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Maharaja breathes his last

The last king of Chotanagpur princely state, Lal Chintamani Saran Nath Sahdeo (83), passed away in Ranchi on Thursday following a brief illness. He is survived by four daughters and the widow of his only son Gopal Saran Nath Shahdeo.

“This afternoon, he complained of some health problems and was rushed to Apollo hospitals. He died on the way. The body has been taken to his palace on Ratu Road for last darshan. On Friday, his body will be taken to Varanasi, where the last rites will be performed on the banks of the Ganga,” said former Ranchi deputy mayor Ajay Nath Sahdeo, a close relative of the majaraja.

Born in 1931, he was the 62nd maharaja of the dynasty. He studied at Raj Kumar College in Raipur and succeeded his great-grandfather Uday Pratap Nath Shahdeo in 1950 as the maharaj of Chotanagpur princely state.

Fighting as an Independent from the Ranchi Assembly constituency in 1957, he was the youngest MLA in the Bihar Vidhan Sabha. Later, he was elected to the Bihar Legislative Council as a Congress candidate. Then Bihar chief minister K.B. Sahay in early 1960s had offered him a berth in the cabinet, which he politely refused.

He was also member of South Eastern Railway Board; life senator of Ranchi University; chairman of Small Scale Industrial Board (Bihar). He was associated with several other organizations. Known for his love for people whose zamindari was extended in the vast swathe of Chotanagpur region had donated land for Kartik Orain College in Gumla. He also helped establishment of many other educational, health and government institutions by offering land and financial supports like Adivasi Bal Vikas Vidyalaya (Ratu), Maharani Prem Manjari Devi Super Speciality Hospital, Ratu Block and Ratu police station and others.

Fondly and famously called maharaja by the people, his only son Gopal Sharan Nath Shahdeo, who was elected as MLA twice from Hatia Assembly seat on Congress ticket, died in 2010.