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Friday, 13 April 2018
Democracy and Aristocracy - Sunny narang
One King . A Maratha . And without him , history of India would not have been the same. There would have been no Ambedkar . No Aurobindo . No Raja Ravi Varma .
And there were quite a few kings like him in India ,and the so-called politicians just don't talk about them , neither do the modernists or intellectuals.
For then it shows clearly that there is nothing simply "progressive" about democracy and nothing simply "regressive" about aristocracy.
Visionary patronage , is what creates opportunities and gives creativity an opportunity , to let talent flower , across class , caste , community . And it is this talent , nurtured at the right phase in their lives that makes history.
And nurtured , not just like a scholarship committee or an angel-investor , a single round of giving money , but walking alongside , mentoring , co-learning the process of discovery and invention , and open to new possibilities , and simultaneously helping fine-tune the process of manifestation and application in the real world out here .
Seeing the twists and turns , the collaborative journey we are all undertaking . That is what human communion is about.
And there were be many patrons , and they will change as you move on , and one day you will be the patron-paying it forward .
We all ,each one has royalty , patronage , persistence , struggle embedded as possibility within .
It is not about success alone, its about attempting the human connect , beyond kin-ship , beyond-age , beyond-birthed destiny.
Royalty has nothing to do with birth . It is an attitude , of knowing that Nature and Life has infinite luxury , that has created this wonderful , beautiful world way beyond functions of energy and gravity , matter and wave .
True royalty is knowing without ever being taught , that you have come to rule . To inherit the destiny of being the leader .
And true leadership , true royalty , has nothing to do with democracy.
It just is .
Sayajirao Gaekwad III (born Shrimant Gopalrao Gaekwad, 11 March 1863 – 6 February 1939) was the Maharaja of Baroda State from 1875 to 1939, and is notably remembered for reforming much of his state during his rule.
He belonged to the royal Gaekwad dynasty of the Marathas which ruled most of present day Gujarat.
Sayajirao was born in a Maratha family at Kavlana in Malegaon Tahsil Dist. Nashik as Shrimant Gopalrao Gaekwad, second son of Meherban Shrimant Kashirao Bhikajirao [Dada Sahib] Gaekwad (1832–1877) and Shrimant Akhand Soubhagyavati Ummabai Sahib.
Following the death of Sir Khanderao Gaekwad (1828–1870), the popular Maharaja of Baroda, in 1870, it was expected that his brother, Malharrao (1831–1882), would succeed him. However, Malharrao had already proven himself to be of the vilest character and had been imprisoned earlier for conspiring to assassinate Khanderao. As Khanderao's widow, Maharani Jamnabai (1853–1898) was already pregnant with a posthumous child, the succession was delayed until the gender of the child could be proven. The child proved to be a daughter, and so upon her birth on 5 July 1871, Malharrao ascended the throne.
Malharrao spent money liberally, nearly emptying the Baroda coffers (he commissioned a pair of solid gold cannon and a carpet of pearls, among other expenses) and soon reports reached the Resident of Malharrao's gross tyranny and cruelty. Malharrao further attempted to cover up his deeds by poisoning the Resident with a compound of arsenic. By order of the Secretary of State for India, Lord Salisbury, Malharrao was deposed on 10 April 1875 and exiled to Madras, where he died in obscurity in 1882.
With the throne of Baroda now vacant, Maharani Jamnabai called on the heads of the extended branches of the dynasty to come to Baroda and present themselves and their sons in order to decide upon a successor.
Kashirao and his three sons, Anandrao (1857–1917), Gopalrao (1863–1938) and Sampatrao (1865–1934) walked to Baroda from Kavlana -a distance of some 600 kilometers- to present themselves to Jamnabai. It is reported that when each son was asked the purported reason for presenting themselves at Baroda, Gopalrao unhesitatingly stated:
"I have come here to rule".
Those persons whom he patronised included Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar received the patronage of the Maharaja in the pursuit of his higher studies leading to B.A. degree in Baroda.
Later on, he proceeded to America for higher studies and received his PhD degree in Law . This he achieved with the help of the Baroda State.
Dr. Ambedkar worked in the State service and later on was appointed as a member of the State Legislative Assembly . In 1933 Sayajirao expressed his satisfaction over the progress of Dr. Ambedkar .
"Sayajirao referred to his own endeavours which were “humble” to ameliorate the lot of the depressed classes in the State. It may noted here that for the Antyaja Schools in the state, no Hindu co-operated with him by becoming a teacher. The Muslims and the Arya Samajists came forward and worked as teachers in the schools of the state. Sayajirao was not merely satisfied by appointing teachers in the Antyajas in their homes, schools and the boarding houses. He put into practice his ideas to break the barriers of prejudice of the Hindus against them to eradicate the belief of pollution with their touch. (Pp 54-55)
It is significant to note that in Oct 1932 , Sayajirao in the face of bitter opposition from the orthodox section , threw he opened all the State temples to the untouchables.
