Jai Singh Prabhakar became the 7th Maharaja of Alwar aged nine upon the death of his father in 1892. He was educated at the Mayo College, Ajmer and installed upon the gaddi in 1903. He was an accomplished and enthusiastic orator and a keen proponent and participant of the Indian Chamber of Princes, and was appointed to represent India at the 1923 Imperial Conference. He was so orthodox-Hindu that he refused to tolerate leather, but nevertheless drank and caroused lavishly. He acquired a reputation for extreme extravagance, caprice and cruelty, with the Marquess of Willingdon terming him a ‘modern Caligula’.
Alwar was a member of the Indian States delegation at the conference.
For additional biographical information, see the official delegate Who's Whos. See also Emery Kelen's caricature, from his portfolio of delegates at the Round Table Conference.
- Nov 10th1930 Benn called an Agenda Committee together for the conference, featuring Hydari, Ismail, Haksar, Bikaner and Alwar, for the states. Reading and Sapru suggest first Q should be federation. (Moore, 1974:142)
- Engaged in detailed debates en route to London aboard the SS Mooltan, with other passengers including Jinnah, Ali brothers, Dr Shafaat Ahmed Khan, Sir A.P. Patro, Ambedkar, and Sapru. (Copland, 1997)
- 16thOctober: Dr BS Moonje noted of Alwar in his diary kept during the journey from Bombay to Marseilles: “8pm dinner given by Alwar. He made three speeches. He seems to be fond of making them. I was aghast at the money that he was spending away on the ship. It is why the subjects curse their Maharajas. Dispersed at 10. Then to Music Hall where Alwar’s musicians treated us to their music.” (NMML: Moonje Diary)
- Monday 10thNovember 1930: Alwar participated in Armistice commemoration at the Cenotaph alongside other Princes, representatives of the Dominions, the PM and King-Emperor.
- 17thNovember 1930: Alwar’s speech at the inaugural sessions calling for a “United States of India” caught much attention in the press. (Indian Round Table Conference, Proceedings)
- 18thNovember 1930: Moonje noted in his diary: “He made a lengthy speech which was a rigmarole of sentimentalism, philosophy, poetry and what not. Unfortunate he has not been able to make a good impression… Mr Lees Smith yesterday remarked that Alwar has a brutal look about him. He deserves it. He is really a beast.” (NMML: Moonje Diary)
- 16thDecember 1930: the Daily Telegraph reported Alwar as the star turn at a luncheon hosted at the Savoy Hotel by the British Sportsman’s club to the visiting Princes: “Naturally we are familiar with the perfect English of this Maharaja, for he made many speeches as India’s chief representative at one of the Imperial Conferences a few years ago. But I confess I was unprepared for so perfectly conceived and admirably delivered an oration as that in which he seconded the Maharaja of Patiala… His choice of language was beyond praise, and though at no time did he refer to any sort of notes, he was never at a loss for the word required exactly to convey his meaning…. On the lighter side he amused his audience by recounting, with reference to the hospitality in London, how he had recently remarked to Mr MacDonald that they spent most of their days making new constitutions and most of the nights in ruining their constitutions.” (Daily Telegraph “London by Day”)
- 17thDecember 1930: Alwar held a banquet to celebrate the 28th anniversary of his reign at the Connaught Rooms, with the Prime Minister, Secretary of State for the Dominions, the Secretary of State for India and most leading delegates in attendance. Moonje recorded in his diary: “8.15 to Connaught Rooms for Banquet which Alwar gave for his 27 years. Arranged on grand scale. Trumpeters were engaged to announce arrival of Maharaja with the PM at the dinner table. There was also an orchestra. Dinner very sumptuous and three or four kinds of wine served. Alwar toasted PM and read speech which lasted ¾ hour. The speech was verbose and full of slavish flattery and was inordinately long. Everyone appeared tired and were commenting.” The Conservative party delegation Secretary RJ Stopford also commented in a letter on 18th December how much the dinner was resented, with guests arriving at 8.15pm and not leaving until midnight, after Alwar’s speech lasted more than an hour. (NMML: Moonje Diary; British Library E346.2.)
