MANSAS trust will not lose sanctity

MANSAS trust will not lose sanctity
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MANSAS trust will not lose sanctity

Highlights

The scion of Pusapati royal family, Ashok Gajapathi Raju decided to stay back in ruling class like his father and brother even after kingdoms crumbled after Independence

The scion of Pusapati royal family, Ashok Gajapathi Raju decided to stay back in ruling class like his father and brother even after kingdoms crumbled after Independence. Being a member of a family known for its philanthropic activities, Raju worked as a Union Minister and chairman of Maharaja Alak Narayana Society for Arts and Science Samsthanam (MANSAS). Disturbed over the trust being targeted by the State government, Raju opens up his heart to The Hans India. Excerpts:

The Raja Saheb of Vizianagaram, PVG Raju, had replaced the motto of his estate 'ever loyal' with "true to one's own self", it is said. Do you think this noble thought lies shattered now because one does not seem to be true to one's own self?

The motive and ideology of our Samsthanam established by my forefathers still remain with us. Our aim is to support the society in education and cultural aspect. But some outsiders have suddenly appeared on the screen and are trying to shatter the glory of the Maharajah Alak Narayana society for arts and science (MANSAS) Trust, but I don't think that they would succeed in this aspect.

l The enduring legacy of the Vizianagaram family in north coastal Andhra is its commitment to education. In pre-Independent India, the then Maharajas of Vizianagaram were visionaries with clear, independent thinking. They patronised arts, culture and sports, besides encouraging social reform. Vizianagaram was also known as Vidyanagaram. Do you think that legacy is in jeopardy now?

We gave acres of lands to maintain hostels, choultries (Satrams) and temples in this State. The MANSAS trust has its by-laws and we never violate the norms mentioned in it. But the present government seems to be aiming on the valuable lands and planning to grab it. The trust has huge lands, which are being monitored by the Endowments Department.

But now the government is planning to give powers to District Collectors to allot Endowment lands to private parties on lease or rent. If it happens, all the lands would go into the hands of realtors. This would be a major mistake, the government would be committing.

l From the beginning, MANSAS has adapted to the change and pace of moving times, yet it has kept its core values intact. The educational institutions endeavour to foster the spirit of girl child and woman empowerment through education. Alleviating socio-economic conditions and providing excellence in education with a sound value system is what it strives for. Do you think the latest developments derail this commitment and if so why?

The present rulers, who have taken oath on Indian Constitution are intentionally violating the norms to target us. As you know that the government has withdrawn the mandatory of personal police enquiry on trust board members to be appointed in nine rich temples in Andhra Pradesh. It means the government can induct any person from other religions into the trust boards of Hindu temples including Tirupati, Annavaram, Simhachalam, Srisailam and others.

This is a major mistake being committed by the government. Can the government take such decision regarding other religions? Will they agree? But the government is intentionally targeting us and trying to weaken our trust.

l The present controversy seems to have less to do with service aspect and more to do with real estate. How do you view this? Are you afraid that this would affect the cherished goals in future?

Yes, their goal is to grab the valuable lands and make them into money making machines. But we are confident over judicial sector in the country. We are battling in court of justice. Even the Supreme Court also delivered its judgement on Padmahabhaswamy Temple in Kerala and stated that hereditary trustees won't be eliminated, and they should be continued. They can't be separated from the temples. They would have all rights and powers with them. So, we are hoping the same judgement here. We believe that constitution and law would be with us.

l The MANSAS Trust seems to be losing the trust of the people due to the perceived politicisation. Where would things head if this continues?

No, No, the MANSAS trust will not lose its sanctity. But the educational institutions may be affected due to these conspiracies. The colleges have enough funds and deposits, but the present governing body is simply defaming the reputation of these organisations.

l Do you think that the role of outsiders is considerable in the present controversy and it should not have been allowed to happen?

Yes exactly. Only the outsiders are causing for all these unrests. A person, who changes her father frequently (in social media) is creating the nonsense here. If she would have been visited Vizianagaram in the past and resided here with us, she would have been understood the culture and greatness of the MANSAS trust.

l From art, culture and education to power politics and real estate... How painful is the progress or decline?

Yes, it's painful for us, if they target us, they can hit us in another way but disfiguring the educational institutions and damaging the trust is not good. If they want, they can kill us, but they should not damage the educational institutions.

What is wrong with us? Is it a crime to run colleges and provide education for common man?

l How are you going to defend all these unwanted developments happening for the past few months?

We believe that the law and justice would be with us. Actually, the entire Andhra Pradesh has mostly 230 hereditary trustees in various temples. But why the government is targeting us? What is wrong with us? All the temples are being supported by the devotees, they are not my own properties and we never involve into those assets. Our forefathers gave 370 acres of land in Srikakulam to run a Satram with 450 students.

These students are being fed with the income getting from those 370 acres of land. But if the District Collector allot those lands to some other companies and firms, what would be the future of these children here? Who will feed them? The government should consider all these consequences and keep out of it.

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