MAHARANI KAMAKSHI BAI
After the last king of Thanjavur, his wife Kamakshi Bai stood against the British and saved Sarasvati Mahal library.
The British East India company confiscated all the private properties including the Sarasvati Mahal library after his death.Queen Kamakshi Bai, the wife of the last Maratha king of Thanjavur filed a case in the court against British East India company and stopped Thanjavur Maharaja serfoji's Sarasvati Mahal library (TMSSML) and rest of the private properties of the late Rajah from being looted. She engaged the services of an eminent barrister at law, Mr. John Bruce Norton to plead for their case at Madras, Bengal and at London.She filed a bill of equity before the parliament and at the Supreme Court of Queen Victoria. She won the case at London and also gained public support there. She got back the immovable properties but precious treasures like jewels, artifacts etc (movable properties) were not given back by the British East India company. When she wrote a letter to her lawyer and asked for it. The lawyer replied that 'the wealth (precious treasures) were gifted to Queen Victoria by the East India company so we couldn't request them to return'.
(Reference: Thanjavur paper or Fobers documents at Indian Library, London) Records are also available at TMSSML.
THOUGH SHE COULDN'T ABLE TO RECOVER ALL THE PRECIOUS TREASURES LOOTED BY THE BRITISH EAST INDIA COMPANY AFTER WINNING THE LEGAL ACTION, SHE SAVED THE HISTORY OF THANJAVUR. IT IS TOLD THAT THE WORLDS' MOST PRECIOUS 'THANJAVUR MAHARAJA SERFOJI'S SARASWATI MAHAL' FOUNDED IN NAYAKAS PERIOD AND DEVELOPED/BUILT BY THE MARATHA KINGS IS AT IT'S EXCEEDING PREMISE 'THANJAVUR' ALL BECAUSE OF QUEEN KAMAKSHI BAI. HER BRAVERY ACT HAD STOPPED BRITISERS TO LOOT IT OR TO SHIFT IT TO LONDON.
Note: Rare Tanjore Painting of Queen Kamakshi Bai is published in our book Contributions of Thanjavur Maratha Kings-2nd Edition.