K. Seshadri Iyer
Kumarapuram Seshadri Iyer
|Diwan of the Mysore kingdom|
12 February 1883 – 18 March 1901
Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV
|Preceded by||C. V. Rungacharlu|
|Succeeded by||P. N. Krishnamurti|
June 1, 1845|
Palghat, Madras Presidency
|Died||September 13, 1901
|Alma mater||Presidency College, Chennai|
|Profession||civil servant, administrator|
Sir Kumarapuram Seshadri Iyer KCIE (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.
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  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
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.
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.
Sir Sheshadri Hydel Station
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"
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. The private residence of Seshadri Iyer, Kumara Krupa, is now the State Guest House. The city remembers him through the names of Seshadripuram (a city extension created in 1892), Sheshadri Road, Sheshadri Memorial Library, and a statue in Cubbon Park.
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:
|“||I may pause here to remark that what I saw and heard at the Assembly, combined with what I previously knew of the Mysore Government, satisfied me that a more perfect form of government does not exist in the world. Here, as we have just seen, was a most important measure gained for the country after what was really a very short consultative meeting between the ruler and the ruled. The ruler—in other words the Dewan—was sitting like a judge on the bench, patiently listening to and taking notes of the various wants of the people as the representatives came forward—occasionally consulting with his officials—granting some things, absolutely refusing others, and announcing sometimes that the subject brought forward would be taken into consideration, while the representatives seemed to be perfectly satisfied that the ruler would willingly do, and was willingly doing, the best he could for the common interest. I may mention that I was particularly struck with the dignified, gentlemanly and friendly manner of the Dewan when consulting his English officials, and there was evidently a mutual appreciation existing, which I had afterwards distinct knowledge of when I subsequently heard some of these officials alluding, in private conversation, to the Dewan. I have a great dislike to the idea of being thought guilty of flattery, but I cannot refrain from recording the remarkable fact that (and how rarely can this be said of any public man), while I have heard much in favour of the Dewan, I have never heard a single deprecatory remark made concerning his administration of the province, either by natives or Europeans. Mysore is indeed extremely fortunate in having such a man as Mr. Sheshadri Iyer, since made Sir K. Sheshadri Iyer, K.C.I.E., at the head of affairs. He has already been granted an extension of the usual period of office (five years), and it is to be hoped that the very doubtful practice of selecting a new man for this important office, even though there may be a valuable one at the helm, may be put aside for at least some years more||”|
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.
- Jogendra Nath Bhattacharya (1896). Hindu Castes and Sects: An Exposition on the Origins of Hindu caste system. Thacker, Spink & Co. p. 96.
- 'Gold,Sport and Coffee Planting in Mysore' CHAPTER III. MYSORE—ITS HISTORY, GOVERNMENT, AND REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY
- Chandrasekhara, N. S. (1981). Dewan Seshadri Iyer. Publications Division, Government of India.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to K. Seshadri Iyer.|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Aiyar, Sir Sheshadri.|
- The Hindu special on the Dewans of Mysore.
- Detailed history of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
- A detailed chronology of events which took place between 1850 and 1900 in Bangalore
C. V. Rungacharlu
|Diwan of Mysore
1883 to 1901
T. R. A. Thumboo Chetty