But not the Maharaja of Jodhpur.
"A lot of people lost everything, especially the big princes,"
says Kanwar Dhananajaya Singh, a bespectacled, young Cambridge
graduate who is the Executive Publisher of His Highness' personal
publishing company. "A very large majority of the princely families
lost everything. There are some who kept a small portion of their
assets, but the Maharaja of Jodhpur has maintained his assets in a
unique fashion. As a maharaja, he stands alone."
"HIS HIGHNESS" is how outsiders refer to Gaj Singh II,
Maharaja of Jodhpur. Or "Your Highness" when addressing him
directly. But palace staff and many Jodhpur residents call him
Bapji, which means "Father." At 57, His Highness is as handsome as
the palace portraits would have you believe. He is charming,
graceful, and totally modern. Casually dressed in loose-fitting
Indian clothes (always the namesake jodhpurs), he hardly seems a
king whose lineage rivals the Queen of England's. Oh, and he's
modest to boot.
"Your Highness," I say, "Many locals say you've done more
economically for Jodhpur in the past 30 years than has been done in
the past 300."
"Well, that's not entirely true," he says. "I think what I've done
was simply follow in my grandfather's footsteps. I've tried to be a
catalyst with what I do in my own affairs, and to encourage the
kind of activities that I think are good for the locals - by way of
jobs. I try to keep craftsmanship alive, restoration projects
alive. And I think that's what I've done."