Bahadur Jiwandas or DBJ was a man of great tastes. This is attributed to his
royal upbringing, both at Jaipore and Jubbulpore, which contributed in
developing Jiwandas’s passion for the materialistic and flamboyant lifestyle
which very few could afford at that time. He paid less attention to the business
empire built by his father, Raja Gokuldas, spanning the country, with business
establishments and factories located at places of trade importance. Jiwandasji
relied on his Gumastas and Munim
in matters pertaining to business. As a result of his negligence, greater price
had to be paid by him in the coming time, whereby a large portion of family
property had to be given to creditors. However, his taste and style at that time
was a subject of envy even for some of the ruling royal princes and kings.
To begin with, he had a passion for horses. His stable had the 300 latest
breed of horses of time. Separate arrangements of horses were there for Polo,
horse riding and horse-drawn carriages. With horses, he also developed love for
horse-drawn carriages. He had wide variety of carriages in his possession. His
collection was always the talk of the town, as and when they made their way
through the roads of Jubbulpore. For the horse-drawn carriage, there were horses
belonging to English and Australian 'Baller' breed. While for horse riding he
had horses belonging to Arab, Kathiyawadi and Marwadi breed.
Pairs of similar colored horses were connected for horse-driven
carriages. Amongst the numerous carriages owned by Diwan Bahadur, a carriage
named 'Chadder' was his special
possession. It was a remarkable carriage where horses in pairs of 4 were
connected to the carriage.
The total number of horses connected counted to 16. These used to walk in
postralian manner. For every pair there was a coachman to guide. The carriage
used to be followed by eight 'sawars'
on foot all dressed up in uniform and carrying flags. Jiwandasji also had a
silver plated carriage which could be knocked down, folded and transported. He
used to use this carriage at Jubbulpore as well as Jaipore.
In addition to this, Jiwansdasji had love for wide variety of watches. Watches with different looks, foreign as well as Indian, were among his priced collection. He had some of finest gold, silver, jewelled and hand painted pocket watches. Not only did he have some of finest pocket watches but also he adorned the walls of his palace with numerous wall clocks.
Diwan Bahadur engaged Laurie, a well known English photographer of the region,
for the first family of Jubbulpore. He had very close association with
Jiwandasji and greater number of photographs taken by Laurie adorned the
interior of the beautiful mansions of Jiwandasji.
Most of time photographs were taken by Laurie but few were also taken by
Raja Deendayal, one of the most eminent photographers of the time. Sometimes,
Diwan Bahadur himself also photographed. While taking photographs of women
members of the family, Jiwandasji used to be present on the occasion, as it was
not customary for women folk to come out of pardah.
Since at the time photographs were only black and white, color portraits were
also made of family members. The art of hand painting the black and white
photographs was also prevalent at the time and numerous such works of art were
commissioned by DBJ.
Jiwandasji also collected jewellery, paintings of the Nathdwara school,
miniatures paintings, fine weapons, furniture, etc. He was not only a collector
but was also a person capable of using and displaying the right things at the
right place and time. Diwan Bahadur was very particular about his possessions
and his staff which numbered several dozen munims & servants were perfectly
trained for keeping everything clean maintained and in fit condition. When not
in use or display his collection items were kept properly packed, usually in
quilt bags in various stores.
One of the palaces under construction
Jiwandas was a
great entertainer and his parties were popular not only amongst the English of
the time but also with the various Indian kings and princes. He would serve a
wide variety of cuisine in honor of the guests and the finest wine. For special
occassions he also used to call the finest dancers of the country to perform for
One of the kothis of DB Jiwandas
He also built and decorated his palaces, kothis
in the best possible way. Craftsman from various parts of the country,
especially from Rajasthan were called for construction. These had marble floors
of different colors, tiles from England and France were used on the walls, and
exquisite Belgian mirrors decorated the verandahs.
Govind Bhavan – Outhouse of DB Jiwandas
the year 1909, Jiwandasji constructed this grand Kothi as a residence of Rani
Chunni Bai, widow of Raja Gokuldas. In keeping up with the taste of Diwan
Bahadur, it was elegantly furnished with the best English and French furniture
of the period, and its garden were adorned with dozens of Grecian Urns and
sculptures and twin Italian marble fountains.
The formal sitting room had a crystal fountain in the centre. There were
arrangements for tennis, riding, croquet, etc within the premises. The mansion
was also equipped with the finest crystal and china. It could be summarised as
heaven on earth with all luxuries of life. Most of the garden parties hosted by
Jiwandasji in honor of his guest were generally organised here.
But over the period of time, when the family fell into debt, this
magnificent mansion was mortgaged and was finally given to the creditors. It now
lies forlorn and abused, its draperies moth-eaten, the statues stolen, its chief
rooms locked and uncared for. Most part of the building is being occupied by the
state Road Transport Office. But its lost grandeur can yet be visualized by the
Stucco walls inlaid with coloured glass and the Dutch and German ceramic tiles
and richly moulded ceilings which, although crumbling, can still be admired. In
its heydays, the mansion could easily have rivaled the opulence of several of
the Maharajas of India.
In the year 1911 the Delhi
Durbar was organised for England’s King, George V. Only the selected few
Maharajas of the country were issued invitation to be part of this grand
function. Since Raja Gokuldas and his family were one of the leading business
& banker families of the country and were one of the largest landlord they
were also invited to attend the Durbar. The British also took the help of
Jiwandas’s father and ancestors on several occassions, even borrowing money
from them. So keeping this in mind, the British government issued invitations in
the name Diwan Bahadur Jiwandas and his cousin Diwan Bahadur Ballabhdas.