Demolition of Villa Pottipati, a heritage British bungalow and survival of Fort High school building, Bangaluru

In the colonial past when the influx of more British moved into Bangaluru city in the then princely state of Mysore that had a congenial climate, over  period of time to serve in the English company and later in the Raj, countless European style bungalows sprang up. These bungalows played a unique role in  defining the the  socio-cultural and psychological fabric of the society and created a divide  between the British and the Indians. All the bungalows had high compound wall, tall imposing gates, fine well-moved lawn, and long driveway right to the porch, and they subtly marked out their space of residence, segregating them from the natives whose cultural moorings were different.  Historians point  out  the size of such  bungalows was dependent on the position being held by the British officer. They were aloof from active urban areas set in a quiet place and those buildings  showcased  the socio-cultural superiority of the ruling British  elite and the status of their job. It also  adequately  implied the  hierarchy among  the British officers in terms of job and power.. 

Villa Pottipati  bungalow, Bangaluu, KA

Since India independence in 1947,  countless such vintage colonial buildings, monuments, etc  have been lost primarily due to lack of funds and ignorance of heritage value of these structures. In Bangaluru, two years ago, a fine example of  colonial British bungalow was turned into a mound of rubble to  build a modern building.

Demolition of monuments.

Almost a century old Villa Pottipati  bungalow in Mallewaram, Bangalore is gone for ever Yet another tomb  stone was added to the grave yard of Bangaluru's heritage buildings way back in August 2018. Razed to the ground by private  real estate developers was a fine-looking British building along with its history and cultural ethos. Till that point of time, it was occupied by a heritage hotel   run by Neemrana Group that was active  purchasing, restoring  heritage structures like  historic buildings, forts, etc to operate hotels on the premises. Once owned by a British family somebody named  Rama Reddy bought it from them to use it as a residence. The heart-broken  heritage lovers and monuments lovers in Bangaluru widely protested against the demolition and a decision was taken by them to safeguard the remaining heritage sites from demolition in the future.They blamed the BBMP  for the demolition of  what was once a  colonial residence  in the heart of the city.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), further  earned the ire of heritage activists for their proposal to pull down heritage structures on safety grounds. According to Leo Saldanha, an active member  of the Environment Support Group, the BBMP should  allocate 5% of its annual budget that could be used to maintain and safeguard the heritage buildings that were crumbling as the years passing  by. Further, such funds could be used to buy the damaged heritage structures  and carry out the needed basic repairs to keep them from further decay.  She further pointed out that this ''Heritage Fund can also solicit CSR grants to bolster its  kitty''. Lack of funds and enthusiasm on the part of the  state govt  may be the main reasons for the dilapidated conditions of many such vintage buildings in the city. 
 Fort High school, Pete, Bangaluru, KA

A 110-year-old building of the Fort High School (1908), the first Anglo-vernacular school in the  old Chamrajpet area of Bangaluru faced near demolition in December 2016. It was established during the reign of Maharajah Krishna Raja Wadiyar, when education was given adequate priority. The school is just across  the  Bangalore Medical College and adjacent to Kote Venkataramana temple in Makkala Koota Circle. It is in this school built for the poor people, the great Dewan of Mysore and popular engineer-statesman Sir M Visvesvaraya taught Maths. The second popular CM of Karnataka and the one who was instrumental in the construction of Vidhana Soudha (1956) - legislative state assembly building,  late  Kengal  Hanumanthaiah (1908-1980) studied here. So was the well-known batsman and former  test  cricketer G. Viswanath. One of the few reputed schools situated outside the British-controlled Cantonment area, the school taught several languages - English, Kannada, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic.Glad, the school building survives now and INTACH had  plan to restore it soon.