‘Clean and beautiful Mysuru only in memory’

Dasara lights hanging above the broken balustrade, along Rajamarga, on Albert Victor Road, near Mysuru Palace, in Mysuru. DH Photo/T R Sathish Kumar

The adage ‘beauty is only skin deep’, literally holds good for the ‘grandeur’ and ‘glitter’ of Dasara in Mysuru, more so considering that the city boasts of epithets like ‘heritage city’ and ‘clean city’.

S Rama Rao, an octogenarian, who compares Mysuru of the late 1950s, up to almost early 1990s, said, those days, Mysuru was a small city, but it was literally a ‘city of palaces’, a ‘city of gardens’ and also a ‘clean city’.

Character lost

“Mysuru was like no other city in the world. It was unique. It had a character. I am not against growth or development. But, I feel bad as Mysuru lost its ‘character’ in the race against other cities,” he laments.

“Now, Mysuru is like any developing city. People, both residents and visitors, are uncourteous. Demolish and build, demolish and repair, dig up and leave it, construct and leave incomplete, are the norms. Nothing is in full form. Roads are not like they should be. Footpaths are shamelessly crude and user-unfriendly. Buildings come in various shapes and sizes. Blueprint of town planners has been dumped. People are ‘free’ to do anything,” he laments.

A R Sugosh, an engineering student, who follows civic issues, said, “Just a couple of years ago, when I visited Mysuru Palace independently, I was disappointed. Earlier, I used to accompany my parents or relatives. So, it used to be family time. Thus, I had not given much attention to the art or architecture of the Palace and its environs. Now, I understand that the upkeep of the Palace and its environs are not the priority of the government”.

Lack of maintenance

“The State government earns a lot of money, by collecting entry fee to the Mysuru Palace. But, it pays scant regard for maintenance. I can see various layers of paint, usually done during Dasara, chipping off. Some windows are blocked with plywood sheets, some window doors are broken. Dust is accumulated at window and railing grills over decades. Even rain shades of windows are broken,” he points out.

Dinesh Bansal, who started a business in the city three decades ago, says, people, including businessmen, have grown indifferent towards the city and fellow citizens over the years.

“People are happy spitting on the streets and footpath. They just look for a safe place to either urinate or defecate. Some days, when we come in the morning to open our shop on D Devaraja Urs Road, we find human feces nearby. Shop-keepers are no better. They dump garbage just outside their shops, on the road,” he states.

Cover-up

G Katyayani, a fine arts student, says, Dasara illumination is just a cover-up. “It is a mask to hide the ugliness of our creation of the city. Like the Kannada adage, ‘Deepada kelage kattalu’ (darkness under light), the glitter of the lights is just an illusion,” she said.

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