A couple of months ago, I came across this striking photograph on http://www.oldindianphotos.in/
Curious to read more about her, I looked for the Wikipedia entry and also came across her autobiography which can be either read online or downloaded.
She started with a fairly ordinary life as a child, till her father, Brahmo luminary Keshab Chandra Sen, decided to take off on his own tangent and start his own variant of the Brahmos and a school for young women. His daughters were well educated, and consequently sought after as brides for leading princes, of whom the Maharaja of Cooch-Behar Nripendranarayan was one. Suniti was married to him at a young age and went to live with him after she came of age.
An unremarkable person, made remarkable by the circumstances, she describes a life of conjugal happiness, much love and lightness, a large family with many children, a faithful and loving husband. She dwells at large upon her stays in England and seems to have been the toast of the English court. She has never a cross or unkind word for the majority of her acquaintances, life sailed a smooth keel till the passing of her husband, followed by the shock of losing the beloved son who briefly took over the kingship.
Life went on, and she passed on in due course, but not before taking the time to author her own story as well as another booklet of Grandma's tales.
Here she is in widows weeds, as photographed shortly after her husband passed away. Her hair is greyed, but her eyes still have the clear serenity that they had in her heyday, despite the sorrow that now shades them.
(Photo credits:"Her Highness Maharani Suniti Devi of
Cooch Behar" by Pinewood Studios - V&A Picture Library. Licensed
under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
"Suniti Devi, Maharani of Cooch Behar" by Photographs from the Lafayette Studio Archive of the V&A, London - http://www.rvondeh.dircon.co.uk/cooch2.html. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)