K. Seshadri Iyer

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Sir
Kumarapuram Seshadri Iyer
KCIE
Seshadri Iyer.jpg
Diwan of the Mysore kingdom
In office
12 February 1883 – 18 March 1901
Monarch Chamaraja Wodeyar,
Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV
Preceded by C. V. Rungacharlu
Succeeded by P. N. Krishnamurti
Personal details
Born (1845-06-01)June 1, 1845
Palghat, Madras Presidency
Died September 13, 1901(1901-09-13) (aged 56)
Mysore
Spouse(s) Dharmasamvardhini (1865-1901)
Alma mater Presidency College, Chennai
Profession civil servant, administrator
Religion Hindu

Sir Kumarapuram Seshadri Iyer KCIE (Tamil: குமரபுரம் சேஷாத்திரி ஐயர்), (Kannada: ಕುಮಾರಪುರಂ ಶೇಷಾದ್ರಿ ಅಯ್ಯರ್), 1 June 1845 - 13 September 1901), or Sheshadri Aiyar was an advocate who served as the Dewan of Mysore from 1883 to 1901. He was the second Dewan of Mysore state since the reinstation of the Wodeyar family on its throne in 1881 and was the longest serving Dewan of the princely state as well. He is regarded by most as the "maker of modern Bangalore".

Seshadri Iyer was born in a Kerala Iyers family from Palghat in the Malabar district of Madras Presidency. He had his early education in Calicut and graduated in arts from Presidency College, Madras in 1868. He was also a qualified lawyer.

Seshadri Iyer joined the services of the Mysore kingdom in 1868 and served as a district magistrate and later as Personal Secretary to the Diwan, Rungacharlu before being appointed Diwan himself. Seshadri Iyer was the longest serving Diwan of Mysore kingdom and served from 1883 to 1901.

Seshadri Iyer established the Kolar gold fields and Victoria Hospital and commissioned the Sivanasamudra hydel-electric power project. Seshadri Iyer had to deal with a devastating plague which afflicted Bangalore in 1898 and was responsible for the decongestion of streets and reconstructing the city in the aftermath of the plague.

Early life[edit]

Seshadri Iyer was born on 1 June 1845 to Ananthakrishna Iyer and his second wife Venkatalakshamma at Kumarapuram near Palghat. His parents belonged to the Brahacharanam sect of Tamil Brahmins [1] Seshadri Iyer's great-grandfather Gowri Seshan Pattu had migrated to Kumarapuram from Ganapathi Agraharam in Tanjore district at the turn of the 19th century.

Ananthakrishna Iyer was employed as a vakil (lawyer) in Calicut. Apart from Seshadri Iyer, he also had a son, Venkatasubba Iyer, from his first wife. Venkatasubba Iyer was also employed as a lawyer in Calicut. On Ananthakrishna Iyer's death in 1846, Venkatalakshamma and the infant Seshadri were cared for by the 20-year old Venkatasubba Iyer.

Seshadri Iyer was educated in private until his eleventh year when he was admitted to the Free Church Mission School in Cochin. Seshadri had his higher education at the Calicut Provincial School and the Trivandrum High School from where he matriculated in first class in 1863 winning the Connoly Scholarship. Seshadri was admitted to the Presidency College, Madras where he was mentored by E. B. Powell. Seshadri graduated in 1866 emerging first in the B. A. examinations.

Service in the Mysore Kingdom[edit]

In 1868, Seshadri Iyer was appointed Judicial Secretary in the Ashtagram division of the Mysore kingdom. He later served as Head Sheristadar of the Court of the Judicial Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner of Mysore, Deputy Commissioner and District Magistrate of Tumkur and District and Sessions Judge of Ashtagram division.

He obtained his B. L. degree from the University of Madras in 1874. From 1881 to 1883, he served as an officer on special duty in Mysore. In 1883, when Rangacharlu's period of service came to an end, Seshadri Iyer was appointed Diwan of Mysore.

