Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Sayajirao Gaekwad III GCSI, GCIE ( 1863-1939)

Sayajirao Gaekwad III GCSI, GCIE ( 1863-1939) By: Er.H.R.Phonsa There lived Meharwan Shrimant Kashirao Bhikajirao ( Dada Sahib) Gaekwad (1832–1877) and his poise wife Shrimant Akhand Soubhagyavati Ummabai Sahib , of the village of Kavlana in Malegaon taluka of Nashik district . They were engaged in farming.The couple had three sons Anandrao (1857–1917), Gopalrao (1863–1939) and Sampatrao (1865–1934). Meharwan Shrimant Kashirao Bhikajirao was from a branch of the Gaekwad dynasty a cadet branch descended ( Younger son of monarch not declared heir) from a morganatic marriage (a marriage between High caste man to low caste woman) of the first Raja of Baroda, and so was not expected to succeed to the throne. Their second son Gopalrao Gaekward born on 11March 1863 became Maharaja of Baroda and renamed Sir Siyajirao Gaekward III . Lieutenant Colono Fatesinghrao Gaekward , first son of Siyajirao added that their family descendents belonged to a small village Kavlana in Nasik district and settled down there as farmers. They even bought a share of hereditary rights of the headman ship of the village and went on to be known as Kavlana Gaekwads. Their dynasty name Gaekward is said to be derived from 'Gae-Kaiwari ' ( a small gate from which cows were taken out or simply one who protects cows). However the Gaekward Dynasty rule on Baroda began in 1721,when the Maratha general Pilaji Rao Gaekwad conquered the city from the Mughal Empire . But only after 1770, during the rule of Sayajirao Gaekwad I , Baroda became the seat of power and the residence of the Gaekwad rulers. The Gaekwads were granted the city as a fief by Peshwa Bajirao I. It lasted till 1947 when India got freedom. Ref Baroda- Know your roots/Times of India/Published by-times of lndia/lst edition/2012/page no.23 38) Being son of a farmer Gopalrao Gaekward used to graze cows in his childhood. He turned out be luckiest that on attaining 18 years age he was selected to be Maharaja of Baroda State. It was on 27 May 1875 . The lucky boy was renamed as Sayajirao Gaekwad III . He peacefully ascended the gadi (throne) at Baroda on, 16 June 1875. Despite being sixth richest man in the world, he committed his whole life for the welfare of people and became one of the most loved kings ever world over. Though he was one among the three wealthiest rulers of India nobody else could match his people friendly welfare measures. Other two rich were Nizam of Hydrabad and Maharaja of Mysore. Sayajirao who ruled over Baroda State for 63 years was ever ready to help any needy person of his state. He proved to very visionary, Vikas Purash (Developer) and non compromiser on his royal prestige. He did not compromise with dictates of the British on his honors. To commemorate the coronation of George V and his wife Mary as King and queen of Britain on their proclamation as Emperor and Empress of India in December 1911 Delhi Darbar ( Last of three Darbars,1877,1903,1911 ) was held in 1911 . As per protocol all Indian Kings and princes, who were asked to attend the Darbar were to wear royal dress fitted with valuable jewelry. Each King while presenting himself before the Emperor and Empress was to bow thrice and come back without showing back to the Royal couple. Although Sayajirao had a splendid collection of jewels and jewellery but when his turn came, he was not wearing the prescribed royal dress, bowed only once , turned his back towards Royal couple and came back to his sear . British officers, London press including Motilal Nehru criticized this action of Maharaja. But Mahaja of Baroda did not relent, as he did deliberately as a protest against discrimination, shown toward Indian rulers by the British. Despite this Sayaji Maharaj was awarded Delhi Durbar Gold Medal-1911 and GCIE-1919 by the British for his other super qualities of head and heart. He also attended Delhi Durbarheld on 1st January, 1877. He was granted the title of Farzand-i-Khas-i-Daulat-i-Inglishia on 29 December 1876. However Maharaj’s granddaughter Gayatri Devi said in her autobiography that Maharaja had missed attending rehearsal ,so the mistake occurred. Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekward III was one among three Indian rulers in 1911, entitled to get highest ranking 21 gun Salutes honour when he visited India capital. Srimant Sir Khanderao Geakward II(1828-1970), third son of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekward II, acceded the Gadi of Baroda State from his elder brother, Maharaja Ganpatrao Gaekward , on 19th November 1858. But he died sudden death in 1870 in harness. He died as male heirless . However his 17 years old widow Maharani Jamnadevi gave birth to a female child posthumously so king’s younger brother Malharrao (1831–1882) became the 11th King of Baroda. He was the sixth and youngest son of Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad II. Malhar Rao spent money liberally, nearly emptying the Baroda coffers. He even reported to have attempted to poison the British Resident of Baroda. On his the Secretary of State of India, Lord Salisbury ordered Malhar Rao’s disposition on 10 April,1975,exiled him to Madras, where he died in 1882. Then there was no male heir from Dynastic regular family to be on the Gadi of Baroda. So Late Maharaj Khanderao II 's widow, Maharani Jamnabai (1853–1898) called on the heads of the extended branches of the dynasty to come to Baroda and present themselves and their sons to decide upon a successor. Kashirao Bhikajirao and his three sons, Anandrao (1857–1917), Gopalrao (1863–1939) and Sampatrao (1865–1934) walked to Baroda from Kavlana -a distance of some 600 kilometers- to present themselves to Maharani Jamnabai. . It is reported that when on his turn Gopalrao was asked the purported reason for presenting themselves at Baroda, Gopalrao unhesitatingly replied “ I have come here to Rule”. Gopalrao was selected by the British Government as successor and was accordingly adopted by Maharani Jamnabai, on 27 May 1875. As luck would have it Kashirao Gakward’s family shifted from simple village wada (is a traditional mansion house ) to Laxmi Niwas Baroda. He was also given a new name, Sayajirao Gaekward later Sir Siyajirao Gaekward III. After about a month he formally ascended the gadi (throne) at Baroda on , 16 June 1875. But being a minor so Baroda was reigned under a Council of Regency until he came of age ( 18 years) and on 28 December 1881,was vested with full ruling powers. Maharani Jamnabai opened a special school for royal children. Here Siyajirao Gaekward learnt Gujarati, Marathi, Urdu and English from special teachers arranged for the purpose. Besides this during theses six years of his minority on thrown, he was extensively tutored in administrative skills by Raja Sir T. Madhava Rao KCSI ( 1828-91),who groomed his young responsibility into being a person with foresight filled with a compassionate mind to provide welfare to his people. On the request of British Government sir Madhava Rao had take over as Diwan-Regent of Baroda State , after dispossession of Mahalrao Gaekward as Maharaja of Baroda. In this period Madhava Rao restored the state to its normal conditions following the chaos in which it had been left by Malharrao. Credit for what the Maharaja achieved during his life in every sphere of human activity must also be given to F. A. H. Elliot ICS who also groomed Siyajirao Gaekward. After crowing as king of Baroda state, Maharani Jamnabai thought to marry him . Sayajirao Gaekwad was married on 6 January,1879, with Laxmibai (1864–1884) , daughter of Haibatrao Narayanrao Mohite from Tanjore in South India. As per the tradition Maharani Jamnabai gave new name to the bride as Chimnabai. In next five years the royal couple was blessed with two daughters ( Bajubai & Putlibai) and a son named Fatehsinhrao Gaekwad (1883 –1908) . Queen Victoria sent greeting on birth of their son. Maharani Chimnabai died in 1885 of tuberculosis and in her memory grateful Sayajirao Gaekwad built a building which is now known as Nyaymandir. After that Sayajirao Gaekwad III married for the second time. Sir Siyajirao Gaekward did not believe in polygamy as was the practice then with majority Indian Kings. Sir Siyajirao married second time on 28 December 1885 with Shrimant Lakshmibai Mohite (1871–1958). This Maratha lady who was renamed as Chimnabai II upon her wedding. She proved to be very intelligent and a great help to her husband during their 54 years as husband-wife. The royal couple was blessed with 4 children. Three of them were sons (Jaisinghrao,Shivajirao, Dhairyasihghrao) and one daughter Indira Devi. Indri Devi was married to Maharaja Jitendra