News18 hosted the L'Aspiration Summit last week at the Durbar Hall in Udaipur.
The summit offered a perspective into changing lifestyles as well the contemporary definition of luxury and royalty through wide-ranging discussions on heritage, fashion, cuisine and culture. Erstwhile royals from Udaipur, Sirohi, Jaisalmer, and Rewa (Madhya Pradesh) participated in the event along with celebs from the entertainment, fashion and culinary worlds.
During the session "Breaking Barriers," News18's Amish Devgan and actor Saumya Tandon spoke with Maharaj Kumar Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar. Lakhsyaraj ji Mewar highlighted the historical significance of the venue of the Summit, Durbar Hall from where the first steps to liberate India were taken. He also spoke at length about the role that the Mewar royal family has played in integrating various princely states into India as well as in advancing various social causes including the education of girls.
He also emphasised the importance of cultural heritage including one’s linguistic heritage and stated that it is important for everyone to feel a sense of pride in their history and culture. Social media, he said, has given a window to the world into the private lives of erstwhile royals, also allowing them to connect with the outside world and opined that “time” is the real luxury that one can have.
The session "Redefining Royalty" featured Maharaj Daivat Singh of Sirohi, who spoke at length about how sustainable living should become a cornerstone of everyone’s lifestyle today and how it is important and a luxury in present times. He also spoke about how luxury tourism in a particular region greatly supports the local economy.
Maharaj Vikram Singh of Jaisalmer described how the definition of luxury is changing with time and highlighted the benefits of heritage tourism.
Manya Singh, Miss India 2020 runner-up, stated that she views luxury from the lens of what makes her comfortable. She also spoke extensively about her own journey in the world of fashion coming as she did from a very conservative and underprivileged background – highlighting how it is important to dream, build one’s confidence and never give up on one’s passion. discussed luxury as being comfortable, and emphasised the importance of being true to oneself.
The session "Rooted and Resilient" featured the brother-sister pair of Princess Mohena Singh and Prince Divyaraj Singh of the Rewa royal family. They spoke about how the erstwhile royal families are having to combine legacy with modernity today. Mohena also spoke about the critical importance of sustainable lifestyles sharing that given the current situation access to clean air has become a luxury.
In the session ‘Regal Spread’ session, celebrity chef and winner of Masterchef India Shipra Khanna said that luxury can be viewed from many different lenses – money, time etc. She also spoke about the relevance of Ayurveda and how ingredients like ginger, black pepper, and turmeric are not only for the kitchen but also for treatments. “We apply gold and silver varak to sweets to make them look royal. Hindustani cuisine today is being served in the US, UK, Spain, Muscat, and Oman. We are running towards the west, whereas there are so many recipes available in India that we can offer to the world,” she said.
In the session of ‘Queen or Hearts’, actor Saumya Tandon stated luxury is having the power to make your own choices. Reminiscing about her childhood, she shared how poets like Shivmangal Singh Suman had a great impact on her. “I remember writing my first poem at the age of 6 after witnessing a wedding and funeral together,” she said. When asked about the future of luxury, she emphasised that a local connect will become more and more important.
The Summit came to a close with a session on royalty and poetry by poet, actor Shailesh Lodha who spoke about how kings and emperors used to support poets. He further said that poetry is close to his heart just like acting is to his body and that poetry will always be important for society. Acknowledging that poetry today pays well, he shared that he was indeed happy to break the traditional mould in which poets were cast and was happy to re-invent the idea of a kavi as someone who could be very high on the tyle quotient.