Remarkable British Officer Lord Mark Cubbon, builder of Mysore!!

Sir Mark Cubbon KCB
Daily thousands of people visit the beautiful lush green park called Cubbon park in the heart of Bangalore city, Karnataka. Have we ever thought about who  Cubbon was, and why  the park was named after him? With some exception, almost everybody will be blinking his eye.
Lieut-Gen. Sir Mark Cubbon KCB (23 August 1775 - 23 April 1861) was a British army officer during the East India company rule in India. He was a stickler for discipline and made a mark for  himself as an excellent administrator of  extraordinary efficiency, foresight and commitments. So, it was quite natural that he commanded respect among his officers and natives.  He was the longest  British Commissioner of Mysore in 1834  and if Karnataka (the areas that were once under the Mysore kingdom) state is what is today, it is because of Sir Cubbon and his foresight. 

During his tenure, he vastly improved the administration and  established  law and order system, besides introducing effective judicial and economic reforms. which stood him in good stead in the later years. Prompt actions and correct execution in various fields helped improve the economy of Mysore. He tirelessly worked hard until 1860 when his poor-health forced him to resign the job and leave  for England for the first time since his arrival in India as an humble employee in 1800. In 1802, he joined 2nd Madras Battalion. To put it in a nut shell, he was a Karma Yogi, a dedicated  worker whose level of efficiency is unimaginable. This is one of the reasons why the Kingdom of Mysore during the tumultuous 1957 Sepoy Mutiny did not experience any impact. Further, there was nothing to complain about the administration of  Lord Cubbon who was considerate to the natives and never interfered in their religious freedom, etc. 
Statue of Mark Cubbon, High Court,Bangalore Wikimap

Sir  Mark Cubbon KCB .
Above image: He was also Commissioner for Coorg and Mysore 1834-1861. The statue was unveiled in front of the Karnataka High Court in March 1866 by Lewin Bowring. A busy road in Bangalore is named after him ......................
Popular Cubbon Park, Bangalore.

Inauguration of the statue of Cubbob on the parade grounds
Born  at the vicarage of Maughold, Isle of Man on 23 August 1775, his father was Vicar Thomas Cubbon and his mother was Margaret Wilks. Cubbon was their 7th child and had his early education in a local Parish school before studying under the tutorship of Maddrell of Ramsey. His uncle Mark Wilks got a job for him  and he joined EIC as a cadet in Calcutta, India in the summer of 1801. Being efficient and devoted to duty as he was, it is natural, he slowly claimed the ladder of promotions in succession; mostly he held military appointments  in many parts of India. He became a Major in November 1823 and later a Lieutenant-Colonel on 22 April 1826.
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Upon the death of  Tipu Sultan in 1799, the British had restored the former Hindu royal family of Mysore under Krishna Raja Wodeyar III, then a minor child with (Purnaiah, minister in Tipu's rule) to administer the kingdom. As corruption and the unfair revenue system remained unsolved, this led to a serious uncontrollable uprising in 1831. At last, it was controlled with the help of the British. A commission was formed to go into the root causes of this uprising. Cubbon was one of the members and the report pointed out poor governance. Gov. General William Bentinck decided to put the kingdom under the direct British control with a resident commissioner -.  Cubbon  in June 1834. The Commissioner was literally the ruler of Mysore kingdom and the responsibility fell on Sir Mark Cubbon to run the state.

 When the  British took over the administration on 19 October 1831, Cubbon's first  priority was law and order. From 1831 to 1881 the British controlled the kingdom. In those days,  across the kingdom disputes were settled with vigilantism that would end in murder of parties in dispute. Cubbon appointed Silladars or native horsemen who would provide services to the government for a fixed monthly charge. He gave them better pay to avoid corruption, etc. Thus he created a huge force of 4000 horses under various regiments in many taluks. Police force  was introduced in   July 1834, to prevent thefts, etc. He employed people to take care of civil services, road repairs, avoid sandalwood cutting,etc. The offenders had to pay  hefty fine. He favoured  a uniform code of law across all classes  in the Kingdom of Mysore. Particularly, he was quite bullish on crimes.

Cubbon introduced strict administration based on codes. There was no  room for corruption in the revenue department  and court officers holding extreme Wahabi tenets. He formed  nine departments or kacheris: revenue (dewan), posts (anche), police (kandachar), public works (maramat), military (sowar and barr), medical, public cattle (Amrit Mahal)  and judiciary. Cubbon  encouraged the use of  Kannada and Marathi over Urdu or Hindi in the official work to avoid complications.

 When Cubbon was at the helm, Bangalore saw a lot of development, the Raj Bhavan - the nice residence is his creation that was built on the land he personally bought.  Officially called Chamarajendra Park, the Cubbon Park is a famous hangout for the physical exercise-conscious people. Sir Cubbon made vast improvement in developing the infrastructure  of Mysore .This included improvements of roads, communication, etc. Roads were  laid  connecting Bangalore to all major taluks. The first railway line between Bangalore and Jolarpet was laid. Communication improved with the laying of telegraph lines. Commerce flourished During Cubbon's tenure of 26 years, the State’s revenue rose to Rs 93 lakh, indeed a great accomplishment, starting from the scratch.

 Yet another milestone in Cubbon's administration was the  introduction of prompt salaries and pension schemes  to instill confidence in the government and to gain  the loyalties of government servants. Yet another administrative feature was the preparation of  an annual administration report, a unique process that began in 1856-57.
Grave of Mark Cubbon. Sir Mark Cubbon - Muaghold, Isle of ManWaymarking
 Sir Cubbon had a lasting friendship - more than 26 years with the Maharajah of Mysore. His poor health in 1861 abruptly forced him to leave for England. Unfortunately, he died on the way during the voyage at Suez on April 23, 1861. His mortal remains were taken  to  England by his friend Dr Campbell and laid to rest there. A notice that appeared in the Indian Statesman called him the “last of the old school of statesman”. The credit goes to Lord Bowring his successor for  naming of the park which is now known  as Cubbon Park and the statue in front of the present High Court building. Sir Cubbon was an outstanding personality, ever duty-bound till ill-health had struck him. He was one among countless  British officers who loved their job and also had great sympathy for the natives.