Mysuru: A Look at its Past – A Choultry in News!

By Gouri Satya, Sr.Journalist

Nanjaraja Bahadur Choultry, a well-known landmark on the Vinoba Road in Mysuru, was in news, after Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy announced that a hostel for students of the Maharani’s  Women’s Arts College will be built there.

With his announcement, doubts arose about the future of the 129-year-old Choultry. Will it be demolished as reported in some newspapers or the hostel will be built adjacent to it by demolishing a crumbling building, which was the Beggars’ Home a few years back, and some unauthorised structures on the other side of the Choultry?

My attempt to get some information either about Nanajara Bahadur or the heritage structure from the authorities concerned turned out to be futile. The answer I got was that they were looking for documents related to the Choultry! Wonder whether they have any documents on its ownership! Having failed to get any information from the official sources, I had to look for details elsewhere.

Nanjaraja Bahadur bust. He is dead a year early.

First, let us see who is this Nanjaraja Bahadur? Records reveal that there are two Nanjaraja Bahadurs and both were born to Krishnaraja Wadiyar III, popularly known as ‘Mummadi’ — one as a son and the other as a grandson.

The son was born to Puttarangamba Devi of Lakshmi Vilasa, who was the tenth wife of Krishnaraja Wadiyar III. This Prince, Yuvaraja Nanjaraja Wadiyar Bahadur, was born in 1821 and died in 1846, just a few months after his 25th year.

The second Nanjaraja Bahadur was the grandson of Krishnaraja Wadiyar III.  The Maharaja had married Muddulingamba Devi of Madana Vilasa, according to ‘Gandharva Vivaha’ tradition (marriage based on mutual attraction with no rituals) like his other wife, Puttarangamba Devi. Muddulingamba Devi was his ninth wife. They had a son by name Chamaraja Wadiyar (1816-1936). This Chamaraja Wadiyar is not to be mistaken with the later king, Chamarajendra Wadiyar, who ruled from 1863-1894. Chamaraja Wadiyar, who was a Dalvoy under Krishnaraja Wadiyar III, had two sons — Prince Nanjaraja Wadiyar Bahadur (1833-1898), who was also a Dalvoy like his father, and Prince Devaraja Wadiyar Bahadur (1835-1868).

This second Prince Nanjaraja Wadiyar Bahadur, grandson of Krishnaraja Wadiyar III, is the subject matter here. He was born on December 27, 1833 and passed away on January 13, 1898 (Wrongly mentioned as 1897 on the bust in front of the Choultry.) He got the Choultry built in his name in 1889 as “a charity for charitable purposes.”

As there were two branches, the Maharaja, in an order dated June 26, 1882, created two charities — one in the name of Nanjaraja Bahadur for the construction and maintenance of a Chathram, and the other in the name of Devaraja Bahadur for the advancement of education. To achieve these two objectives, he created two Committees.

This order clearly states that “His Highness the Maharaja regarded undesirable that the administration of these charities should be thrown upon the State Muzrai Department and he believes that they will be more efficiently and economically administered by a Committee of private gentlemen.” However, this order of the Maharaja of administering the Choultry by a Committee of private gentlemen is being followed or not in accordance with the spirit of his order is a different issue.

For “carrying out the construction and providing for the maintenance of the Chathram at Mysore intended for all classes and to be called ‘Nanjaraja Chathram,’ the Maharaja entrusted Rs. 63,547 and seven annas to a Committee composed of A. Krishna Urs, Rai Bahadur P. Krishna Row, Rai Bahadur A.R. Sabhapati Moodeliar, Sowcar Veerasangappa, Sowcar Bommiah, and G.H. Bayly. That is how the Nanjaraja Bahadur Choultry came up when this Dalvoy, Nanjaraja Bahadur, was still alive, on April 10, 1889.

Inscription on the wall.

Two years before his demise, Nanjaraja Bahadur, the owner of the Choultry, created a will in 1896 in Kannada. The will says that he was aged 63 and his physical ability was falling because of his age and hence he was making a will so that matters would be clear in the later years after his demise.

In this will, he states clearly that all his movable and immovable  property should go to his son-in-law, Chikkadevaraje Urs, and ‘not to his sons.’ He also laid out that Chikkadevaraje Urs should take possession of some rooms in the Choultry, arrange for boarding and lodging for students, create a boarding house, or pay school fees or scholarships for students out of the proceeds from the sale of his movable property.

The order of the Maharaja and the will left by Nanjaraja Wadiyar Bahadur makes it amply clear the objective with which the Chathram was constructed. As one can understand from these records, there is no scope for commercial structures.

Now, the Government proposes to build a girls’ hostel here. The Government Order of June 28, 2016, says clearly that the Choultry will not be demolished, and hence those who are anxious about its future can heave a sigh of relief.

The Order leases out one acre of land, out of nine acres and 25 guntas of land of the Choultry, which is ‘A’ category institution of the Muzrai Department of the State Government, for the construction of the girls’ hostel. The lease is for a period of 30 years on an annual lease amount of Rs. one lakh.  This one acre forms part of the five acres of vacant land the Department has in the Choultry premises.

Beggars Home at Nanjaraja Bahadur Choultry.

According to the same order, the market value of a square foot of land here is currently Rs. 4,800 or Rs. 21.12 crore an acre. The Department of Education had sought that the land be sold to it. After considering its plea, the State Cabinet has decided to lease out the land on an annual rental basis.

Nanajara Bahadur Choultry Manager Uma, quotes the Government Order, and says that there is no question of demolishing this heritage structure. The entrance for the hostel will be towards Dhanvantri Road and the proposed hostel will not come in the way of the Choultry.

The post Mysuru: A Look at its Past – A Choultry in News! appeared first on Star of Mysore.

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