This is an article in the “City Idols” series. City Idols is an effort to revive the legacies of the people after whom roads and parks have been named.

Road Name: A.V. Road, initially called Albert Victor Road -in the memory of the former Prince is found at the Lalbagh entrance even today) – it was renamed Aluru Venkata Rao Road (after the leader of the Karnataka Ekikarana movement) post-Independence, ensuring that the abbreviation A V remained.

Road Name: A.V. Road, initially called Albert Victor Road -in the memory of the former Prince is found at the Lalbagh entrance even today) – it was renamed Aluru Venkata Rao Road (after the leader of the Karnataka Ekikarana movement) post-Independence, ensuring that the abbreviation A V remained.

Road Location: Chamarajapet 1st main road

Detailed Description:

The birth of Chamarajpet is a watershed moment in the history of Bengaluru for more reasons than one. It all started way back in 1880 when Bengaluru was a prosperous trade and commerce hub with a population of 80,000. Overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions in the old city prompted the Mysore rulers to create new extensions. Chamarajpet was the first such extension formed in 1892.

But it gained prominence as a residential locality only gradually as people were initially hesitant to move away from the city. Five years after Chamarajpet was created, the plague struck the old city and this led to the population of the extension.

The nomenclature of Chamarajpet 1st Main Road is a story in itself.  Initially called Albert Victor Road -in the memory of the former Prince of Wales, who laid the foundation stone for the Lalbagh Glass House in 1888 (the plaque indicating this is found at the Lalbagh entrance even today) -it was renamed Aluru Venkata Rao Road (after the leader of the Karnataka Ekikarana movement) post-Independence, ensuring that the abbreviation A V remained.

Chamarajpet retains its historical charm with landmarks like Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, the Kannada Sahitya Parishat that was established in 1915 and religious structures like the Kote Venkataramana Temple.

Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward,known to his friends as ‘Eddie’, was born in 1864 to Prince Albert Edward, who was then known as the Prince of Wales and who later became King Edward VII, and Princess Alexandra. Albert Edward was the son of Queen Victoria. Albert married Princess Mary in February 1892. But the young life was cut off in its early prime. The successor to the throne became a victim of the 1889-92 Great Influenza and met a premature death at the age of 28 on January 14, 1892.

Prior to his death, the lamented Prince undertook in October 1889 a seven-month tour of India as his father, the Prince of Wales, had done in 1875. Albert arrived in Bombay then visited Hyderabad and Madras. On 23rd, the royal train passed Bangalore on its way to Mysore and halted at Srirangapatnam for a while.

Here, he visited the corner where the breach was made in the fort walls and through which the British troops entered into Srirangapatna. Then he visited Tippu’s Summer Palace, Daria Doulat and Mausoleum. After luncheon, the royal party boarded the special train at Paschimavahini.

On November 25 morning, the Maharaja drove Prince Albert to Khedda camp in Chamarajanagar taluk. The Prince had to go on horseback under hot sun the last five miles to the camp where elaborate arrangements had been made.

The royal party left for Bangalore after a few days. Before they proceeded to Travancore, the Prince laid foundation-stone of a permanent building for horticultural shows in Lal Bagh gardens on November 30. The Glass House at the Lal Bagh was built to commemorate Prince Albert’s visit to Bangalore. He was given a reception in the garden by Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar. In Bangalore, a road in Chamarajapet was christened in his name.

Alur Venkata Rao who was born at Bijapur in 1880. Alur went to Poona for his college education and obtained his B.A. and Law degree. He started the Karnataka Ithihasa Samshodhana Mandali for doing research on Karnataka history. The result was his monumental work about Karnataka’s glorious history, Karnataka Gathavaibhava published in 1917. We should first develop love towards Kannada and Karnataka and only then we can love India, was his view.

Alur also started the Karnataka unit of Home Rule League and organized a tour for Tilak in various places of north Karnataka. He was arrested during the Civil Disobedience Movement during 1931 and barred from political activities.

He worked as an editor for several magazines. In November 1922, he started Jayakarnataka, a monthly magazine where articles on a variety of subjects and topics were published.

Alur’s joy knew no bounds when Karnataka was unified on 1st November 1956. He personally went to Hampi and performed pooja to goddess Bhuvaneshwari in the Virupaksha temple and was aptly called Karnatakada Kulapurohita (highest priest of Kanada family). He felt sad that the name of Karnataka did not find a place in the list of states mentioned in the national anthem and wrote about its inclusion to the Prime Minister and President of India. Fully devoted to the Karnataka and Kannada, Alur breathed his last on 24th February 1964.

Although locals and several establishments in the area have adopted the new name, official BBMP records still refer to the road as Albert Victor Road. “Irrespective of what the name means, people just call it AV Road,” said Suresh Moona,a well know historian, adding that re-renaming the road at this juncture would only lead to unwarranted confusion for the administration and disappointment for the people. A proposal submitted by the city corporation council to rename AV Roads as Tipu Sultan Palace Road was recently met with opposition by a BJP-led delegation. A greater controversy threatened to break out when the corporation claimed that AV Road was officially registered as Albert Victor Road, and nowhere in government or postal records is Alur Venkat Rao Road mentioned.

Contributed by: B. Prerana, 9-D, Sri Kumaran Children’s Home CBSE

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