Guest Info

HRH Manvendra Singh Gohil, born in Ajmer, is the son of Maharana Shri Raghubir Singhji Rajendrasinghji Sahib and Maharani Rukmini Devi. He has a sister, Minaxi Kumari, married into the princely family of Chenani in Jammu and Kashmir. After the Indian government’s 1971 decision to “de-recognize” Indian princes, Manvendra’s father lost his Maharaja title and privy purse. Coping with this transition, Manvendra grappled with his sexuality, resulting in an unconsummated marriage and a 2002 nervous breakdown.

In 2006, he publicly came out as gay, facing resistance from family and community but gaining acceptance and support. In 2013, Manvendra married an American gay man, DeAndre Richardson, who was honoured with the title “Duke of Hanumanteshwar” by his father-in-law.

Throughout his journey, Manvendra has been active in LGBTQ+ activism and served as the editor of Fun, a magazine focusing on the gay male community. His life story is a testament to resilience, courage, and the importance of authenticity and acceptance.

About the Show

The significance of culture and heritage cannot be emphasised enough, as they form a nation’s identity and core values. In the context of New India, a resurgence of its cultural and historical roots signifies a profound reconnection with the timeless traditions, customs, and ancestral wisdom that have been cherished and passed down through generations. Wholeheartedly embracing and safeguarding this abundant cultural tapestry can nurture a profound sense of unity and pride and ensure a seamless thread of continuity, enabling India to glean strength and inspiration from its heritage as it forges ahead in its journey of evolution and progress.

In this light, one must ask: When culture and heritage hold such significance, is it justified to sacrifice them in the name of development driven by the vested interest of a few?

In this episode, HRH Manvendra Singh Gohil, Prince of Rajpipla, engages in a candid conversation with Rajan Nazran, delving into the vital themes of heritage and legacy preservation. Rajpipla, once a first-class Princely state, has sadly dwindled to a town that has lost its former glory in the present day.

Manvendra Singh takes us back to the era of his great-grandfather, the Maharaja (King) of Rajpipla, who voluntarily relinquished his kingdom to the Union of India after gaining independence from the British. He generously donated numerous public properties developed during his reign to the government under the condition that they be maintained and exclusively used for public recreation.

However, a specific property now stands in dispute, drawing Gohil’s earnest attention—a picturesque park in Rajpipla boasting exquisite Victorian-style architecture, a charming bandstand, and a statue commemorating the king responsible for its creation. This park, entrusted to the local authorities, is unfortunately facing neglect and commercialisation, a stark deviation from its intended purpose.

With no alternative, the young prince has resorted to writing to the government and higher authorities, shedding light on citizen exploitation, misuse of power and funds, and the lack of respect for the royal family. His fervent desire is to see the park restored to its original splendour.

This situation in India serves as a stark reminder that the delicate balance between development and preserving culture and heritage is at stake. Manvendra’s unwavering voice is a testament to truth, justice, and equality, urging us to contemplate the path of progress for the new India and, by extension, the world. It has also sparked a compelling discussion about whether, in some cases, it may be prudent to reconsider devolving a degree of power back to the royal families for administering their areas, ensuring the preservation of heritage and cultural treasures for generations to come.

Produced by Global Indian Series for the Global Indian Network.

Script by Rajan Nazran
original idea: Rajan Nazran

Introduction music: (

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