Narayan of Cooch Bihar in 1911, who reigned over Cooch Bihar from 1913-22. Later Maharani Indira Devi was Maharani Regent of Cooch Behar (Indiraraje). Sir Siyajirao Gaekward III throughout his rule, he paid special attention to the welfare of his subjects. He had seen village life and poor living conditions of poverty ridden rural masses. He observed that in his state Brahmin population (1891) stood only 9% where as unclean classified Depressed classes had 21% of the total population. But majority of government jobs manager, from highest to lowest ranks were Brahmins males. Education avenues for 21% population stood banned by Brahmin religious laws. So he must have thought that only education could help reduce wide spread anomalies in administration and help reduce common man’s caste enforced miseries. Therefore he paid special attention to spread educate for both sexes and all of his subjects. Maharaja Baroda knew personally the pains of missing childhood formal school education. So Maharaja used all means to spread education to his State subjects. Sir Siyajirao Geakward III was a fan of social activist Mahatama Jyotirao Phuley (1827-90), who was great champion of education, more so girl education. Mahatma Phuley with cooperation of his wife Mata Savitribai Phuley had opened a series of Schools both for boys and girls in Poona ( Now Pune) starting from 1st January 1848. Maharaja Baroda used to help financially Mahatma Phuley so that he could continue his endeavor of social transformation. Following Mahatama Phuley mantra Maharaja opened free Vernacular Education Department in 1875 and in 1881 he opened eight schools for girls besides a teacher’s training and self employment institution for lady teacher’s in 1914.. He was first Indian ruler to introduced free and compulsory primary education from 1893 and by 1906 this scheme covered whole state. The state was divided into six divisions; each division was put under an education inspector, assisted by Dy. Inspector. The Dy. inspector had to supervise on an average fifty schools and 6000 students in the year 1939. This was rare of rarest feat for any Indian Princely ruled state. In 1879 he founded a degree college which progress to be Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (MSU ). Maharaja engaged Bengali gem Syed Mujtaba Ali ( 1904-74) to teach in MSU University. This is counted one among the best Universities of India in present days. During his annual visit to London Maharaja Sahib met 20-year-old Sri Aurobindo ( 1872-1950) whom he immediately offered a job at Baroda College. Sri Aurobindo returned to India in 1893 to join the Baroda service. Sir Siyajirao Gaekward III started in 1916, the Ecclesiastical Department in Baroda and conduct ‘Sanskrit Pathsalas’ to spread moral and religious education. To develop scientific mind his people and take them out of religious superstitions, Maharaja Sahib established a Science Institute in 1926( MSU) for the purpose. This helped opened up avenues for a prosperous science based professional career for his subjects. The Maharaja not only opened hundreds of schools for Dalits but encouraged them to take admission in schools by being liberal to sanction financial assistance to deserving students. To give boast to education Maharaja Ji opened a library in 1906 and later independent department of Public libraries was established 1911. He ordered opening library after studying its establishing procedures on modern lines while visiting Washington Library USA in 1906. His library became the nucleus of today's Central Library of Baroda with a network of libraries in all the towns and villages. His choice to spread of education to all, transformed a Mahar boy from Bhiva to Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, later Father of Indian Constitution. Maharaja Sahib was Chancellor of BHU delivered annual convocation address in January, 1924 . He received Hon. LLD from Benares Hindu University in 1924. He visited Calcutta on the invitation of viceroy in1883. Dadabhai Naoroji ( 1825-1917), was appointed as the Dewan (Minister) to the Maharaja Baroda in 1874 . Thereafter Naoroji went on to become the first Asian Member of the British House of Commons . Maharaja Sahib also appointed V. T. Krishnamachari ( 1881-1964)as the Diwan of Vadodara 1927, who served on this post till 1944. He was India’s master planner