headed bird, the royal logo gifted to my father. In school, we use to sing the Mysore state anthem ‘Kayou Shri Gauri…’ everyday at the assembly praying for the welfare of our royal family and our state. We used to be treated to Laddus on the occasion of Maharajah’s birthday.
As I grew up, I came to know about the erudition of our Maharajah, Jayachamarajendra wodeyar and his patronage to singers, dancers and other artists, besides himself being a good composer of Kirtanas in Sanskrit.
A visit to the palace was always looked up to. The Dasara celebration and the wonderful illumination of Mysore palace were famous all over the world. Who could forget the famous Dasara exhibition, the only one of its kind till Congress exhibitions and Industrial exhibitions came into being!
It speaks greatly of the royal family that even after the ‘self government’ took over, the people of Mysore had immense love and respect for the royal family.
With the passing of the generations it was indeed great to see the (last) scion of the family SriKanthadutta wodeyar humbly mixing with the aam-janata like a true citizen of democratic India. His interest in cricket, in the fashions (revival of old Mysore palace sarees) and in other fields endeared him to all.
May his soul rest in peace.
With his passing, the old Mysore really misses its royalty. ****