The Uncrowned Queen of India

Maharaja Chamarajendra

INDIA, LIKE ALL COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD, had its days of monarchy. The memories of kings and autocratic rulers are still in the  of minds people.  Some seniors alive today were born in the days of  ‘Maharajas’ and ;Nawabs’.  But by then these were mere titles devoid of real power.

Power they did not have, as the British were the real rulers, but even after Independence the Constitution of India bestowed on them  privileges and privy purses  till 1972  as The Constitution (26th amendment) Act  was passed only at the fag end of 1971.

Diwan Jarmani Dass, who was a Minister  (Diwan) of Kapurthala and

PVG Raju


Patiala kingdoms, wrote a book in the ’70s, The Maharajas, which gave a graphic picture of the lavish life of perversion, orgies, debauchery and pursuit of pleasure these ‘kings’ enjoyed , especially in Punjab and the North, in return for allowing the British to rule the country.

There were also very good and  progressive kings – mostly in the South. Within days of ascending   the throne, Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar of Mysore  started to experiment  with  a representative assembly in 1881. Two decades later his concept of inclusive democratic governance was implemented when the legislative council was set up in 1907.  His successor Maharaja Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar took it forward.

Even today the Wodeyars are revered in Mysore and the Maharajas’ pictures are hung in in most houses in that city.

The Maharaja of Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh, Pusapati Vijayarama Gajapati Raju (father of the  present Union Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju) gave away his palaces to set up colleges, started South India’s first music college and was a Socialist before he joined Congress and became a Minister. He was  the only politician in India who did not know of Jawaharlal Nehru’s  death as he was in coma for a year then, following a road accident in Punjab.

Close to Vizianagaram there was a kingdom of Pithapuram whose Raja supported the freedom struggle and sheltered many freedom fighters.

Feudal mindset made our ancestors ‘loyal’ to those who became kings simply because their fathers were kings,. It still prevails in the shape of political dynasties. In independent India’ s first general elections all ex-rulers who contested  (mostly as Congress candidates) had won.

And, after the abolition of privy purses in 1972,  the  dark-skinned modern Maharajas who replaced the White rulers became the new Rajas to enjoy privileges that let them  accumulate huge wealth.  Politicians became the new privileged class and dynasties rule almost all parties  —  Congress, Janata Dal-S (S for sons, not ‘Secular’), Biju Janata Dal, Shiv Sena, Telugu Desam, Lok Dal,  ‘Rashtriya’ Janata Dal, Telangana Rajya Samiti, Shiromani Akali Dal and others.

Perhaps only the Communist parties and the Bharatiya Janata Party are free from this disease  – at least as of now. Like the Maharajas, the political bosses of these parties may not be ruling, but still have privileges. In this contest, a post that went viral on WhatsApp is interesting. It says:

                              The Uncrowned Queen of India

She is the Queen of the massive palace in the hearts of the national capital! She is the privileged resident of 10 Janpath, New Delhi, for over 25 yrs.

Originally from a poor family in Italy, she prospered in India to become the world’s fourth richest politician. She made herself worth $2 billion just by being an Indian politician.

She is none other than Antonia Edvige Albina Maino aka Sonia Gandhi.

Sonia Gandhi, richer than Queen Elizabeth of England, is the resident  of 10, Janpath, which is bigger than the Prime Minister’s official residence, 7 Lok Kalyan Marg (previously Race Course Road or RCR).

As per the reply to a RTI  query,  Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s home is spread over 15,181 square meters.  It is bigger than the Prime Minister’s residence at 7 RCR, which is spread over 14,101 square meters.

The question arises: How is this discrepancy justified?  The president of a crumbling political party occupies a residence bigger than that of the Prime Minister of India. And this at taxpayers’ expense !.

There was a poll conducted in this regard by ‘My Vote Today’, an  e-pollster. It asked the public. “With 44 MPs in Lok Sabha, should Congress President Sonia Gandhi have an official bungalow larger than that of the PM?

In a democratic country like India, the people’s opinion should matter, The verdict is : 73% voted   ‘No’, 26% said, ‘Yes’ and 1% voted for ‘May be’.

Is this ‘writing on the wall’ enough indication that Sonia should pack her bags, respect the voice of democracy and quit ?

In 2013-14, the maintenance cost for the electrical fittings at 10, Janpath was seven times more than in the previous year and amounted to Rs 51,43,318.   In 2012-13, the bill was Rs 7,82,968 and in 2011-12 it was Rs 2,65,681.  The  CPWD maintained the fittings  all these three years. These  figures were revealed by the CPWD in an answer to a RTI query.

These expenses are paid by the Government.

In other words, the expenses for the lavish stay of the Italian queen are paid the tax-payers!

The bachelor son of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi doesn’t stay with his mother at 10, Janpath.  Wonder if it is too small for a two-member family!  He has a separate bungalow allotted to him at 12, Tughlak Lane, which is 5,022.58 square meters in area. Being a Member of Parliament, it is his right!

But, on moral grounds, can’t the Gandhis help to save the taxpayers’ money and cut costs? The  funny part is, Sonia Gandhi’s married daughter Priyanka Vadra has also been allotted a 2,765.18 sq. meter bungalow at 35, Lodhi Estate Priyanka is not a MP, but just a member of the privileged Gandhi family .

Whether in power or out of power, nobody has dared to destabilize Sonia Gandhi from 10, Janpath from last two and half decades.  Many object to Vijay Mallya siphoning public money. And yet this daylight robbery .continues.

Voices  against the privileges provided to these fake Gandhis are yet to be raised. (Gandhi is a Gujarati surname and they are not members of Mahatma Gandhi’s family. They assumed the name and illiterate people think they are)

This post has been going around the country being ‘forwarded as received’ by each recipient  to several others. The Dynasty Devotees who believe that “only the Gandhi family  has sacrificed for the country to win its freedom while “not a dog from any other family” had done  anything about it,  promptly say the “BJP propaganda machinery” is circulating it.

It may be true. But does that make these facts untrue? Ask any Congress worker.

Published by

B. Someswar Rao

60 years of journalism, from the age of 16, and two books later, life has so much more to offer, there is no looking back. Not yet. Unstoppable after 70 is a simple expression of my thoughts, my triumphs, my failures and everything that makes this journey incredible. My books: - A TOWN CALLED PENURY- the changing culture of Indian journalism - JOURNALISM - Ethics, Codes, Laws Working on: - 'THE OUTHOUSE ON THE FIRST FLOOR - Coming of (Old)Age in India'

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