Saturday, December 27, 2008



Sir M Visvesvaraya’s memorial at his birth place Muddenahalli, 55 km from Bangalore, is in a state of total neglect. It’s an insult to the Father of Modern Karnataka

M K Ashoka
Posted On Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 08:15:33 AM

Grafitti on the pillars adjoining the samadhi
It’s the cruelest of ironies. Sir M Visvesvaraya built Asia’s first electricity generation plant in Mysore more than a century ago but today the museum dedicated to him at his birthplace in Muddenahalli is often without power. This is because the state electricity board is not willing to tolerate even a nominal delay in payment of bills.

“If we delay the payment of electricity bills, the BESCOM disconnects electricity connection to the house as well as museum”, said Kempana, who maintains the museum.

Sir MV is modern Karnataka’s greatest son but his tomb, which too is in Muddenahalli, 55 kms from Bangalore, lies in abject neglect. Thousands of school kids and tourists visit the site during festive seasons, including during Christmas holidays, but what greets them is an insult to the illustrious man’s memory.


Exposed to the elements, Sir MV’s bust sports a weathered look, the features hardly recognisable, while the four pillars supporting the structure is covered with grafitti. The structure itself badly needs a fresh coat of paint. The 10-acre memorial is full of litter and because there are no toilet facilities, children relieve themselves inside the compound.

To top it all, the place is badly lit. “After evening it is total darkness in the burial ground. The horticultural department which is maintaining the place doesn’t care about lighting up the place. Finally, the Gram Panchayat (GP) of Muddenahalli installed lights on the street and one near the tomb”, M L Shivanna, a GP member explained.

The dirt and discreptitude is compounded by the complete absence of even a ritual nod to the sanctity of the place. There is not a single flower anywhere near the samadhi though the place is run by the horticulture department. On the day this reporter visited the tomb, Jayanth, a 6th standard student from Mathikere in the city, who came here along with his aunt and other kids, was the only person to place a flower at the tomb, a flower he had brought all the way from Bangalore!
“When we were kids a rose garden was developed around the samadhi. Now, there is nothing. Sometimes people bring flowers. It is only during the birth anniversary of Vishvesvaraya that a bunch of officers visit the place and decorate it. After this no one turns up”, Rajanna T, a localite said.

Sometime back there was an attempt to develop a nursery beside the tomb. The structure was raised to facilitate the process. But soon the horticulture department forgot about it and the iron structure is now a rusting ruin.

The site saw some kind of development during the tenure of Deputy Commissioner Sanjay Das Gupta in the 1990s. Later, Subramanya, in his capacity as DC, developed a children’s park in the premises. Today, all the play structures are damaged and unusable. When Subodh Yadav took charge as DC in 2007 there was some hope again. He used to visit the place on his bicycle and got the fencing work done. He got transferred to Gadag immediately and today the administration cares a damn about the place, say the angry villagers.

The house in which Sir MV was born and the museum are maintained by Sir MV’s daughter-in-law Shakuntala MRK. She has asked a family in the village to stay in the house. The person who lives there explained that his family is occupying the house only to ensure that this historical place is maintained properly.

The state government sanctioned Rs 8 crore for the development of Dr Rajkumar’s samadhi recently. Doesn’t Sir MV too deserve something similar the villagers ask. They add that a relatively piddling amount of Rs 40,000 per year can at least make Sir MV’s burial site look presentable.

Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya is rightly referred to as the Father of Modern Karnataka. He was born on September 15, 1860 in Muddenalli village near Chikkaballapur and obtained BA Honours from Central College and his engineering degree from Bombay University.

He is revered by the people of Mandya, Mysore, Kolar and Shimoga. Most of the houses here compulsorily have the photograph of Sir MV. He started his career as an engineer under the government of Bombay. After he shot to shame by successfully implementing many developmental works in the state of Bombay and abroad he started rendering service for the state of Mysore as chief engineer after being invited there by the Maharaja of Mysore.

He was appointed Dewan of Mysore in 1912 and ushered in a new era of development in the princely state. Sir MV resigned from the post of Deewan after opposing the implementation of reservation policy. He passed away on April 14, 1962 at the venerable age of 102.

Claim to fame
1913 Establishment of Mysore Bank.
1915 University of Mysore, Kannada Sahitya Parishad founded.
1916 Chamber of Commerce founded.
1918 Bhadravathi Iron and Steel Industry established.
1924 Sir MV presided over Indian Economic Summit.
1955 The government of India’s honour of ‘Bharat Ratna’.
1960 The Indian government releases his stamp.


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