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Indian minister wins feudal royal title

Nov. 9, 2006 at 12:22 PM

NEW DELHI, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Yashodhara Raje Scindia, a descendant of the respected Scindia dynasty, has been granted the title of "highness" in keeping with India's feudal past.

The central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, home to the city of Gwalior, a former capital of feudal kingdoms, which the Scindias ruled prior to India's independence in 1947, granted the London-born mother of three the title of "shrimant" or "highness."

The decision ends a long-standing demand of Yashodhara, currently Madhya Pradesh tourism minister, reports the BBC. One civil servant in her ministry said she sometimes would refuse to attend meetings and functions if the invitation card addressed her merely as Ms Yashodhara Raje Scindia. Now the nameplate in her office is prefixed with "shrimant."

The princess said the decision is only "an acknowledgement of the legacy of Scindias" and that similar recognition is given all over the world to royalty. Many members of her family also are in politics.

The opposition Congress party in the state called the decision "a mockery of democracy." A Marxist Communist party lawmaker said the new title reeked of the feudal mindset.

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