Thursday 21 February 2013

The politics over a clock

A clock shows us time and the reason why we look at clocks is to ensure that we do not miss appointments or are not delayed. But or politicians are such a breed of people that they rarely go by clock and the word clock wise precision is missing in them.
This was ample demonstrated last Saturday when a host of politicians, including a Deputy Chief Minister, descended on South End in Jayanagar to inaugurate a clock. And ironically, they came one and half hours late and the audience was treated to a full dose of  political talk with a BJP MP even claiming credit for the clock and claiming that it showed development oriented policies of the BJP.
The clock, which the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) constructed, was installed at South End in a mini park.
The clock tower is the biggest such structure in Bangalore and it towers over a height of  61 foot. It costed a whooping Rs 90 lakh and the towers is equipped with lights to radiate a different colour each day corresponding to the astrology chart.
Thus, on Monday, it will display white lights; red on Tuesday, green on Wednesday, yellow on Thursday, blue on Friday, dark blue on Saturday and pink on Sunday.
The tower chime, expected to be heard in a two to three km radius, will ring from 6 am to 11 pm. The chime starts with the blowing of a conch shell and is followed by a long and sonorous ring corresponding to the hour.
The BJP MP from Bangalore south, said the clock symbolised the development mantra of the BJP government in Karnataka. Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka  said the clock tower would become a new landmark of Bangalore South.
The local corporator, Ramesh, declared the clock to be a monument. He claimed that the Information Department had already declared it so. I always though it was the job of the ASI to declare a structure as a monument of importance. Of course, the State Government has the power to preserve and protect a monument but to declare a clock as a monument?   
The Hindu, Bangalore, reported that residents living near South End Circle need not check the clock to read the time. They just have to be all ears and listen to the chimes from the 61-foot clock tower Ambara Chumbana. Well, well, wee. What a goof up. How can I look at a clock to find out the time. I look at a wrist watch and mot a clock. Perhaps the reporter was in a hurry to file the copy and did not understand the difference between a clock and a watch.    
Coming back to the clock tower, it is solar powered and it has three legs and is made of green granite. It also has three faces, each around 8 feet in length. The clock, which has Roman, Arabic and Kannada numerals, chimes for 20 seconds every hour between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.
A retired general manager of  HMT, Anjanappa, has designed the clock.
He has also designed several other clocks in Bangalore, including the India population clock near Majestic which gives us biological information or rather population status of India. It also gives us the time. The only other similar clock is in Delhi
The floral clock in Lalbagh does not qualify as a clock tower but it is described best by a visitor as a sleeping floral beauty.
There is s clock tower at the BBMP head office on NR Square, the KR market, VV towers and at Raj Bhavan. The solar clock near the GPO wad removed due to ongoing metro work
By the way, there is a small clock tower in Cubbon Park near the Children’s play area. This is a simple clock and it stands on four pillars.  However, Bangalore has always had a tryst with clocks.
Bangalore’s biggest and by far most famous clock came up a few years ago at Omkar Hills in Raja Rajeshwarinagar off Mysore road.
This clock is supposed to bigger than Big Ben of London. Called Bangalore’s Ben, it is a horological wonder and a statistician's delight. It took three years and Rs.20 lakh to build.
It was built by HMT Bangalore and  it has a diameter of 24 ft - a full foot more than Big Ben - and the numerals are 2.5 feet tall. The hour and minute hands of this clock weigh 40 kg each.
The clock tower used up 20 tons of steel with 200 cubic metres of concrete. When the bell strikes every hour, you could be three kilometres away and still hear the sound of a conch followed by a reverberating Om.
The clock was installed to mark the 54th birthday of Shivapuri Swamiji of the Omkar Ashram Mahasamthana.
Some other clock towers in Bangalore are at SJP polytechnic on KR Circle and railway station.   
Amazingly, the resident associations of Jayanagar were not invited to the function. What else can this be called but the politics of a clock sans proper timing.
By the way, this is not the first time that politicians are hogging the limelight for a clock.
Years earlier, a clock tower in Bellary was demolished overnight.
The tower was popularly known as Gadagi Chennappa Clock Tower and it had been built by the Allum family.  
The Allum family has constructed the clock in 1964 in memory of Gadgi Chennappa. It was demolished on June 21, 2008 at the behest of a powerful politician hailing from Bellary.
The clock tower in Bidar is a Bahamani monument and the municipality went ahead and installed the clocks in the monument. It is called Chowbara. They were removed briefly but reappeared. Nobody knows who gave them permission to install a clock in a protected monument.
Mysore has two clock towers-Dodda Gadiyara and Chicka Gadiyara and both are maintained well.
Madikeri fort has a clock tower too and this is a British addition.
Mangalore once had a small but beautiful clock tower. It was pulled down by the municipality 17 years ago. Even today, the area where it once stood is still called Clock Tower. Funnily, the corporation seems to have realised that it was a mistake to pull down the tower and now it wants a clock tower in Gandhi Park. But wait, there is a catch. The corporation wants a drab clock as it does not want the tower to outshine Gandhi. Ha.    

No comments:

Post a Comment