Sheshadri Aiyar

Sheshadri Aiyar

Sir Sheshadri Aiyar (1845-13 September, 1901), was a notable statesman of the Kingdom of Mysore, India. He was the longest serving Dewan across the princely states in India.

Born in Palghat, he studied in Calicut and the Presidency College, Madras. He worked for some time in Madras, but moved to the Mysore kingdom in 1868. He rose to become Dewan in 1885. Before retiring in March 1901, he worked assiduously in the areas of transport, irrigation and mining, thus contributing to the overall development and progressive nature of the kingdom. He extended the railway lines in the kingdom by 270 kilometres (170 miles), and began the mining of gold at Kolar Gold Fields.

ir Sheshadri Hydel Station

Sir 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.

Contributions to Bangalore

Sir Aiyar 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 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 Sir Aiyer, 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.

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