Zee Media Bureau
Bangalore: Scion of the erstwhile Mysore royal family Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, who passed away on Tuesday, was a man who wore many hats and was extremely popular among the masses in Mysore region, especially in the rural areas.
Close to the Gandhi family, Wodeyar was a committed Congressman all his life barring a few years when he joined the BJP after being denied Lok Sabha ticket by his party.
The scion was also elected as a Congress lawmaker to parliament four times from the Mysore Lok Sabha constituency and lost twice, once as a candidate of the opposition BJP.
Sixty-year old Wodeyar, who had been ailing in recent months, died of severe cardiac arrest at a private hospital in Bangalore.
Wodeyar, the only son of Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, the last ruling Maharaja of Mysore, and his second wife, Maharani Tripura Sundari Ammani Avaru, succeeded his father as the head of his dynasty in September 1974.
He had remained the titular head of the erstwhile royalty during the famous Dasara festivities after succeeding as heir to his father in 1974 that left him with a palace but without a kingdom.
Married to a distant cousin, Pramoda Devi, the couple have no children.
The mortal remains of Wodeyar would be cremated at Mysore tomorrow, Home Minister K J George told reporters outside the hospital, adding, the state government has declared a two-day state mourning.
Besides his active political life, Wodeyar’s other big passion in life was cricket. He was only recently elected as President of Karnataka State Cricket Association in a hotly contested election that saw the combine led by him trounce candidates of the group backed by Srinath and Anil Kumble.
Wodeyar was also a Fashion Designer and promoted Mysore Silk Sarees under his brand name called ‘Royal Silk of Mysore’. He was also an hotelier, art collector and investor.
The Wodeyar dynasty ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1947. The last king of the dynasty was Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, who ruled from 1940 until Indian independence in 1947 when he acceded his Kingdom to the dominion of India, but continued as the Maharaja until India became a Republic in 1950.
For Mysoreans, Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar had remained a Maharaja and they believed that though he lived like a royal, he did not think like one.
"... I live like a maharaja without technically or legally being one,” Wodeyar, arguably one of the richest scions of a royal family in the country, had said in an interview.
Condoling the demise of Wodeyar, Chief Minister
Siddaramaiah noted the contributions made by the Wodeyar dynasty in the Mysore region that had made it a progressive region and their commitment to social justice.
The state government has declared state holiday tomorrow as a mark of respect to the scion of Mysore royal family. Schools and colleges will also remain closed.
With PTI inputs