In memory of Mysore's friend

In memory of Mysore's friend

Bangalore has a number of halls that are memorials of eminent persons of yore. One such hall is the Daly Memorial Hall opposite Yavanika on Nrupatunga Road, named after Sir Hugh Daly who was the Resident of Mysore State from 1910 to 1916. This hall was the venue where Nobel laureates like Rabindranath Tagore and C V Raman, and Mahatma Gandhi delivered lectures.

Sir Hugh Daly began his military service in 1882, and in August 1910, he was appointed as the Resident of Mysore State and Chief Commissioner of Coorg. He played an important role in the signing of the Treaty of Mysore (1913) which placed the Mysore Maharaja on a more equal footing with the British government.

Similarly, in the negotiation between Mysore State and Madras Presidency over the sharing of Cauvery waters, and in drawing a scheme for the establishment of Mysore University, Daly’s role was a prominent one. Daly won the hearts of the people of Mysore by his liberal values and sincere sympathy for their material and moral advancement.

 Soon after his arrival in Bangalore, Daly showed much interest in the activities of the Mythic Society. He was elected as the first honorary president of the Mythic Society. He presented valuable works on Indian ethnology and archaeology to the Society. Later, when the Society decided to have its own premises, it decided to name the hall after Hugh Daly.

Laying the foundation stone for the building on August 30, 1916, the Maharaja of Mysore, Sri Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, said that this building will help future generations recall the history of Daly, a high-minded British officer who was a sincere friend of Mysore and its people.

On a site and a building grant of Rs 10,000 given by the Maharaja of Mysore, the Daly Memorial Hall was constructed at a cost of Rs 24,783, all of which was collected in the form of donations and the donors included the Maharaja of Mysore, the Maharaja of Baroda, the Raja of Travancore and the Begum of Bhopal. The hall was opened by the Yuvaraja of Mysore, Sri Kantirava Narasimharaja Wodeyar on July 25, 1917. On this occasion, Diwan Sir M Visveswaraya and dignitaries of the State were present.

Built in a classical Greek style with a high roof covered with Mangalore tiles, the inner walls of the hall are decked with the portraits of statesmen, historians, literary luminaries and philanthropists.

The steps leading to the entrance of the hall are flanked on either side by sculptures of greeting elephants which were presented by the curator of the Curzon Park of Mysore in 1918. This hall was used by the Mythic Society for holding public lectures and for establishing a reading room and a library. Sir Mirza Ismail, the Diwan of Mysore, speaking at the Silver Jubilee celebration of the Mythic Society in November 1934 said that the Daly Memorial Hall served the useful purpose of bringing together Europeans and Indians in an endeavor which satisfies the higher intellectual needs of civilised life. Sir Hugh Daly expired on August 24, 1939.

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