Looking for Myanmar’s forgotten royals in Ratnagiri
Phaya Gyi, 26, had managed to hide her love affair with the “strapping young Maratha” Gopal Sawant for several months. It was only after the birth of their daughter, Tutu, that her parents learnt of the alliance. How could this be, they lamented – she, a princess, and he, a mere gatekeeper at the royal residence?
All stories start with a king. This one, however, must begin with a princess. A princess of ‘pure’ royal blood; born out of a marriage between a king and his step sister; a princess with kohl rimmed eyes, long, straight hair, and a heart full of sorrow and longing.
This princess was the eldest daughter of King Thibaw, the last king of Burma, who was exiled by the British in 1885. The royal family – the king, his two queens, and four daughters – were banished to the coastal town of Ratnagiri in Maharashtra. Thibaw, or “Thiba Raja”( as the king was known locally) lived here for over three decades. He died in 1916, and was entombed with his junior queen.
Full story: Hindustan Times
Discussion on Burmese history and culture.
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