Project also to set up Defence Library and Research Centre; Plan submitted to CM Siddharamaiah, gets a positive response
By M.T. Yogesh Kumar
Mysore/Mysuru: As the country is celebrating 76th Independence Day on Aug. 15, a befitting War Museum in Mysuru city is gaining ground and what better place to establish the Museum than the Old Deputy Commissioner’s (DC) Office, a heritage building. Incidentally, the War Memorial is being constructed at the NCC Parade Grounds.
Located adjacent to the Old DC’s Office and right in front of the NCC Group Headquarters, the War Memorial serves as a symbol of deep respect for the sacrifices made by the Defence Forces and it is an ideal place to have a War Museum in vicinity.
A proposal has been submitted to Chief Minister (CM) Siddharamaiah to convert the Old DC’s Office into a ‘War Museum and Defence Library and Research Centre’ by KAS Officer C.L. Ananda, who is currently serving as Mangaluru City Corporation Commissioner.
He had earlier served in Mysuru as the Assistant Commissioner and as an Ex-Serviceman himself, he had taken active interest and was deeply involved in establishing the War Memorial that is taking shape in Mysuru city.
According to sources, the proposal was submitted to the CM when he was in Mangaluru recently and the CM gave a positive response, while appreciating the works done on the Memorial using granite stones that were donated by quarry owners.
Dept. of Sainik Welfare and Resettlement
In fact, it was Ananda who first mooted the idea of the War Museum way back in 2018 when he was the Special Deputy Commissioner of Bagalkot District. In a communiqué to Brig. S.B. Sajjan (Retd.) Director of Department of Sainik Welfare and Resettlement, Bengaluru, Ananda had highlighted the need of setting up a War Museum in Mysuru.
Welcoming the idea, Brig. Sajjan then wrote to the then Principal Secretary of the Revenue Department Dr. E.V. Ramana Reddy to consider the War Museum proposal. Now with the presentation made by Ananda to the CM, the issue is back in focus and now the Old DC Office is lying vacant as the functioning departments have been shifted to the new District Office Complex in Siddarthanagar.
In his presentation to Siddharamaiah, Ananda has mentioned that this building is appropriate for a ‘War Museum, Defence Library and Research Centre’ and will be a feather in the cap of the Heritage City of Mysuru as it will be housed in a heritage building, enriching its cultural and archaeological value.
It can be a first-of-its-kind Museum that will play a greater role in creating awareness on patriotism among young minds of the future generation and it can make an impact on every visitor.
Composition and governance
The Department of Sainik Welfare and Resettlement can take up the responsibility of creating and maintaining the museum and establish a system of governance that is guided by policies that set standards for the institution. The Board that will govern the Museum will be responsible for ensuring that the Museum is financially viable and ethically sound, the proposal adds.
Once the War Museum is established, there can be a Board of Trustees, Director, technical and administrative staff, curator, collections management (responsible for the hands-on care, movement and storage of objects), Registrar, educator, exhibit designer and a conservator. The proposal mentions the duties and responsibilities of the Director and staff separately.
If the War Museum can be housed at the ground floor of the Old DC Office, the first floor can be used to establish a Defence Library and Research Centre in the heritage building that has 27 big rooms with a floor area of 30,000 sq. ft.
The fully computerised library can accommodate more than 1 lakh books covering the areas of national security, defence strategy, military affairs, nuclear issues, international relations, conflict and peace studies, terrorism, related subjects and various reports. An Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) facility can also be implemented, the proposal said.
Defence and Strategic Studies at UoM
Ananda has also stated in the proposal that the University of Mysore (UoM) has approved a proposal to introduce undergraduate and post-graduate education in Defence and Strategic Studies in accordance with the New Education Policy (NEP) and a Department of Defence and Strategic Studies will soon be established.
Additionally, a proposal has been forwarded to establish an Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC – R&R – rest and relaxation) Centre in Mysuru. The Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) plays a crucial role in providing healthcare during peace and conflict, with increasing demand requiring infrastructure upgrades.
Presently, there’s one Armed Forces Medical College in Pune, established in 1948. Given the strategic significance of the Southern Command Theatre of War, establishing another vital AFMC is essential and Mysuru is an ideal location for this purpose.
A befitting tribute to war history
Mysuru holds a proud military history. A significant moment was the Imperial Armed Forces’ role in liberating Haifa in Israel on Sept. 23, 1918, during World War I. The bravery of soldiers from the Princely State of Mysore under Maharaja Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar was remarkable.
The Maharaja drafted 5,000 men and donated Rs. 50 lakh to the India War Fund, contributing to victory in this intense battle. Post-Independence, Karnataka produced military stalwarts, including Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa, the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces and more distinguished officers known for their valour and leadership. This illustrious history is a case for setting up a War Museum in Mysuru.