The assembly elections have made critics of the ‘same-gotra’ marriage of Narendra Singh Rajawat and Diya Kumari of the former Jaipur royal family come on the same page. The reason is tactical rather than social, and for the moment, the former seems to have overridden the latter. Diya, 42, is contesting on a BJP ticket from Sawai Madhopur and landlords and Rajput organisations who had opposed her marriage have now joined hands to campaign in her favour.
Diya, the only child of former Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh, had married Narendra, then an employee at the City Palace, the residence of the Jaipur royals, in 1997. Narendra belongs to the Kotada estate under the Bauli tehsil of Sawai Madhopur district. Both belong to the Rajawat gotra. Their marriage was solemnised in a low-profile ceremony with most of the thikanedars skipping it.
Marriage within same gotra (clan) is prohibited by certain sections of Hindu society who believe people of the same gotra are siblings. Rajasthani society, which is still bound by feudal and semi-feudal loyalties, did not accept the match and followed it up with social boycott.
The gotra row also led to a tussle among Rajput power-players. Bhawani Singh Rajawat of Rajput Sabha had felicitated Diya and Narendra on August 27, 2009, at a religious ceremony of Jawai Mata, the clan goddess. Members of the mahasabha served him a notice for felicitating “boycotted persons”. In reply, Bhawani filed an FIR through a court order at the Sadar police station in Dausa against the Mahasabha members. The matter was later dropped.
There are about 10 thikanas in the Sawai Madhopur constituency and the Rajput community comprises 10,000 voters. So how do they explain the new alliance?
“The Gotra issue was a dispute within the community. But when a person from our community was fielded from the seat, how could we vote for a person from another caste or religion? We held meeting with the samaj leaders and decided to support her. The gotra row has taken the backseat,” Raghuveer Singh Rajawat, Sawai Madhopur district president of the All India Kshatriya Mahasabha, said.