who laid the foundation of panchayti raj system. Maharaj Sahib was one of the first to introduce 2,104 gram panchayat bodies and 41 nagar palika bodies. He also passed a stringent law punishing parents or guardians who married off their children earlier than stipulated ages. When Bhimrao Ambedkar passed his Matriculation in 1907 making history of sorts by a Mahar boy to achieve all time records for Mahars of India . His father Ramji Sakhpal had strong will to educate his son further but shortage of resources was obstructing his way. Krishnaji Arjun Keluskar a School teacher and S.K. Bole a socialist leader attended Mahar Community function arranged to felicitate Bhimrao on his passing Matriculation. Keluskar also gave Bhim his Marathi Book , “ Life Of Gautma Budhha”. When Sakhpal family was facing financial difficulties in carrying on education of Bhim, Keluskar also got this information . He being a reputed Marathi writer had good rapport with Maharaja Baroda. He took Ambedkar to Maharaja and explained their purpose of coming. Maharaja sanctioned a monthly scholarship of rupees twenty five in the favour of Ambedkar. This solved Bhimrao’s financial difficulties till he passed his B.A examination. After passing B.A. Bhimrao applied and got employment as lieutenant in Baroda Armed forces. However he had to come back after only 15 days only, as he received a telegram about illness of his father. His father Subedar Major Ramji Sakhpal sadly passed away on 2 Feb, 1913. Bhim was now alone to carry on his family choir . Besides this Bhim was still nursing in him burning desire for Higher Education. Bhimrao came to know through Kaluskar that Maharaja Baroda had advertised to send 4 students to USA for higher Education. Keluskar also advised Ambedkar to apply against one such scholarship, promising he will also use his influence to help Bhimrao. Bhimrao Ambedkar was already on look out of such opportunity. Ambedkar met the Maharaja and expressed his wish for higher studies abroad. Maharaja advised Ambedkar to put up his application to the Baroda State the purpose. Ambedkar put up an application and his request was accepted. He was called in palace for personal interview with Maharaja. Bhim complied as required .He was selected for grant of Scholarship for studying in Columbia University, New York city , USA. Bhimrao Ambedkar was asked to sign an agreement on June 4, 1913 to serve the Baroda State for 10 years after completion of his foreign studies. Bhim signed the agreement. Ambedkar prepared for going abroad. It was due to fore sighted magnanimity of Maharaja for spread of education without caste distinctions. Bhimrao got chance to study on foreign land in a free and fair atmosphere. This university awarded Dr. Ambedkar M.A, PhD, LLD ( Hon) Degrees . This University has declared Dr. B. R. Ambedkar as universal, life time first student, a great honour. To understand the progressive working systems in foreign developed countries Sir Siyajirao toured many foreign countries and saw working systems of progressive societies. His visit to Egypt in 1897, Czechia in 1904, Washington, USA in 1906, Germany 1936, U.K yearly. He adopted large scale approach to modernize his state which was entrenched with social challenges, evils, and discriminations. He his such visits, he used to meet Indians . To help trade and industry Sir Siyajirao opened Bank of Baroda in Vadodra on 20 July 1908. This also eased the farming loans process, so saving farmers from cruel clutches of private blood sucking money lenders. To improve the Post and communication system Maharaja opened General Post office building Vadodra in 1934. Maharaja Sahib also took serious note of caste prejudices prevailing in his State. He knew these practice were generating caste hatred among his subjects. To count on the other side of such trends projected by high castes, Maharaja Sahib in 1925 organized a banquet at his residence Laxmi Vilas Palace, in Baroda, where men of all castes ate together. He legalized widow remarriage, abolished the child marriage and fought for temple entry to Dalits. In 1925 he opened the gates of a temple at Amreli to the Dalits. Great strides were made in areas of inter-caste marriages and widow remarriages as well through legislation to make befitting Acts, and rules. He also separated the powers of the judiciary and the executive. Maharaja