King George V 's statue at Ranee's Park, Thanjavur - now cleaned and restored!!

 The Smart City Project  going on in Thanjavur has been a blessing in disguise  to countless heritage lovers  because some prominent colonial vestiges that were not given due attention for decades, have been cleaned and restored back to old glory. Fortunately, they were not overlooked  and done away with by the officials.    

The bust-size colonial statue of British King George V in the Ranee's park in this Delta region of Tamil  Nadu is an unusual one  because the famous Salt March to the coastal town of Vedaranyam began on 13 April 1930 and proceeded for about 150 mi (240 km) towards the east before culminating at Vedaranyam on 28th April, 1930 to collect salt as part of  protest against salt taxes imposed by the British. The protest march led  by late Gov. Gen and CM of Madras Presidency Rajaji was a great patriotic event against the British. It got the attention of people across India and abroad after Dandi (Gujarat) Salt march led by Gandhiji. 

 Hardly a few people know that it is the only surviving statue of the Royal British family  George V south of Chingleput  town in the state of Tamil Nadu.  The king's bust size statue in Chingleput Town  was  gifted by T. Namberumal Chetty in 1911 (in connection with Delhi Durbar), a well-known civil contractor who had lose links with the colonial regime.; The whereabouts of the statue - unknown.

Newly  restored King George V  Thanjavur clock tower park

Above image; King George V  statue. Ranee's park, Thanjavur, TN. Just bust,  cleaned and restored  toward the end of 2022. Apparently installed one year before the king's demise in 1936............... 

old  statue King George V Thanjavur Ranee;spark credit: J.Ramakrishna Anand

Bust of King George V,  Ranee's park, Thanjavur,

Abve images:  Bust of British king George V -  The top one at Thanjavur was taken 2017. Then it was  shabby  and the balding head of the king was full of bird droppings  and parts of his eyes were covered by them. The park's  ambiance  was in a poor state. The pedestal below the statue was unclean and had not been painted or white washed for years.  George V  died on 20 January 1936 at the age of 70 and the bust in Ranee's park depicts his age beyond 50s......


Above image: This particular statue  of George V at San Anton Palace in Attard, Malta closely resembles the one in Ranee's park, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India. The only discernible difference is the degree of  balding and royal dress.  The Thanjavur statue shows more receding hair and lacks royal regalia..............................   

George, representing the British Royalty,  made two trips to India. First in 1905 to Madras  as the Prince of Wales (the heir to the throne) with his wife Queen  Mary; arriving from Rangoon on a ship it was a 5 day visit starting from  January 24 of 1906. During that short period,  the Black Town in Madras was renamed George Town.   A Gazette Extraordinary issued by the Madras Government said that ''a portion of Madras hitherto known as a Black Town will in future be called George Town. Also stated was that the change was made at the expressed desire of the Prince to whom the popular sentiment in the matter has been represented''.

King George V and Queen Mary.

Above image: George V became king in 1910, after his father, Edward VII, died. His reign lasted for 26 years, until his own death at the age of 70 in 1936. His wife was Mary of Teck, whom he married in 1893 and later became the queen consort.  David Cannadine writes in the History in Our Time that he and Queen Mary were a virtuous and “devoted couple,” who upheld the values of British royalty.
They had a total of six children...................................

The second trip  to India was in 1911 and George  arrived in Delhi as  king George V  with Queen Mary to crown himself as King-Emperor  at the court of Delhi -  the Delhi Durbar of 1911.  Often tagged as the greatest show on Earth something like the popular Barnum and Bailey Circus of the USA, He took p with his wife in the functions celebrated with pomp and pageantry. The glitter and extravaganza irritated the Indian patriots who wanted freedom from the British.  King George   announced  the transfer of British India's  capital from Calcutta to Delhi for administrative reasons.  Besides thousands of silver medals, two hundred special medals were  struck in gold, a hundred of which were awarded to Indian princely rulers and the highest ranking government officers. Following the great Durbar events, the King and Queen  went on a tiger hunting trip  for ten days in Nepal and killed record number of tigers.  Thus the British royals, officials and the Indian princes were responsible for the dwindling population of Bengal tigers. 

Quite gregarious and popular king George V's statues came up  in many princely states, in particular to honor him.  Outside Chennai (Madras) Thanjavur is the only place in TN that has a bust of  King George V in a prime area of the city..

From the inscription in the marble plague right below the statue  that reads:  ''His Imperial Majesty King  George V, Emperor of India. 6th May 1935 Silver Jubilee. Presented by Mr. T. N. Kalidoss, B.A., B.L., an humble and loyal citizen of Tanjore. Apparently, it was commissioned by a group of practicing lawyers of Thanjavur Bar Association led by Sri' T. N. Kalidoss, B.A., B.L.,  son of prominent lawyer of Thanjavur  Naganatha sastry.  Incidentally, the present Arya Bhavan restaurant  across the old bus stand on Therkku  Alangam (South Rampart) was his home. The old  kalyana mahal style hall with wooden rafters and pillars and  miththam is very much there.