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Jaya Chamaraja Wodeyar

Jaya Chamaraja Wodeyar, the last ruler of the Mysore royal family died 25 years ago on September 23, 1974. The Maharaja had gone abroad for treatment of his leg ailment and breathed his last in the Bangalore Palace.

His death brought an end to the nearly five and a half century long dynasty of Yadu Vamsha.

Historical sources reveal that the progenitor of the Yadava dynasty in Mysore was Yaduraya in 1399. He came from Dwaraka and established the Yadava dynasty by saving the wife and his daughter of the Mysore ruler from the humilitation of a local chieftan, Mara Nayaka.

Jaya Chamaraja Wodeyar was the last ruler of this illustrious monarchy, prominent of the Mysore rulers being Raja Wodeyar, Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar, Kantheerava Narasaraja Wodeyar, Mummadi or the third Krishnaraja Wodeyar, Nalwadi or the fourth Krishnaraja Wodeyar and lastly Jaya Chamaraja Wodeyar.

With Independence setting in, monarchy ended in Mysore too. The Mysore Maharaja later became the Rajapramukh and Governor, subsequently to lose all his powers, rights and privileges to become one among the common masses.

Born on 18th July 1919 as the only son of Yuvaraja Kantirava Narasimharaja Wodeyar, Jaya Chamaraja Wodeyar succeeded to the throne as the adopted son of his issue-less uncle, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. He was installed on the throne on the 8th September 1940.

He had his early education at the Royal School in Mysore. He joined the Intermediate College to study along with his own future subjects. Though he chose history, politics and economics as subjects of study, the young prince took keen interest in music, art, religious exercise and sports.

He became an accomplished musician, both Carnatic and western, a keen rider, a tennis and racquet player. He was also fond of big game shooting. He was aware of the contribution made by his uncle, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, in shaping Mysore as a modern State and in his seven years of rule, Jaya Chamaraja continued the efforts of his predecessor.

On the occasion of his Coronation, the young Maharaja declared: "In succeeding to the throne of Mysore, I follow a great ruler who loved you all, and who won your love by his love of God, by his wisdom, his graciousness, his humility, his faithfullness to duty and his Kingly greatness".

Krishnaraja Wodeyar died in 1940 earning encomiums as a great ruler, a Rajarishi. In this very same address, Jaya Chamaraja Wodeyar called upon the people to "consecrate themselves in the spirit of unity and self-sacrifice." Probably, he was already aware of the impending changing conditions.

One of the fields that witnessed phenomenal development during the reign of Jaya Chamaraja Wodeyar was education. The government's education grant rose from Rs 54 lakhs in 1940 to Rs 2.75 crores in 1948. The number of primary schools rose from 6,400 to 9,800. The number of students doubled to 4.80 lakhs. As against 319 middle schools with 59,000 pupils and 46 high schools with 10,000 students, now there were 1,175 middle schools with 1,23,000 pupils and 151 high schools with 31,700 pupils. As many as 4,500 adult education classes were being conducted. Other departments like medical, health, police, judicial, agricultural, industrial and rural welfare also saw great strides under his rulership.

With the Second World War ending, the agitation for responsible government in the State caught up again. As months passed by, the agitation increased in virulence. In early 1947, the States were left with the choice to join the dominion at any time. The one and a half centuries of British hold, which had commenced with the fall of Srirangapatna and the death of Tipu Sultan in 1799, had ended.

Mysore became sovereign and independent for a brief period after the British withdrew. On August 9, 1947, the Maharaja executed an Instrument of Accession, whereby the State acceded to the Dominion of India. The first responsible government was set up in
October. In a proclamation on 27th October 1947, the Maharaja announced the formation of the first popular ministry in the State. That brought to a virtual end the rule by the Maharaja.

With the inauguration of the Republic of India on 26th January 1950, Jaya Chamaraja Wodeyar was no longer the 'Maharaja'. Under the republic, he became the 'Rajapramukh' of Mysore State. The end of monoarchy also brought an end to the five and half centuries' reign by the Yadava Dynasty. Jaya Chamaraja Wadiyar became the last and 25th ruler of that dynasty.

What began as a minor fiefdom under the Vijayanagar rulers, Mysore had grown into an enlarged State with an area of 29,458 square miles with a population of over 75 lakhs, seeing consolidation of power, expansion of kingdom and phenomenal progress during their reign. The five and half centuries had brought about an evolution of a major State among the princely States and later in free India, to win praise as a model state.

Apart from having the highest water-fall, the Jog Falls, and the tallest statue of Gommateswara, Mysore State could boast of the "most ancient democratic house in India", the Mysore Representative Assembly.

It was the first Indian State to establish a university and a hydro-electric generating station in the country. Its raw silk production was the highest in India. Its aircraft factory was the first of its kind. It had a broadcasting station (Akashavani) of its own. The illuminated Brindavan Garden was a "fairyland" for both the local and foreign visitors.

"It is not easy to maintain the State," observed then Governor General of India C. Rajagopalachari, and he impressed upon the new administrators the task of "keeping it up to the level it had reached through talent, industry, devotion andpatriotism of previous administrators."

Maharaja Jaya Chamaraja Wodeyar adopted himself to the changing conditions. In reply to the address presented by the Chief Minister of Mysore on behalf of the people of the State on the occasion of his 37th birthday on July 29, 1956, he said: "You have referred in your address to what your generosity has termed my 'sacrifice.' I do not look upon it as such. If destiny had decreed that over the past few centuries the progress and prosperity of the people of this beloved State should be in the hands of the Wadeyars of Mysore, then that same destiny now ordains that the time is ripe for the people, now grown to full political stature in a free democratic Republic, to rule themselves.....The rule of the Maharajas has indeed fulfilled its purpose, the purpose of making the people fit to rule themselves."

The Maharaja, who was acclaimed for his speeches and writings on Indian philosophy and dharma, observed in his radio talk on the ninth year of Republic in 1958, "It is important that the freedom we have attained after a hundred years of struggle should be felt and enjoyed by the millions. Let us therefore model our Swarajya after the conception of Rishis. Let us aspire to achieve the Rama Rajya of Gandhiji's dreams." A dream still far away, even after four decades of his aspiration.

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