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The Walrus magazine’s own Maharaja story

October 15th, 2010

As part of the Maharaja blog, we’ve been running a series called Your Stories where you tell us about some anecdotes and memories that relate to the theme of South Asian royalty.

It turns out that the October issue of The Walrus magazine has its own such charming story. It’s called “The Prince and the The Prophet” and was “told to” Amy Chung.

photo credit: Amy Chung, The Walrus

It’s a piece about an Indian man raised in Kenya who immigrated to Canada in 1973, and retired to the banks of the Narmada River in western India. It was only in Toronto that he took up Hindu-style astrology, but it was in India that he received a special request.

One summer evening seven years ago, I was at my home in Kumbheshwar, a village in western India surrounded by temples, when an old man arrived on my doorstep. He introduced himself as the secretary to Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, gesturing to the young man standing beside him. Indian royalty, while stripped of its authority after partition, still commands respect, but his title didn’t impress me. He looked like a simple man, very straightforward.

While the prince sat quietly enjoying the scenery from my terrace, his secretary told me of the young man’s divorce from the princess of a neighbouring state. His family wanted to know when he would remarry; as the only crowned prince, he needed to produce an heir.

Read more about the prince and the Lakshya Trust he later founded after this visit at The Walrus.

More Your Stories:

Do you have a story to tell about South Asian royalty? Does your family have connections to maharajas? Do you have photographs or objects related to kings and their courts? Share your stories and ideas here or by emailing us at yourvoice@ago.net

Piali Roy is a Toronto freelance writer with a long-held interest in South Asian culture and history. You can contact her at yourvoice@ago.net.

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