Monday, June 9, 2008

A faithful subject

Goday Narayana Gajapathi Rao has good reason to be thankful to Queen Victoria. It was she who, in 1881, elevated him from being a zamindar (holder of land) to being a Raja (King). The newly annointed Raja looked around for a fitting gesture of gratitude and decided on a statue in honour of the Queen Empress. And he timed it well; the statue took a while to be completed, but was ready in time for the Queen's Golden Jubilee.

And so the statue was unveiled on June 20, 1887. It was placed near the main entrance to the Senate House (of the University of Madras), on its southern side, looking across the road to the Chepauk Palace. Initially, the gates were right next to the statue and everyone coming in to the Senate House had to pass her scrutiny. Over time, the entrance gates shifted westwards. The statue moved out of immediate line-of-sight and now, it takes an effort for the preoccupied passer-by on Wallajah Road to look up and see the Queen.

Raja Goday's gratitude thankfully did not end with putting up this statue. He also founded the Victoria Diamond Jubilee Medical School in Vizagapatnam. It is quite likely he would be very upset with the way things are today - his Queen's statue ignored and the medical school renamed as Andhra Medical College. I wonder what the faithful subject would say!


Hilda said...

I love the story behind the sculpture! It's the stories that I love most about CDP photos, actually. Thank you.

Viswanathan said...

Hopefully he will stop with saying,'rubbish'.:)

Shantaram said...

>> Hilda>> Thank you! Let me know if there is any story about Chennai that you'd like to hear :)

>> Ottayan>> Believe he'd be too dumbstruck to say even that!

Stevenson Q said...

wow! beautiful photo and very interesting story! The statue is not just the one that's gorgeous but also the dome that's above it!

Thanks so much for the kind Birthday greeting, even though it's a bit late, it really means a lot! Thanks so much! Ho[e to see you soon on Cavite DP!


Hilda said...

Thank you for identifying that simple, white flower!

You're right, it is a periwinkle, but the Catharanthus variety (Madagascar periwinkle) rather than the Vinca periwinkle more common in northern countries.

Finally! I felt so bad for the poor, little thing.

Shantaram said...

>> Steven>> You will! I try to read your photoblog at least once a week.

>> Hilda>> Yay!