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Misery, agony roils Mysore royal family

Statement of the late Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar’s wife on July 7, Pramoda Devi, reiterating her commitment to celebrate this year’s Dasara in keeping with the tradition has also brought to the fore the misery the members of the royal family are in.

“As a member of the royal family, I am committed to celebrate Dasara this year keeping with traditions. Yet, anxiety and uncertainty persists in connection with the Mysore Palace (acquisition and transfer) Act promulgated by the state government in 1998. The Supreme Court has directed the state government to handover a portion of the palace, which was taken over for administrative and maintenance,” she said in a statement.

“But the state government in violation of the Supreme Court order, came forward to take over the Mysore Palace. The Union government, in an agreement signed on January 23, 1950, had extended total security for all private properties of the Mysore Maharajas, including ownership rights and enjoyment. But the prolonged legal battle has brought untold pain and misery to the royal family. Despite all these turn of events, the government has not come forward to resolve the issue. However, the honour, love and affection shown by the people to the Royal family, during the untimely demise of my husband Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, is very much etched in my memory,” she added.

Expressing her belief that it was her ultimate responsibility to continue Dasara celebrations in keeping with the past traditions, has also referred to the issue of a successor and said the appointment of a successor to Wadiyar was a difficult task.

“This is the most testing times for our family. I am under severe stress and strain over my personal loss and the future of our family. As such, every one should understand the trauma that we are suffering and thus not give rise to speculations that lead to confusions,” she said.

Even if Wadiyar, the last scion of the Mysore royal family, was alive he too was passing through the same sad plight of legal wrangling over his property, in particular the Mysore Palace. These time and money consuming legal battles might have also had a bearing on his health and plans to settle down peacefully.

Past events reveal that, following abolition of the privy purse of the maharajas, state governments and some political leaders have repeatedly caused problems for the royal family on their right and custody to their property, may be lands or the Bangalore and Mysore palaces. They had no way except seek legal course, resulting in prolonging legal battles that has cost them time, money and above all frustration.

Former rulers elsewhere across the country are comfortably placed with peaceful possession of their property without interference from the state governments. Some have converted their palaces to hotels. Despite all their benevolence and sacrifices, the successors of Wadiyars are unfortunately in a desperate state.

This sad plight and the added agony of the untimely demise of her husband must perhaps have made Wadiyar to come out with her feelings openly.

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