Princely India in the 1930s and '40s enjoyed a golden age which already seems immeasurably distant from the thriving, modern nation of today. These were halcyon days of bejewelled and autocratic Maharajas; life in marble palaces mirrored in lakes or in mighty stone fortresses on craggy hills; tiger hunts on elephant-back and elephant hunts on foot; and lavish house parties ringing with the sound of polo and music and laughter.As heir apparent to the central Indian kingdom of Sarila, Narendra Singh Sarila was born into the very heart of this society and his life offers a unique vista on a vanished world. This warm and unsentimental personal history beautifully evokes life at the end of the British Raj in vivid and colourful detail. But it also reveals how, despite their position, Sarila and his family embraced the changes occasioned by Independence and adapted rapidly to its new demands.In 1947, at the age of just 21, Sarila put his childhood concerns firmly behind him when he became Aide de Camp to Lord Mountbatten, the last British Governor General of India.
Once a Prince in Sarila draws on his experiences and his detailed diaries from the period and includes intimate and revealing portraits of Lord Mountbatten and his wife, Edwina, as well as their many prestigious visitors - including Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel among other top civil and military leaders, both British and Indian."Once a Prince in Sarila" is a unique history of a forgotten world and Sarila is a sensitive and perceptive guide to India's transition from Empire to an independent nation.
Raja Narendra Singh Sarila was born in 1927 as heir to the princely state of Sarila in central India. As ADC to Lord Mountbatten he was a close witness to the ending of the British Raj. He later joined the Indian Foreign Service, where he worked from 1948 to 1985. He was a deputy permanent representative in the Indian delegation to the U.N. and headed the Pakistan and International Organisations Divisions at New Delhi in the late 1960s. He later served as India's ambassador to Spain, Brazil, Libya, Switzerland (with concurrent accreditation to the Vatican) and France. He has commentated on international affairs for numerous journals, both in India and abroad, and is the author of the international bestseller, The Shadow of the Great Game: The Untold Story of India's Partition.
Table of Contents:PrefaceChapter 1: An Elephant was my PramChapter 2: My FatherChapter 3: My MotherChapter 4: Life in the Palace - IChapter 5: Life in the Palace - IIChapter 6: Round Table Conference in LondonChapter 7: A Tiger is Shot in SarilaChapter 8: The Political DepartmentChapter 9: May - the Eton of IndiaChapter 10: Dussehra DurbarChapter 11: The Princely States of RajputanaChapter 12: Turmoil in SarilaChapter 13: The RevolutionaryChapter 14: Nawab Misses a TigerChapter 15: The Charkhari SuccessionChapter 16: MussoorieChapter 17: The Last Delhi DurbarChapter 18: A New OrderChapter 19: Why the Princes CollapsedChapter 20: The Viceregal (Government) HouseChapter 21: ADC to Lord MountbattenEpilogue