Rare are the blessed souls that seek to walk in the light of altruism shedding luster around in selfless service and Rajarshi Vikram Deba Varma ( 1869-1951 ) of Jeypore belongs to such a rare tribe .
Philanthropy runs deep in his royal blood and what distinguishes him is the fact that is munificence found an indelible expression beyond te boundaries of his home land . This primarily bore fruit for Visakhapatnam in abundant measure turning a town in making into citadel of learning and culture Prior to the British noticing Visakhapatnam’s importance of geographical location , it was Odia Zamindars who spotted its scenic beauty and contributed a lot to its evolution into a broad – based town .
And among those tall Odia great Raja Vikram Deba varma was surely a leading light in the chronicles of this city . He wore his royal stature very lightly on his broad shoulders and had a congenial disposition which ensured a ready access to him even for common folk .
This in turn helped him understand the people in their mundane nature with its attendant travails . With this first hand understanding of the issues concerning the common folk , he was more than liberal in helping them out on several counts . A few decades in times past, any conversation with elderly in one town about makers of this town invariably carried the whiff of his munificence . His silent and Incognito funding for literary activities in visakha Town Hall and Hindu Reading Room , Ramnavami celebrations in Sitarama Swamy temple in Chengalraopeta and particularly Ratha Jatra of Lord Jagannatha in Visakhapatnam are just a few among many to mention . In fact the pages of this city’s history are dotted with the acts of his benevolence.
Though not he received academic qualifications in the formal sense of the term, presence of redoubtable scholars around him and his inquisitive and thorough intellectual interactions with them equipped him with great understanding of a vast range of subjects and rendered him conversant wit odia,Telugu, Sanskrit & English.
Raja Saheb’s annual ‘ Shat dharma Sabha ‘ organised in Hawa Mahal on beach road was an eloquent testimony to his love for letters . It was a grand sabha where more than a hundred invited scholars of repute abidingly came here from across different parts to take part in highly intellectual seminars on topics ranging from Vedas , Upanishadas , Tarka and Mimansa to great literary works in Sanskrit , Telugu , Odia etc. Needless to say each of the participants went home with lots of benevolent Raja’s Gifts in cash and kind.
He firmly believed that progress in higher realms of education paves the way for the development of nation and it resulted in his enormous one lac recurring grant to Andhra University for its College of Science and Technology. His stint as pro – chancellor of the university from 1937 till his terrestrial exit in 1951 was illustrious in several ways . His contribution to renovation of tribal museum at Araku is equally significant.
He faced his difficult early life , undaunted and his sufferings strengthened his resolution to make himself an exceptional person . Although he could not get formal education in early ages , he became a self – educated man and the Andhra University considered him to be Worthy of receiving the apex degree of the university . The Parala Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati , who was one of the most prominent figure of odisha state formation moment , invited Vikram Dev , to host the 10th Utkala Sammilani in 1914.
The philanthropist Maharaja’s perseverance and penchant for learning made him to be master of Odia , Telugu and Sanskrit language He was an author ,poet and play Wright . He had penned many Telugu books , viz Srinivasa Kalyanamu,Manavati Charitamu , Nagarjuna Charitamu.
Raja Saheb too penned a lot of Odia books which are highly acknowledged by the front line authors and bestowed upon the Sahitya Samrata , Vidya Sagara and last but not the least The “Rajarshi” in recognition.
He was a pioneer in integrating the Odia language and culture in 19th century . As an ardent lover of drama he constructed a hall named JAGANMITRA HALL in vizag where in Telugu & Odia plays were performed to weed out the social stigma , as ours is an orthodox society .
Excluding these he penned to many purana , khanda kavya , Jyothisa shastra named Tulasi bikrama Ramayana , Pingali, Sandhya prayoga respectively.
It is time that the meaningful heads of the Visakhapatnam city and Jeypore town to erect his statue on the heart of the city in a befitting tribute and a token of gratitude towards the selfless service of this karma yogi
May his tribe increase!