Princess Tarabai Gaekwad

Princess Tarabai Gaekwad (1871-1897)
Daughter of Jamnabai

Albumen print on carte-de-visite, c. 1875
Size: 4 x 2.5 in. (10.2 x 6.4 cm)

Inscription: HH Tarabai of Baroda

She was the daughter of the Maharaja of Baroda, Khanderao Gaekwad and Jamnabai. The Maharaja suddenly died in 1870 with Jamnabai pregnant with a girl child leaving no legitimate male heir and thus Jamnabai adopted Gopalrao, who later came to be known as Sayajirao Gaekwad III of Baroda.

Tarabai lived with her mother who also acted as the Maharani Regent. The Maharani was an influential political figure but prohibited from participating in the state affairs, and so Tarabai was also not given prominence. Later Jamnabai took refuge in her paternal home near Satara with Tarabai. By 1884, the life of Maharani Jamnabai was very isolated, as Princess Tarabai was married to the Raja of Sawantwadi in the coastal Konkan. Tarabai died in the June of 1897 at the age 26. This added to Jamnabai’s grief so much that she passed away a year later in 1898.

This portrait shows a 3 year old, Tarabai seated on a table top with her bare feet resting on a cushion atop a chair. At this age she would have travelled with her mother and adoptive brother – Sayajirao Gaekwad III. She is wearing an embroidered robe with turka trousers and pearl jewellery with her head adorned with a soft cap tilted slightly to the left. She is holding a card or photograph in her left hand.