By Khayati Singh
Here is a little tribute to my grandfather for the work he has done, being a politician, for the people.
In my mother tongue, ‘Nanosa’ means grandfather. I was brought in front of his eyes. I have been staying with him since and he’s seen me grow from a tiny baby into an intelligent human being.
My grandfather’s name is Maharaj Saheb Madhusudan Sinhji Danta. He was born on 31st May 1933 in the old palace of Danta. Named Maharajkumar at birth, he was the second son of Late Maharana Saheb Sri Bhawani Sinhji.
He completed his schooling from Daly College, Indore, and Rosary High School, Baroda. Following this, he graduated in History and Law from Maharaja Sayaji Rao University, Baroda in the year 1958.
After completing higher education when he returned home in 1958, Danta’s face had completely changed because princely states had merged with Independent India. Danta was the last state to sign the merger on 16th October 1948.
Since Rajputs are known for their administration and service to their soil, Maharaj Madhusudan Sinhji decided to join politics with the intention and interest to serve the people and better their life.
He made his political debut in 1962 by taking charge as the Sarpanch after emerging victorious in the Gram Panchayat elections.
Later, he became the Taluka Pramukh, and for 25 years, he held that position in Danta Taluka. He was an undefeated winner. However, even after winning the Taluka Panchayat elections, he stepped down from the post, making way for the younger generation to take over with their new ideas and views.
Under Chiman Bhai Patel’s government, he became Director of GSRTC and provided employment to the needy people in Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation.
When he became Director of Banas Dairy, he along with the help of Galba Bhai Nanji Bhai Patel, worked in Danta Taluka and encouraged people to engage in dairy farming. This was especially directed at the tribals so that they do not get involved in anti-social activities. For their socio and economic upliftment, the first milk depot was set up in Danta. Today, it has become a successful business for many small scale farmers. Nanosa worked in Banas Dairy for 9 years.
When Shankar Sinh Vaghela’s government was in rule, he was the chairman of the House Gujarat Water Works Department (Pani Parotha). He initiated the project of supplying water from Dharoi Dam to the areas where there was a scarcity of drinking water. However, later due to political factors, the government changed and the credit was given to someone else. Nonetheless, he remained unabashed – his motive and objective of serving people never changed.
In the olden days, Nanosa was very fond of shikaar. However, one incident had an impact and changed his life forever. Once, while walking unarmed through the Aravalli Range behind Gabbar, he realised that a tiger was walking towards him. He stopped for a while but was confused as to how to save himself from the beast. Regardless, the tiger casually strolled towards the stream and drank water as it was a hot summer evening. It took a break and cooled down itself, looked straight up into Nanosa’s eyes, stared for a while, and wandered past him.
This incident left Maharaj Saheb in guilt. He couldn’t help but think that had he had a weapon, he would have definitely shot the big cat down. Perhaps, that day, the wild cat gifted him a second life. That was his turning point and he steered his life into forests and wildlife. He began working for wildlife conservation. Two years ago, he retired as the wildlife warden of the Banaskantha district. One of his articles titled ‘Rape Of The Forest’ was also published in Times of India some time back.
Today he has left his palace where he was born, and lives at his farmhouse in Diwadi near Danta. Nanosa loves to call himself a farmer.
This was the story of a man who was born as a Maharaj Kumar but, nonetheless, lived an ordinary life and won people’s hearts by his selfless deeds and work. He believes in ‘simple living, elevated thinking’. He has inculcated the same values in his children and grandchildren.
This is write-up is a tribute to a grandfather from his super proud granddaughter who has inherited from him, among the many values and ideals, the love for wildlife, nature, and farming.
Back in the day, Nanosa’s work remained restricted to a specific area. There was neither social media nor cellphones to click selfies that would go viral on the internet. Hence, somewhere down I feel he remained an unsung hero. He had a very tidy and transparent political career throughout, miles away from any conspiracies.
Happy 88th birthday to the best man in my life. Today I am filled pride when I say that I am your granddaughter.