From a thriving bazaar to a garbage-strewn dump: Tracing the history of Bengaluru’s KR Market

A nice piece by Theja Ram on history of Bangalore’s famous K.R. Market. The initial KR stand for Krishna Rajendra Wadiyar who gave the market an uplift in 1921.

What is interesting to know is that the KR market was a battle ground earlier:

Bengaluru’s KR Market area is today synonymous with garbage-strewn streets, footpaths filled with muck and the smell of urine. 

Before the Third Anglo-Mysore war, which was fought between Tipu Sultan and the British, the current city market area was a lake – Siddikatte, named after one of Kempe Gowda’s relatives.

However, during the war, the current market area had become a battlefield as it was a buffer zone between the Bangalore Fort and Avenue Road, which was earlier called Doddapete.

“This battlefield played an important role. The Mysore War broke out in 1790 and the British army captured numerous forts in Tamil Nadu and later reached Bangalore sometime in March 1791. The British Army capture modern-day Halasuru Gate and laid siege to the Bangalore Fort area,” said Mansoor Ali, an architect and administrator of Facebook Page – Bangalore Photos of a Bygone Age.

Bahadur Khan, the Kotwal of the Bangalore fort, along with 2,000 soldiers of Tipu’s army, resisted aggressively. “The British were scared to enter the fort and they tried to camp in the open area in front of the fort. This battle lasted for two weeks with no result. After that, the British Army Chief, Lord Cornwallis, attacked the fort at midnight, against the rules of war. Tipu’s army was unprepared for it and got defeated. On March 20, 1791, the English Army captured Bangalore Fort,” said Mansoor Ali.

After the British occupied Bangalore Pete, the battlefield became a public place. The remnants of the battle had led to the lake being filled with rubble and dirt.

“The lake was filled up and since it was heavily polluted, the British decided to make it a public place. Gradually, the vendors from Doddapete began selling fruits and vegetables. Merchants and vendors from neighbouring villages also came to sell their produce and it became a flourishing market,” Mansoor Ali said.

In 1921, Krishna Rajendra Wadiyar IV, built the new market building, which is currently located in the south of KR Market complex. On September 7, 1927, the Maharaja, who sat on an elephant, came in a procession to erect the pavilion near KR Market. This was to mark the occasion of the then Mysore State’s silver jubilee and to commemorate it, a park near the market was named Silver Jubilee Park.

Hmm

It is again a pity that much of economics textbooks have converted this market into an abstract construct. So mus so, students of economics just forget to notice that markets are pretty much everywhere as you step outside the class. Just that we forget to notice.

And India has so many of such markets/bazaars. Some have a long history and legacy as well. But none of this is impressed upon economics students. The least students studying economics in different parts should know is about evolution of the big markets in their respective locations.

Why have we made economics so abstract?

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