The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Boy for girl in royal tragedy

New Delhi, April 13: Devyani Rana, whose name must figure in any mention of the Kathmandu palace massacre, is ready to get married.

Five years after Crown Prince Dipendra, said to be driven by love for Devyani, killed the king and queen and five other members of his family in an incident that shocked the world, Delhi’s social circuit is abuzz with talk of an impending marriage.

The groom-to-be is Ashwarya Singh, a “pleasant, easy-going” man in his mid-twenties who manages his family’s private forests, a far cry from the fiery-tempered Dipendra who was mortally wounded in the massacre of June 2001 that brought King Gyanendra to the throne of Nepal.

Ashwarya is also the grandson of HRD minister Arjun Singh. His mother Bina is Arjun’s daughter and father Bhuwaneshwari Prasad Singh is a Thakur from Singhrauli in western Uttar Pradesh.

Devyani, who belongs to the Rana clan that ruled Nepal till 1951, also has Congress connections. The late Madhavrao Scindia was her mother Usharaje’s younger brother.

Unlike the Eton-educated Dipendra, her current fiance ' the two are engaged, according to the buzz ' has studied in Scindia School, Gwalior, and Hindu College, Delhi.

The private forests Ashwarya looks after stretch from his home estate Singhrauli to his grandfather’s home ground Rewa in Madhya Pradesh. Singhrauli and Rewa are small principalities, with none of the grandeur of the house of Gwalior to which Devyani traces her roots in India.

Her father Pashupati Shamsher Rana is one of Nepal’s most influential politicians with his faction of the Rashtriya Prajatantrik Party opposed to the king. Her grandfather, Mohun Shamsher Rana, was the Prime Minister.

If King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya had opposed son Dipendra’s liaison with Devyani ' the probable trigger for the massacre ' her family might frown on her choice now. Royals are known to be sticklers for finding a match “among equals”. Besides, Madhavrao and Arjun, both Congress heavyweights, were never the best of friends.

But Devyani is firm. “The girl has decided. There is nothing much to be done after that,” a family source said.

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