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IN CONVERSATION WITH LAKSHYARAJ SINGH MEWAR

— JASMEEN DUGAL

The youngest child of Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar, 76TH custodian of House Of Mewar, Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar is Trustee of The Maharana Of Mewar Charitable Foundation and Executive Director of HRH Group of Hotels. His potent combination of chiselled looks, intelligence, a commanding presence and authenticity is a refreshing antidote for a world drowning in a digital sea of curated social-media. While his physical attributes may be what commands attention, it's his character and humility that best exemplifies his nobility. Speaking to Explosive Fashion, he discusses his life philosophy and what he foresees for the people of Mewar.

 

How does he plan to make heritage, culture and traditions more relevant to the millennial generation, I ask Lakshyaraj? And I'm pleasantly surprised when he corrects me — ''Why are we labelling people as elders and millennial? It causes a divide. Don't buy into these age-based stereotypes and live in a state of resistance when we could, instead, channel that energy positively and work together for the greater good. Move beyond the labels! Don't dwell on differences in a discussion that devolves into: 'People my age feel like this.' Or 'All millennials act a certain way.' Get to know each person individually. Sure, there are bound to be differences because each person has their own strength, weakness and viewpoint but they co-exist — because they have agreed to disagree. And that is healthy! Look at the ongoing World Living Heritage Festival where one of the speakers is eighty years old and forming his audience are teenage students. It best exemplifies my point of view! Sometimes we focus so much on our differences that we forget how much we have in common. So stop fretting about generational differences and talk about how we can work together!''

 

Lakshyaraj is respected for his steadfast commitment towards society. In recent times, he flagged off a clothes donation drive to help the underprivileged and homeless in Udaipur. Every year, thousands gather to wish Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar on his birthday. This year, instead of gifts, he requested them to contribute to the clothes donation drive. Centred in Udaipur, it spread like wildfire to different cities and with the help of thousands of volunteers, clothes from all over the country were collected for what culminated into the biggest clothes donation drive in the world! It is these qualities that make him so popular and respected by his people…''The weather conditions this year have been extreme; to help the underprivileged get some respite, I initiated a Vastra Daan campaign.Many of us have more clothes than we require. We always have old clothes that we don't wear anymore or don't fit us anymore piling up at home. Let's donate these clothes. Many people can benefit from your old clothes!'' A person at the table suggests he has this opportunity to do something for people because of his position and I deeply respected him when he smiled and calmly replied, ''I'm not doing something for the people because I'm privileged! I'm an individual like you! You, I, anyone can do something good if we have the will and the grit to do it.''

 

Lakshyaraj has a fondness for children and is involved in the daily affairs of Maharana Mewar Public School established by His Late Highness, Maharana Bhagwat Singhji Mewar in1974.The school provides quality education to a cross-section of children, ensuring development of the physical, educational, moral and social-fabric of its students, gives importance to physical education and providing a platform where students are charting their careers in engineering, medicine, art and management. ''I wasn't too good at studies but today I'm actively involved with students. I love children and I feel so proud when I see them doing well in their curriculum, excelling at music, sports, drama, public speaking and cultural involvements that allow them to engage with the world and develop well-rounded personalities'' he reveals as his eyes mist with fondness. Then, his tone becomes serious. ''Why is education only for children? Why do parents feel they can give birth to a child and leave it to the school to educate them?! We should first educate parents because it only they who can mould their children into responsible adults. They are tomorrows leaders and parents need to understand that strengthening a child's ability to survive and succeed in this world is possible only if the kids get complete support from them. Teachers do their job in school but it's parents with whom children spend most of their time.'' Once again, I'm stunned by the quiet wisdom.

 

He's a good businessman. Executive Director of the Historic Resort Hotels [HRH] Group Of Hotels, Lakshyaraj has been actively involved in preserving his heritage by managing eleven palace-hotels so smoothly that Udaipur is now a tourism magnet, voted ''third most beautiful city in the world'' by an acclaimed travel magazine. Steeped in history, culture and royal traditions, the centuries-old palaces have been restored, refurbished and turned into heritage hotels that offer travellers experiential luxury — combining a luxury lifestyle with ancient heritage to create timeless luxury. Is it a wonder then Fateh Prakash Palace was awarded National Tourism Award for 'Best Heritage Hotel through the years by Department of Tourism, Government of India? The adjacent property Shiv Niwas Palace hosted George V, Prince Of Wales Edward, Queen Elizabeth II, King of Nepal, Shah of Iran, Jacqueline Kennedy and Roger Moore and till date it continues to host dignitaries and luxury travellers. Ask him about the strategy and he modestly says, ''If today Udaipur is on the world map it's because of the enormity of work that has gone into it in the past few decades, which guides us to treasure our past in the here-and-now and to safeguard it for the future. I can't take credit alone.''

 

Walking out of the meeting, the thought that stayed with me was that in this fast-paced era, few men of his age have given service with such enthusiasm, steadfast resolve, clarity of purpose and dedication to their people. Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar is imbued with professionalism, work ethic and extraordinary natural talent. Wise beyond his years, he doesn't subscribe to philosophers or authors. Who does he seek guidance from, I ask? ''Life,'' he smiles. His diplomatic skills are consummate but not only does the Prince have a fusillade of progressive thoughts, he isn't shy about expressing and implementing them for the better good of his people. This is just the tip of the ice-berg. There is much more to Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar. But we will have to wait for another opportunity to interview him for that. Jai Mewar!
 

Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar
Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar
 
23-OCTOBER-2018
 
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