invited Shivram Janba Kamle (1875-1940), a Mahar, famous social reformer of his time to Baroda on 11 September,1908 as State Guest. Shivram Janba Kamle was honored by Maharaja Baroda for his un-matching social strides. Over a century ago to affect such revolutionary social laws was no less than a miracle. Only humanity dyed, unbiased Royal mind could take such steps The royal couple recognized equality of women folk. To demonstrate it publically, Maharani Chimnabai II abandoned Purdhah system while sitting in public Darbar with Maharaja from 1914. She got published a book in 1911 titled “ Position Of women in Indian Life” . Sir Siyajirao Gaekward III rule saw stride in public developmental works. A 64 gated drinking water storage “Siyaji Sarovar Ajwa” was got constructed between 1885-92 and piped water supply was made possible for Baroda. Maharaja Sahib established sanitary department in 1891. Construction of Kirti Mandir near cemetery of past Baroda rulers, in their memory was completed in 1936. In 1908 Maharaja founded the Baroda Legislative Assembly (also known as the Baroda Dhara Sabha). On 19 January 1861 first train reached Goya Gate (Now Railways Heritage Park Vadodra ) with fan fare so Baroda state became first Indian Monarch ruled state to have railway line. In 1862 Baroda state owned 20 miles Bullock driven rail track which was replaced on 8 April, 1873 by steam locomotive. While reaching 1940 the State owned 723 miles (Excluding sidings) railway tracks. For this credit goes to vision and constant attention of both Maharaja Khanderao and Sir Siyajirao Gaekward. This added in big way, to revenue and comforts in the lives of Baroda state subjects. The Laxmi Vilas Palace, an example of Indo-Saracenic architecture spreading over 500-600 acres was built as royal residence in 1890 with a cost of rupees twenty seven Lacs . It has four times the size of Buckingham Palace, residence of British Royal family. For taking care of health to his people, the Maharaja Sahib established Sir Siyajirao Gaekward General Hospital in 1886. For the maintenance of civic sense in urban areas Local self government and, Vadodra Improvement trust was also established. Maharaja Sahib also played key role for development of Textile Industries by giving many incentives. In 1902 Maharaja Sahib started Industrial Expedition in Ahmadanagar to promote industrial products. Maharaja promoted animal good breeds and health so started holding animal fight festivals. For regular quality floor supply to Vadodra a Floor Mill was started in 1906. Maharaja Siyajirao Gaekward was great promoter of sports. On 23 December 1902, a show was arranged where Great Gama Pehalwan lifted 1200kg stone kept in Nazarburg palace Vadodra. Gama was born in Amritsar in 1878 and remained unbeaten wrestler world over. To appreciate this great feat Great Gama Pehalwan was treated as a State Guest. Maharaja Sahib visited Germany to see Berlin Hockey Olympics 1936. He was reported to have met Hitler. During meeting Maharaja asked for arranging secret help for Indian freedom struggle. In 1895 the Maharaja is claimed to have witnessed the successful flight of an unmanned aircraft constructed by S. B. Talpade , which happened eight years before the Wright brothers( December-1903) took to the skies. S. B. Talpade was an Indian technical instructor in the art and craft department of Sir JJ School of Art. Maharaja Sir Siyajirao Gaekward was one among the 16 delegates ( First- RTC) , 23 ( II RTC) from princely Indian States rulers .These conferences were held between Nov 1930 to Dec1931. Dewan Of Baroda State attended the III RTC held( November - December 1932) . Three RTC’s were held between representatives of British Crown , Indian rulers, political party at London to deliberate and decide the future representative character of different communities in future constitution , when India shall be freed. Due to uncompromising adamant behavior of Congress leaders including M.K. Gandhi, no positive results could be achieved. The speech delivered in the first RTC by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was adjudged as best of all speeches delivered in all 3RTC’s by all delegates. Dr. Ambedkar put forth his forceful views to representatives assembled in RTC, saying the congress party leaders talked of removal of untouchability as their own internal problem, saying