Pink city, the wold knows it better by this name instead of Jaipur or Jaypore. It is one of the largest cities of Rajasthan. Home to many forts and fortresses. The city has many stories to tell but the one I am going to share is of love, lust, conspiracies and loyalty, loyalty to kingdom and loyalty to love.
Keeping My point of view.
There are many versions making rounds and I will tell you all. But before that I want to put forward my point of view regarding such incidents in history. May be these points are still prevailing in society as political and influential tie-ups are in existence. And the point is that when a nuptial tie was made it was more for the financial and strategic benefits of the kingdom rather than the personal feelings. Thus occurred many unmatched marriages with many princesses and when the groom didn’t find the peace and love he looked for in his All wives he searched for it in the concubines and thus increasing the number of married and unmarried wives. And if by chance the king got the chance to marry his love, then also the strategic and financial pressure was there because of which he had to marry other processes also. This gave birth to polygamy and conspiracy. Many kingdoms have fallen down due to this reason alone.
Raskapur-Jaipur’s own Noor Jahan
Well, now I come back to the story I initially intended to tell. You can call it the story of Jaipur’s own Noor Jahan. She was born of a court dancer, whose father side was doubtful. She was beautiful, fair and talented girl, thus named Raskapur or Ras Kapoor. Kapoor (camphor) is here a symbol of fragrance in the form of talks of her beauty and talent making rounds in the city.
There used to be different departments in the then kingdom of Jaipur, each related to respected chore of the erstwhile estate. Among these was the ‘guni-khana'(department for skills, arts and talents) where she learned dancing under Paro begum.
She performed in many programs and danced her way to the Royal Court. Where she came in the eyes of the king, Sawai Maharaja Jagat Singh, who fell for her and thus began their doomed love story. She even called as Anarkali of Jaipur.
The king was already married to 21 queens and had 24 concubines but he gave his heart to only one, Raskapur. Who remained with him till his last breath.
They say, you can kill a person but you cannot kill the love one feels for someone, same was the story.
Titles to Raskapur
After she first entered court as a dancer, she was bestowed with two titles out of which of utmost importance was ‘Paswan‘ which meant ‘Close to‘ , in other words she was not the queen but close to the king and exercised same power over the king as the married queens. In some cases the power if ‘ Paswan‘ overpowered the queen’s authority. Same happened here to. Maharaja Jagat Singh found his soul mate in her and on his birthay he gave away his half kingdom, pothikhana(administration department) and one more important department to her. This gave her the right to sit in the court right beside the king on throne. She started to govern and make decisions regarding feudals, and their kingdoms. Maharaja even took her to the public gatherings on festivals along with him, on the elephant.
He had given up the social rules and regulations and didn’t feel awkward in showing off his relation with a concubine. He made a separate palace, ‘Ras Vilas Palace’ for her near ‘Chandra Mahal‘, the abode of Royal family. It is said that she had some differences with one of the queen’s and was asked to leave the palace and thus she came to live in her own palace.
Between all this, The then Maharana of Mewar sent the proposal of his daughter Krishna Kumari to Maharaja Swai Jagat Singh, to which he didn’t agree but it is said that, it was Raskapur who talked him to say yes to the alliance, sighting the strategic importance of the marriage alliance.
But actually, the facts are, the Mewar princess was first engaged to Marwar Maharaja and this sudden change in equation upset him. He stopped the Procession on the way to Jaipur, in his kingdom. Feeling insulted by this, Jagat Singh prepared his army and attacked on Marwar. The Pindar chief, Amir Khan of Jhotwara took the golden opportunity to attack Jaipur. This turn table situation made him come back to Jaipur.
Different views on the end of the story
It is said that when Jagat Singh came back, the courtiers, Feudals and queens( who already were jealous of Raskapur) conspired against Raskapur and got her sentenced to prison. And from here the various views of the painful ending of a lovestory, which bloomed against all odds and under the shadows of swords and conspiracy came to an end.
One view says, that when the Maharaja was busy fighting Pindaris, his ministers and queens got her killed, in the Nahargarh fort, where she was kept prisioner. She was thrown out of the window of the room and as the fort is built on the oldest mountain range, Aravali, she fell down to her death and when the king came to know of her demise he was so heart broken that within a year he died.
The other lore goes something like this, when the king was fighting, he got injured and later died. His last rites were being performed at the Royal funeral grounds, Gaitore. Raskapoor on hearing this, disguised herself as someone else and crossed the fort gates and reached the funeral ground and on watching the pyre on which Jagat Singh’s body was burning, she took a leap and jumped into it and burned alive with her love of life.
The third opinion is, when the Maharaja returned from war, the whole court, Feudals and the queens convinced him to sentence her to lifetime imprisonment on the self created proofs and stories of her mistrust, disloyalty and conspiracy to kill the Maharaja. Both were eagerly waiting to get the chance to meet. Meanwhile, the British made an ally with Jagat Singh, which gave small time relief to him from the neighbouring kingdoms but it was short lived as the conspirators were active knowing Maharaja’s inclination towards Raskapur. They killed him and when this news reached Raskapur she tried her best to get out of the Nahargarh fort and was able to convince one of the Feudal king, who was responsible olfor her upkeep in the prison. Then on his guarantee she was allowed to leave the prision on a promise that she will come back. But as soon as she reached the funeral grounds, she was taken back by the sight of her love burning on the pyre. The next moment, taking everyone by surprise, she jumped in the fire. The bodies burnt away leaving behind the hatred and politics, to be together in the eternal journey.
Thus this was the end of Jagat Singh’s short reign from 1803 to 1818 and he died young at the age of 32. He is known as the notorious king of Jaipur. It is said that Nahargarh fort is haunted by her ghost. And some say its haunted bit by couple of other ghosts. But that is another story.
Will come back with a short account of Jaipur and Jodhpur clash story because of Krishna Kumari. Ofcourse I have my point there also about woman converted to commodity. But as I said that’s another story. If you all like this one, I will come up with next one.
Update: Nahargarh is now a state run hotel.
Gaitore is a famous tourist spot now.