Bangalore-based author, Vikram Sampath, the author of the 800-page work on the history of the Mysore dynasty, “Splendours of Royal Mysore: The Untold Story of the Wodeyars”, remembers Srikantadatta Wadiyar as a “laconic, mild-mannered man of few words”.
“Perhaps, the many ups and downs he faced made him wary of people. We had a few differences too on how the family history needed to be presented. Despite that, he appeared a very considerate man, ready to accept a contrarian point of view if presented logically,” says Mr. Sampath about the scion of the erstwhile royal family.
Though the issue of succession no longer matters in a democratic set-up, Mr. Sampath believes that it could “symbolically, and for purposes of continuance of family traditions,” hold some relevance. “Given that he had possibly not identified an ‘heir’ might open a new can of worms for the family. But I am sure they would find a way to circumvent it,” says the author. Mr. Sampath sees Wadiyar as a man who tried to reinvent himself and his family name and “keep it relevant” in the modern times, switching from politics to cricket to fashion designing to art restoration. The death of Wadiyar, Mr. Sampath believes, is also an occasion to recall some of the contributions of his predecessors, which went beyond cultural patronage and pioneering efforts in irrigation, electrification and industrialisation projects. Mysore had to its credit many firsts in the country. For instance, it was the first State to provide a representative system of government and reservation to backward castes in government jobs, Mr. Sampath says.
Though Wadiyar himself, born after Independence, was disconnected from these pioneering efforts and the times they represented, Mr. Sampath believes that he was a “link with the bygone era” that is now lost in his death.