- January 2nd1931: newspapers reported a dinner Alwar put on to celebrate his anniversary for all of his staff. Alwar reportedly sat between his tailor and his boot boy at dinner. All staff were then transported in a charabanc to a picture theatre, where he also sat amongst them. (Evening Standard “Echoes of the Town)
- January 1st1931: Alwar arrived at No.10 Downing Street just after mid-night and “First Footed” MacDonald in the Scottish tradition, which states that the New Year’s first visitor be either a dark haired man or light haired woman. (Daily Telegraph “Dark-Haired Visitor at No. 10)
- January 19th1931: “Purdah mystery at Banquet” at Alwar’s farewell banquet. Announced that Maharani would be present but behind a gauze. Guests speculated whether they would get to see the veiled guest throughout the dinner, only to be later told that she never had any intention of attending. (Daily Telegraph “London Day By Day:)
- February 3rd1931: Viceroy Irwin wrote from New Delhi to his father, the Viscount Halifax, in Doncaster: “I wonder whether in the end you saw the Maharaja of Alwar. I don’t think you will have liked him very much, though he might possibly have interested you. He has a very complex personality; one side of him is quite good, but there is another side which, according to the talk, is very much the reverse of good. Also he is eaten up with vanity and, when in a bad temper, can behave with quite incredible rudeness.” (British Library C152.27)
- Alwar attended but did not sit in committee.
- National Archives, Kew: PRO 30/69/578/II
- Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi: Dr BS Moonje papers.
- British Library: IOR/Eur.Mss/C152/27
- Indian Round Table Conference, 12th November, 1930 - 19th January, 1931, Proceedings (London: H.M. Stationery Office; 1931)
- R.J. Moore, The Crisis of Indian Unity, 1917-1940 (Oxford: Clarendon Press; 1974)
- Ian Copland, The Princes of India in the End-Game of Empire, 1917–1947 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1997)
- Ian Copland, “Islam and the ‘moral economy’: The Alwar revolt of 1932”, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 22:s1 (1999), 109-132: https://doi.org/10.1080/00856408708723377
- Evening Standard “Leaders of the Nation and Empire Join in Great Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph” (11 Nov 1930)
- Evening Standard “United States of India: Maharaja of Alwar’s Plea” (18 Nov 1930)
- Daily Telegraph “London Day By Day: British and Indian Sportsmen”, Issue 23585 (17 Dec 1930), p. 12
- Evening Standard “Echoes of the Town: Maharaja Entertains his Servants” (2 Jan 1931)
- Daily Telegraph “Dark-Haired Visitor at No. 10: Premier ‘First-Footed’”, Issue 23598 (3 Jan 1931), p. 11
- Daily Telegraph “Indian Princes and Empire”, Issue 23612 (20 Jan 1931), p.12
- Daily Telegraph “London Day By Day: The Maharaja’s Little Joke”, Issue 23613 (21 Jan 1931), p. 12
- Who Was Who: https://doi.org/10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U205236
- The Times, “The Maharajah Of Alwar”, Issue 47690 (21 May 1937), p. 16
- Times of India, “The Late Maharaja Of Alwar” (21 May 1937), p. 12
- Malaya Tribune, “Maharaja of Alwar Dead” (21 May 1937), 14: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers/Digitised/Article/maltribune19370521-1.2.90
- Daily Telegraph, “Maharaja of Alwar”, Issue 25577 (21 May 1937), p. 17
"Alwar, Colonel His Highness Shri Sewai Maharaj Sri Jey Singhji Veerendra Shirsmani Dev, G.C.S.I., G.C.I.E., Maharaja of." From Indian Round Table Conference Second Session 1931: Biographical Notes and Photographs of the British and Indian Delegates (London: St. James's Palace). By permission of the British Library (shelfmark T 11187). Reproduced under Open Government Licence v3.0 (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/)