Saturday 4 January 2014

When Devarayanapatana became Bangalore

Bangalore has been renamed as Bengalooru and there were a lot of protests and discordant voices when the renaming was thought of and subsequently cleared by the Karnataka Government.
One of the first few voices that protested against the renaming were people from industry and the so called urban populace. But they perhaps did not know that Bangalore was never the name of this place centuries ago.
The first concrete proposal of changing the name was in December 2005, during a meeting of litterateurs at the State’s golden jubilee Suvarna Karnataka celebrations. Jnanapeetha award winner UR Anantha Murthy wanted  Bangalore to be renamed Bengaluru to mark the occasion. The then Chief Minister, N Dharam Singh, agreed.
In September 2006 the BBMP passed a resolution to implement the change of the name. On November 1st, 2006 the then Chief Minister, H.D. Kumaraswamy officially announced the change in the name.
However, what many do not know is that the story of what is today’s Bangalore goes back to several centuries. During that time, Yelahanka, Magadi, Anekal, Kanakapura, Channapatna and Mulabagal-all small towns today, were much bigger in area, extent and populace that a small village called Bangalore.
The Bangalore that was centuries ago was s small hamlet near Kodigenahalli and it is here that a stone inscription of the old name of Bangalore has been found.
When Kempe Gowda (1510-1570) founded Bangalore in 1537 and set about constructing a fort, this city was never called Bangalore. He named it after Krishna Deva Raya (1509-1529), the Vijayanagar Emperor, whom he admired and whose brother, Achuta Deva Raya (1529-1542),  had ascended the Vijayanagar throne in 1529 after the death of Krishna Deva Raya.
Kempe Gowda had visited Hampi and he was deeply impressed with the plan and layout of the City and its magnificent architecture. He had vowed to construct a similar city near Magadi and he had chosen the Doddapete Circle as the centre of the new city which he planned to build as his capital.  
Kempe Gowda had sought the permission of Achuta Deva Raya to found a new city along with several petes or localities each named after a particular trade. When Achuta Deva Raya permitted it and also invested Kempe Gowda with several villages as a gift, a grateful Kempe Gowda called the City Devarayanapattana.
The name Devaraya was in honor of Krishna Deva Raya and pattana in Kannada meant city. Slowly, more and more people from Bangalore which was the village where Kempe Gowda’s mother and wife came from, came and settled in the new town of  Devarayanapatana.
When a large number of residents from Bangalore settled down permanently in Devarayanapatana, the city came to be called as Bangalore. In between, it also came to be called as Kalyanapura or Kalyanipura and Mangalapura.
The name Kalyanapura came about because of the large number of Kalyanis or small water sources-wells-that Kempe Gowda constructed in and around the new city.
Soon, people from neighbouring villages, towns and even cities migrated to Bangalore and set up houses and began trade and commerce activities. Since Kempe Gowda had set up 64 petes, each of them dealt with a different trade. Businessmen from Andhra (Shrestis) moved in and Tigalas from Tamil Nadu were brought in for gardening and landscaping.
Over time, Bangalore rose to become an important trade and commerce point. It left far behind other cities and centres such as Magadi, Yelahanka, Chennapatna, Kolar and Mulabagal.
The riches of Bangalore attracted the Adil Shahis of Bijapur and they conquered Bangalore in 1638. The Adilshahi Emperor gave away Bangalore as a Jagir to Shahiji, the father of Chatrapathi Shivaji. On his part, Shahaji allowed the descendent of Kempe Gowda to move to Magadi and make it his capital.
Shahaji made Bangalore the capital of his jagir and he encouraged the influx of Marathas. Marathi became the language of the State, displacing Kannada. Though Shahaji preferred Maratha officers and encouraged Marathi culture and literature, he did not change the name of Bangalore.
Mughal, Adil Shahi and Maratha records of the period continued to refer to the name of the growing City as Bangalore. In 1688, the Mughals under Kasim Khan occupied Bangalore by defeating the Marathas. They then sold Bangalore to the Wodeyars the next year and it remained in their possession till Hyder Ali and Tipu rose to power.
Both Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan did not change the name of Bangalore. When the British returned the Mysore Kingdom to the Wodeyars after the death of Tipu Sultan in Srirangapatna on May 4, 1799, Bangalore became part of the Wodeyar province.
Both the British and the Wodeyars continued with the same name of Bangalore.
By the way, the earliest reference to the name Bengaluru is dated to a 9th century Western Ganga stone inscription on a vÄ«ra kallu or hero stone.

This hero stone at Begur refers to Bengaluru as a place where a battle was fought in 890 AD. It says that this area was part of the Ganga kingdom until 1004 and it was then known as Bengavaluru. This in Kannada means the ‘City of Guards’.

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