Today, July 18, marks the 101st birth anniversary of Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar, the 25th Maharaja of Mysore. The concluding ceremony of centenary celebrations took place earlier on Saturday morning attended by the Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu.
Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar happens to be Mysore's last official king who signed the Instrument of Accession in 1947. The king ruled Mysore between 1940 and 1947.
The 25th Maharaja of Mysore
Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar born on 18th July 1919 would in his life come to be remembered for his love for the arts, music, his philosophy and for marking a turning point for Indian history. As so many kings rarely make it to the books with contributions that mattered, Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar was responsible for the prosperous state of Mysore becoming a part of unified India.
The king ascended the throne in 1940, succeeding his paternal uncle Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV and went on to rule what was considered the most prosperous state in Asia at one point. What made Jayachamrajendra stand out were his democratic ideals which showed in the way he governed Mysore.
He was seen as responsible for the progressive ideals that Mysore came to stand for without losing to the touch of an ancient legacy. He stood behind the industrial facility Hindustan Aircraft Ltd. in 1940 which would come to be Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd as it is known today. His contribution to music and literature was renowned. Moreover, he along with KC Reddy was instrumental in setting up the Constituent Assembly for the Mysore state.
In 1947, he signed the instrument of accession which would turn Mysore a part of India. He then went on to be the Rajpramukh (governor) of the Mysore state and later the Governor of the Madras state, unofficially holding the title of Maharaja.
When the privy purses were abolished in 1969, he was very upset though he did not show it. - Meenakshi Devi
His daughter Meenakshi Devi spoke highly of her father in an interview with Deccan Herald, about his nature and his love for his children. The king was succeeded by Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar. Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar passed away in 1974 following his daughter Gayatri Devi's death at 55.
My Daddy's last days were a bit traumatic. The biggest blow for him was the passing away of my elder sister Gayathri Devi of cancer in July 1974. He was not able to take the blow as he was very fond of her. He passed away the same year in September. He died in the Bangalore palace. To this day even after 33 years I have not overcome his death because he died at a young age of 55. - Meenakshi Devi
On his centenary celebrations, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu spoke at the concluding ceremony, "The greatest tribute which we can pay to stalwarts like Sri Jayachamaraja is to preserve and promote this grand cultural tradition of India of living together and working together, for the country, the world and the entire humanity."
Even Karnataka CM Yediyurappa recalled the king, "May the great scholars, musicians, Maharajas of the masses who have contributed immensely to the development of the country, pay our respects to him on the 101st Birthday of Sri Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, King of Mysore."
Perhaps Kuvempu the famed Kannada poet put it better than most did, "Every monarch in history has become king ascending thrones, while he became the greatest king descending one."