Udaipur's Mewar gets UN award for saving India's living heritage
New York, June 7 (IANS) Arvind Singh Mewar of the erstwhile royal family of Udaipur, the second Indian to win the eighth Women Together Award for "Contribution to Universal Culture of the United Nations", wants more people to share the responsibility of preserving India's living heritage.
Mewar, who received the institution award for 2012 at the UN General Assembly Tuesday as chairman and managing trustee of the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation (MMCF), said it was "very comforting, very elating, and above all a recognition of our team's efforts and commitment."
The main focus of the foundation is to preserve the 'Living Heritage'. "The difference between heritage and living heritage is that while one is history the other is living, dynamic and changing and you need to embrace the change," Mewar told IANS.
He cited the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai and the Taj Mahal in Agra, "a beautiful monument on the back of which whole of India is being sold" bringing in millions of tourists, as apt examples of this concept.
"It means keeping the festivals alive, keeping the functions alive and to keep educating people, especially the younger generation, about the responsibility of the community to become good role models," Mewar said noting that people had forgotten the true meaning of Diwali and Holi and turned them into a 'tamasha'.
The award applauds Mewar's outstanding achievement, leadership and work through the MMCF described as "a unique case study of governance at the highest level that mankind can aspire to, both in personal and business environment, mainly those constituting a relevant contribution to universal culture and help achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals to help make the world a better place."
Explaining the concept, Mewar said the Family Business Network in association with Kellogg University in Chicago and Indian School of Business had conducted a study of the Udaipur family on how it had survived for so many centuries.
"It has an inbuilt insurance of Vedic principles where the ruler is only the custodian of the state, custodian of governance. There is no ownership right. It's for you to serve," he said.
"So we call ourselves 'the longest serving dynasty in the world' acting much like the chairman or CEO of a company," Mewar said. "This concept was applied to Udaipur as far back as 1400 years ago."
The MMCF's current outreach is in academics, eco-management, philanthropy and heritage conservation and promotion, in association with several institutions at state, national and international levels. "Education happens to be our pet project," Mewar said.
It has a dedicated 260-member team which has so far invested nearly $2 million into 32 projects.
But "we would certainly like more support for the foundation and have invited people to become joint custodians of Udaipur" to share the responsibility of preserving India's common heritage, Mewar said.
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