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Wicked Women Of The Raj : European Women Who Broke Society Rules And Married Life Paperback – 26 Apr 2003
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Very interesting & captivating story & well worth reading for a picture of that era and the western women who married maharajas. I read it and then bought a copy for a friend. I highly recommend it, thought the writing is more journalistic and not the beautiful, evocative prose of Leila Hadley's "A Journey with Elsa Cloud" about her journey in India with her daughter and her own inner journey, a book of a different higher calibre entirely. It more resembles --By LSL 25 January 2015
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Researching from many firsthand sources, memoirs, letters, photographs, and diaries, author Coralie Younger has provided a splendid picture of European women who married Indian maharajas and princes much to the displeasure of European media, their own people and the British Empire. It was distressing for India office, the administrative body of British Imperial administration. It had to wrestle with the idea that interracial marriage is a carnal sin and sons of this marriage will be hard to deal with as princes. They also had to worry about the consequences of mass uprising against British authority if they had interfered in the life of a maharaja. This is a collection of compelling real-life dramas full of adventure, romance, and heartbreak in the most complex colony of the British Empire.
Stories included in this book are; Bamba Muller (married Maharaja Duleep Singh of Punjab); Ada Douglas Wetherill (married to Maharaja Duleep Singh of Punjab); Florrie Bryan (married Maharaja Rajendar Singh of Patiala); Olive Monolescue (married Maharaja of Sind); Anita Delgado (married Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Karputhala); Eugenie Grosupova (married Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Karputhala); Dolly Parnell (married Prince Nasir Ali Khan of Rampur); Elsie Thompson (married Maharaja Gopal Narain Singh of Tikari); Molly Fink (married Raja Martanda Bhairava Tondaiman of Padukkottai); Morag Murray (married Syed Abdullah of Koh Fort); Nancy Miller (married Maharaja Tukoji Rao Holkar of Indore); Molly Eslip (married Prince Ali Khan of Jaora); Stella Mudge (married Maharaja Paramjit Singh of Karputhala); Marguerite Lawler (married Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Holkar of Indore); Euphemia Crane (married Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Holkar of Indore); Joan Falkiner (married Nawab Taley Mohamed Khan of Palanpur); Sandra McBryde (married Maharaja Hanwant Singh of Jodhpur); Yvonne Martin (married Nawab Mohamed Mubarak Abbasi); Annabella Parker (married Maharaja Bhagavat Singh of Udaipur); and Helen Simmons (married Nizam Mukarram Jah Bahadur of Hyderabad).
A brief summary of the book is as follows:
Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Karputhala, the son of the powerful ruler Ranjit Singh, married Anita Delgado, a teenage dancer from Madrid, Spain. They move into the royal palace at Karputhala, but when the maharaja's health failed, his wife turned to the arms of one of his sons from another marriage. When she was caught, Anita was banished to Europe with a generous settlement. A movie entitled; “The Black Prince” based on Javier Moro’s book “Passion India,” was planned in 2006. Actress Penelope Cruz brought the rights for the book, but never got off the feet because the Karputhala Royal family brought a law-suit alleging the story is fabricated.
Georgina (Gina) May Egan (married Maharaja Jagaddipendra Narayan of Cooch-Behar,) a ravishingly beautiful woman who possessed wisdom, strength and courage to negotiate the complicated etiquette and political intrigue of the royal court with grace and style. She had a very difficult job of fitting in the family with her mother-in-law, Maharani Indira Devi and sister-in-law, Gayathri Devi, the Maharani of Jaipur. The marriage was kept secret for three years from her dowager mother-in-law.
Georgina (Gina) May Egan of Cooch-Behar, Nancy Miller of Indore and Joan Falkiner of Palanpur disproved the British theory that only white women of “lower class” marry Indian princes. Nancy Miller was born in Seattle, Washington and came from a well-educated family. She met Tukoji Rao Holkar in Switzerland and fell in love with him. Despite the fact he had two wives, she accepted that fact and got the blessing of her family. She converted to Hinduism and used the name Sharmistha Devi. As the Maharani, Nancy was an unqualified success. In his last years, Tukoji became ill and broken hip, Nancy nursed him and stayed close to him. She also nursed the daughter of senior Maharani when she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. She remained loyal to Tukoji until his death in May 1978. She was devastated at his death and remained in India and did not wish to return to United States.
Morag Murray married Syed Abdullah. She liked simple things in life and wore Scottish pearls even when she was a guest of another kingdom, instead of wearing glittering jewels. Morag also despised institutional bigotry promoted by the British Imperial Machine. She yearned for the day when East and West would meet on an equal footing. Knowing she was out of step with popular opinion, she made an impassioned plea to end racial intolerance and inequality.
Molly Fink married Martanda Bhairava Tondaiman of Padukkottai. Moly was a good wife and also a perfect mother and a role model for her young son. During the latter part of her life, after her husband’s death, she became an alcoholic, and depressed. In November 1967, Molly passed away due to bowel cancer and she is interred at Golders Green Crematorium in London next to her husband Martanda, and 17 years later their son was laid to rest next to them.
Stella Mudge was a wayward girl since she was in her early teens. Maharaja Paramjit saw her when she was 18 in Paris. He was instantly smitten. He was a man who was more concerned about his personal enjoyment and entertainment than the welfare of his people. She broke into the treasury of the kingdom of Karputhala so hard that the assets were disappearing faster than anyone can imagine. In 1988 her jewelry and treasures were auctioned off in Paris. In 1997, a British TV program “For love and Money” chronicled her life and asked the viewers if they know where the rest of her treasures are.
"Holy Cow" a book I thoroughly enjoyed also!