Friday, 1 May 2020

The beautiful Marble Statue of King Edward VII, Bangalore - it needs restoration

The city of Bangalore assumed much importance during the early colonial period under the East India Co that established the cantonment here  for two reasons - its cool weather and close access to their arch rival Tipu Sultan' kingdom who hated the British. Under the Crown administration after 1858, the British gave priority to Bangalore  city and its growth. The congenial weather of the city attracted lots of British families who took up a job  or started business here. The city saw massive improvement under the administration of Mark Cubbon. Like Chennai (Madras), Kolkata (Calcutta) and Mumbai (Bombay), one can see lots of colonial buildings and statues in Bangalore. The marble statue of king Edward VII is an interesting one. 
Statue of  King Edward XII, Bangalore, India  en.wikipedia.com 



Statue of  King Edward XIIand queen Victoria, Bangalore, India  Deccan herald.com
Located at Queen's Park, next to Cubbon Park, Bangalore Cantonment, at the junction of Queen's Road and Cubbon Road (Karnataka state),   the statue of Edward VII  was unveiled on 28 November 1919 by none other than then Viceroy and Governor-General of India, Frederic John Napier Baron Chelmsford. (August 12, 1868-April 1, 1933:  English colonial administrator and statesman who served for several years as governor of Queensland and New South Wales in Australia before becoming viceroy of India).  This statue is  one of the few original statues installed in British India that still is in the same place, standing well above the near-by  flowering frangipani tree. To meet the cost of the statue and its installation the fund was raised among the residents of the Bangalore Civil and Military Station. The work was entrusted to Leonard Jennings of Chelsea, London who designed and carefully sculpted it. This statue is quite impressive and the royal aura of the king is well frozen in the marble stone.  
 King Edward XII, en.wikipedia.com 
Edward VII reigned as the King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India for a brief period between 1901 and 1910. He took up the control after the death of  his mother Queen Victoria in 1901.  
He goes down in the British History as  a peacemaker and is believed to have played a vital role in the  re-organisation of the British Army and modernization of the British Home Fleet. This  unexpected transformation of the British forces, it is  said,  developed  their over confidence and German paranoia, leading to the World War I  I4 years after his death. Before becoming the ruler in 1901, in 1875,  he toured British India -  Indian subcontinent as the Prince of Wales. It was a long tour roughly eight months and he toured other countries as well. He strongly believed that native Indians should be treated well without any racial superiority on the part of British officers. He never visited India again.  His son George V ascended the throne upon King Edward's death in 1910. His reign was a period of peace and considered as the golden age for the upper classes of Europe and America. Edward VII was one of the first rulers to have  socialized with the masses, as he believed in seeing and being seen by the people.  After hi father's demise Edward married Alexandra of Denmark at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, on 10 March 1863. He was 21; she was 18.  He died on the 6th of May 1910 and his funeral took place on 29th May. King Edward was buried at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. 
Bangalore, statue of Edward VII   en.wikipedia.org
Edward VII  Inscription en.wikipedia.org
Above image: The inscription says: EDWARD VII, KING OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND AND  EMPEROR OF INDIA 1901-1910. ERECTED BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION, 1914...........
location map Bangalore, wikipedia
Presently this colonial statue of King Edward VII  is covered with  layers of dirt and  lies largely ignored and neglected. Part of the reason is the city is undergoing various civil work;  the metro is already constructed and additional civil work is on.  Upon appeal from various  sections of the communities, the Horticulture Department, Government of Karnataka is keen to restore  the King Edward VII's  marble Statue, along with the Statue of Queen Victoria and statue of past Mysore Maharajah Chamaraja Wodeyar IV. Further,  it suggested polishing the statue of Edward VII, and pruning of surrounding trees to make the statue more visible to the visitors. On the pedestal one can see inscriptions in Kannada, Tamil and Urdu  and the foot of the pedestal, carries  English  translations.
Certain linguistic chauvinistic group wanted the statue of Edward VII removed in the 1960s,  However, well-known historians, and heritage lovers of Bangalore City were in rage over the removal of  such heritage statues that were part  of history and  raised their opposition.  Way past  members of the Cubbon Park Walkers’ Association garlanded the statue of Mark Cubbon in open defiance of these demands to desecrate history. Cubbon's contribution to Bangalore during the colonial period was vast. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Edward_VII,_Bangalore