Friday, May 14, 2010

Cubbon kin tryst with park grandeur

Cubbon kin tryst with park grandeur
Bangalore, May 13, DHNS:

A little bit of colonial history returned to Cubbon Park, a treasure of wilderness and recreation in the City, on Thursday.

Sir Mark Cubbon’s great grand-daughter Charlotte came visiting the historic park along with her UK-settled Indian husband Tony Naruli, an occasion which the British Commissioner of Mysore Kingdom between 1834 and 1861 missed. Cubbon left India in April 1861 and passed away on April 23 the same year at Suez on his journey back to England.

The park was developed in 1870 by Sir Jon Meade, the then Mysore commissioner, and the landscape was conceived by Major General Richard Sankey, the then chief engineer of the state. The Park was named after Meade, and subsequently rechristened Cubbon Park before it was officially renamed Sri Chamarajendra Park in 1927.

But the name Cubbon Park stuck and on Thursday Sir Cubbon’s smiling visage was not lost on Charlotte who turned emotional as she and Naruli took photographs of the statue before urging her hosts — Horticulture Department officials — not to rename the Park or the road adjoining it.

Charlotte accompanied Naruli who is in Bangalore for the ongoing Royal College of Surgeons (England) symposium. Naruli told Deccan Herald: “This is our first visit to India. Though I am a Punjabi, I left India when I was three. I am now 54 and feel proud to have set foot in my country of origin.”

Charlotte had carried some old photographs of her great grandfather. At the Park, she produced the photographs, carefully choosing the right background to have Naruli click away the camera to capture the near-exact settings in the pictures she carried with her.
“Whenever she flipped through the old family album, she would remind me of a visit to Bangalore. And the first thing she uttered seeing Sir Cubbon’s imposing statue was “they have maintained it so well. I am grateful to the officials,“ said Naruli.

Naruli regrets his wife and he missed out on Governor H R Bhardwaj’s invitation to visit the Raj Raj Bhavan since they were held up in Mumbai. But the couple was “mesmerised” by the Park’s green cover.

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