His Highness Gaj Singh II

His Highness Gaj Singh IIHis Highnessjodhpur-logo

His Highness is the thirty-eighth head of the Rathore clan of the Rajputs of Marwar. Simply known as ‘Bapji’ (father) to subjects, clansmen, friends and relatives, he was four years old when he succeeded to the Gaddi (throne) of Jodhpur. He is considered by his people to be the social and cultural head of Jodhpur, a fount of patronage and the custodian of her fabulous riches –forts, palaces, havelis, manuscripts, paintings, costumes, weapons and jewellery. Amongst its many precious heirlooms this clan counts foremost the sandalwood throne of Kanauj (now on display at the Junagarh Fort, Bikaner), the oldest piece of Indian furniture and to the Rathore, his only existing link with his ancestors of Kanauj, including Jaichand, who was, until 1194, the most powerful ruler in northern India. His Highness’s seven hundred year-old traditions and history has seen much change and his clan’s martial chivalry has experienced the Mughals, Marathas and the British.

He was born during the transition to independent India and is now an intrinsic and important part of modern India. He was eight years old when he went to Cothill House Prep in Oxfordshire. He was thirteen when he moved on to Eton. He studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Christ Church, Oxford.

Following a period in politics his activities have covered a wide range of social and cultural life. He served as the Indian High Commissioner to the West Indies from 1978-1980. He was elected (unopposed) member of the Upper House (Rajya Sabha) of the Indian Parliament from 1990-1992. As Convener of the Marwar regional chapter of INTACH, he has pioneered architectural conservation and restored many historical buildings in Marwar. In 2006, he received the Hadrian Award given by the World Monument Fund. As head of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature in Rajasthan, he has done much to raise the level of awareness amongst his people. His own trusts are very active. The Meherangarh Museum Trust maintains the finest fort museum in India. It is also a lively centre of academic research. The religious trust continues to support many temples in the city. The educational trust runs and supports a number of schools. The medical trust runs a free hospital in the walled city and regularly organizes medical camps in the villages. Another trust cares for ex-soldiers, war widows and their children. He is Founder-Patron of the Jodhpur Polo and Equestrian Institute and also the Indian Head Injury Foundation (IHIF). The bi-annual Jodhpur One World Retreat is a personal initiative to raise funds and improve head injury prevention and care in India. He is actively involved in the hotels and tourism industry too. He was Chairman of the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation from 1994-1998. He is Founder-President of theIndian Heritage Hotels Association, Jaipurand Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpuris now one of the finest hotels in the world. As a renown patron of the arts, he was on the advisory board of Sothebys India and also Osians, following which he has been on Bid & Hammer’s Advisory Panel since inception. His Highness is widely respected as a symbol of continuity and an instrument for ordered change. He weds the past and the present, the traditional and the modern, with consummate skill and panache.