Guardian of a lost tradition

Aswathy Thirunal Gouri Lakshmi Bayi is a member of the much revered Travancore Royal family. She is the niece of His Highness Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma , the last ruler of Travancore and of Sri Uthradam Thirunam Marthanda Varma the present head of the royal family. As a multitasker she has distinguished herself as a writer and a remarkable speaker. A woman of substance,her simplicity graces her personality.


Excerpts from the interview:

In your opinion what are the major differences between democracy and monarchy?






            Monarchy is free from the time based urgency faced by democracy Monarchy has continuity which provides ample time to bring about planned progress.

  In monarchy the power is entrusted with a dynasty or a family and it goes on and on...whereas in democracy people are given the opportunity to vote and change their representatives. I think corruption and bribery were relatively negligible under monarchy, while under democracy if newspaper reports can be believed corruption is rampant.

  What do you think is the role of media in the society?

 Unfortunately media has become a transmitter of negative information. If you start your day with newspapers you imbibe a lot of negative vibes, so it’s better to keep it aside for some time and read it later. Media has a great social responsibility; same as that of a teacher.

 It is often said that character assassination in media is on an alarming rate. What is your opinion on this?


It is true that media can make or mar people. Irresponsible reporting has spoiled many lives. For instance during Mumbai terrorist attacks, television journalists were making   running commentaries on the VVIP presence in a particular portion of the building. Along with the rest of the world the terrorists saw the reports and went directly to that area and shot the people inside. VVIP had been shifted to a safe place before the terrorists arrived but others in the room lost their life. On such occasions you modus operandi should not be out, it could be disastrous.

First voting experience?


I’ve not voted so far

Your perception of student politics?  It’s better for students to stay away from politics. Period of studies is vital and involvement in politics may lead to loss of focus.

Do you regret staying away from limelight?

 Not at all, we are doing our bit by running a number of trusts to keep up help the cause of health, education and other developmental activities.

As a resident of Thiruvananthapuram what are the transformations you have noticed in the city with time?


I’m so depressed with the present state of the city. Old Thiruvananthapuram was a well knit city and was one the clean cities in India. Today in the name of progress old landmarks are beingdemolished. Thiruvananthapuram has become a ‘city without an identity’.

Your comment on consumerism and commercialization in the city ?


 Consumerism and commercialization have taken a heavy toll on quality of life and simplicity of the average trivandrumite has vanished. Nowadays price is proportionate to status. Thiruvananthapuram has become a ‘dependant city’. For instance if lorry strike comes, Thiruvananthapuram will be left starving.

What is your comment on ‘duplication’ of products because of globalization?


 Globalization is a challenge to the identity of the nation. We are going back to slavery through our dependence on foreign goods. Duplication is reasonable if the products are not available in India. Unfortunately even if the same products are available in the Indian market we go after foreign goods as it has become a status quotient.

Your opinion on the ‘card giving culture’ of Keralites aped from the west.

Father’s day, mother’s day, Valentine’s Day, there is a card for every occasion. It is not our tradition to celebrate these days with cards and gifts. Special day for father and mother is a bit strange. Matha pitha guru daivam. Our culture says it’s our duty to respect our parents who are a step ahead of god and a special day is not necessary for it.

What are the lifestyle changes you could notice in the residents of Trivandrum?


Among the residents of Trivandrum there is an urgency to catch up with the west. In the process of making amends we forget to hold on to our roots. Fast-food, western dresses-we are moving far from our cultural heritage I think.

Your advice for the younger generations ?

  Advice is something which everyone hates, so I would only like to make some suggestions. Do good, be good and think good...


                                                                      ‘...lokasamastha sukhino bhavanthu…’








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