As Dewan[edit]

Seshadri Iyer succeeded Rangacharlu as Dewan of Mysore in the year 1883 and administered Mysore for a span of eighteen years. He remains the longest serving Diwan of the princely state. He worked to improve the transport, irrigation and mining sectors in the kingdom. Seshadri Iyer extended the railway lines in the kingdom by 270 kilometres (170 mi)The Kolar gold fields of Karnataka were established during his tenure. He constructed the famous Glass House at Lalbagh in 1889 and the Victoria Hospital at Bangalore in the year 1900. He also formulated the plans for the establishment of the Indian Institute of Science which were put into work after his death in 1901.

Sir Sheshadri Hydel Station[edit]

Seshadri Iyer was responsible for initiating the first hydro-electric project in Asia, at Shivanasamudra, which began generating power in 1902 for the Kolar gold fields, and in 1905 for Bangalore. The gold fields were 147 km away, making the transmission line the longest in the world at the time. Later on, when construction of the Mettur dam in Tamil Nadu began in the 1930s, power was supplied from Shivanasamudra. The Sir Sheshadri Hydel Station was granted the status of a National Heritage Centre in May 2006.

"The Maker of Modern Bangalore"[edit]

In 1898, a devastating plague in Bangalore city wiped out most of its population. As a result of this, streets were decongested, roads were widened and sanitation was improved. Hotels made their appearance and many new industrial units came to be established and people got more employment opportunities.

Seshadri Iyer started the Chamarajendra Water Works to supply water to the city from Hesaraghatta Lake, 18 km away, in 1894. He began the extensions of Basavanagudi and Malleswaram in 1898. The extensions served to alleviate the congestion of the city, which was just recovering from plague. He commissioned the glass house in Lal Bagh in 1889. The Victoria Hospital was begun by him in 1900. He persuaded the then monarch of the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, to donate 372 acres (1.51 km2) of free land to an institution that was finally to become the Tata Institute of Science, now known as the Indian Institute of Science in 1911. The private residence of Seshadri Iyer, Kumara Krupa, is now the State Guest House. The city remembers him through the names of Sheshadripuram (a city extension created in 1892), Sheshadri Road, Sheshadri Memorial Library, and a statue in Cubbon Park.

Legacy[edit]

Statue of Sir K.Seshadri Iyer at Cubbon Park, Bangalore

Sir K.Seshadri Iyer is regarded as one of the greatest Dewans of Mysore. Robert H.Elliot in his book 'Gold,Sport and Coffee Planting in Mysore' says:

Family[edit]

Seshadri Iyer married Dharmasamvardhini in 1865. The couple had four sons (K. S. Doreswamy Iyer, K. S. Krishna Iyer, K. S. Viswanatha Iyer and K. S. Ramaswami Iyer) and two daughters. Dharmasamvardhini died shortly before Seshadri's own death on 13 September 1901.

Doreswamy Iyer served as Revenue Commissioner in the Mysore Civil Service. He was Private-Secretary to Seshadri Iyer from 1881 to 1891. In 1912, he was appointed Additional member of the Mysore Legislative Council. K. S. Krishna Iyer also served in the Mysore State Service rising to the post of Deputy Commissioner.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Jogendra Nath Bhattacharya (1896). Hindu Castes and Sects: An Exposition on the Origins of Hindu caste system. Thacker, Spink & Co. p. 96. 
  2. ^ 'Gold,Sport and Coffee Planting in Mysore' CHAPTER III. MYSORE—ITS HISTORY, GOVERNMENT, AND REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY

References[edit]

  • Chandrasekhara, N. S. (1981). Dewan Seshadri Iyer. Publications Division, Government of India. 

External links[edit]

  1. The Hindu special on the Dewans of Mysore.
  2. Detailed history of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  3. A detailed chronology of events which took place between 1850 and 1900 in Bangalore
Preceded by
C. V. Rungacharlu
Diwan of Mysore
1883 to 1901
Succeeded by
T. R. A. Thumboo Chetty