Devaraja and Lansdowne buildings, Mysuru: Former Congress Mayors' recent proposal for demolition - equal to opening the Pandora's Box

 The fate of listed heritage buildings of Mysuru - Devaraja Market and Lansdowne buildings: has been a subject of discussion and debate for a pretty long time and a general consensus  is not yet reached by the waring officials.  I don't know how long MCC and the government department have put the old structures  on the backburner without any iota of realization that these amazing colonial buildings have wilted for a long time and owing to official apathy,  parts of them are falling apart. 

That across India despite protests from historians and heritage lovers innumerable listed heritage structures are  facing slow death and at stake   are the culture and ethos of the places.   The historical Devaraja Market and lansdowne buildings are stuck in the vortex of petty politics and redtapism that led to the loss of many structures in Mysuru and Bangalore cities. The adjacent state of Tamil Nadu has many countless heritage buildings that remain unrepaired and restored as of today. Irresponsible and poorly motivated officials have set the roadblocks and they don't care a fig if the colonial or heritage buildings are turned into mounds of rubble, suddenly snapping the connectivity between the past and the present. 

 Lansdowne Building, Musuru, KA 
Commissioned by Maharajah Chamarajendra Wadiyar X to honour the visit ( on November 10, 1891)  of the Viceroy and Governor General of India Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, the Marquess of Lansdowne, the Viceroy of India (1888–1894),  Lansdowne Building, initially called Range Bazaar, is a commercial complex and an important  heritage building in Mysore.   It came up on  November 19, 1892, the purpose of the huge commercial complex was to make available basic needs in commercial spaces such as pharmacy, refreshment rooms, bookstalls, hotel, stationery and other items. It was  built using wood, iron, limestone and around 200 girders. Kannada poet D. V. Gundappa called it the "ornamental fes following traditional methods. oon of the city" Since 2012, the historical building is crumbling due to official bottlenecks and ubiquitous redtapism. The status quo still continues without any solution in sight in near future. By the time, the authorities makes viable reconciliation, the building will cave in on its own because of total negligence. and will become part of the earth.  There were 54 shops in the building selling a variety of items useful to the public.

pathetic condition of Devaraya market, Mysury, 
heritage Devaraja Market, Mysuru, KA.

The Devaraja Market  building came up after Lansdowne building in Mysuru and it was constructed in 1886.  Initially a weekly market. it was built above the Dewan Purnaiah Canal that supplied drinking water to Mysore Palace. It was named in 1925 after Dodda Devaraja Wadiyar.   In August 2012, a portion of the Lansdowne building and  again in  August 2016, a part of the Devaraja market  also collapsed. The major cause was continuous prolonged negligence among the various govt. agences . One of them wanted to take credit for the proposed renovation. 

A few days ago some former Congress Mayors addressed a press meet during which they  did not keep quiet and instead opened the Pandora's box  by demanding  demolition of over a century old heritage structures in the heart of the city — Devaraja Market and Lansdowne building  that have not yet been either repaired or conserved.  Quite furious over the  demolition proposal mooted by the  former Congress Mayors  S. Mahadev, President of the Tenants Association strongly condemned their uncalled and   unwarranted  statement at this juncture. 

.heritage buildings.

The crux of the matter is responsible former Congress Mayors who were not technical experts, never touched upon the conservation of  these two iconic heritage structures that are located in the heart of the city. The merchants  objected to the ex-Mayors’ contention that the two structures had become too  dilapidated to warrant total demolition. 

Built 135 years ago by the  erstwhile Mysore  Maharajah, the Devaraja Market building is said to be the only unique place where all kinds of daily needs were  available under one roof. If these two iconic buildings are in ruins  because of official litharge, irresponsibility of the govt. officials as well as  others like  the MCC and the District Administration. Have they ever done the needed periodic repairs to save the heritage aspects of the building.? What sort of gratitude do they have for the royal family of Mysore particularly,  Mysore ruler Devaraja Wadiyar, who took so much pains to have them built for the benefits of the people.  The merchants    squarely blamed the MCC’s Engineering Section for not cleaning the Market regularly and taking up timely repairs. Dereliction of duty on the part of  govt. officials is unethical and their carelessness is responsible for the pathetic state of the market buildings. Also at stake is the fate of so many shop owners who have been  financially ruined  since the closure of the buildings. Periodic maintaining of the Devaraja Market is no less important than any other market places.

Mayors’ suggestion for demolition of the two buildings at this point of time when the MCC is yet to take a final decision on the matter has made the merchants more angry than before and added fuel to the burning embers. The Tenants Association strongly condemned the demand of the former Mayors to demolish the two buildings.

That it is not the honor that you take with you, but the heritage you leave behind is to be borne in our mind because embedded in tt our long cherished culture and ethos.