Friday 14 December 2012

The many Dewans

When Tipu was killed in May 1799 by the British in Srirangapatna, the Mysore Kingdom once again passed into the hands of the Wodeyars.
The Wodeyars transferred the capital from Srirangapatna to Mysore. Krishnaraja Wodeyar, the third, had ascended the throne in 1799. His rule was cut short when the British in 1831 decided to take over the governance of Mysore State on the saw the pretext of maladministration.
It was during this period that Bangalore saw the rule of the Mysore Kingdom by two Commissioners, Cubbonn and Bowring, who improved Bangalore and contributed to its growth and development.
Krishnaraja Wodeyar passed away in 1868 and he was succeeded by Chamarajendra Wodeyar. Yet, it was only in 1881 that the British decided to hand over the Mysore kingdom back to the Wodeyars. Chamarajendra Wodeyar (1868-1894), Vani Vilas Sannidhana (Regent from 1894-1902), Krishnaraja Wodeyar (1894-1940), the fourth, and Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar (1940-1950) set the Mysore State on the path of development and progress..
The Wodeyars were helped in the administration of the State by the Diwans who weilded enormous power. Almost all the Dewans did their best to help make Mysore State one of the most progressive in India.
Mysore State had thirteen Dewans from 1881 to 1947.
The first Dewan was  C. Rangacharlu (1881-82). He was followed by K. Seshadri Iyer (1883-1901). The others Dewans are: T.R.V. Thambuchetty (1901), P.N. Krishnamurthy (1901-06), V.P. Madhava Rao (1906-09), T. Ananda Rao (1909-1912), M. Visvesvaraya (1912-19), M. Kantha Raje Urs (1919-22), Sir Albion Banerjee (1922-26), Sir Mirza Ismail (1926-41), Incharge Diwan Sir M.N. Krishna Rao, N. Madhava Rao (1941-46), and Arcot Ramaswamy Mudaliar (1946-47).
After Mudaliar, the post of Dewan was abolished. Mysore had joined the Indian union and the post of the Maharaja also lapsed after the death of Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar.
Many of the Dewans had a direct role in the emergence of Bangalore as one of the foremost cities of India. Let me start with Dewan Rangacharlu.
He was instrumental in setting up Whitefield as a colony for Anglo-Indians. It was during his tenure that the Bangalore-Mysore railway line was completed and work commenced on the Bangalore-Tiptur line. He also set up a committee of people which could bring to the Government’s notice views of the people on the functioning and policy of the State.
It was under Seshadri Iyer that Asia’s first hydro-electric generating unit was set up in  Shivasamudra (1900). The Kolar Gold Fields was made functional and the Mysore railway netwrosk extended by 170 miles.
This Dewan had a special love for Bangalore. It was he who planned the new extensions of Basavanagudi and Malleswaram (1898), the Glass House in Lalbagh (1889), Victoria Hospital (1900), Hesaraghatta Water Supply Scheme (1896).
He also encouraged the establishment of  the Indian Institute of Science (1911).
Bangalore today remembers him in a variety of ways. The  Seshadripuram locality, Seshadri Road, Seshadri Memorial Library and his statue in the Cubbon Park are all examples of affection that Bangaloreans had for him.
Sir M. Visvesvaraya was one of the most famous Dewans. To him goes the credit of setting up the Mechanical Engineering School (1913), Agricultural School (1913), Hebbal Agricultural Training School (1912), Mysore University (1916) and Kannada Sahitya Parishat (1915).
He also started the Bhadravati Iron and Steel factory, Sandal Oil and Soap Factories (1916), and Tata Silk Farm Laboratory (1913) in Bangalore. The lab has disappeared but the name remains.
We also owe him the credit for commencing work on  Krishnaraja Sagar Dam near Mysore. Not many know that this statesman engineer took keen interest in  the beautification of Bangalore.
Another Dewan, Sir Mirza Ismail also took up works to beautify Bangalore. He worked on setting up the Tippegondanahalli project for supplying water to Bangalore and was instrumental in setting up Mandya Sugar Factory, ITL, the Porcelain Factory, Hindustan Aircraft.
He conceived the Silver Jubilee Park and  Kalasipalyam Bus Stand in Bangalore and okayed beautification of circles and intersections in Bangalore.
The Dewans cooperated closely and advised the Mysore Maharajas in taking up developmental works. Our political masters today can lo ear a lesson from the way the Dewans worked.
Even today, the buildings, factories, roads, extensions and connectivity thought about and implemented by the Dewans under the benevolent Wodeyar rulers stand up to the best of scrutiny. Unfortunately, succeeding generations of rulers have failed to cash in on the bedrock of development initiated by the Dewans.

1 comment:

  1. you have to write about Diwan Purniah who was instrumental in the re-establishment of the Wodeyar rule in Mysore