About MP Diya Kumari
MP Diya Kumari combines her life as a custodian of the immense cultural, artistic and architectural heritage of the erstwhile kingdom of Jaipur, and as an elected peoples’ representative in parliament, with that of a modern-day businesswoman, heading numerous business ventures, two schools, two trusts and museums, hotels and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
In 2013, Diya Kumari became an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly of Rajasthan from the Sawai Madhopur constituency (comprising Sawai Madhopur city, founded in the 18th century by her ancestor, Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh I, surrounded by vastly underdeveloped rural tracts, and the Ranthambore National Forest and Tiger Reserve). Thereafter, she worked tirelessly towards inclusive development for the people of the area.
In 2019, Diya Kumari was elected as a Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) from Rajasthan’s Rajsamand constituency, with a huge victory margin of nearly 70% (5,51,916 votes). She is already combining her role as a Parliamentarian with that of facilitating development activities in the Rajsamand area and in August 2019, she was elected to serve as a member of the government’s National Tiger Conservation Authority.
Diya Kumari is the only child of H.H. Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh and H.H. Maharani Padmini Devi of Jaipur. Her maternal grandparents were the Maharaja and Maharani of Sirmour (now part of the Indian State of Himachal Pradesh). Her father earned distinction in the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 as a Lt. Col. and Commanding Officer of the Para Commandos of the 10th Parachute Regiment. Decorated with the Mahavir Chakra, the Maharaja later left the army to concentrate on his duties towards the erstwhile State of Jaipur, including through the administration of the Jaipur City Palace and its associated Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum, and in various philanthropic roles. He was also India’s High Commissioner to Brunei. Thus, Diya Kumari learned at a young age about the Jaipur royal family’s sense of commitment as custodians of their inheritance, and of duty to the country. She also observed, at first-hand, the management of a royal palace as both a family residence, and a museum open to the public, and has since effectively put it to practice.
Diya Kumari has three children. The eldest, H.H. Sawai Padmanabh Singh, is the current Maharaja of Jaipur born on 2nd July 1998. He was adopted as heir to the throne of Jaipur by his grandfather, H.H. Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh, whom he succeeded in April 2011. He has a younger sister Princess Gauravi Kumari, and a brother H.H. Lakshraj Prakash, Maharaja of Sirmour.
As an Entrepreneur
Diya Kumari is Secretary and trustee of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum Trust and the Jaigarh Fort Charitable Trust; runs two hotels, namely, the Rajmahal Palace in Jaipur, and the Jaipur House in Mt. Abu; and manages ventures like Durga Diya Enterprises, the Baradari restaurant and museum shops at the City Palace, and the Ashok Club, an exclusive sports and recreational club. A committed educationist, she runs two highly prestigious schools - The Palace School and the Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh School and has instituted the ‘Young Achiever in Education’ award.
She is also a connoisseur of art and culture, and actively promotes traditional arts, crafts, music, and dance, and in 2013 she revived the tradition of the Gunijankhana wherein the Jaipur Royal Family had provided an institutional forum for singers, musicians, and dancers from the 17th century through to 1949. In its contemporary form, the present Gunijankhana provides a platform for national and international virtuosos of the performing, literary and visual arts, and the sciences. Along with this, she continues to encourage the 'Friends of museum', started by her late father, H.H. Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh of Jaipur, with the aim of promoting the dying arts and crafts of Jaipur and supporting craftspersons associated with it.
The Princess Diya Kumari Foundation (www.princessdiyakumarifoundation.org), established by Diya Kumari in 2013, is aimed at empowering women and girls through vocational training, education, and livelihood generation. This complements her other endeavors of keeping alive and passing on artisanal, handicraft, and agricultural skills. The women are helped with linking their products to the market.
In keeping with her family’s long tradition of philanthropy, MP Diya Kumari is actively associated with several NGOs and organizations, including the Eye Bank Society of Rajasthan, and Rays, an NGO working for HIV+children, of which she is the Patron. She also closely monitors the work of Sawai Man Singh Prathmik Chikitsalaya, which provides medical facilities and treatment to the needy. In 2014, she was appointed as Rajasthan State Government’s Ambassador for the 'Save the Girl Child' campaign. She was awarded the YFLO Women Achievers Award in Politics by the Young FICCI Ladies Organization (YFLO), New Delhi. In January 2017, MP Diya Kumari received an honorary Doctorate from Amity University, Jaipur, for her contribution in the field of philanthropy and leading role in heritage management.
During her term as an MLA, the Princess remained very active in Sawai Madhopur, facilitating development agencies, donors, NGOs, and local stakeholders on a range of issues. These include water and sanitation, women’s empowerment, health, education, employment, environment, agriculture, and rural development. Fully aware of the development challenges in Sawai Madhopur, both while serving as the local MLA, and with the work of her Foundation, she forged partnerships and innovative solutions for social, economic, and infrastructure development there, even as she carried forward her work in Jaipur and other places with commitment and dedication. Now as a Member of Parliament from Rajsamand with a much broader role and greater responsibilities, Diya Kumari will continue to expand her efforts to proudly and effectively serve the people of her constituency, and serve her country.