Unforgettable Souls

Shri Makanji Kuber Makwana
The only Historian who gave Mahyavanshi, their Lost Pride !

December 1st, 2010

The leader who had devoted his entire life for the cause of the community. The “kuber” who had spent all his wealth and kept spending till he had the last penny, only and only for the welfare of the Mahyavanshi Community. One day while thinking about his community he suddenly met someone called a “ Human being”, he looked at him, he thought he knew him The so called “ human-being” was looking quite harassed and oppressed, he seemed to be ruthlessly insulted and psychologically disturbed . He was looking very hungry and tired because he must have been pushed from one place to another. Makanji consoled him and made him sit next to him. He personally washed and cleaned his wounds. Then he gave him very old set of cloths , which, to his surprise fitted him very well !

He put few drops of sparkle in his tired eyes, straighten up both the ends of his moustache and raised his badly damaged shoulders. He pumped some fresh air of confidence in to his chest. He then applied some lotion of pride on his face, he messaged his crushed limbs and gave humane touch to his oozing wounds. Thus made him comfortable and slowly tied an ancient royal ‘ Safa’ on his head. He then gently applied a “Tilak” on his forehead and whispered in his ears.” Son open your eyes, look into this mirror, do not bother even if it cracks, keep looking into it. Now hold your breath and try to recognize yourself, try to identify the warier in you. The one, you had lost him thousands of years ago, give a hard look to yourself. Don’t you think you look like a lion? Yes, you are the lion. You are the Rajput lion ! you are the Kshatriya Mahyavanshi !Now onwards you will roar like a lion and raise your children like lion / lioness. ………” He kept on saying so many things…he disappeared in the pages of his research work “Mayavat Rajputodaya .“

The only historian in the community who felt something unique about the community and thus created the history of Mahyavanshis. With tears of gratitude in our eyes, at Mahyavanshi Foundation tried our best to bring the facts about this great soul who tried to give name, fame and true identity to the Mahyavanshi Community. He is Makanji Kuber Makwana the only true historian of Mahyavanshi Community. He was born in 1849 at Ahmedabad, his father’ name was Kuber Meetha Makwana. They came to “Surat” from Ahmedabad and ultimately settled down in Bombay State. After the death of his first wife he re-married to Lakhubai from ‘ Katargau’ of Surat District.

Since Makanjibhai was not much educated, it was very difficult to find proper job in Bombay. He picked up Billiard Marker’s job in one of the British clubs in Bombay. He had some inclination and liking for painting work, hence at the age of 15 years he started learning paintings from a British artist. He took admission in one of the famous art school in Bombay. He managed to complete his education as an artist and he made art as a profession for his living. He was excellent artist and started earning good money.

Though he was a full fledged artist, he was mainly interested in doing social work, he turned his attention towards ‘Social reforms and the history of Mahyavanshi community, he was getting disturbed about what his father once told him , “ Look son, we are original Rajputs but the circumstances have forced us to live like this.” This has generated a spark in his mind. Day and night only this one thought kept on disturbing him. If his father was telling a truth then why were we called by so many insulting name? why were we harassed, humiliated ? Why were we not treated like human beings? As he was thinking more about the plight of the people,he was pushing himself closer to the truth for which he had lost his normal sleep and appetite.

He started discussing and asking so many questions to Sadhus, the Brahmin, the vahivanchas, the Barots, the Bhats and so on about the roots of Mahyavanshis. Mahyavanshi Community was very close to his heart. It was like an expensive gem for him.According to him this gem was lying in the dust and dirt for thousands of years.It looked to him like a dirty stone. He picked up this stone, cleaned it up with love and affection, he kept this gem very close to his heart because he wanted to give a recognition and thus evaluate the gem with appropriate price tag.

He went deep into the details he could collect from different sources. Finally he confirmed that Mahyavanshi community had a definite connection with Mayavat Rajputs and they were original Rajputs. He wrote three books on his research works 1) Mayav at Rajput Prakash 1901. 2) Mahyavanshino Itihas ( what is Mahyavanshi ?) in 1910.3) Mayavat Rajputoday in 1911. He was also a “ Kabir Panthi”he had great faith in Kabir Philosophy. He wrote Kabir struti in 1900 , Kabir Mukasar Samgrah in 1901 and Kabir Mansur in 1903. He dedicated all his research work to his beloved father.
150 years ago probably our people had mentally accepted the type of life, in which all the backward communities were normally living. They were comfortable with the identity they had and the name given to them. They knew that no one could change their living conditions. Perhaps, they wanted to continue living , the way their forefathers had lived and gone. But this thing did not go well with Makanjibhai. He did extensive research, he thoroughly examined our traditions , customs and our culture.Finally, he left behind the treasure of his research works about the existence and the history of Mahyavanshi community.In fact he managed to reach deep into the roots of our community, which by any standard, was a gigantic task at that time.

Apart from his research work, he did great service in the field of community welfare. Whatever income he earned from painting work, The Mahyavanshi” KUBER” spent the entire amount for the needy people of the community. Those days,M ahyavanshi hardly had their own or rental accommodation due to extreme poverty. They tried to adjust in a small place sharing with others or stay at work place.So it was very difficult to find an accommodation for the new comer or the visitor to Bombay. Makanjibhai had the solution. He was from the different breed of social workers as compared to some of the present day social workers who are mostly busy fighting with the office bearers for a seat on the podium or are found to be eagerly awaiting for,at least some flowers being offered to them .He set up one “Kabir Ashram” and “ Kabir Temple” in Mumbai and declared opened for the community on 11th May 1913. The Ashram ( Hostel ) and Temple could be used by the Mahyavanshis from Valsad District to Vadodara District.

1) One could stay till he would get the job.

2) He was allowed to stay with family even if he lost his job.

3) The visitor from outside was allowed to stay.

4) The “Jati Pancha” from Byculla to Bandra were allowed to hold meetings.

5) The Ashram ( Hostel ) the temple were allowed to be used for the purpose of marriage etc or for religious work or for any meetings of the community.

6) Library facilities also made available for the community.

He founded “ Mayavat Rajput” Hitt Vardhak Sabha in 1910 to give impetus to collective movement in villages as well as cities, he founded “ Mahyavanshi Kshatriya Sudharak Paksh”Satya Shodhak Samaj.He actively participated in community Panchas and kept the movement of general awareness tricking.

He was in touch with all Patels of different Panchas, the social workers from, Karachi, Johanesberg, Pretoria (South Africa ) Rabat, etc. He tried his level best to keep the chain of Social Workers intact and well informed, of the common goals of the community. He wanted everybody to come on the same platform and share the common cause. He firmly believed that if you could not do anything for the community your life had gone waste.

According to him , life was ever changing and he was optimistic about bringing some changes in the lives of our community. It was almost impossible, during those days to talk about the origin of the community with the upper castes. And definitely not about Mahyavanshis belonged to Rajput race etc.The untouchability was on its peak, people were mostly thinking about food only. In those circumstances, anyone thinking of showing a new direction to the oppressed community was simply unbelievable. He managed to collect , thousand years old shattered pieces of truth from the depth of cultural heritage of the community and took pain to compare the same with original Rajputs .He, at that time gave the hungry,illiterate and ignorant mahyavanshis, a ray of hope for a brighter tomorrow. He said to them,” You are not only Mahyavanshis but you are Kshatriya Mahyavanshi, just have a feel of it.. you will get used to it slowly.”

The man who did everything under his command, spent his energy, money and life to give the correct identity of Mahyavanshi Community, he was not an ordinary human being, who we can afford to forget. Let us admit we all have faltered. We ignored the noble man and his research work for many years. Nevertheless, we at” Mahyavanshi foundation”, request the younger generation to acknowledge the hardship and pain, this great leader had gone through, to give us our true identity and our lost pride! At least be proud to be Mahyavanshis ! Be proud to be a Kshatriya Mahyavanshi !

Article by : Mr. Dhirubhai Par

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