THE CITY Palace in Jaipur was drenched in red, the shade of Teej, on Friday. But ask the Rajputs in the Pink City and they will tell you that it is also the colour of war. A small-scale battle has been sounded here against the most famous face of Jaipur royalty - maharani Gayatri Devi, the third wife of maharaja Man Singh II.
To royal watchers, however, the battle is more than a saas-bahu saga. They see this as a proxy battle between Gayatri Devi and her stepson, Brigadier Bhawani Singh, Man Singh's son from his first wife, and point out that there is no love lost between the two.
First the background: Priyanandana, former wife of Gayatri Devi's late son Jagat alleged that her children Devraj Singh and Lalitya Kumari were being robbed of their rights to Jai Mahal Palace. She and her children have gone to the Company Law Board seeking relief.
Thai princess Priyanandana is not alone. She has the support of Padmini Devi, Bhawani Singh's wife and is staying with her children at their home, City Palace. Priyanandana said she was grateful to the support of Bhawani Singh's family.
But Gayatri Devi's counsel UK Chaudhary argued that Priyanandana's plea was not maintainable as, according to Man Singh's will, Jagat's children were disqualified from having any claim on the property following a divorce between Jagat and Priyanandana.
The Jaipur saga is the latest in a series on ongoing royal battles. First blood is yet to be drawn.