untouchables were their religious brethren ,with no need to have separate electorate rights. Dr. Ambedkar pleaded for not leaving Depressed Classes people on the mercy of Hindu chauvinism. So to make them free from Hindu domination he was demanding equal constitutional rights for his people. He told the delegates that the Hindus shall deny untouchables any share in power in legislature , politics, and administration in their country of origin. He also warned the British to leave India soon, as during their rule of over one and a half century, they have failed to make any change in the existing conditions of untouchable. Foreign media remained flooded with praises for the speaker of the day for many days. Sir Siyajirao Gaekward III, an admirer of knowledge and wisdom, was very much impressed, so pleased, to hear Dr. B.R. Ambedkar speaking, and delivering unbound and un-matching knowledge skills . On reaching back to his place of residence Sir Siyajirao told his queen that the speaker of the day Dr. Ambedkar who won praises of the day , was the one, to whom he helped financially to get higher education in foreign lands. He said that with day’s excellent speech, Dr. Ambedkar have repaid the full money advanced to him , for education, with interests. To express his joy, the Maharaja invited Dr. Ambedkar to a Royal Dinner at the Hyde Park Hotel in London with King’s selected guests. It was a rare of rarest occasion for a Dalit leader to break bread with a Prince and Knight. The New York Times carried a news under the heading “PRINCE AND OUTCASTE AT DINNER IN LONDON END AGE OLD BARRIER”. This dispatch was sent by correspondent Charles A. Seldon as recorded in “ Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the Messiah Of Downtrodden By , Janak Singh” . The Maharaja also provided patronage to arts and music. During his reign, Baroda became a hub for artists and scholars. The celebrated painter, Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906), was among those who spent substantial periods of time at his court. Exhibitions of his art were organized. Sayajirao also provided backing to Indian classical music. Ustad Moula Bux ( 1833-96) founded the Academy of Indian Music (Gayan Shala) under sponsorship of Maharaja in 1886. This Academy later became the Music College and is now the Faculty of Performing Arts, of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Vadodara. Apart from Ustad Moula Bux, Sayajirao's court boasted great artistes like Inayat Khan (1882-1927) and Ustad Faiyyaz Khan(1880-1950). In 1916, the first All India Music Conference was held in Baroda. Some master dancers were also encouraged for displaying their art in the palace. Fully aware of the fact that he was a Maratha ruler of Gujarat, he identified himself with the people, history and its glory. Both Chhatarpati Sahu Ji Maharaj (1874-1922) of Kohlapur State and Sir Siyajirao Gaekward III helped by all means Krishana Arjun Keluskar( 1860--unknown),a prominent Marathi writer of his times ,to writing 600 paged Marathi book “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Charitra. Sir Siyajirao honored the author with “Ragal Of Baroda State” award. After serving his State as a just ruler, for 63 years, Sayajirao Gaekwad III died on 6 February 1939, one month short of 76 age . His grandson and heir, Pratapsinhrao Gaekwad, became the next Maharaja of Baroda. Pratapsinhrao Gaekwad ruled till India attained freedom on 15August 1947. From 2012 Titular Maharaja of Baroda State is Samarjitsinh Ranjitsinh . He is son of Ranjitsinh Pratapsinh Gaekwad and Shubhanginiraje. He is descendent of Sampatrao Gaekward (1865–1934) younger brother of Sir Sayajirao . Presently surnames Gaekward : Gaekwad (also spelled as Gaikwar and Gaikwad) is a surname native to Indian state of Maharashtra. The surname is found among the Marathas, Kolis and Scheduled castes and Brahmin people also. It is also a common surname among Bharadis, Dhor, and Mahar communities of Maharashtra. Words 4200 Er. H .R. Phonsa Dated 28-09-2020. Material Source:- 1. Dr.Ambedkar, The Messiah of Down Trodden By Janak Singh. 2. Dr. Baba Sahib Ambedkar By D.Keer 3. Dalit Movement in India and its LeadersBy R.R.Kashirsagar. 4. Ref Baroda- Know your roots/Published by-times of lndia/lst edition/2012/page no.23 38) 5. Free Wikipedia.

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