BANGALORE : Bangaloreans came together for a cause again. On Sunday, it was the historical Balabrooie Guest House.
Scores of people descended on the heritage structure demanding that the government reconsider its proposal to convert it into a club house for legislators. The Save Balabrooie Campaign committee met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who announced that the heritage structure won’t be demolished.
The gathering comprised activists and the general public, including toddlers with their parents.
Singer Raghu Dixit, who was also part of the gathering, said he was aghast upon hearing about the government’s reported move earlier.
“I just hope that good sense prevails. If one heritage property is demolished, there are several others that follow. Bangalore, a few decades ago, had several such buildings. Nowadays, hardly any are seen.
“The entire property is very serene and should be left untouched,” he said.
Holding placards against cutting trees on the Balabrooie premises, the protesters said that some of the trees were as old the guest house itself, which was built over 150 years ago.
Artiste Vimala Rangachar said she has been a regular visitor to the Balabrooie Guest House for several years. “It feels sad to imagine that the government actually thought of demolishing the structure. If it is demolished, what do we have for the future generations? Several eminent persons, including Winston Churchill stayed here. I feel that the entire premises could be developed as a museum or a gallery instead,” she opined.
Eric Savage, an American who has been residing in Bangalore for the past eight years, said the government would be ‘crazy’ to even contemplate such a move. “If the politicians want a club house, they can always join a club, several of which dot the city. Monuments like the Balabrooie Guest House need to be preserved for generations. The quality of construction of the Guest House is impeccable, and it would be an absolute shame to raze down such a structure in the name of a modern facility,” he said.
Suresh Moona, a historian, said that the state earlier had the Karnataka Heritage Society, which was later converted into the Urban Arts Commission which oversaw heritage structures in the city. “Sadly, this entity has been scrapped. Currently, there is no regulatory authority to protect heritage structures.
Actor Vasundhara Das termed Bangalore as the “erstwhile garden city.” Das opined that the exponential growth that the city is witnessing has eaten into such structures.