PREDECESSORS AND SHORT HISTORY

The past glory of Manjusha, which had a very important place in the Kalinga era, is evident even today, through oriya books and documents available with libraries and individuals. Also known as Mandasa, it is a very old princely house, the first Raja of Manjusha being, Raja Vaman Singh Deo, a Rajput from the North, who established the Kingdom in 1206 A.D. It is said that he gave up his kingdom to his uncle in the North of India and came to the Mahendra Hills for penance and established the kingdom of Manjusha thereafter. Legend has it that while doing penance, he had a vision that his Kingdom would be established at a place where a sign from him would be found. At that moment a gold ring slipped from his finger and fell into the river. It was found downstream at a certain place and the Kingdom of Manjusha was established there. The river still flows and its name is very apt, “Suna Muddi” [Golden Ring]. The head of the family continues to bear the the hereditary title of Raja. Manjusha was initially in Ganjam District of Madras Presidency then it became part of Vizag Distirct of Madras Presidency, when Orissa was formed in 1936 and is now in Srikakulam District of Andhra Pradesh. It can be approached from the NH-5 between Sompeta and Palasa. While there is a Railway Station, Mandasa Road, for important trains the Railway Station is Palasa about 11 km away . It is a place of scenic beauty with the Mahendra Giri Hills of the Eastern Ghats in the West and the Bay of Bengal in the East. The Manjusha (Mandasa Zamindari) is surrounded by the Bay of Bengal in the east, Tarla and Parlakhimidi Zamindaris in the South, the Mahendra Giri Hills in the West and Jalantara and Budharsingi Zamindaris in the North. Two rivers , namely the Sunnamuddi and the Mahendra Tanaya flow from the Mahendra Giri mountains and fall into the Bay of Bengal. ‘Lord Vasudev’ is the presiding deity of Manjusha, while ‘Ma Khillamonda’ is worshipped as the presiding Devi. Manjusha is also noted for the Manjusha Library, which is more than 115 years old, and was earlier the personal Library of the Raja Jaganath Rajamni Raj Deo I of Manjusha. Nowadays, it is managed by a Trust, and is perhaps the oldest Oriya Library in the world. Manjusha is a place of religious and mythological importance. It is said that the Pandavas, in the course of their wanderings stayed for some time in the Mahendra Giri Hills. There are Temples dedicated to the Pandavas as well as a Shiv Temple. On the day of Shivaratri, a big festival is held which attracts thousands of pilgrims to the Hill top. The Raja Saheb of Manjusha is the Hereditary Trustee of these Temples. It is also recorded in Indian Mythology that Hanuman jumped from the Mahendra Giri Peak to Lanka, in search of Devi Sita. Mahendra Giri is also supposed to be the abode of the ancient Sage Parsurama. ‘Lord Vasudev’ is the presiding deity of Manjusha, while ‘Ma Khillamonda’ is worshipped as the presiding Devi. Manjusha is also noted for the Manjusha Library, which is more than 115 years old, and was earlier the personal Library of the Raja Jaganath Rajamni Raj Deo I of Manjusha. Nowadays, it is managed by a Trust, and is perhaps the oldest Oriya Library in the world. Rulers were….
  1. Raja PANCHANAN VAMAN SINGH Deo, 1st Raja of Manjusha 1208/1227,he  was the first Raja of Manjusha, he originally had his kingdom somewhere in the North of India – Panchala (modern day Punjab). He was a Chandra Vanshi Rajput, who gave up his kingdom to his uncle and came to do penance and worship Lord Gokuneswara in the Mahendra Giri mountains in 1206AD.

Present King: Col. (Ret’d.) Meherban-i-Dostan Raja CHHATRAPATI SINGH Deo,

The present and 51st Raja Saheb of Mandasa (Manjusha) since the 26th January 1976. (Manjusha House, 33-17/2, Officers Colony, P.O. Ramkrishnapurram, Secunderabad 550056, A.P., India)
He was born on 3rd January 1942, educated at La Martiniere College, and at St. Xaviers College Calcutta, A.D.C. to the President of India, served with distinction in the Indian Army, as a Captain in 7th Light Cavalry, he participated actively in the India Pakistan War of 1971, which saw the birth of Bangladesh. He is responsible for the greening of Mussoorie Hills as Commanding Officer of the Ecological Battalion of Territorial Army at Dehra Dun and is a recipient of the Indira Gandhi Pariavaran Award; Secretary General of the Rowing Federation of India, International Rowing Umpire, Vice President Asian Rowing Federation, elected as President of the Rowing Federation of India for 2008 to 2012, Executive Committee Member Indian Olympic Association, Deputy Chef-de-Mission Busan Asian Games, member Secunderabad Club, member Bhubaneswar Club Ltd; the Centenary Celebrations of the Srinivasa Raja Mani Zilla Parishad High School, were held in the year 2005. Raja Chatrapati Singh Deo and Rani Rajlaxmi Singh Deo graced the function as Honoured Guests, which was also attended by many prominent personalities, including past students, who are now well settled in India and abroad. The School, was set up by the Manjusha Royal Family during the reign of Raja Vasudev Rajamani Raj Deo, in the year 1905 and handed over to the Government after the abolition of the Zamindari System. On the occasion, two statues, one of Capt. Raja Sreenivasa Rajamani Raj Deo and another of Lt. Raja Jaganath Rajmani Raj Deo were installed in the school premises; he is also the Hereditary trustee of the Temple of Lord Jagananth, which is within the Palace compound. The building had become old and dilapidated and with the initiative of Raja Chatrapati Singh Deo and the cooperation of the well wishers, namely the people of Manjusha, a brand new Temple has been constructed and has become an important  landmark; he married Rani Rajlaxmi Singh Deo, only daughter of Raja Rabindra Narayan Bhanj Deo of Kanika, and has issue, two sons.
  • Yuvraj Akshay Pratap Singh Deo, born 11th September 1980, MBA from Xavier’s Institute of Business Management, Bhubaneswar, presently working for a Multi National Company at Singapore.
  • Rajkumar Vishal Pratap Singh Deo, born 20th August 1986, Graduate and working for Max New York Life Insurance at Hyderabad.

