Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rosie's Riveters: Aarti & the Maharani of Jaipur

Rosie's Riveters is a weekly posting written by Booklust readers about riveting females in literature. Many readers have strong reactions to the women in the books they read- either very positive or very negative. These are the characters we find riveting, for good reasons or bad ones, and they form the population of Rosie's Riveters. Through this weekly post, we can discuss females we love to hate, or love to love. And maybe, just maybe- we can determine why we react so strongly to them.

If you are interested in participating, please comment on this post, e-mail me, or just fill out the template below and send it to me. I am always looking for more participants!

This week, Rosie is reverting back to me!  There was a break in the line-up and I figured I should fill in.  Also, I noticed that there have been no non-Caucasian women represented in Rosie's Riveters so far (at least so far as I can tell- am I wrong?), and I wanted to remedy that.  So here I am representing the Brown contingent :-)

Who is your Riveter?
Gayatri Devi, the Maharani of Jaipur

What book does she feature in?

She wrote the book A Princess Remembers:  The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur.  I admit that I haven't read it yet, but it's on my shelf.

Do you love her or hate her?

I really like her.  Very beautiful, elegant and well-spoken.

Describe her personality- how would you describe her to a friend?

She's one of those people who always looks good in everything, never spills food on herself and always knows exactly what to say.  She exudes charisma and self-confidence.  And she's gorgeous.

Can you compare her to a celebrity?

She is a celebrity herself, but to compare her to someone possibly easier to recognize- I'd say she's like Jackie O.

What makes her riveting?
Well, she was beautiful, intelligent, politically savvy and forward-thinking.  Plus, she was royalty.  That's a pretty hard combination to beat.

What do you most admire/despise about her?

I think Gayatri Devi used her power and charisma for good.  She grew up very wealthy and very privileged, but when she ran for political office, she made a big effort to help the poor.  When she was younger, she spent a lot of time hunting and endangering the Indian tiger population, and then she just stopped and proceeded to spend her time working towards conservation.  She became the Maharaja of Jaipur's third wife and entered into the very secluded purdah life, even though she was so independent.  Her life was full of social engagements, and she worked very hard for reform, to give young Indian girls the chance to make something of themselves.  She was well-dressed and beautiful and cultured, but she could lose her temper and be very stubborn.  She spent five months in prison on possibly trumped-up charges for tax evasion during Indira Gandhi's stint as Prime Minister.  Really, she was fascinating.

Would you recommend reading the book in which the Riveter features?

Well, I haven't read it yet, so I don't know.  But I hear it's excellent and I think A Princess Remembers would be great for the Women Unbound challenge!  In fact, I might pick it up for that one myself...

Do you have a quote by your Riveter that you'd like to share?

The meeting had begun when the Maharani made her entry, giving everyone a whiff of expensive French perfume.  She was dressed in a turquoise-blue chiffon sari with silver sequins sparkling like stars on a moonless night. She looked around with her large almond eyes. Everyone stood up. As Hillaire Belloc once described someone, ‘her face was like the king’s command when all the swords are drawn.’ - NYT


  1. Thank u so much for reminding me to re read A Princess Remembers. I loved it. I had got it as a b'day gift when I turned 15 and read it straight in 3 days.

    You are right she was elegance personified and gorgeous.

  2. Anonymous11/05/2009

    She sounds like a fascinating woman.

    I have an award for you, by the way.

  3. Never heard about her but she sure sounds interesting, This could be a book I could read, and I rarely read about real people

  4. I hadn't heard of her either, but she does sound fascinating!

  5. She sounds like a really impressive woman! I hope you get a chance to read the book soon. From the way you feel about her it seems like it will probably be a great read for you!

  6. She does sound fascinating!

  7. Shona- I am glad you will re-read it! Maybe I'll read it with you.

    Carol- Thank you so much for the award. That's really thoughtful of you. And it doesn't feel like we just recently "met," but that we've known each other so long!

    Blodeudd, Nymeth, Zibilee and Carrie K - I hope you guys look into her and her story a bit, too! I think you'd all really like her memoirs. At least... I can say that based on not having read it, anyway ;-)

  8. Anonymous11/10/2009

    Now that sounds wonderful. Not a character or a book I know, but I am definitely going to investigate.

    And if you ever have another break in the line-up do call. I have a particular lady whispering in my ear. This is such a great concept!

  9. I think she also features in Maharanis by Lucy Moore. Such a beautiful and interesting woman.


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