Princes might be an anachronism in India. They survive nevertheless in some parts, though their power is confined largely to the control over their landed estates.
Still they are a media attraction of sorts. Manavendra Singh, the prince of Rajpipla in the western state of Gujarat, has one more claim to headlines.
AdvertisementRecently he had shaken his conservative society by declaring that he was a gay. And he went on air abroad, on the Oprah Winfrey show in the US, to declare his sexual preferences.
But he has now assured his "anxious subjects" that he wouldn't like his lineage to end with him because he doesn't care to have sex with women. He would take the adoption route to ensure that his royal bloodline continued uninterrupted.
On Wednesday, he performed the annual ritual of garlanding his great-grandfather Vijaysinh Gohil's statue on his 119th birth anniversary, Times of India reports.
Asked then who would continue that tradition after him, he said: "I have carried out all my responsibilities as the prince so far and will continue as long as I can. I will also adopt a child soon so that all traditions continue."
Manavendra, who is a divorcee, added that adoption was not new for the royal families as many had taken this route in the absence of a legal male heir.
"The Gohil dynasty itself is a case of adoption. Rajpipla was ruled by the Parmar clan, not the Gohils. But the Parmars at one point did not have a male child. One of the Parmar princesses then married the maharaja of Bhavnagar. One of their sons was adopted by the Parmars, giving birth to the Gohil dynasty."
One more word of satisfaction for his people. The boy is unlikely to be a commoner. Manavendra said it was common in royal families to adopt a child from the extended family. "I will also adopt a child from my extended family only."
Although there are no known cases of single gay men adopting children in India, advocate Sudhir Nanavati says Manavendra should not have legal hassles in adoption.
"The law states that one should not have any children before you apply for adoption," he says. "There also has to be a respectable age difference between the person wanting to adopt and the child. If these conditions are met, there should be no problem."