Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Remembering Rajasthan Diwas

Yesterday - 30th March – was the Rajasthan Diwas. The state of Rajasthan was formed on this day in 1949 when all the erstwhile princely states ruled by Rajputs, known as Rajputana, were merged to form Rajasthan. For over six decades the Day is celebrated as the Rajasthan Diwas. Rajasthan has been through many ups and downs in the past sixty years and has come a long way from the days of the bullock carts to the private jets that bring in tourists in droves from the farthest corners of the world every day. From child marriages to the hottest marriage destination in the world - Udaipur, Rajasthan is a panorama of life at its extreme. The same can be said for the weather.
So far, Rajasthan has had 23 Chief Ministers, 33 Governors, 16 Speakers in the Assembly, 21 Opposition Leaders and 33 Chief Secretaries.  Also, there have been 44 Padma Shri, 19 Padma Bhushan, 6 Padma Vibhushan awardees from Rajasthan till 2010.
I am too young to pass any comment or judgement on matters pertaining to the state and the way things have shaped up for Rajasthan. However, I have been very active and a part and parcel of the state’s socio-cultural development during the last 15 years. Having been appointed Secretary of the Rajasthan Foundation by the Chief Minister, I have closely and keenly observed many things good and bad of the Ashok Gehlot and Vasundhara Raje Scindia regimes. They differ vastly in their style of work and functioning.
Yesterday, I was explaining to various people the reason for not celebrating Rajasthan Diwas this year in Kolkata. One of the top intellectuals of Rajasthan for whom I have the highest regards, Sri Ved Vyas ji, with a heavy heart, told me in the morning that Rajasthan has lost much of its respect and prestige in the last 60 years. I have never before heard such a comment from someone like him. He lamented that the socio-politico system in the state has come to such a pass that we cannot even save those very cultural traditions and identities that Rajasthan in known for the world over.
Rajasthani food and clothes are in vogue today and people from all over the globe make a beeline to experience it. But then a big question remains. Why is it that the non-resident Rajasthanis (NRRs), mostly businessmen and entrepreneurs, are hardly involved in state the way they are in other states and countries running large enterprises and businesses!
I agree that Rajasthan has not produced glamorous film personalities like the ones who hog the limelight and scorch the ramps, but in trade and commerce Rajasthan holds sway.
It is still one of the most peaceful states of India and one of the highest number of armed forces personnel in India are also from Rajasthan including those who have laid their lives for the nation.
I am also very surprised by the fact that earlier many senior ministers and government officials from Rajasthan used to frequent Kolkata and other cities on a regular basis. But for the past one year not a single minister or bureaucrat has undertaken such official visits to Kolkata. In the last meeting, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan had personally promised me to visit Kolkata. But that visit is yet to materialise.
Yesterday I was chatting up with a friend of mine who happens to be a senior editor of a daily in Rajasthan and he too felt that in the past six decades Rajasthan’s progress has been nowhere close to its potential.  As an NRR I am still groping for a correct analysis or answer to why is it so. Vyas ji’s voice still echoes in my ears and I am at a loss to explain why Rajasthan, after 60 years, is not where it should have been.
I felt very sad for not being able to organise and celebrate the Rajasthan Diwas in Kolkata this year. The celebrations, organised by Rajasthan Foundation for the past several years, has become very popular not only among the NRRs but also among the non-Rajasthani communities who looked forward to this annual event. 
(pictures of Rajasthan Diwas 2005, 06, 07 & 08 in Kolkata)
ess bee

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