Ajit Singh (1861-1901)—Ruler of the small state of Khetri in Rajasthan. Disciple of Swamiji and played a significant role in his life. Succeeded the former ruler Fateh Singh, being his adopted son, at the age of nine. During his wanderings Swamiji met his private secretary Munshi Jagmohanlal at Mount Abu on 4.6.1891. Thereafter they often met and had long discussions. Ajit Singh, fascinated by Swamiji’s knowledge and personality took him to Khetri as a royal guest (7.8.1891) and was initiated by him. The king adored Swamiji and the latter was deeply attached to him and stayed at Khetri until October 27. Swamiji spent his time with pundits, state officers, visiting sadhus and of course, the King, whom he influenced in many ways to advance the welfare of his country. At Khetri Swamiji met Pandit Narayandas, the foremost Sanskrit grammarian in Rajputana at that time, and, with his help, studied Panini’s grammar with Patanjali’s commentary. An incident took place involving a court-dancer whose music Swamiji had refused to hear. She sang a bhajan by Surdas that effectively demolished Swamiji’s discriminatory attitude, teaching him to treat men and women from all walks of life with uniform respect. The childless king prayed to Swamiji for a son and Swamiji’s blessings resulted in a son being born to him. Swamiji returned to Khetri in April 1893 to bless the infant prior to his sailing for America. The King made all the arrangements for Swamiji’s voyage providing him with adequate clothes, money and the fare and also sending Munshiji with him to Bombay to ensure smooth and safe travel. Having come to learn through the Baranagore Math of the financial constraints suffered by Swamiji’s mother, the King initiated a monthly allowance of Rs. 100 to her that lasted from mid-1892 till her death in 1911, long after the death of the King himself. Similar assistance provided to Swamiji, continued till 1900. In this context Swamiji had written to the King that he was the only person in the world whom he could approach for anything without any embarrassment (Udbodhan, 68.4.194). A resolution offering felicitations to Swamiji for his success in Chicago was passed in the royal court of Khetri under the chairmanship of Ajit Singh on 4.3.1895. When he visited Calcutta (18.3.1897), Swamiji came down from Darjeeling on March 21 and that very afternoon took Ajit Singh and Munshi Jagmohan to Dakshineswar and Alambazar Math. The King left Bombay for London on 1.5.1897 to participate in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria’s reign. On his return the towns-people of Khetri held a public reception in his honour and that of the Rajguru, Swamiji, on 12.12.1897. On 17.12.1897 both were again accorded a grand reception at the Khetri University. In a letter to Sister Nivedita dated 23.7.97, Swamiji referred to Ajit Sing as one of his principal allies and a future collaborator. Their last meeting was at Nainital on 13.5.1898 when Swamiji halted there on his way to Almora with a large party including Mrs. Bull, Miss MacLeod and Sister Nivedita in order to meet the King who was then in Nainital. Swamiji enjoyed introducing his Western disciples to the King. On 18.1.1901, when the King visited Emperor Akbar’s mausoleum at Sikandara, he fell from an 86 feet high tower and died. Swamiji wrote to Mrs. Bull that he had been up a tower inspecting the restoration of an old architectural monument when part of the tower came down. However, Adarsha Naresh, the Hindi biography of the King, states that the King lost his balance owing to a gust of wind. Pandit Jhavarmal Sharma has recounted many incidents concerning the King and Swamiji in his books, Khetri Naresh and Vivekananda and Adarsha Naresh. The King himself left behind an autobiography. Swamiji, who had been using different names earlier, reassumed the name “Vivekananda” for good at the King’s request (Life of Swami Vivekananda, Vol. 1, p. 387).