Monday 27 January 2014

When a truncated State helped Bangalore

The year 1799 was a watershed in the annals of the Mysore Kingdom. It was the year when the geographical contours of the Kingdom was redefined. It was also the year when the Tiger of Mysore, Tipu Sultan, was slain by the British and  his brave attempt to throw out the British from India ended.
The year of 1799 also saw a major change in the political scene of south India. Till then, Tipu and his father, Hyder Ali, had redefined the polices in the Deccan and their strong opposition to the British had kept the East India Company on its toes and dealt a severe setback to their ambition of  taking over south India.
The death of Tipu led to the extinction of the short-lived Muslim rule over Mysore. Wary of a backlash, the British cleverly handed back the Mysore Kingdom to the Wodeyars but made them sing the Subsidiary Alliance.
The British divided the erstwhile Mysore State into four parts. While they retained Coimbatore and West Coast and also control over Bangalore Cantonment later, the Nizam of Hyderabad was gifted Gutti, Gurumakonda and northern part of Chitradurga. The Marathas were appeased by giving them Harapanahalli, Anegondi and surrounding areas of Bellary.
The remaining portion, which was a truncated leftover, was created as Mysore State and handed over to the Wodeyars. On their part, the five-year-old Mummadi Krishna Raja Wodeyar was coronated the Emperor in a tent in present day Nazarbad in Mysore. The capital of Mysore State too was shifted from Srirangapatna to Mysore.
The British initially maintained a fairly large military presence in Srirangapatna and the expense was borne by the Wodeyars. They then shifted the military presence to Bangalore and forced the Wodeyars to cede administrative and military control over the large tract of land to them.
While Srirangapatna continued to languish and slowly lost out its importance, Mysore and Bangalore developed rapidly and this is no small measure to the Wodeyars and the Dewans of the State.
Dewan Purnaiah took over charge of Mysore State in 1799 and was in the post till 1811. Purnaiah took special interest in developing Bangalore.
He visited Bangalore often and renovated the temple inside the old fort now located in City Market. He also built a choultry for travellers in Tulasi Thota near Majestic. He also financially helped farmers to convert the rocky areas in Sarakki, Jaraganahalli, and Maruthihalli into cultivable lands.
When the British started construction of the Cantonment in Bangalore in 1807, their first base was in 1808 and it was located near where the Command Air Hospital is located today on Old Airport Road.
The emergence of Cantonment as a rival to the pete brought in Western thought, culture and lifestyle to Bangalore. When the British took direct control over the Mysore Kingdom in 1831 and till its return to the Wodeyars in 1881, Mysore was lorded by English Commissioners who had their headquarters in Bangalore. These Commissioners directly reported to the Governor General of India and not to the Governor at Madras.
It was during this period that two Commissioners-Mark Cubbon (1834-1861) and Bowring (1861-1870) gave Bangalore its present character. They ensured that Bangalore received the necessary infrastructure to develop into the foremost City of the times. 

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