Monday, 13 August 2018

Lord Harris Bungalow, Srirangapatna, a historical colonial structure

Lord Harris Residence, later residence of Puraniah, Seringapatam wikipedia.
Lord George Harris  en.wikipedia.org
Lord George  Harris CGB (18 March 1746 – 19 May 1829), son of the Rev. George Harris, curate of Brasted, Kent after his education at  Westminster School and at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, joined  the Royal Artillery in 1760.  After promoted as  captain in 1771, his first active service was in the American War of Independence, in which he served at Lexington, Bunker Hill where he was severely wounded; later  he saw several battles. Before his promotion as   lieutenant-colonel in his regiment (1780), he married Anne Carteret Dickson. After his engagement in Ireland for some time he came to Bombay, India along with General Medows (31 December 1738- 14 November 1813; he was general in the British army, later he became Governor of Bomany in 1788 and Madras in 1790)  and  he worked  with him till 1792, taking active role in various battles and engagements, notably under  Lord Cornwallis and his famous raid on Srirangapatna in the Third Anglo-Mysore War (1790–1792:  a conflict between the Kingdom of Mysore and the East India Company and its allies, including the Maratha Empire and the Nizam of Hyderabad). It was the third of four Anglo–Mysore Wars against Tipu Sultan . After a brief stint  back in his home land, he was back in India in 1784. He  became major-general, and in 1797 Commander-in-Chief of the Madras Army. Up to 1800 be commanded the troops in the presidency, and for a short time he worked in  the civil government as well. In December 1798 he was  directed by Lord Mornington, the governor-general, to command the field army against the Britisher's formidable enemy  Tipu Sultan of Mysore. In a few months of  intense campaigning and planning, along with Lord Wellesley,  Harris  stormed  into Tipu's well-built strong fort at Srirangapatna  and in the ensuing fierce battle  Tipu died in its defense in 1799.

His success  at Srirangapatna won him laurels, but he  declined the offer of an Irish peerage.  After his trip back home in 1800, he continued to serve the army and in 1812 he became full general. There he lived in Belmont House (County of Kent). In 1820 he received the GCB, and in 1824 the governorship of Dumbarton Castle.  He  remained  colonel of the 73rd (Highland) Regiment of Foot from 1800 to his death. Gen. Harris  died at Belmont in May 1829.
Dewan Purnaiah of Mysore /alchetron.com/
The Harris House  located in Srirngapatna, Karnataka is a historical site and  can be accessed through a path that lies in between Garrison Cemetery and Scott's bungalow. It was here Lord Harris lived for a short period after Tipu's death in 1799 when the British captured  Mysore kingdom and was in the process of  controlling it by restoring the kingdom back to the early ruler the Wodiyar Royal family. Very much impressed with political and administrative skill and  the  track record of Purnaiah, Gen. Harris appointed him as the first Dewan of Mysore. Earlier Purnaiah worked as the Dewan for Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan and had excellent administrative skill, Hence the British needed some one like Purnaiah who had good management skill in running the kingdom
Inscription at the Lord Harris Residence, Seringapatam  en.wikipedia.org
It was here after his retirement from service in 1811, Purnaiah  chose to spend his retirement life  in the house. It is also  known as  the Doctor's Bungalow or Puraniah's Bungalow where he died  on 28 March 1812.
Apparently a few days before his death  Purnaiah  wrote a letter to his friend Col. Hill, Commandant of Seringapatam,  stating 'old and infirm, after a life of unusual activity and care, I am going to the land of my fathers.  Responding to Purnaiah's letter   Col. Hill replied, ''I am travelling the same road''  and passed away a short time after Purnaiah. A tablet on the wall of this house shows the link between  Lord Harris and Puraniah to this house
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Harris,_1st_Baron_Harris
http://navrangindia.blogspot.com/2018/08/inspiring-dewan-of-mysore-dewan-punaiah.html