Thursday, March 20, 2008

Obit to Dewan's Rd Jacaranda

It had stood alone on Dewan’s Road,the lone Jacaranda tree,and nature’s living monument.At the turn of the 19th century, Sir Seshadri Iyer, Dewan of Mysore(1883-1901)lived here. A noted administrator,Seshadri Iyer brought power supply to the then princely State of Mysore by building the first hydro-electric project at Sivasamudram. It was the first such power generating station in the entire South-east Asia. The maiden line drawn from the power station provided electricity to the Bhadravathi Iron and Steel Mills, now named after the man who built the steel mill,Sir M.Visvesvaraya. It was for moving ore from the Kemmangundi hills.

During Seshadri Iyer’s period Swami Vivekananda visited Mysore and stayed at a place behind the Dewan’s mansion, constructed in 1878. Opposite the Dewan’s place was the residence of M. Venkatakrishnayya, the ‘Thatayya’ of Mysore.
(Opposite the sidegate (which has become a garbage dump for folks working at the commercial tax office) of Dewan's house(right)is another heritage building - Manipal House(left). Its info. board doesn't mention who was its occupant.Could this have been Thatayya's residence, Mr Gouri Satya?)
A staunch critic of the Dewan, the grand old man (Thatayya) founded a number of educational and other institutions and pioneered journalism in Mysore.
This stretch of the Seshadhri Iyer Road, now known as Dewan’s Road, had rows of Jacaranda trees on either side. In the flowering season they presented a refreshing sight.With beautiful bell-shaped blue flowers, these tall trees offered an endearing sight. The fallen flowers spread a lovely carpet on the ground. One would avoid walking on them lest one trampled them.

After the raj-era, the road began to witness a change, more so when the town planning authority declared it a commercial road. Government and private agencies took possession of the residential bungalows to set up their offices. The ‘obstructing’ Jacarandas began to disappear.

Over the years, an aged and bent Jacaranda in front of the dewan's bungalow was protruding towards the road. Before long the powers that be decided that the tree must go.Like so many other huge avenue trees that face the brutal axe to accommodate the increase in traffic, this solitary Jacaranda disappearered into the unwritten pages of history -- none to grieve, none to pay homage. (We took up the photo assignment, to go with the Mysore Samachar write-up, primarily,in the hope of finding any tell-tale evidence to remind us of the axed jacaranda in front of the Dewan's Rd. No luck.)

Excerpted from Mysore Samachar, with permission from its editor Gouri Satya. The Samachar website doesn't mention the date of publication. The photos that go with the piece were taken on March 20.


ER Ramachandran said...

A moving piece... Man will pay with interest, no doubt.If we don't learn soon enough we will be doomed. That's for sure...And that's not far off either...

Gouri Satya said...

The Manipal House is not the place where Thatayya resided. His residence was the present Lok Ayukta office building, exactly opposite the Seshadri Iyer bungalow. Seshadri Iyer and Venkatakrishnayya were contemporaries and resided in the opposite bungalows. As Dewan, Seshadri Iyer was a strong supporter of the Government and the ruler's decisions and policies. As a true democrat, Venkatakrishnayya was a strong critic of the same.

There is no record available to me so far about who lived in the Manipal House. It earlier housed the District Forest Office, before it was moved to the Aranya Bhavan.

The Jacaranda tree was at the corner of the residential bungalow, next to the Eye Hospital.

Krishna Vattam said...

In reference to my distinguished colleague Gouri Satya's ode to Jacaranda tree on Dewan's Rd, I remember there was a jacaranda in front of Satya's house on Jaganmohan Palace road , where the office of the eveninger Samachar was located. A few yards away from this office, towards the Jaganmohan Palace,was a gulmohar, this,in the 1980s.I am sure Satya will enlighten us on the trees that were.

Gouri Satya said...

Thanks dear Kitty for your nice comments and reminding me about that good old Jacaranda also, which inspired with its lovely blue flowers every morning and evening. I will try to do a separate piece on that and reminiscence about those old days on the JM Palace Road. Thanks again