Friday, January 24, 2014

The Royal Dancers, 1926


 Pratap Singh died on 25th September, 1925 and the throne passed on to his nephew Hari Singh. The coronation ceremony, the 'Raj Tilak' was held in February 1926. It was a long elaborate affair. Starting on February 14 and ending on 24th. After the main function was held in Jammu, the processions moved to the Akhnoor where the final ceremony of power transfer was performed.

The world media was obviously interested in the obscenely lavish pageantry held in honor of "Mr. A".



"Jammu, Kashmir, India - New and rare photographs of the religious ceremonies within the palace gates and the dancing girls who took part in the coronation of the Maharaja of Kashmir have just been recieved. Reigning prices from all parts of the empire were present at the coronation of Sir Hari Singh, better known as the "Mr. A" of the sensational Robinson Case, in ceremonies which rivalled in splendor those of the Arabian Night. The celebration lasted over a week, preceded by mystic religious rites by the Hindu priests. The Prince's favourite dancing girls also took part in the coronation, dancing for the new Maharaja before and after the religious ceremonies. Gifts amounting to two million pounds sterling were received by the new Indian potentate." Dated: 19th April 1926.

 Here are two rare photographs from the ceremony. A closer look at the dancing girls.

The child dancer.
The Dancer and the Wailer.
Here the woman in the foreground is the dancing girl while in the background can be seen the woman hired for wailing. The coronation ceremony was essentially a mix of both a happy and a sad occasion. Traditionally the death of the previous king was to be mourned and the new king celebrated. This photograph captures it perfectly.  
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2 comments:

  1. interesting...and the pictures are fascinating. i got curious why hari singh was called Mr. A and this is what i found.
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1499&dat=19520908&id=sxoaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=FiQEAAAAIBAJ&pg=7130,3287849
    perhaps yopu have seen it too...

    Anubha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a well known affair that got a lot of press because people are always interested in degenerate excesses of native princes. The incident happened in 1919. The matter went to court and over in around 1924.
      Some more details here: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/40496770?searchTerm=crick%201919&searchLimits=

      Delete

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