Call it an ingenious political move of a bahurani.
Madhavi Singh, wife of Jharia royal family scion Sujit Prasad Singh, is defying class tradition to make public appearances for Ajsu’s Dhanbad nominee Hemlata S. Mohan with an eye on the Assembly polls that will follow close on the heels of the Lok Sabha elections.
Daughter of a Ranchi businessman, the 36-year-old bahurani had lifted her ghunghat and stepped out in public for the first time three years ago, when the BCCL had dug up trenches around RSP College, which is built on their estate land. She found a crusader friend in Babulal Marandi’s JVM and joined the party.
She made another rare appearance when residents of Raja Talab — dug up by erstwhile king of Jharia Durga Prasad Singh in the early 1920s — faced eviction.
Her current campaign for Ajsu, a party she joined barely four months ago apparently after Sudesh Mahto approached her personally, is primarily aimed at earning a ticket to the state Assembly from Jharia, which will help the royals regain some lost ground.
Under the Raj, Jharia was the richest estate of Calcutta Presidency owing to whopping revenues it earned through the large number of mines under its jurisdiction.
Madhavi, who married Sujit Prasad in 1998, is candid. “The issues I have campaigned for were closely related to our family. My grandfather-in-law Raja Shiva Prasad Singh had donated land for RSP College. Had I kept mum, a college with history of its own would have ceased to exist (because of underground fire),” she said.
Recently appointed the chairperson of Vanchit Mahila Samaj, a social organisation supporting deprived women, the bahurani said she had no choice but to give up conventions to help people in distress.
“Royal tradition of Jharia does not allow women to come out in public, but I decided to do so because an unscrupulous political system is gnawing at our very existence. I can never compromise with the dignity of the family and will never associate with dubious people,” she said, explaining why she chose to back an academic and women’s rights crusader such as Hemlata.
An intermediate, Madhavi has full support of husband Sujit Prasad in her budding political career. “Even my children — son Saurya Pratap (12) and daughter Samriddhi (5) — like me in my new avatar,” the doting mother gushed.
The avid newspaper reader said she always hunts for issues that concern the common man. “The Jharia Royals have done great service to the society. I only wish to extend that commitment,” the smart woman stopped short of making her Assembly pitch.