V. P. Madhava Rao, an innovative Diwan of Mysore

Diwan V.P. Madhava Rao pmadhavarao.blogspot.com
Among the reputed Diwans who acted as an intermediary between the colonial rulers and princely rulers in the past era, Sri Madhava Rao is counted as one among them. He was quite known for his administrative skills with innovation  and had the innate ability to understand the pressing problems of the princely state and tried to solve them relevant to the needs as much as he could.   Being a good  statesman he served as the Diwan of Mysore kingdom from 1906 to 1909 and Baroda from 1910 to 1913.

Coming from  a family of Thanjavur Marathi Deshastha Brahmin family, long ago settled in  the then Tanjore  kingdom ( now called Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu), Vishwanath Patankar Madhava Rao CIE (10 February 1850 -1934), is believed to have hailed from the Satara district of Bombay Presidency (now Maharastra) to south India after the  Maratha conquest of Tanjore kingdom from the Thanjavur Nayak rulers.  Born in February 1850 in the temple town of Kumbakonam, Madras Presidency near Tanjore, he had his education  at Kumbakonam College  under William Archer Porter. He completed his B. A. in 1869 and and later  entered the service of the Mysore kingdom in 1869 as a headmaster of the royal school.  Subsequently, he became  the  public prosecutor of Mysore and served in the Judicial and Revenue departments. His efficiency and dedication to work got him promotions  and  he  served as Inspector General of Police, Plague Commissioner in the Mysore kingdom from 1898 to 1901 and Revenue Commissioner from 1902 to 1904 before being appointed Diwan in 1906. As plague was a big threat then, Diwan Madhava Rao created an awareness among the people to give importance to public health and hygiene.   In July 1905, the rat eradication scheme was introduced that resulted in the killing of 23,000 rats. The scheme was extended to Bangalore. For the years 1907-08, rat destruction was carried on a large scale in Bangalore and Mysore cities.
July 1905, the rat killing scheme was introduced. An amount of Rs 2670 was spent on killing 23,000 rats. The scheme was extended to Bangalore. For the years 1907-08, rat destruction was carried on a large scale in Bangalore and Mysore cities.

Read more at: https://www.deccanherald.com/content/485093/revisiting-days-yore.html

Madhava Rao served as Diwan of the Mysore kingdom from 30 June 1906 to 31 March 1909. In 1906,  and introduced several schemes to improve the state's progress and quality of life with adequate amenities.  During his active tenure a law was introduced  empowering members of the Mysore Legislative Assembly to pass laws. The new legislature was constituted on 6 March 1907. As part of he Land Revenue Code amendment the Revenue Commissioner  became the Chief Revenue authority and was also given charge of the treasury.  Yet another feature to improve people's welfare and public health,  a Department of Public Health was created  to deal with various public health issues. The competitive exams for the Mysore Civil Service were revived. Taxes on arecanut (in Tamil Pakku) were revoked.

In view of growing importance to primary education, Kindergarten schools were introduced in the kingdom and primary education, particularly in villages,  was made free and the teachers were given an increment.   Because agriculture played a key role in Mysore,  many projects were undertaken to improve agriculture and its production  and, as part of it,  the Marikanite Works were completed in 1906-07 and the Cauvery Power Works at Belagola in 1907-08. He paid serious attention to famine protective works, particularly the construction of tanks. Minor tanks were also rejuvenated and taken up for further strengthening of bunds for better  storage of water. The third installation of hydro-electric power of Cauvery Power Scheme was undertaken as mentioned above. The Dasara Industrial and Agricultural Exhibition was opened by the Maharajah in the Special Reserve Police Lines building in Oct. 1907.
The Government sanctioned a free grant of land to the Indian Institute of Science with a view to promoting higher education and it is one of the top educational institution s in India. To serve the administration effectively,  Diwan  Madhava Rao had T. Ananda Rao and K P Puttanna Chetty as first and second Councillors who were entrusted with certain level of administrative responsibilities. They too enjoyed executive powers, although in a limited manner,

Electricity was not introduced  before and in January 1908 electric lighting was  first introduced in the civil and military station of Bangalore city and for Mysore city in  September 1908.

Madhava Rao was already  bestowed with  a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire in 1899 and was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind Medal in 1900 for his early  commendable services to the Princely state of Mysore.

 ''He began his career as a journalist and came to Mysore to earn a livelihood. He gradually rose to prominence and ultimately retired as a civil servant. He also served as a Dewan and in various other administrative capacities, during which he carried his responsibilities to the fullest and ablest  '' .............................