In 1971, Parliament amended the Constitution, and by the Constitutional Amendment Act of 1971, the erstwhile sovereigns of the states of India, became ordinary citizens of the democratic republic, and their privileges and allowances ceased. From now on they would have to fend for themselves and seek whatever income they might. The most important aspect of this legislation was symbolic. The rulers were reduced by the abrupt removal of that respect which they had earned through centuries of service. Now, amongst other things, they would also be liable to estate duty like anyone else, and their palaces became at a stroke, a vast taxable asset.
His late Highness Maharana Bhagwat Singhji of Mewar, now known simply as 'Mr. Mewar', was concerned, on the one hand, how to make practical commercial use of all his buildings and on the other, how to continue a time honoured and cherished tradition. In 1969, Bhagwat Singh established a Charitable Trust to which he donated the main portions of the City Palace, as well as a considerable endowment. Thus, the Maharana Mewar Charitable Foundation came into existence on the 20th day of October 1969. Its funds derive both from interest on the original endowment and from entrance fees to the City Palace complex, now a museum open to the public.
Maharana Mewar Vidyadan Trust, under the MMCF covers a very broad range of educational purposes and the Maharana Mewar Historical Publications Trust also a subsidiary of the MMCF, was instituted to encourage and assist young and aspiring writers to publish books of permanent value to society. This trust has financed the publishing of new work, and also re-issued important books (that had gone out of print), so as to make them readily available to scholars.
Under the umbrella of the MMCF, individuals are also provided with the means to obtain vital medical treatment. Over the years, this has ranged from open-heart surgery and kidney and other organ transplants, to all manner of cancer treatment, broken limbs, and the provision of medicines and food for the ill, for orphans and the poor. Equipment for hospitals and caring for the poor is also part of the agenda for these trusts. A dispensary within the City Palace complex provides free treatment and medicine. (Charaka, the greatest of ancient Hindu physicians, was possibly the first to speak of a code of ethics for physicians to treat patients without thought of gain or reward, and to keep in strict confidence the details of a patient's illness.)
In addition, the Foundation has set up a number of subsidiary Trusts for religious and charitable purposes, to give assistance without distinction of caste or creed or religion, in the "…Honoured tradition of a family which has never descended to bigotry". (Brian Masters, 'Maharana').
Bhagwat Singhji decreed that the monies earned by the Maharana Mewar Foundation should be devoted to social welfare and education. He appointed trustees who would be devoted to and uphold these principles. Behind his intention lay firm adherence to the instructions of Harit Rashi, who had given the State of Mewar in trust to Bappa Rawal, seventy-five generations before, to administer in the name of Shri Eklingnath, the presiding deity of Mewar.
One of the guiding principles laid down by Harit Rashi was to help keep the human soul in a state of alertness, in order that human beings should value the dignity of man. Another governing tenet, of equal importance, was that self-reliance and self-respect should on no account be sacrificed.
The main objectives of the trust, as outlined in the Declaration of the Trust clearly states that the income from the corpus must go towards charitable purposes in India. These include:
The House of Mewar however decided on another course of activity. They decided to continue with their responsibilities toward their people in a manner that would be conducive, and would comply with the curriculum laid down by new independent India. The activities of the MMCF are one such highlight into the enterprise of the House of Mewar.
The activities follow a deliberate agenda. The premise behind these activities is service to the community, therefore the entire gamut of society – Mewar society and Rajasthani society must be attended to. The MMCF has a comprehensive programme of service to the community, with wide-reaching benefits. A monthly agenda following an extensive schedule charters the flow of this goodwill.
The activities of the Trust can be broadly classified under the following sub-heads: