Tuesday, July 14, 2015

People, the King of Democracy

People, the King of Democracy

I happened to meet the Ex Maharaja of Vansada State Shri Digvijayendrasinhji Solanki, yesterday. Born on 1/10/27, he is unwell and can't move without a wheelchair, as he has suffered from a stroke, a year before. He was the 3rd son of his father Maharaja Indravijaysinhji Solanki. As his two elder brothers died of Appendicitis in their teenage, he became the King of Vansada.

They are Chalukyas, but the story of the kingship is interesting. Their ancestor, Shri Gulabsinh of Village Umargam (Surat) was adopted by his uncle, the King of Vansada in 1851, as he had no son. Like Maharaja Sayaji Rao, their life also changed from a village life to a kingship.

He carries nice memories of meeting Gandhiji twice, once Mumbai and second time in Delhi in late 1930s. When he met Gandhiji first in 1939 with his father (the Raja), he asked for an autograph of Gandhiji on a book. But Gandhiji told him to bring an Indian book. When the Indian book was produced, Gandhiji simply signed मो. क. गांधी. His father sent back the book, requesting Gandhiji to write a message for the boy. Gandhiji then wrote, "serve people and take all decisions keeping the welfare of people in mind". The advice he followed throughout his life.

After independence, with the implementation of Land Ceiling Act, the 2400 hectares of land of Vansada National Park came under the possession of the Forest Department, that it is maintaining very well.

His son Jayvirendrasinhji Solanki was narrating some stories of past kingdoms. The kingdom of Vansada was meeting at the border of Baroda State of Gaekwad at Unai. There is a temple of Unai Mata and a Hot Water (sulphur) Spring. The temple was given to Vansada State, so that expenditure on pujaris, maintenance of temple and campus, the events, etc, are done by Vansada state. And the Hot Water Spring was kept with Baroda State, so that the income of visitors go to Baroda State.  "Expenditure on Vansada and Income to Baroda".

A huge palace has only 4 occupants: the Maharaja, his son and two servants. Well built with limestone, its thick walls and good height and traditional furniture reminds the old era of princely states. As regular income is a major problem of many princely families, one can witness the middle class living of the family, unable to use, maintain and decorate the palace. They are searching for some international university to come and convert the palace into an institute. Jayvirendrasinhi has two daughters, and the family is settled mostly in Mumbai, joined the mainstream of post independence India.

When I see the quality of life of the middle class and above people of India, I feel proud to be a citizen of Democratic Republic India. Our people are enjoying better life and comforts then that of life and comforts of the king's families of pre independence India.

Really, Democracy has made the Raiyat the Kings, and the Kings to Raiyat. We see the same with the elected representatives.

13 July 2015


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