USHA RANI: A very personal memoir

Khushwant SIngh

Khushwant Singh was an Indian author, lawyer, diplomat, journalist and politician. His experience in the 1947 Partition of India inspired him to write Train to Pakistan in 1956 (made into a film in 1998), which became his most well-known novel.

Editor's note:  Rakshat Hooja, Usha Rani's grandson, has provided this material. The memoir was given by Khushwant Singh to the Hooja family, and was originally included in the private and limited circulation only booklet forms and figurines. The booklet was printed in 2005.


Cover page

It was sometime in 1949. I was working as Press Attaché of the Indian High Commission in London. One morning the High Commissioner, VK Krishna Menon rang me up and said "Sardar, I am sending an art student to see you. See what you can do for her." A few minutes later a younger lady glided in to my office. I gaped at her for a while, she looked more like an artist's model than an artist. She introduced herself "I am Usha Rani, I have a year's scholarship to study sculpting. It is a four year course. After my stipend is over, I hope to make it on my own."

One tap for all

Subhash Mathur


Subhash Mathur is a resident of Jaipur after superannuation from Indian Revenue Service in 2007. Presently, Subhash is engaged in social and charitable work in rural areas. Subhash is also Editor of http://www.inourdays.org/, an online portal for preserving work related memories.

After finishing high school, in July 1965 I joined Rajasthan Arts College, Jaipur for my BA degree.

College days were expected to be exciting.

Freedom from school discipline is something to cherish.

No uniform.

No fixed timings.

No overbearing Principal lurking around the corners.

No homework.

Its joy personified.

But it's never roses all the way.

Within a month of starting College, a notice on the Board informed the Freshers that it was compulsory for them to collect the NCC application form.

Fill up the form. Get a token.

Go across to the NCC office.

Collect your uniform.

Turn up for Familiarisation on 1st Sunday of September at the Parade Ground, College campus. 7.30 a.m.

No exceptions.

Selecting one's uniform turned out to be an exercise involving scratching your head vigorously, tears rolling down the countenance and frustration welling up.

The uniform room was a huge rectangular room.  Khaki uniforms were strewn around the room.

Pants, Shirts, Socks, Shoes, Belts.

Many freshers were frantically searching through the pile.

For that perfect fit.

Bhupendra Hooja – An Obituary

Rakesh Hooja

Editor's note: This obituary was written by Hooja sahib's son, Rakesh, and edited at that time byt Rakesh's brother-in-law Subodh Mathur.

Bhupendra Hooja. London. Late 1940s.

Bhupendra Hooja (1922-2006) came to Rajasthan in the beginning of 1959, which, as he wrote in a 2002 article "Life at Eighty", became his "Karmbhumi" as he became "a small petty agent" in the sustained efforts for the development of the State. By the end, Jaipur and Rajasthan had adopted him as its own.

As regards the influences of his youth, he once wrote "having been born in an active and committed Arya Samaj family (I was) baptized by the mantras of social change, freedom and revolution as preached by Gandhi and Nehru and Subhash on the one side, and the revolutionary youth like Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his brave and young Comrades on the other". His older brother G.B.K. Hooja, who preceded him into the IAS via the undivided Punjab Civil Service, was a major source of inspiration to him, as was Marxist Socialism until the Soviets crushed the Hungarian uprising in 1956. Both in his youth and later as an adult, he could never appreciate the growing consumerism and commercialization in society. As a student he is known to have more than once given away his woollen clothing to poorer friends, and helped many others with their studies.

Our school newsmagazine 1966

Various authors


Editor's note: This article has been written by several people who were involved with the production of X-Rays, the newsmagazine of St. Xavier's School, Jaipur in 1965-66.


Subodh Mathur

Maharani Gayatri Devi Girls School – The Beginnings

Chandralekha Mathur


Born and brought up in Jaipur, Chandralekha Mathur received her education at Maharani Gayatri Devi Girls School, and Maharani's College, Jaipur. Married to a tea planter, she lived in the tea growing area of North East India. Reading and writing have all along been my hobbies. After three decades on the plantations, she relocated to Jaipur. Along with some social welfare activities has authored a book on her life in the North East.  She has also been actively involved in the activities of the alumni association of MGD school, and has been the Editor of its newsletter 'Guild Today' for the last 15 years.

Editor's note: This memory was originally written for the coffee table book "70 Glorious Years - MGD Platinum Jubilee" published in 2013.

The Maharani Gayatri Devi Girls School, or MGD as it is usually called, was born on July 4, 1943, amidst the chanting of Sanskrit shlokas invoking the blessings of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Saraswati. It was a significant and auspicious event, and a royal gift from the Maharaja and Maharani of Jaipur to the daughters of the aristocratic families was unwrapped! It was temporarily housed in Madho Vilas, a garden retreat of the Jaipur rulers outside the walled city, with 24 girls of various ages on its rolls.

Being one of the 'First 24' has always been a matter of pride for those who were fortunate enough to enjoy that status.


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