Military might in Bangalore

Much can be written about the armed forces stationed in Bangalore – in particular, the army. One can see/feel their presence in many parts of the city – Cubbon Road, Ejipura, Ulsoor, Jeevanhalli, Yelahanka etc, etc – what with their messes, housing quarters, barracks, training grounds, offices, farms & what have you. The Bangalore Military School on Hosur Road, the Kendriya Vidyalaya’s are some of the schools for children of defence personnel. Jalahalli is the place where the Air Force folks have their base.

At this point, perhaps I should harken back to as far as 1638, when Bangalore was given to Shahji, the Maratha chieftain, as his personal jagir as a reward for his victory, and he promptly realised its military & strategic importance. In the mid-18th century, the father & son duo of Haidar Ali & Tipu Sultan emerged and laid their impress on Bangalore making it an important military centre of logistic significance. The beginning of the 19th Century saw the shifting of the British troops from Srirangapatana to Bangalore.

It would be churlish – but topical – to mention here that, collectively, the armed forces own the largest chunk of real estate (I do not mean in a commercial aspect but as in ‘space’ or if you wish, ‘land’) in Bangalore. But being the broad minded (increasingly, it seems, a rare quality) souls that they are, they have recently agreed to part with some of their property on Old Madras Road to facilitate road widening. Anyway.

The MEG i.e Madras Engineering Group have been around since 225 years. Below is a pic of the imposing entrance to their HQ. The Engineers are successors to the famed ‘Sappers’. The Sappers themselves began as the ‘Pioneers’ and were created in Madras in 1780. In 1865, Bangalore became the HQ. Cut to the present.

meg_entrance.jpg

A battle tank to commemorate their participation in World War II & completion of 225 years of service is installed at a place adjoining the Ulsoor lake, near Assaye Road. Further details can be read here. Here’s a wikipedia entry on the battle tank in question.

ulsoor_tank.jpg

Hmmmm…a lake beside a tank…isn’t that a nice contra-distinction in terms,eh? Or, proof of the concept of ‘liquid engineering’?? Arrrgh – the heat’s getting to me, I can assure you.

;)

Credits: Bangalore, the Story of a City by Maya Jayapal, Pg. 16,17,23,48

1 Comment so far

  1. Archana (unregistered) on May 15th, 2006 @ 3:39 am

    I could actually feel happy thinking abt the space that they own or lets say “grabbed” as Devegowda ji puts it :P Specially the IAF and BSF around Yelahanka and IAF alone at Jalahalli… come to think of it, these are some of the widest green belts around Bangalore.. With the international airport springing up at Devanahalli, I’ll be more than happy if the IAF and BSF spaces are not commercialised and are instead preserved.



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