City of Circles: Erasing history
Voice of The Reader

City of Circles: Erasing history

October 19, 2022

Sir,

Apropos to the news item, ‘The City of Circles’ in Star of Mysore dated Oct.14, 2022. Though the decision of the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) to beautify some Circles in the city is welcome, the decision to beautify the ‘Fountain Circle’ by removing the present fountain comes as a shock.

The artistically designed fountain located there is one of the oldest fountains in Mysuru and is of historic importance too. It is named the ‘Elgin Fountain’. 

One of the most beautiful fountains, it was initially erected at the present K.R. Circle and was called the ‘Elgin Fountain’ in honour of the visit of Lord Elgin, the Viceroy to Mysuru on November 20, 1895, to console the royal family on the bereavement of Maharaja Chamaraja Wadiyar on December 28, the previous year. The fountain was shifted from there to the present Dhanvanthri Road Circle where Dewan’s Road meets after the statue of Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV was installed there by the Mysuru City Corporation. The statue of Krishnaraja Wadiyar was unveiled by Mysuru’s famous Dewan and engineer Sir M. Visvesvaraya and it was named Krishnaraja Wadiyar Circle. Now, the Circle is popularly called K.R. Circle.

Following relocating of the fountain, the Circle at the junction of Dhanvanthri Road and Dewan’s Road came to be known as the ‘Fountain Circle.’

But, the fountain was again shifted from there to the present place on the Bengaluru-Mysuru Road, at the approach to Mysuru City, and the Circle was named ‘Rajendra Prasad Circle’ to mark the maiden visit of Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, by the MCC by passing a resolution.

The then Municipal Councillors and other dignitaries received the President at this spot. The fountain was colourfully illuminated.

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Over the years, the fountain came to be neglected resulting in minor damages to it and diminishing its beauty. Later on, the ‘Rajendra Prasad Circle’ came to be identified as ‘Jeelani Petrol Bunk Circle’ because of a petrol bunk located opposite the fountain.

The proposal now to remove this historic fountain and do away with the name of the first President of India in the name of beautification, will not only destroy a historic landmark in the city but also amount to showing disrespect to the prestige and honour of the first President of India. If the MCC wants to beautify this Circle, what it should do is repair the structure wherever some minor damages have taken place due to its neglect, give it a fresh coat of paint and further enhance the beauty of the place by illuminating the fountain as was being done in the earlier years and put up a decent sign-board.

As far as the proposed ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ memorial, the MCC could find a better and alternative place on the same Bengaluru-Mysuru Highway beyond the ‘Rajendra Prasad Circle’ as many new places have come up recently at the approach to the city.

Hope good sense will prevail and the MCC will spare the ‘Elgin Fountain’ and retain a part of the history and heritage of Mysuru, which it proudly claims as a ‘heritage city’. I hope the Heritage Committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner will take steps to preserve the Elgin Fountain and the name, ‘Rajendra Prasad Circle’, the late  President of India.

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– Gouri Satya, Senior Journalist, San Francisco, USA, 16.10.2022

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