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None to grieve for this Jacaranda

It stood alone on the Dewan’s Road. This flowering tree was the only Jacaranda tree, a nature’s living monument, left on this leading road in Mysore. At the turn of the 19th century, Sir Seshadri Iyer, the Dewan of Mysore from 1883 to 1901, lived here. He was a famous administrator. He pioneered power supply in the then princely State of Mysore by building the first hydro-electric project at Sivasamudram.

Not just Mysore State, it was the first such power generating station in the entire South-east Asia. The maiden line drawn from the power station provided electricity to the Bhadravathi Iron and Steel Mills, now named after the man who built the steel mill, the famous Sir M.Visvesvaraya. It was for moving ore from the iron ore-rich Kemmangundi hills.

During Seshadri Iyer’s period, the then not-much-known Swami Vivekananda visited Mysore and stayed behind the Dewan’s bungalow. Opposite the Dewan’s bungalow was the residence of M. Venkatakrishnayya, the ‘Thatayya’ of Mysore. A strong critic of the Dewan, the grand old man (Thatayya) founded a number of educational and other institutions and pioneered journalism in Mysore.

Because the Dewan lived here, the Road bore his name. This stretch of the Seshadhri Iyer Road, now popularly known as the Dewan’s Road, had rows of Jacaranda trees on either side. It was refreshing to walk on the Dewan’s Road as in many other roads of the then capital city of the princely state.

The Jacarandas’ beau geste in the flowering season was a refreshing sight for the prominent as well as the ordinary who strode on this road those days. Full with beautiful bell-shaped blue flowers, these tall trees offered an endearing sight. The fallen flowers spread a lovely carpet on the ground. One would avoid walking on them lest one may trample and crush them.

After the raj-era, the road began to witness a change, more so when the Town Planning Authority unimaginatively declared it a commercial road. Government and private agencies took possession of the residential bungalows to set up their offices. The ‘obstructing’ Jacarandas began to disappear. However, this Jacaranda had escaped the brutal axe, may be because as it was in front of a residential bungalow -- the only house left like the solitary Jacaranda.

Over the years, the aged and bent double Jacaranda was protruding towards the road. Unmindful the way it was shaping itself, it continued to shower its beau geste, flowering every season, reminding the old Mysoreans of the glorious past of the avenue trees on the Road.

Recently, an odd glass modern structure came up there, an unimaginative one amdist the old Mysore styled heritage bungalows.

The other day, shockingly, only the stump remained where the lonely tree stood. Like so many other huge avenue trees that are facing the brutal axe to accommodate the increasing flow of the increasing number of vehicles, this solitary Jacaranda too had disappearered into the unwritten pages of history -- none to grieve, none to pay homage.

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