The Crawford Hall of the Univ. of Mysore - its 100th convocation and addition of elevator misadventure


Crawford hall U of Mysore, Mysurudeccanherald.com

Among  so many interesting and impressive heritage buildings of Mysuru city, the hub  of Karnataka’s art, culture and heritage,  the Crawford hall is marked out as an iconic structure, a part of  the university of  Mysore  founded by Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV in 1916, Maharajah of Mysore to whom traditional as well as changing modern higher education was essential for the youths to  move up in the ladder of  life with cherished goals and participate in nation building. For this they need a base and the Mysore University provides all the facilities that they need. It all began in 1833 when Krishnaraja Wadiyar III started the Raja’s Free School to cater to the ever changing needs of education. In 1879, the school was upgraded into a second grade college and later renamed as the Maharajah's college. In 1886 it became a university.  The Maharani's  school came into being in 1881 as the ruling family felt the need of quality education for the women to make progress in life. It was later elevated to the Maharani college for higher education. 

Set in a comfortable ambiance in the midst of  a sprawling open space with greenery, the European style building  with twin Tuscan columns and Roman arches balustrades and pierced parapets  is a palatial one.  The rolling grounds in front and wide approach roads accentuate the majesty of this building that was designed by  one  Otto H. K√∂nigsberger of  Government of Mysore. The central hall  called  Crawford Hall is even today is better known as the Mysore University Vice Chancellor’s office  with  a total floor area of nearly 10,000 Square metres. Besides the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, the other offices like  the Registrar, the Registrar (Evaluation), the Finance Officer and the Public Grievance Cell are located in this building. 

Octagonal in shape the huge hall with a seating capacity of 1000 and an additional 600 in the balcony  is used  for  Convocations and other important events related to the university. The reason why it is called Crawford hall is part of the donation for construction was made by  the Crawford brothers of England - Lt. Col. W. L. Crawford and his brother C. S. Crawford who were alumni of the Mysore university. 

Now called University of Mysore (UOM) in the first quarter,of 2020  it celebrated  its historic 100th convocation very much  similar to the impressive centenary celebrations (that was attended by th PM Modiji) that took place on Manasagangotri campus three years ago. It is one of universities that have crossed the milestone of 100th convocation. The landmark calibration was well planned and held on a grand scale with the Indian PM as the chief guest.  As part of he “100th convocation lectures series” many scientists and academicians were invited to give talks covering  various fields. 

work on elevators, Crawford hall, Mysuru, 2020.starofmysore.com/

In August 2020, responding to the suggestion from Disabled Welfare Department recently to help the physically disabled persons   reach the second-floor of the administrative building,  the work on the construction of two  elevators  in the two-floor Crawford Hall was stopped midway following objections from many quarters, in particular, from  heritage lovers. The reason:  Crawford hall is a  declared heritage building and  even a minor change is to be made  permission from the Committee is mandatory.

Addition to the old building  by constructing modern elevators  at South and North side of the Crawford Hall would spoil its heritage aspects . Further, meddling with such structures means loss of heritage character.  

In 2019 work on the construction of elevator  at yet another historic site - Mysore Medical College and Research Institute (MMC&RI)  was abandoned  following objections from the Heritage Committee. The PWD was in charge of installing the lift at an estimated to cost Rs.11 lakh and the cost of lift and electrical works was estimated at Rs.36 lakh. In the wake of public outcry and objection  from the Heritage Committee, the lift construction work was abandoned for good . 

The elevator work at the Crawford Hall was stopped as this irresponsible construction plan earned the ire of the public.  

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/university-of-mysore-sets-the-ball-rolling-for-100th-convocation/article30289982.ece?homepage=true

 https://starofmysore.com/work-on-installing-lifts-in-crawford-hall-stopped/

https://www.deccanherald.com/content/548220/celebrating-100-years-glory.html