Book Review of A Princess Remembers by Gayatri Devi

A Princess Remembers by Gayatri DeviA Princess Remembers – the memoirs of Gayatri Devi of Jaipur, maintains in large parts what you imagined Indian royalty to be! From trivial to endearing details make the book to be a source of most interesting facts of history. Apart from the settings of Cooch Behar and Jaipur, the memoirs of Gayatri Devi offer glimpses of other princely states of India. The book covers the period when India was still the ‘brightest jewel’ in the British Imperial Crown. There are astonishing details on the environment, the social and political conditions of those times of 1900’s and onwards. Besides, the whole book is an open world of a beautiful, dynamic princess who readily makes the reader a part of her memories. The language has the flexibility to add substance: where you will remember how the palace’s restricted life made up its own realm of cooks, nannies, teachers, professional hunters, not to forget the ADCs, of course. These were the days of the state rulers returning to Europe for summers, where they arranged the most dazzling parties for the nobility in their westernized homes. You begin to see much more than that because the book quietly asserts the experiences of Gayatri Devi, right up to her years of 1976 – when she was imprisoned along with her stepson, Bubbles, in Tihar Jail (Delhi), during the Emergency in India. A Princess Remembers, moves swiftly from the beginning to the end, documenting an informal history of the princely states of India from the height of the princes’ power to their present state of de-recognition.

Geeta Chhabra

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