Sayajirao Gaekwad III
Sayajirao Gaekwad III

Matters of succession

Following the death of Sir Khanderao Gaekwad (1828–1870), the popular Maharaja of Baroda, in 1870, it was expected that his brother, Malharrao (1831–1882), would succeed him.

 

However, Malharrao had already proven himself to be of the vilest character and had been imprisoned earlier for conspiring to assassinate Khanderao. As Khanderao's widow, Maharani Jamnabai (1853–1898) was already pregnant with a posthumous child, the succession was delayed until the gender of the child could be proven. The child proved to be a daughter, and so upon her birth on 5 July 1871, Malharrao ascended the throne.

Malharrao spent money liberally, nearly emptying the Baroda coffers (he commissioned a pair of solid gold cannon and a carpet of pearls, among other expenses) and soon reports reached the Resident Robert Phayre of Malharrao's gross tyranny and cruelty. Malharrao further attempted to cover up his deeds by attempting to poison the Resident with a compound of arsenic.

 

By order of the Secretary of State for India, Lord Salisbury, Malharrao was deposed on 10 April 1875 and exiled to Madras, where he died in obscurity in 1882.

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