Mysore/Mysuru: The Government’s proposal to erect Sir M. Visvesvaraya’s statue along with ‘Rajarshi’ Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar at South Gate of Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) Dam has sparked a hot debate and it is led by city historian Prof. P.V. Nanjaraj Urs.
The project is ongoing at the Dam and is expected to be completed in another six months. But now there is opposition to the installation of Sir MV’s statue on par with Nalwadi statue. Visvesvaraya was Wadiyar’s Dewan and the Chief Engineer who built the Dam.
People have demanded that only Nalwadi’s statue should come up near the Southern Gate prominently while Sir MV’s statue can come up at a different place inside the Dam premises. A few like-minded individuals under the leadership of Prof. P.V. Nanjaraj Urs have formed ‘Maharajara Maana Ulisi Janandolana Samiti’ (Save the dignity and honour of Mysore Maharaja).
The Samiti held a meeting at Jaladarshini Guest House on Thursday to discuss the statue issue, in which members of several organisations took part. They strongly opposed the Government’s move and have warned to protest against the same on June 8 near DC office.
Presiding over the meeting, Prof. Nanjaraj Urs said that the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, who spent money and sold gold and diamond jewellery to build the Dam, appointed Sir M. Visvesvaraya as the Chief Engineer of the project in December 1909 after the Dam designer and First Chief Engineer Capt. Nicholas Bernard Edwin, a foreigner, died while trying to save Kannadiga labourers from drowning in the Cauvery river while at work in the early part of the same year (1909).
Although Visvesvaraya is credited with constructing the Dam which brought him name and fame globally, his statue can be built elsewhere. Pointing out that Sir MV was conferred the country’s highest Civilian Award Bharat Ratna later on, Prof. Urs, however, maintained that despite Bharat Ratna, it is inappropriate to install his statue along with that of the great visionary Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar who made a lot of sacrifices.
Capt. Nicholas Bernard Edwin factor
While Nalwadi and Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhana sold off the royal family jewellery, Sir MV was the person who executed the project. We are not against Sir MV but we cannot place both of them in same plane and cannot treat them equally, though Sir MV’s contributions cannot be negated, he argued.
Claiming that the original plan of the Dam was drafted by Capt. Nicholas Bernard Edwin, he maintained that the actual works on the construction of the Dam took place for 21 years from December 1911 to 1932 and Sir MV worked as the Chief Engineer of the Dam for only a year (December 1911 to 1912) and seven more Chief Engineers succeeded him till the project was completed in 1932. This interesting fact should be taken note of, Prof. Urs said.
Insult to Nalwadi
“Mahatma Gandhi had called Nalwadi a Rajarshi taking note of his yeoman selfless service to the society. It is Nalwadi who made the world look at Mysore for its heritage structures, beauty and the Maharaja’s vision for developing the city. When such is the case, the Government must not try to insult Nalwadi by installing statues of other personalities alongside that of him at KRS Dam,” he asserted.
Continuing, Prof. Urs said that the Union Government in 2015 had insulted Nalwadi when it rejected public appeals to name Mysore Airport after him (Nalwadi) and sought other names. Now, it is the turn of the State Government to insult Nalwadi, he said and called upon the people to come forward for saving the dignity and honour of Nalwadi, who dedicated his entire life for the well-being of the people.
The meeting also resolved to stage a massive protest in front of the DC Office on June 8 and to meet the Chief Minister regarding the issue. Former MLC Puttasiddashetty, activist Shabbir Mustafa, members of various organisations — Aravind Sharma, Nandeesh Urs, Sosale Siddaraju, Vijayadevaraj Urs, Ashwathnarayan Raje Urs, Yamuna, Prithviraj, Subramanya Raje Urs, Borappa Shetty and others were present.