Huck Magazine. May 5, 2016.

"The unknown revolutionary royal who wants to be London’s next Mayor. This is Maharaja Ankit Love." by Thomas Andrei

“I was researching stuff about my family and me”, he passionately explains to me as we sit in a busy London pub. “Eventually, I found a loophole. According to some strange laws, I legally hold the last titles of a sovereign state. It was in the fucking law!” He speaks quickly, sipping his orange juice as he goes.

Photo by Theo McInnes

Photo by Theo McInnes

On the basis of this research – which from my little investigation seems legit – Ankit Love claims to be the current Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. It turns out the position was left vacant after the last incumbent, Hari Singh, was forced into exile in 1952. Contacted via email, Ankit’s mother Mala Jay clarified the situation: “After the King died, the State was left in limbo as no one claimed the throne, including Hari Singh’s descendants and Love’s immediate family. Love’s forefathers ruled the State. Therefore it is natural for Love to claim the throne.”

Upon discovering that he was apparently the emperor of a state seen as the epicentre of a potential nuclear war, Ankit – who had so far focused on a budding music career – felt a bit overwhelmed.

At that point, Ankit made claims that weren’t well received by the authorities, which resulted in his mother losing her position at the Indian Supreme Court. She could therefore no longer financially support her son. “I lost my home. I went homeless. It was so crazy. I sold all my musical instruments, dumped all the rest of my stuff on the street. To be honest I got dangerously depressed.”

Luckily Ankit found shelter for a month at a neighbour’s place. When she had to leave London, the self-professed Maharaja decided to try his luck as a sailor in the French Riviera town of Antibes.

After struggling to get by for a month, he headed back back to England, deciding to resume his art studies at the University of East London. “I got a student loan. That money allowed me to survive. I moved to a hostel and I was fine.”