Royalty may have been abolished in independent India but, scions of former princely families continue to play an important part in public life through the political route
Although the parliament and the state assemblies have a fair representation of royal families, the story of the young Raja of Payagpur Sharvendra Bikram Singh is different. Educated at the prestigious mayo college and St Stephen’s college Sharvendra had lucrative offers from multinationals but he went back to his roots as they say home is where the heart is. Sharvendra decided to work for the people of Payagpur.
What made Sharvendra take the plunge into politics was the advent of Akhilesh Yadav in the political landscape of Uttar Pradesh. Akhilesh brought with him a new freshness and development after he became the Chief Minister of UP. Soon Sharvendra realised that they both shared the same ideas and wavelength.
Sharvendra’s competence and commitment saw him become the youngest minister in the Akhilesh government. He was also appointed the party’s spokesperson and was chosen amongst 10 by Akhilesh to be sent to Ohio in the US to volunteer for Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign.
On being a royal and the youngest minister, Sharvendra says: “Being from a royal family does help in politics as there is an inherent sense of identity and you want to do good work for the people of your area.”
But being young it wasn’t easy as in a state as vast and diverse as Uttar Pradesh and politically active people who have been in politics for a while aren’t very accommodating to newcomers but Sharvendra says: “I still feel being young is a major advantage in politics”.
However Sharvendra is happy that being on a platform he could make a meaningful impact in the lives of the people who needed it the most
“As I was an advisor for tourism and later forest with the rank of a minister I got the beautification done of one of the largest water bodies of the country – a lake in Payagpur. I also got many roads sanctioned and drastically improved the electricity distribution in the area.”
Since joining politics was a conscious decision Sharvendra wants to continue his work for the welfare of the people and evolve as a person to meet modern challenges while keeping alive the ethos of his royal background.
“In my free time, I like to watch Netflix and football”