Pranay Gupte

Bestselling author, historian, biographer, foreign correspondence 

For Victors and Whiners Alike, Important Lessons From India’s History

This piece was co-authored by Mohan Guruswamy, former Secretary of Finance in the Government of India.

The people of Delhi, who strongly supported Narendra Modi by electing all seven of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates in last year’s parliamentary election, delivered him a stunning rebuke in the state elections. The BJP was able to win only three seats in the 70-member Delhi Assembly, while the supposedly underfunded Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won an astonishing 67 seats.

While much bloviating is going on about the AAP’s diligent grassroots campaigning, and the BJP’s lazy arrogance, what happened in Delhi — India’s capital — was that the lesson of history was being administered: Indian can only be governed by the consent of not just the majority but also all its diverse peoples.

India has more than 1.2 billion people, dispersed across 29 States and seven Union Territories. The biggest of these is Uttar Pradesh with a population of 199.6 million or 16.49 percent of India’s total. It is as big as Brazil. The smallest political unit is Lakshadweep which has just 64,000 (0.01 percent). Quite clearly, the omnibus term India, incidentally derived from the name of a river — Indus — that hardly flows through it, masks a diversity of nations. It is complex, vast and heterogeneous.

Modern India now has more than 2,000 ethnic groups. Modern Indian languages have evolved from all the world’s four language families: Indo-European, Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman. India has 1,652 individual mother tongues. The 2001 Census tells us that 30 languages are spoken by over a million people each, and 122 by over 10,000 each.

For most of its history India was a civilizational notion with many entities; there were few times it has been welded together under a central authority.

Great rulers such as Ashoka and Akbar who achieved it did so more by reconciling the competing aspirations of kings and princes who held sway over swathes of territory, mostly by the exercise of imperial authority and often by displaying benignity after the use of arms.

Even the British, who created the largest imperial India ever, ruled it by incorporating various principalities and nationalities less by force of arms but more by persuasive subterfuge; they rarely had to take off the velvet glove to display the iron fist. Even in the heydays of the Raj, a few hundred Britons, with the co-operation of the native elite, governed India.

Rulers such as Aurangzeb, the last great Moghul emperor, and even democratically elected Indira Gandhi who tried to impose their beliefs and will by force, were felled by regional uprisings and the breakdown of the system of authority.

This, then, is the great lesson of history. India can only be governed and kept together by the persuasive use of authority and not by force. The government, particularly an elected one, can only govern not just with the support of a majority in parliament, and by a few groups who can make up an electoral majority, but by catering to the aspirations and demands of the tiles of the colorful mosaic India is.

Only a system that seeks to reconcile the often competing demands and aspirations of its millions can work.

That’s why India’s founding fathers wrote a great Constitution, hugely inspired by the American Constitution, with its bedrock of individual freedoms and promise of hearing every voice and seeking to meet every aspiration, in some measure.

This system has prevailed in India since 1950, when its Constitution was passed by the Constituent Assembly. Since then democracy has flourished in India. All the rights, particularly those relating to equality of races, groups and gender, were assured by the Constitution of India, much before they became a reality in the United States.

In recent times, after the advent of the BJP government led by the charismatic Mr. Modi, powerful voices from within the BJP and its parent, the secretive Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), have been openly espousing Hindutva.

Hindutva, in their lexicon, is an ideology that selectively chooses from India’s complex past to advance an agenda. This seeks to impose the primacy of Hindu thought, philosophy and folklore now often confused with history.

While Mahatma Gandhi, himself a devout Hindu, sought the reformation of Hindu society by ending its institutional inequity, protagonists of Hindutva seek a revival. India’s founding fathers envisaged a syncretic nation with a fusion of culture that treated all the periods of India’s past as its own, making the Taj Mahal at Agra as uniquely Indian as the Meenakshi temple at Madurai.

Elements of the BJP/RSS have opened many fronts. Some have begun a program to return India’s Christians, mostly drawn from lower caste and tribal groups considered less than equal by Hindu traditionalists, to the Hindu fold. Some others have attacked India’s huge Muslim minority of more than 200 million people waging a “love jihad” so that Muslim youth marry more Hindu girls.

These zealots raise fears of a faster growing Muslim population who might many centuries later swamp the Hindus. True the population growth among Muslims is higher than the norm, but it is not less than that of lower caste Hindus, suggesting that poverty and backwardness have more to do with it than theology.

But such arguments are dismissed as secularist talk, derisively referred to as “sickular.” The spread of Saudi-funded teaching institutions espousing a radical Islam, to supplant the Sufi traditions of most Indian Muslims, adds more edge to this.

Both the BJP and the AAP need to keep this in mind: It’s dangerous to play with history; it’s still more dangerous not to learn from it.

Follow Pranay Gupte on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PranayGupte

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