The harijans of Baroda were led by some high caste leaders in procession to the Vithal Mandir , a State temple near Mandvi in the heart of the city. They all spent the whole day in singing ‘Bhajans’ and in religious activities and made the function success. The function got wider publicity outside the State among the social reformers of the country.
It may be mentioned here that one decade earlier Mahama Gandhi had also by then launched his programme for the uplift of the untouchables and for keeping open temples to them in 1921. On hearing Sayajirao’s gesture , he expressed satisfaction and hoped that other princes would follow him. In the British Indian territories, the movement of opening temples to the untouchables did not materialize to a similar extent."
Dadabhai Naoroji, who started his public life as the Dewan (Minister) to the Maharaja in 1874 and thereafter went on to become the first Asian Member of the British House of Commons
.He also sent his Agriculture Commissioner Chintaman Vishnu Sane to The United States of America for research in that field.
Sayajirao used to visit England every year to select outstanding young people to join his service and in one of such visits he met 20-year Sri Aurobindo whom he immediately offered a job at Baroda College. Sri Aurobindo returned to India in 1893 to join the Baroda service.
The Maharaja was a noted patron of the arts. During his reign, Baroda became a hub for artists and scholars. The celebrated painter, Raja Ravi Varma, was among those who spent substantial periods of time at his court.
Sayajirao was also a patron of Indian classical music. Ustad Moula Bux founded the Academy of Indian Music (Gayan Shala) under his patronage in 1886. This Academy later became the Music College and is now the Faculty of Performing Arts of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Vadodara. Apart from Ustad Moula Bux, Sayajirao’s court boasted great artistes like Ustad Inayat Khan and Ustad Faiyyaz Khan. In 1916, the first All India Music Conference was held in Baroda.
The story of Bhim and the Gaekwar :
"Bhim was married soon after at the age of 16, to young Rami, who was only 9. They were married at night in an open shed in Mumbai’s Byculla marketplace. Bhim continued his studies post-marriage, and was soon in a position to attend college.
The only hitch? No money. This was when Keluskar came to Bhim’s rescue. Keluskar introduced Ambedkar to the then Maharaja of Baroda His Highness, Sir Sayajirao Gaekwad. Gaekwad had recently announced that he would support the education of any worthy untouchable. Upon meeting young Bhimrao and asking him some questions, the raja sanctioned a sum of Rs 25 per month to support his education. This was a princely sum in those days and helped Ambedkar’s family to shift into a two-room home in the Improvement Trust Chawl in Parel.
Of these two rooms, one was entirely Ambedkar’s so he could study! Ambedkar soon passed his Bachelor of Arts exam in Economics & Political Science from Elphinstone College in 1913.
After this, Ambedkar was selected as a Lieutenant in the Baroda State’s Army. But barely a fortnight after joining up, Bhim received a telegram and was asked to come back to Bombay immediately. He was father was taken critically ill. Barely a few hours after Bhim arrived in Bombay, his father passed away on February 2, 1913.
After this loss, Bhim was inconsolable, and decided to stay on in Bombay to support his family. However, fate intervened in the form of the Maharaja of Baroda once again, who declared that he would offer a scholarship to any worthy untouchable, and send them for higher education at Columbia University in the United States of America.
After the completion of his courses at the Columbia University, Ambedkar enrolled in London’s Gray’s Inn for his Bar-at-Law, in 1916. He also enrolled in the famous London School of Economics. Once again, his studies were sponsored by the maharaja. However, the Maharaja’s Prime Minister was critical of Ambedkar and asked him to return. The despondent Bhim had thus to leave his studies, but only after getting an assurance from his professor, Dr. Edwin Cannon, that he would be allowed to resume his course within a period of four years from October 1917. Bhim booked his luggage on a steamer and himself boarded another ship to India. This was at the height of World War 1, and unfortunately, the steamer with his luggage was torpedoed by German submarines and sank.
Ambedkar reached India on August 21, 1917 and took up the post of Military Secretary to the Maharaja in September 1917. However, despite the high position, he was stilled considered an untouchable, and even peons would not give him proper respect. The Maharaja himself appears to have been too busy to look into the situation, and the Diwan was certainly not helpful. This led to Ambedkar moving back to Bombay in November 1917, at which he came into contact with another of India’s Rajas, the Maharaja of Kolhapur, Shahu Maharaj.
This prince had been working to breakdown the caste barriers, much as the Maharaja of Baroda had done. It was with the Prince’s help that Ambedkar began a newspaper, a fortnightly called Mook Nayak, which became his mouthpiece to depict the injustice of the caste system. Ambedkar was not officially the paper’s editor, since he was already appointed Professor of Economics in the Government Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics in Bombay."
Group Black and White Photo : Felicitating ceremony of Babasaheb Ambedkar whose entire education was sponsored by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwar.