“You could have lost a diamond while you were busy collecting stones.” It was these gospel-like words of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan that changed a young girl’s life forever. She was a content developer, a metropolitan girl, a media person living the fast-paced life, working on the sets of Kaun Banega Crorepati. It was at that moment in time when she got inspire to hang her boots and rush back to her roots.
After a successful career in the media and entertainment industry, the youngest scion of the Meja family, Bhanwar Baisaheb Priyamvada Singh of Meja, found her way back to her village. Realising that her ancestral fort lay neglected, she took it upon herself to restore its original glory.
She realised how deeply she cared for her legacy. While she was busy working in media, her soul was elsewhere. With a fresh set of eyes, she saw Meja as one of prominent thikanas of the erstwhile state of Mewar. The Rawats’ of Meja have been one of the serious players in the history of Mewar aristocracy, as one of the sixteen ‘Umraos’ – the most senior feudal barons attending to the Maharana of Udaipur.
When she visited her home in 2011, the fort was a sunken shadow of what she remembered from her childhood. Dismayed and disheartened, Bhanwar Baisaheb of Meja braced herself for a battle. The first step was packing up her bags and setting up inside the fort. Before the fort could be restored, the scepticism and cynicism of the villagers needed to be overhauled.
Considering that a woman initiated the project, a lot of female labourers joined in. The fort burped out broken cannons, wheels of an old buggy, badges of Meja police, rare old books and many more interesting things.
This was the first time since the fort was completed in 1875 that it saw any kind of renovation, so anything short of authentic would have been sacrilege. Thus, dry masonry, lime paste and wooden casing was used.
The origin of fortification of Meja has its roots in passion and not commerce. The Meja fort may not be a defining feat of architecture or history but for Bhanwar Baisaheb Priyamvada Singh of Meja, it has emerged as a newfound seat of pride and inspiration.
According to her, piecing together stone upon stone of her inheritance has led her to her diamond.