Maharaja of Mysore – Mahatma Gandhi called him a ‘Saintly King’

By Kanaka Ramakrishna

June 4th is the birth anniversary of our beloved Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar. What we know about the Mysore Maharaja? The day marks 134th Birthday of His Highness Sri Sir Krishnaraja Wodeyar – IV or Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, the 24th Maharaja of Mysore.

Why is he important to us? Let’s have a quick look at history. He founded the hydroelectric power project at Shivanasamudra in 1902. He established the Minto Eye Hospital in 1903, one of the world’s oldest eye hospitals. He also built the Vani Vilasa Sagar dam in 1907 in Chitradurga, the first dam in Karnataka.

He established the Mysore Legislative Council in 1907, a sort of democracy within a monarchy.

Even women had the right to vote during his kingdom. This is before women in America enjoyed that right. He established Indian Institute of Science in 1909 and started Mysore Boy Scouts in 1909, first of its kind in India. He established the State Bank of Mysore in 1913 on the advice of Sir MV and started the Agricultural University in the same year in Bengaluru.

He gave important to literature by establishing the Kannada Sahitya Parishat on the advice of Aluru Venkata Rao in 1915. He was responsible for starting Mysore University in 1916 being the first chancellor of Benaras Hindu University in 1916. He also established Maharani’s College for women in Mysore in 1917.

An industrious and tireless King he gave a lot of importance to local industry by starting the Sandalwood Oil factory in 1917. In 1923 he set up Bhadravati Iron and Steel factory. Well known KRS dam was built in 1924 by him pledging his family assets to fund the project which was crucial in irrigation of Mysore Kingdom. It was Asia’s largest dam at that time. Mysore medical college was started in 1924. Markonahalli dam was built in 1930. The dam has an automatic siphon system, first of its kind in Asia.

During his reign Vani Vilasa women and children’s hospital was established in 1934. He gifted 10 acres of land to Sir CV Raman to set up his science institute. Also Mysore paper mills was established in 1936. With Mysore Paints and Varnish established in 1936. Same company manufactures the indelible ink used in elections. He started the Mysore Implements factory in Hassan in 1939 and built built Hirebhaskara dam in 1939 which ensured 120 MW of power generation.

He was the first to ban child marriage and to criminalise untouchability.

King Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar could play the flute, violin, saxophone, piano, mridangam, nadaswara, sitar and veena.

He personally funded the Sanskrit college in Mysore. He donated 60 lakh annually towards the cause of spastic children. He laid the foundation stone for HAL in 1940.

Take a moment to thank this great man who is immortalized in the history of Karnataka.

Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV (Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar; 4 June 1884 – 3 August 1940) was the twenty-fourth Maharaja of the Kingdom of Mysore, from 1894 until his death in 1940. At the time of his death, he was one of the world’s wealthiest men, with a personal fortune estimated in 1940 to be worth US$400 million, equivalent to $56 billion at 2010 prices.
He was a philosopher-king, who was seen by Paul Brunton as living the ideal expressed in Plato’s Republic. He has been compared to Emperor Ashoka by the English statesman Lord Samuel. Mahatma Gandhi called him Rajarshi, or “Saintly King”, and his kingdom was described by his followers as Rama Rajya, an ideal kingdom akin to the rule of Lord Rama. Acknowledging Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV’s noble and efficient kingship, Lord John Sankey declared in 1930 at the II Round Table Conference in London, “Mysore is the best administered state in the world”.

 

 

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