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Heirless, MP royals slipping into history

india Updated: Feb 27, 2011 23:54 IST
Padma Shastri
Padma Shastri
Hindustan Times
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Seven former princely states of MP are on the verge of petering out of people's memory because of not having a line of succession.

The states concerned are Indore, Dhar, Ratlam, Dewas Junior, Jaora and Alirajpur. The princely states, about 570 in number, were merged with the Indian Union in the early years of independence mainly through the efforts of VP Menon, secretary to the ministry of states, headed by Vallabhabhai Patel.

Subsequently, though the Constitution abolished regal titles and the privy purse was rescinded in 1972, the erstwhile rulers of princely states till this day have a sort of legitimacy in people's minds, apart enjoying their exalted position in memory and folklore.

It is against this background that this has come as a shock to other rulers of former princely states.

“We feel sad about this. The loss of a princely state is not only the loss of history and heritage but also the loss of institutions that stood for values and principles. Heritage cannot be built on money and cannot be built in a day,” the ruler of the erstwhile Narasinghgarh state, former Goa governor and former union minister Bhanuprakash Singh, 82, remarked.

It is for emotional and ritualistic reasons that the royals want the six states to declare the successor. The ruler of the erstwhile Bidwal estate (Dhar district), Narendra Singh Bidwal, said: “One feels a loss. Ratlam was Malwa's largest Rathore state, from which the Sailana and Sitamau princely branches emerged. Nobody is mobilising others to fill in the vacuum. The leadership is gone.”

They give the example of Rajasthan’s Bikaner, a state once left with no heir.