Udayavni Special

Remembering Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV who laid foundation for modern Bengaluru on his death anniversary


Team Udayavani, Aug 3, 2020, 10:31 AM IST

Mysuru: The twenty-fourth maharaja of the Kingdom of Mysore Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV, born on June 4, 1884, was the benevolent leader of the erstwhile princely State of Mysore from 1894 until his death on 3 August 1940.

Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV also called Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, whom Mahatma Gandhi referred to as a ‘Rajashri’ or ‘saintly king’, was declared king of Mysore at the age of 11 after the untimely death of his father, Chamaraja Wadiyar X. His mother Maharani Vani Vilasa ruled as the Regent until he took over the reins on August 8, 1902, at the age of 18.

He was also compared to Emperor Ashoka by many and was a philosopher-king, who was seen by Paul Brunton as living the ideal expressed in Plato’s Republic.

Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, student of Western Studies, Kannada, Sanskrit, and classical music was tutored by Sir Stuart Fraser after whom Frazer Town in Central Bengaluru is named.

He who played tennis and polo was the first chancellor of the Benaras Hindu University and Mysore University. He was instrumental in setting up industries including the iron and steel factory at Bhadravathi, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Government Soap Factory, and Sandal Oil Factory.

Wadiyar worked for harmony among his subjects when the world was witnessing major wars and a great economic depression. In one such case, in 1913, he introduced compulsory primary education and two years later, directed public schools to give up caste discrimination and admit Dalits.

The Hydro Electric Project at Shivanasamudra Falls in 1902, the establishment of KR Market in Bangalore in 1928, Formation of Mandya district in the year 1939, Banning child marriage (girls below age 8), Special importance for girl education and scholarship for the widowed girl, were some of Krishnaraja Wadiyar’s major achievement.

His concern for ecology and wildlife saw him serve as the First Chairman of the Indian Wildlife Board.

As regards his personal life, Jayachamaraja Wadiyar was married twice, first to Maharani Satya Prema Kumari of Charkari in 1938, and later to Maharani Tripurasundarammanni in 1944, after separation from his first wife. He, and Tripurasundarammi had six children, Gayatri Devi (1946), Meenakshi Devi (1951), Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar(1953), Kamakshi Devi (1954), Indrakshi Devi (1956), and Vishalakshi Devi (1962).

It was routine for the family to start the day together with over breakfast. The Maharaja would update himself on the previous day’s activities of all his children, their work in school, music among other things during this time. He encouraged all his daughters and son equally. All the children were trained in academics, music particularly the piano, and sports like horse riding.

He died on 3 August 1940 at his Bengaluru Palace. During his death, he was one of the wealthiest men in the world.

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