Saturday, June 23, 2007

How Bangalore got premier IISc

How Bangalore got premier IISc
Amit S Upadhye | TNN

Bangalore: When Bangalore fought to be stamped as IT major, it had to fight with other cities to gain the status. And this was just history repeating.
Hundred years ago, Bangalore had beaten five major cities — Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Allahabad and Lahore — to get the premier science institute, Indian Institute of Science.
And that was because no other city could match the offer Bangalore put forward before the Royal Society of London.
First, Mysore king Krishnaraja Wadiyar came forward to gift a land of 372 acres for the institution along with other facilities under the deewanship of Sheshagiri Iyer. As a valueadd, Shivanasamudra electricity generation plant, which was in its second year of operation, promised uninterrupted power supply to the institute. More than anything else, the climatic conditions were considered ideal for the deal.
Says Discover Bengaluru research head Arun Prasad: It was the initiative of Jamshedji Tata to establish a science university in Bangalore. The proposal was referred to the Royal Society of London which requested Sir William Ramsey, Nobel laureate, to provide a detailed report. At that time the othercities too had requested for a science institute. But in a quick tour Ramsey approved Bangalore.
The constitution of the institute was approved by Viceroy Lord Minto, and the necessary Vesting Order was signed on May 27, 1909. A reason why the institute’s centenary celebrations will begin on May 27, 2008.
Early in 1911, the Maharaja of Mysore laid the foundation stone of the institute and on July 24, the first batch of students were admitted in the Departments of General and Applied Chemistry and Electrotechnology.
“The IISc main building construction was executed by the Mumbaibased construction company Steven and Company,’’ says Arun Prasad. The main building was built at a cost of Rs 4 lakhs!. History traces the IISc land to a part of Kadumalleswara reserve forest. According to the archives in the Karnataka forest department, the place was a mixture of dense forest and rocky outcrop. Animals including leopard, jackal, wolf, blackbuck and deer used to prowl around.
Even today, some of most fascinating birds and animals like slender lorries are found in the campus.

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