The age-old name Mysore slided back into history when the State was rechristened ‘Karnataka’ to-day. Millions of Kannada speaking people went gay celebrating the occasion.
To the deafening cheers of the packed gathering at the Kanteerava Stadium, here, the Chief Minister, Mr. D. Devaraj Urs unveiled a granite commemoration tablet inscribing the new name and a map of the State, proclaiming the historic occasion. He also handed to the Governor, Mr. Mohanlal Sukhadia, a silver plaque of the map of Karnataka.
As the vast crowd jamming the stands burst into ovation, an Air Force helicopter showered petals and dipped in salute.
Earlier, the Chief Secretary to the Government, Mr. R.J. Rebellio, read the Government of India communication on the change in the name of the State.
The new name comes 17 years after the State’s reorganisation and after a long and fierce controversy which had highlighted a sharp division in opinion. Successive Governments had buckled under the weight of the controversy and had discreetly desisted from forcing a decision. The present Chief Minister, who was once himself opposed to the change in name, chose a propitious occasion.
The old name is now confined to the lovely city that has been the abode of the long line of Maharajas of the Wadiyar dynasty that ruled Mysore since the downfall of Tipu.
The scenes of jubilation in the State capital were reminiscent of the Independence Day celebrations. The city wore a festive look and all roads led to Kanteerava Stadium this morning.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Devaraj Urs said the occasion was the fulfilment of the long-cherished aspirations of the Kannada speaking people. He expressed the hope that the new name of the State would help in further promoting integration.
He recalled the contributions of the former rulers of Mysore to the enrichment of the glory of Karnataka. He outlined the development activities of the present Government, particularly in the fields of irrigation, power and education and congratulated the people on the fortitude with which they had faced last year’s drought situation.
He expressed the hope that with copious rains throughout the State this year there would be a bumper harvest and the hardships of the people would end.
The Governor, in a speech in Kannada, hailed the occasion. Earlier, the Mayor, Mr. A.K. Ananthakrishna, welcomed the gathering.
Hundreds gathered in front of the Vidhana Soudha to witness the colourful processions organised by the Karnataka Pradesh Congress and the Kannada chaluvaligars.
The main attraction was the image of Goddess Bhuvaneshwari mounted on a temple car. In the vanguard a torchbearer on horseback carried the “Kannada Jyoti.” The procession was accompanied by bands playing the traditional music of the State, and kolata and dance troupes. Tableaux mounted on lorries depicted the various phases of the history of the State. Notable were those of Tipu Sultan, Ecchama Nayaka, Rani Channamma of Kittor, Krishnadevaraya, Kaveri, Obavva and Gomateshwara.
Earlier, the Chief Minister, his colleagues and the Mayor drew the temple car carrying Goddess Bhuvaneshwari for a short distance. They accompanied the procession upto K.R. Circle.
The procession reached its destination Subhashnagar ground through Nrupathunga Road, Mysore Bank Square-Kempegowda Road and Chiklalbagh. Hundreds lined both sides of the roads. Decorated lorries carrying enthusiastic youngsters proudly displaying the red and yellow Kannada flag accompanied the procession.
The major ceremony, outside the State Capital, was in Hampi, the Capital of the historic Vijayanagar Empire, where a Karnataka Jyoti was lit. The Jyoti would be taken to Gadag where on November 3, it will be received by the Chief Minister and the former Maharaja of Mysore at the Veera Narayana Temple. The well known Kannada poet, Kumara Vyasa who wrote the Mahabharata is credited by history with having derived his poetic inspiration at the temple. The Jyoti will be taken round the other parts of the State later.
In Mysore City, ancient capital of Mysore rulers, 21 guns boomed early in the morning to mark the occasion. A map of Karnataka mounted on an elephant was taken in procession in the City. Prisoners were given remission.
The Kannada Chaluvaligar leader, Mr. Vatal Nagaraj celebrated the day by crowning the Chief Minister, Mr. Devaraj Urs, at the Vidhana Soudha by placing a filigreed Mysore turban on his head. He also presented him with a sword.