Narasimharaja Wadiyar: Remembering trailblazer of cooperative movement

Mysureans are not tired of singing peans of and paying tributes to the members of the Yadu dynasty for their contributions in various fields.

Now, Ambedkar Vividodesha Seva Samsthe (AVSS) has organised a seminar on ‘The Cooperative Movement of Kanteerava Narasimharaja Wadiyar’, in association with Antharasanthe Publications and Kannadigara Sahakara Jyothi, a journal, on February 12 (Sunday). Yuvaraja Narasimharaja Wadiyar’s death anniversary, who was born on June 5, 1888, will be observed on March 11. He died in 1940.

There were Yuvarajas for all the 25 Wadiyar kings of the Yadu dynasty that ruled over the Mysuru state since 1399 to 1950, however, only Kanteerava Narasimharaja Wadiyar, who was the younger brother of Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, also second in line to the throne, is the famous personality among them. The well-known Yuvaraja’s College in Mysuru is named after him, while the 84-year-old Sri Kanteerava Narasimharaja Sports Club bears his name.

The Sahakara Bhavan, for which the foundation stone was laid on March 22, 1933, by the Yuvaraja himself was also named after him on October 7, 1951, by then Labour Minister K T Bhashyam. Now the Sahakara Bhavan, which is a property of the Karnataka Cooperative Federation, also houses the Mysuru Cooperative Union and runs the Karnataka Institute of Cooperative Management (KICM).

Tumbala Ramanna, president of AVSS, said, the Yuvaraja toured Germany, Denmark, England and Ireland to study the process and effects of the cooperative movement.

“He advocated that cooperative movement, especially in the agriculture and industrial sectors, is the key for the overall development of the society. He wanted to liberate the poor farmers and other people from the shackles of private moneylenders through the cooperative movement. He was also the patron of the Bengaluru-based Social Service League that was established to uplift the living conditions of the untouchables,” he said.

President of the Mysuru Cooperative Union H V Rajeev said, the Yuvaraja was instrumental in introducing a cooperative conference and an cooperative exhibition during the Dasara celebrations since 1911 (the first one on September 26). “During the first convention, the Yuvaraja had stated that there were 140 societies and 10,107 members in the state. So, the movement had already reached some people. By the second convention held on October 14, 1912, the number of societies has increased to 217 and members to 14,000. The capital investment had doubled from Rs 4 lakh to Rs 8 lakh,” he said.

“During one such convention in 1924, a resolution was passed to establish Mysore Provincial Cooperative Propaganda Institute, which later evolved into the KICM. It was established with an intention to provide a permanent place for the convention and to train cooperative activists from across the state. Again during a convention in 1933, a decision was taken to build the Mysore Cooperators Home, which was later named as Sri Narasimharaja Sahakara Bhavan.

It was also intended to provide accommodation for outstation cooperative activists from outside Mysuru. It was inaugurated in 1936. The site for the bhavan was alloted in 1929 itself by the Yuvaraja himself in consultation with is elder brother Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar,” Rajeev said.

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