Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The locality in Bangalore for which loans were given to construct houses

It was around the turn of the twentieth century and he Civil and Military Station in Bangalore was thriving. The station had grown around the Cantonment which was set in 1806.
The Cantonment covered an area of 13 square miles, extending from the Residency on the west to Binnamangala on the east and from the Tanneries in the north to Agram in the south.
By area, it was the largest British military cantonment in South India and the British garrison included three artillery batteries and regiments of the cavalry, infantry, sappers, miners, mounted infantry, supply and transport corps and the Bangalore Rifle Volunteers (BRV).
However, just a century after it was established, the areas around the Cantonment had become crowded and the houses tiny and areas clogged with debris and filth.
The British then decided to demolish some of the most filthy and squalid living areas and the Mysore Government agrees to the suggestion. This was so as the Cantonment was directly under the administration of the British Raj, while the City was under the Wodeyars.
The year 1906 saw the British waking up to the need to construct a new area. This was done with a view to relieve some of the thickly populated and insanitary portions of the Civil and Military station.
The land was identified as today’s Frazer Town and surrounding areas. The Government passed a Loans Act so that money could be provided at reasonable rates of interest to those willing to relocate to the new locality.
Such persons were expected to not only construct dwelling units but also live in them. The loan scheme was a dampner and it failed to take off due to bureaucratic reasons. Very few persons availed of the scheme and even among them fewer built houses.
The Government then decided to take the issue to the rich and the mighty. A number of well-to-do persons were invited to construct dwelling houses for themselves and also for persons who would be willing to stay there on rent.
Soon, the idea began receiving fairly good response and in no time, people began buying sites and constructing houses. The streets were wider than those in the petes and older areas of the civil and military station. Electricity was provided for both houses and street lights. Among the public buildings, the Moore market named after the former Municipal Commissioner, Moore, was built as was a post office, dispensary, mosque and schools. All these facilities were for the Indians.  
Very soon, the City and Military station on January 1, 1908 entered into a agreement with the Government of Mysore for providing water and power to the new township upon payment of a fee.
The arrangement proved to be beneficial as the station was now considered as overcrowded. The township was named as Frazer Town in honour of  Sir Stuart Fraser (1864-1963), a distinguished officer of the Foreign and Political Department of the Government of India and a tutor of the Maharaja of Mysore. Krishnaraja Wodeyar the fourth.
Five years after joining the Indian Civil Service, he was appointed tutor to the Maharajas of  Kolhapur and Bhavnagar and later (1896–1902) tutor and guardian to the Maharaja of Mysore.
In 1903, Fraser went to the Foreign Department at Calcutta and Simla as deputy secretary and in 1904 was sent by Lord Curzon as H.M Commissioner to negotiate with the Chinese about the Anglo-Tibetan Convention (requiring Tibet to open its border with British India).
Fraser returned to India in 1905 as Resident in Mysore and Chief Commissioner of Coorg. In 1911, Fraser was appointed Resident in Kashmir and for several months in 1914 was acting Resident in Hyderabad.
At the commencement of the First World War, with Turkey taking the side of Germany, it was Fraser’s resolute and confident approach that persuaded Osman Ali Khan Asaf Jah VII, the Nizam of Hyderabad, to ensure continued support for the British Raj
Today, Frazer Town, which is located in the North-East of Bangalore, is one of the best localities. It is spread over an area of four square kilometers. You can still see the foundation stone laid during its establishment at the junction of Mosque Road and Coles Road.
Though our civic fathers arbitrarily changed the name of Frazer Town to Pulakeshinagar, the new name is not popular and people still prefer the old name.
The Promenade Road, Coles Road, Mosque Road, Madhavraya Mudaliar Road (M M Road), Robertson Road, Spencer Road, Tannery Road and part of Wheeler Road are household names.
The Coles Park here is named after AH Coles and even this has been renamed as Freedom Fighter’s Park.
This park has a hoary past and  during the British regime, on special events, military bands played to the march of the Bangalore Rifle Volunteers.
The park has a well maintained topiary and it has an exclusive area for disabled children. Thankfully, the people have not forgotten its old name and it is still called Coles Park.

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