Story of India’s One Forgotten Princess
- JWB Post
- January 27, 2015
Author Anita Anand was in Jaipur talking about her recent book on the life of a forgotten Indian Princess. She was fascinated by Punjab’s Maharaja Duleep Singh’s youngest daughter Sophia. With an English name and slightly Indian face of Sophia, Anita wanted to know more about her. She took hold of Sophia’s personal journal to explore the truths hidden in the pages of history. Later, her book “Sophia Duleep Singh: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary” – was published.
Sophia was the god-daughter of Queen Victoria. She was taught the British etiquette by the English Royals. Sophia was often photographed wearing latest designer wear, flaunting her style in high society parties. People envied her. But Anita sensed the other side of Sophia – who was a silent social activist under the guidance of Lala Lajpat Rai. Sophia fought against inequality and injustice. Her causes were the struggle for Indian independence, the fate of the Lascars, the welfare of Indian soldiers in the First World War – and, above all, the fight for women’s suffrage.
“Sophia was feminine but bold. She voiced against corruption and politicians. She fought for feminism in India.”
“She was a fashionista, a horsewoman, a photographer and a fighter for women’s right to vote. No matter how much she was written about in page 3 tabloids, somewhere inside her she wanted to find her mission. She got one when she visited India for the 1st time.”
“Even when she returned to England, she continued her Suffragette movement. She participated in protests and fought with the Police. The lady in expensive silk clothes was suddenly a revolutionary with sweat and dust on her face.”
“Sophia surprised everyone by showcasing this extremely opposite side of her life. She broke the stereotype about women in society.”
“She has given me the right to vote. I owe it to her.”
Someone from the crowd asked Anita why she didn’t write about Katherine, Sophia’s elder sister, who was also forgotten in history. At that Anita replied:
“Sophia’s life was interesting, something that we women can relate to. Just like her, each one of us is delicate like a flower, yet strong enough to change things around us. Sophia was the epitome of womanhood, and I have learned a lot from her.”
“In her complete diary, Sophia has written about this one anonymous man she met during a train journey. The mentioning was just in 4 pages, nothing more is known about him. So I can say, there was no a significant man in her life as her love interest. She gave her life to women betterment.”
Are you eager to know more about Sophia like we are? Buy your copy of Anita Anand’s novel here.