It was difficult to ignore the cousins, Samarjitsinh Gaekwad and Pratapsinh Gaekwad, burying their family differences to come together to perform the last rites of late Maharaja Ranjitsinh Gaekwad of Baroda on Friday. Ranjitsinh, who died on Wednesday, was cremated at the royal crematorium in Raopura area of the city.
Pratapsinh is the son of Sangramsinh Gaekwad, the younger brother of late Ranjitsinh, while Samarjitsinh is the son of the deceased Maharaja.
There were differences between the two brothers — Sangramsinh and Ranjitsinh — over their ancestral property. Sangramsinh had alleged that he had been unfairly denied a share of Baroda estate's wealth by the will of his mother, Shantadevi.
In June 2003, he had challenged the genuineness of the will alleging that it was fabricated by his elder sister, Mrunalini, and Ranjitsinh, the executors of the will. The will had denied Sangram any share in the ancestral property. A legal battle over the property that includes palaces, priceless paintings, precious diamonds and jewellery, ensued between the two brothers.
On Friday, however, when Pratapsinh joined his cousin, Samarjit, at the time of lighting of Ranjitsinh's funeral pyre, there was speculation that the two families would soon patch up the differences. Neither of the two cousins was available for comment. However, the Rajpurohit (royal priest) who performed the puja at the crematorium, said: "Families generally bury their differences during bereavement and come together in mourning. This is nothing unusual." Interestingly, Sangramsinh and his family were among the last ones to arrive at the palace on Friday.
They joined the gathering a few minutes before the funeral procession set off for the crematorium. Moreover, all members of the royal family wore white turbans but Sangramsinh was seen without a headgear.