In October, people who saw Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar greeting the Vajra Mushti jettys (wrestlers) at the Mysore palace during the Dasara festivities would not have had inkling that they were seeing this member of the erstwhile royal family for the last time at the event.
With the demise of Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar on Tuesday, the only son of the last Maharaja of Mysore, Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar, the nearly 600-year reign of the Yadu dynasty in Mysore has come to an end.
That people saw him as a ‘Maharaja’ was evident from the attitude of those who rallied around him when he went to them seeking votes during the Lok Sabha elections. People would see him as a benevolent ‘Maharaja’ rather than a political figure, greeting him with ‘poorna kumbha’ and touching his feet in reverence. Worries were writ large on the faces of many who had attended rituals at the palace ahead of the Jumboo Savari this year, as they were concerned about the reported ill health of Mr. Wadiyar when he did not board the silver chariot to reach the Sri Bhuvaneshwari temple. Instead, he had reached the temple from the precincts of the palace in his car to perform the rituals at the Banni tree.
Born to Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar and his second wife, Tripura Sundara Ammanni, in 1953, Mr. Wadiyar succeeded his father as the head of his dynasty in September 1974. He was married to Pramoda Devi. Mr. Wadiyar was elected as a Member of Parliament from Mysore four times as the Congress candidate. His first win was in 1984 when he defeated K.P. Shantamurthy, an Independent. In 1989, he defeated D. Made Gowda of the Janata Party. He switched loyalties to the BJP in 1991, but got defeated in the Lok Sabha elections by Chandraprabha Urs of the Congress. He returned to the Congress in 1996 and defeated G.T. Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal. He came up trumps in 1999 and defeated BJP’s C.H. Vijayashankar, but finished third in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. A despondent Mr. Wadiyar stayed aloof from politics afterwards. Mr. Wadiyar had an unbounded love for sports. He had represented the University of Mysore as a cricket player and was captain of the university team. He served as president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association from 2007 to November 2010 and was re-elected to the post recently.