Yaduveer's adoption throws up many questions about traditions, customs

Yaduveer's adoption throws up many questions about traditions, customs

The adoption of Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar (formerly Yaduveer Gopal Raj Urs) into the Yadu dynasty and his uncle Chaduranga Kantharaja Urs’ recent petition in a city court questioning the adoption give rise to many questions about traditions and customs.

History professor Shalva Pille Iyengar says even though a set of rules has been laid out for adoptions, it has been framed for our convenience, keeping in mind its implications on those related with the exercise.

The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, is largely based on traditions and customs of Hindu families.

The main contention of Chaduranga is that only children below the age of 15 can be adopted. Yaduveer was 22 years old, when he was adopted by Pramoda Devi Wadiyar, following the death of her husband Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar. While Chaduranga is the son of Srikantadatta’s elder sister Gayathri Devi, Yaduveer, similarly, is the son of Chaduranga’s elder sister Tripura Sundari Devi.

Out of seven adoptions in the dynasty, only three, including Yaduveer, are above the age of 15.

Technically, the other two – Chamaraja Wadiyar VII at 28 and Ranadhira Kanteerava Narasaraja Wadiyar I at 23 – are not adoptions as they were directly anointed as maharajas.

If one cites traditions to claim exceptions for the adoptions, the times have changed. While the actions of the maharajas could not be questioned those days, the members of the erstwhile royal family are common people since Independence and they have to abide by the law of the land - the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, in this case, Iyengar said.

No privileges
Chronicler of Mysuru, Echanuru Kumar, said Pramoda Devi Wadiyar could have opted not to adopt anybody if she was not ready to take risks.

“As per the Mysore Palace Acquisition and Transfer Act, 1998, which has been challenged in the Supreme Court, she can reside in the Amba Vilas Palace till the end.

But, by not taking risks, she would have been held responsible for ending the legacy
that was started in 1399, when Yaduraya and Krishna-raya founded the Yadu dynasty.

“She adopted Yaduveer only in view of continuing the traditions and customs, as the heir would merely be the head of the family and does not have any privileges. On the other hand, he only faces problems due to the ongoing legal battles for the remaining properties in various courts,” he said.

However, Iyengar said the Yadu dynasty is actually five dynasties and also the king is only a symbol rather than a sovereign since the days of Narasaraja Wadiyar II who was coronated in 1704.

“In fact, according to ‘Santhana Kamala Kalpam’, a set of paintings of the family tree, done under the directions of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar in the year 1870, the claims of the Yadu dynasty is a myth as the lineage ends with the 16th king Dodda Krishnaraja Wadiyar I who died in 1732. So, somehow, the legacy has been kept alive and the adoption of Yaduveer is yet another such attempt,” he said.

Four dynasties
“Similar to the Vijayanagar empire, which saw four dynasties – Sangama, Salva, Tulava and Aravidu even though the founders of all the dynasties were relatives – the Yadu dynasty actually has six lineages. Even if Yaduveer has the same ancestory as Chamaraja Wadiyar X, which is identified as Bettada Kote family, the dynasty has at least five lineages. But, ‘Santhana Kamala Kalpam’ does not identify the original family of Chamaraja Wadiyar X as Bettada Kote. Moreover, a few kings in the dynasty were imposed by the dalvoys and usurper Hyder Ali,” he points out.

Sovereign power
Iyengar said that since the death of Chikkadevaraja Wadiyar in 1704, no maharaja has wielded any sovereign power. “Since the days of Narasaraja Wadiyar II, the dalvoys
(the commanders in chief) were running the affairs till Hyder Ali became the dictator. Both Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan had the kings merely as symbols.

“Later, the kings were at the mercy of the British, since Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar. But, they won over the people through their reforms and welfare measures. Now, even though Yaduveer has been coronated as king, he has more pain than pleasure. So, if not Yaduveer, who else? is the question,” Iyengar said.

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