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Maharaja Kameshwar Singh

Maharaja Kameshwar Singh Bahadur (ruled 1929 to the independence of India in 1947) (born 28 November 1907, died 8 November 1962). He was member of the Council of State 1933–1946, member of the Constituent Assembly 1947–1952, and the Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha-Upper House) 1952–1958 and 1960–1962. He was the first person in India to get a bust of Mahatma Gandhi made by celebrated artist Clare Frewen Sheridan, niece of Winston Churchill. The bust was presented to the viceroy of India, Victor Hope, 2nd Marquess of Linlithgow, to be displayed in Government House (now Rashtrapati Bhawan). This was acknowledged by Mahatma Gandhi in a letter to Lord Linlithgow in 1940.

Gandhi, in an interview during his visit to Bihar in 1947, said that the Maharaja Kameshwar Singh was an extremely good person and like a son to him.

Kameshwar Singh, the most honourable and well known king of Darbhanga took up the throne in 1929 when he was only 22 years old. Likewise his predecessors he continued the tradition of patronizing art, culture and education.

The good administration work of the king can be understood from the fact that only the Raj Nagar circle of the kingdom generated a whopping sum of rupees seven lakhs at that time!. In his effort to promote education he took part in the establishment of Patna University, Sanskrit Univeristy – Darbhanga, Maithili Research Institute.

Due to service to the promotion of education he chosen as the Pro Chancelor of the Banaras Hindu University. Kameshwar Singh made significant changes to the panjee system and made it simple and workable.

He died in 1962 and thus came to an end of era of Khandavala Dynasty.It is to note that queen Kamsundari is still alive but she could not stop the distintegration due to infighting among the kins as Maharaj had no offspring.

Darbhanga Aviations was a private Indian airline started by Maharaja Kameshwar Singh of Darbhanga. Darbhanga Aviations was started in 1950 and became defunct by 1962.

After World War – II, many military planes had become surplus and were sold at cheap price. Darbhanga Aviation was started with four Douglas DC-3 aircraft (2 No.s of C-47A-DL and 1 No. of C-47A-DK), purchased from the U.S. Air Force.

One of these planes (Registration – VT-DEM) got destroyed in an accident near Calcutta on 01-03-1954. This plane was on Scheduled Domestic Service out of Calcutta, India, when it crashed on takeoff from Calcutta. The No.1 engine of the DC-3 caught fire immediately after takeoff from Calcutta runway 19R. The aircraft failed to gain height, stalled and crashed into trees, 3330 feet past the runway end. 2 of the 8 passengers, and all 3 crew members aboard the DC3 were killed in the crash. The 6 surviving passengers were all critically injured. Although the engine fire was the primary cause of the crash, the pilot was also cited for a delay in feathering the engine, and the extreme nose up altitude of the plane during takeoff. Both of those factors contributed to the downing of the plane.

Another plane bearing registration No. VT-AYG crashed on 24 MAY 1962 near Rajshahi in Bangladesh. The cause of crash has been attributed to fatigue failure of the no. 1 engine forcing the crew of the DC-3 to continue on a single engine (no. 2). After a while the remaining engine lost power due to overheating resulting in crash of the aircraft.

The third aircraft (registration No. VT-DEM) was taken over by Indian Air Force.

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