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Royals await baby who will break jinx

Prince Shivraj Singh

Jaipur, Nov. 29: If princess Gayatri Kumari of Jodhpur delivers a boy next month, a five-generation-old jinx could become history.

Gayatri’s father-in-law Gaj Singh will then stand to become the first Jodhpur maharaja in six generations to cast his eyes on a grandson.

The previous five maharajas, starting from Rao Jaswant Singh II in the late 19th century, all died before the birth of their eldest grandson, who would one day hold the royal title.

Gaj Singh has already been lucky: his 36-year-old son Prince Shivraj, who married Gayatri last November, had survived a terrible accident that put him in a coma for days in 2005.

“Yes, the news about the birth is true and it will be in December. But one cannot predict whether it will be a son or a daughter,” Gaj Singh’s personal spokesperson Thakur Sundar Singh said.

In the Jodhpur royal family, a maharaja is succeeded by his eldest son from a Rajput wife.

When Rao Jaswant Singh II, with whom the jinx began, died in 1895, his son and heir Sardar Singh was a child. Maharaja Sardar Singh died at 21 and the next maharaja, Sumer Singh, at 20.

Sumer’s successor, Maharaja Umaid Singh, ruled from 1918 till 1947 before passing away at 44. His son Hanwant Singh whose life inspired the Shyam Benegal film Zubeidaa died at the age of 29 in an air crash.

Hanwant, who had merged his kingdom into the Indian Union, was contesting the first general election in 1952. As he flew from constituency to constituency on the day of counting, his two-seater plane crashed. He died on the spot but won the election.

Of the jinxed five, Umaid was the only one to see any grandchildren at all: his granddaughters Chandresh Kumari, now a Lok Sabha MP, and Sailesh Kumari were born before his death. But his grandson Gaj Singh was born only after Umaid’s death.

Sources say the December birth will the first in the family in 36 years.