'Maharaja with a democratic culture'

Dreams of online varsity, digital documentation of family history unfulfilled

'Maharaja with a democratic culture'

The professors who taught Wadiyar admit of not having enough adjectives in their vocabulary to describe him.

Kind, loving, respectful, helpful, knowledge-hungry, alert, sharp, man with a golden heart, scholar with clarity in thought are only few of the characters attributed to the Maharaja. The best description among the lot was ‘monarch with a democratic heart’.

With his grand-uncle Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar as his idol, he wanted to follow in his footsteps, especially in the field of education. Chambi Puranik, Wadiyar’s teacher of political science at Maharaja’s College, his associate for over four decades and Academic Advisor at Mysore Maharaja Institute of Higher Education, Bangalore, said that Wadiyar was working towards establishing the country’s first online varsity, slated for launch in 2014.

“He wanted to establish a university like Nalwadi. His dream of the online university would have been realised when he was alive, if not for bureaucratic delays,” he said.

Digital documentation

Having spoken to Wadiyar two days ago, Puranik recalled that Wadiyar had also plans of digitally documenting over seven centuries of history of the Wadiyars. “The digital presentation was to be narrated by Srikantadatta himself, with rare artefacts, jewels, paintings and photographs of royal family being a part of the presentation. The presentation also aimed to highlight the contributions of Maharajas towards making Mysore a model state,” he said.

Puranik said that he would ensure at least his dream of an online varsity is realised soon.
Puranik had tutored the Maharaja’s for three years during his graduation at the palace, before teaching him political science at the varsity.

Rafique Ahmed was the assistant professor at Political Science department, when Wadiyar joined the MA programme.

“Even though he was more of a friend than a student, he was very respectful. After two years, we became colleagues and used to actively play sports,” Ahmed said.

Ahmed recalled that Wadiyar used to pick him from his room in the city in his two-seater sports car to play badminton at the Mysore Sports Club. “Being an avid walker, he was very athletic,” he said.

Another important factor is that he never carried his ‘princely aura’ around and was like a common man, mingling and interacting well with friends, he added.

G R Krishnadas, retired additional registrar for co-operative societies and a classmate of Wadiyar for five years, too has fond memories of the ‘gentle’ Wadiyar. “We had participated in a NCC camp in T Narsipur and Wadiyar was the NCC sergeant. The commander of the camp said that he would arrange for a separate room for Wadiyar at the camp, which was calmly rejected by the Wadiyar.

“I don’t need a separate room. I will stay with everyone, he had said”. We were in the camp for 10 days, where he stood in a queue for food and had fun with us,” he recalled.

While Puranik is in agony following the end of a four-decade friendship, Ahmed said he would miss the simplicity of a person from royal heritage. Krishnadas just mourns that he did not make use of several opportunities to interact with his ‘unlikely’ friend.

- Stories contributed by Srikantswamy and B Akram Mohammed

Comments (+)