Today, let’s talk about a prince who gave up his royal life to take an important exam. Meet MK Ranjit Singh, once a prince from Saurashtra, ruling over the Wankaner princely state for about 300 years. But instead of enjoying royal luxuries, he decided to take the Union Public Service Commission exam and became an officer in the Indian Administrative Services (IAS).

As an IAS officer, he worked in different districts of Madhya Pradesh, taking up various important roles. He even wrote a book about leopards that got a lot of attention. There’s also talk that he was involved in a plan to bringcheetahs from Namibia.

MK Ranjit Singh comes from a royal family, and his daughter is Radhikaraje Gaekwad, the Maharani of Baroda. He once shared in Humans of Bombay how his father managed things all by himself and helped during the Bhopal gas tragedy.

Born on February 15, 1948, after India got independence, Ranjit Singhji was named after his father’s cricket buddy, Jamsaheb Ranjit Singh of Jamnagar. Their princely state was in Kathiawar during British rule, now part of Gujarat’s Rajkot district.

Ranjit Singh was the first from his royal family to crack the IAS exam, showing his academic brilliance. He chose this path when India was changing post-independence, but it meant giving up his royal title and privileges. He accepted the challenge and was posted in Madhya Pradesh, working on wildlife conservation.

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He rose through the ranks, becoming the secretary for tourism and forests in Madhya Pradesh. He worked on many wildlife conservation projects and even chaired the Wild Trust of India. His book “A Life with Wildlife – From Princely to Present” is well-known, especially for his work with tigers and other wildlife. He authored several other wildlife books too.