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The man, his mite and Secunderabad

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Dewan Bahadur Ramgopal's statue PHOTO D. GOPALAKRISHNAN
Dewan Bahadur Ramgopal's statue PHOTO D. GOPALAKRISHNAN

Dewan Bahadur Ramgopal did more than just build DBR Mills

The clock tower at Secunderabad is the centrepiece of the 200-year celebrations of a firman issued by Nizam III Sikandar Jah naming this part of the city after himself on June 3, 1807. But who built the clock tower? A little off the tower, inside the manicured,razorwired and metal halide lamped park is a small fountain with the date of inauguration as February 1, 1897 by the then Resident Sir Trevor John Chichele Plowden. The project was completed in 1896, when Sir Trevor's daughter Pamela was carrying on a roaring affair with Winston Churchill (she didn't marry him as he was broke). But the clock tower inside the park thanks to the beneficence of Dewan Bahadur Seth Lachmi Narayan Ramgopal. It is the same Dewan Bahadur whose name now lives on in Dewan Bahadur Ramgopal Mills and Ramgopalpet. The clock at the Ramgopalpet Police Station was also donated by him in 1900 to the then James Street Police Station as was the belfry of the St John's Church, he also did his mite for the Town Hall that now houses the Legislative Assembly. You can see this generous man's statue in front of Paradise Hotel, a short puny man with a turban, jodhpurs, a pocket watch and clutching a piece of cloth in his left hand. The cloth links him to the mills he built on one fringe of the Hussainsagar Lake. For a young man who came from the boondocks of Rajura (now in Maharashtra), dabbled in imperial finance and shares building up a fortune was nothing short of an achievement. Today, as Secunderabad gets ready for the cake and candles, Seth Ramgopal's brass statue will be dislodged from its present location and moved inside the park opposite Paradise Hotel where it will lie incognito. Happy Birthday Secunderabad!SERISH NANISETTI

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