Vijayaraji, formally known as His Highness Maharajadhiraj Mirza Maharao Sri Vijayaraji Khengarji Sawai Bahadur, was a prominent ruler or Maharao of the princely state of Cutch, which is currently known as Kutch
district in the state of Gujarat
in western India. He ruled over the territory from the year 1942 to 1948, when he died. He was born on 2 September 1885 to father Maharao Khengarji III
and belonged to the Jadeja dynasty of Rajputs
. During his tenure as Yuvraj, Vijayraji frequently supervised and managed the princely state during Maharao Khengarji`s repeated visits to Europe, as he worked closely with his father.
Rule of Vijayaraji
Vijayaraji successfully implemented various reforms developed by his father and established the Kutch High Court, improved irrigation network, which resulted in the further development of agriculture in the state. Under his rule, village councils were also elected. In the year 1947, the Maharao of Cutch (Kutch) donated 15,000 acres of land for the re-settlement of Hindu Sindhi community refugees. After the partition of India
, these refugees migrated across the border into the country. His Highness Maharao Shri Vijayraji Khengarji Jadeja contributed the land upon the behest and suggestion of Mahatma Gandhi. Later the towns of Adipur and Gandhidham were established on this donated land. On 16th August, 1947, he provided consent for the merger of the princely state of Cutch with the Dominion of India
. As the Maharao was in England at the time of Indian independence, the Instrument of Accession of Cutch (Kutch) was signed by Meghraji, his son and heir, on his behalf.
Personal Life of Vijayaraji
Vijayaraji was married to Her Highness Maharani Shri Padmakunwar Ba Sahiba on 6 March 1907. She was the daughter of His Highness Maharao Kesari Singhji Bahadur of Sirohi. The royal couple had several children. Maharao Sri Sir Vijayaraji Khengarji was an ornithologist and a botanist. He was also a patron of various sports like tennis, football, sculling and cricket. He also enjoyed doing on hunting or Shikar. The Vijay Vilas Palace at Mandvi was built for him by Maharao Khengarji III, his father, in 1929.
Maharao Vijayaraji died at the age of 62 on 26th January, 1948. He was succeeded by Yuvraj Meghraji, his son, who ascended the throne after his death.
Titles of Vijayaraji
Vijayaraji of Cutch held many titles and styles through out his rule. These are mentioned below-
* Maharajkumar Shri Vijayrajsinhji Khengarji, Yuvraj Sahib of Cutch (1885- 1942)
* Colonel His Highness Maharajadhiraj Mirza Maharao Shri Vijayarajji Sawai Bahadur, Maharao of Cutch (1942- 1945)
* Colonel His Highness Maharajadhiraj Mirza Maharao Shri Sir Vijayarajji Sawai Bahadur, Maharao of Cutch, GBE (1945- 1948)
Honours of Vijayaraji
Maharao Sir Vijayaraji was honoured several times, which are discussed as follows-
Durbar Silver Medal (1911)
* King George V Silver Jubilee Medal (1935)
* King George VI Coronation Medal (1937)
* Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire- GBE (1945)
* Indian Independence Medal (1947)