Lord Curzon's prophetic words on Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV

Lord Curzon's prophetic words on Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV

During the reign of the Mysore Maharajas, a number of viceroys and governor-generals visited Mysore. Lansdowne, Curzon, Dufferin, Minto, the Prince of Wales, Albert Victor, Hardinge, Elgin, Mountbatten to new a few. 

Lord Curzon was among those viceroys and governor-generals who visited Mysore at a crucial juncture. He was witness to a major event in Mysore. Consequently, a grateful Maharaja christened the sprawling area close to the Palace in his honour. Thus came into existence the Curzon Park. 

George Nathaniel Curzon, Marquis Curzon of Kedleston (1859-1925), was born on Jan 11, 1859, to Rev 4th Baron Scarsdale and educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford. 

As a young man, he travelled in Central Asia, Persia, Afghanistan, Siam, India, China, Korea and other countries. This earned him the reputation as a shrewd observer and analyst of foreign policy, which lead to his swift rise in politics from MP for Southport (1886-98) to under-secretary of state at the India Office (1891-92) and under-secretary of state at the Foreign Office (1895-98). Curzon was appointed the viceroy and governor-general of India on January. 6, 1899 and held the post till April, 1904. One of the greatest viceroys

As Viceroy, Hardinge examined into every branch of the administration, to introduce reforms and these covered agriculture, industry and commerce, financial, military and police, education, and conservation and heritage. All these earned him the reputation as “one of the greatest viceroys to serve India.” 

He dealt with famine in Bombay.  He aimed at improving relations with the native chiefs and their rule,  founded the Imperial Cadet Corps, started the construction of the Victoria Memorial Hall in Calcutta collecting subscriptions from wealthy natives, held the Delhi Coronation Darbar of Dec. 1902 - Jan. 1903, twice reduced salt tax, and removed Income Tax on the lowest incomes. 

During his tenure, important legislative measures, like the Universities Act, the Official Secrets Act, the Indian Mines Act, the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act, the Co-operative Credit Societies' Act were passed. 

While he was the viceroy and governor-general, Lord Curzon visited Mysore on  November 30, 1900, and toured the erstwhile Mysore State for ten days. He visited Mysore, Srirangapatna, Kakanakote, Bangalore and Kolar Gold Fields. 

During his second visit, he took a leading part in installing  Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV on the throne at Jaganmohan Palace on August 8, 1902. 

Installation address

In his installation address, Curzon stated that the Maharaja had recently attained the 18th birthday. He had passed through a minority of nearly eight years. 

“These have not been idle or rapid years spent in enjoyment or dissipated in idleness.

They have been years of careful preparations for the duties that lay before him and laborious training for his exalted state.  He has made frequent tours among his people; he has studied their wants and needs at first hand; and he has thereby acquired the knowledge which will enable him to understand the problems with which he will be confronted.” 

Capable ruler

Fortified by the knowledge he had acquired under the guidance of his tutors, his natural business-like habits and his instinctive self-reliance should enable him to steer a straight course as the ruler of the State, Curzon said. 

Paying encomiums to the young Maharaja, the viceroy said, “The Maharaja has proved to be a most capable ruler, and there has been a marked development in the industrial, social, educational and other questions which are the basis of successful administration.

His Highness is exceedingly popular and his sympathetic attitude towards every movement calculated to improve the conditions of the people has endeared him to the hearts of his subjects.” 

After installing the Maharaja, Lord Curzon proceeded to Ootacamund on August 13.

Curzon Park

To mark Curzon’s visit, Krishnaraja Wadiyar named the open space on the southern side of the Palace and the garden abutting the Palace fort as “Curzon Park”. It covered the area from the present KR Circle up to the Hardinge Circle including the Chamaraja Wodeyar Statue Circle and surrounding area. It even stretched up to the Palace gate on the west. 

Curzon Park, now reduced to about 2.5 hectares, then was “one of the most delightful features of the city, “The grounds are beautifully laid out with well-kept walks and secluded nooks, while the excellent shade of the trees and the fine open space are sufficiently inviting a large number of the inhabitants to avail themselves of their attractions.”

 “The Park extends along the northern and western sides of the Old Fort, and within its boundaries are the European Club, the Masonic and Town Halls, and the post and telegraph offices.”

 The words of Lord Curzon turned prophetic as Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar the “saintly King of Mysore” with his farsighted and benevolent administration.                                                        

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