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Festivities mark birthday of former Jaipur ruler

By Our Special Correspondent

JAIPUR, OCT. 28. Festivities marked the 71st birthday of the former ruler of Jaipur, Brigadier Sawai Bhawani Singh, on Saturday.

The brightly lit Pritam Niwas Chowk in the City Palace in the Walled City of Jaipur found thakurs, raj gurus and the subjects of the former Kachchawa rulers of Amber and Jaipur gathered to greet the former ruler and the former queen, Padmini Devi.

Traditional rituals performed by mahants of Govind Deoji and other historical temples in the City followed by dance performances of local artists captivated the audience who included a good number of invited guests.

The occasion had also a touch of sentimentality as Maharani Padmini Devi acknowledged the contribution of the commoner son in law of the family, Kunwar Narendra Singh, for his efforts to `carry forward the illustrious traditions of the Jaipur royal family.'

It was the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum Trust which took initiative last year to observe the birth day of the former ruler with a function and a ceremony to give away awards to those who excelled in various fields falling in the territory of the former kingdom of Jaipur-Amber.

A book authored by Dr. S. K. Misra on the Jaigarh Fort's unique water management was released by Brig. Bhawani Singh on the occasion. Dr. Misra, an expert on water management in the heritage buildings, was also awarded the Raja Kakil Dev Award.

The other winners included the late lensman of international repute, Raghubir Singh Khatu, who was bestowed upon the Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh Award - named after the photographer prince - and Mr. Rajendra Shankar Bhatt, eminent author and editor, who received the Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II Award.

Rajkumari Bhuvanesh Kumari of Alwar, a champion of the game of squash, was awarded the Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh Award for excellence in sports. Another sportsperson, Kunwar Vishal Singh, was awarded Maharaja Sawai Man Singh Award for polo.

Two war heroes, one of the recent Kargil war, the late Capt. Amit Bhardwaj and another, the late Lt. Gen. Sagat Singh of the 1971 war, were awarded posthumously the Raja Man Singh Award and Mirza Raja Jai Singh Award respectively.

Dr. Girendra Pal, a pioneer in homeopathic medicine in Rajasthan, was awarded Raja Pajvan Dev Award. Pundit Kalyan Datt Sharma, who re-created instruments in India's astronomical observatories at different places, was awarded the Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh Award.

Mr. Laxman Singh Khangarot, a young environmentalist who helped the rural people of Dudu in Jaipur district to harvest rainwater, was chosen for the Raja Dulha Rai Award. The newly introduced Maharani Marudhar Kanwar Award for excellence in the field of environmental science was given to Mr. Harkirat Singh Sanga, an ornithologist.

The Maharaja Sawai Ishwari Singh Award for excellence in performing arts went to the kathak exponent, Giriraj Maharaj, who also led the evening's colorful dance performance. The meenakari expert, Padma Shree Sardar Kudrat Singh, was the recipient of the Raja Bhagwant Das Award while Mr. Dwaraka Prasad Sharma was given the Maharaja Sawai Jagat Singh Award for excellence in the filed of art and painting.

Mohan Singh Kanota, the co-author of the `Reserving the Gaze' a book based on the famous diary of Amar Singh of Kanota, was awarded the Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh Award. Mr. Yaduendra Sahai, historian and director general of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum Trust, was chosen for this year's Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh Award. Mr. Deen Singh Shekhawat received the Maharani Padmini Devi Award.

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