15 August 2021
Maj Manivannan P
Secretary to the Govt of Karnataka
Dept of Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Sciences (AHVS) & Minority Welfare
Subject: Heritage Spaces at AHVS, Karnataka
Thank you for your exceptional leadership of this department and the many transformational initiatives you have led. While we completely understand that the focus of the department is naturally to optimise on animal husbandry and veterinary services, we thought it appropriate to bring to your attention some of the wonderful spaces within the AHVS umbrella that need some attention and preservation and perhaps even showcasing. There is rich history and many stories in addition to architectural heritage present. The Commissioner was also interested in this heritage.
The Queens Vet Hospital or Cantonment Super specialty Hospital on Queens Road itself is a 1908 Heritage structure going back over a century! It is important for us to celebrate and showcase impact made by this unit on the dairy and equine industry in the country, not just the city, in the last century as well as highlighting the best quality vet care to a growing city. I can share some of the links. Some of the structures and perhaps all the buildings inside require a little work and upkeep and we are happy to coordinate and provide any support or inputs to highlight its heritage status. As you might know, Heritage Beku in its Knights for Queens campaign 4 years ago, took an extremely solid stance to protect this heritage and saved over 91 trees in the premises, in addition to ensuring the balance Heritage structures were not destroyed. In the last year BMRCL has cut through the back of the hospital grounds, and demolished ( a newer) building while blocking access to the main road. Once work is over , we must ensure the resident vets house and storerooms are recovered and merged back. There are also heritage terracotta tiles , stables and a small animal block at the rear. While the focus now may be primarily a matter of the 24/7 hospital functioning, it is just important for us to be able to showcase and mainstream the back story of these historic premises into the daily functioning of the hospital and inculcate a sense of ownership and pride in it with doctors and teams, as well as with customers and visitors. It may be a vet hospital but it is also historic!
The other heritage structures include a very small SPCA at Cubbon Park, located next to the Govt Aquarium at Kasturba Road (which probably comes under the AHVS or Fisheries department), and has been leased out to Karuna for the last two decades for some odd reason. Karuna should be disallowed from using this space especially since it has gone into disuse. This small room can be easily used to have a heritage feel with posters etc and also coordinate as a rescue POC for the Park dogs. A letter to The DD, Cubbon Park, Horticulture Dept, and Cubbon Park on highlighting and maintaining this charming structure is enclosed. Given its charming 19thcentury architecture and interesting colonial history, we urge you to do whatever we can to preserve and highlight this whimsical and impactful structure that is located so well in the heart of Bangalore.
Opposite Cantonment station is another such heritage structure, earlier part of the Queens Vet Hospital, now an office to the Karnataka Poultry Federation. The rear of the scantily used building abuts the Queens Vet hospital. However small and dilapidated it may be, a little bit of work including removing of the large hoarding in front of the structure would help showcase this nearly a century old building that was originally a caretaker’s residence.
I do understand they would be other places scattered across rest of the state. The Hessaraghata guesthouse/building too has an interesting history and architectural interest, I hear and deserves active use , preservation and highlighting. It may be interesting to start listing these structures as and when time permits.
While budgets and pressure of work may not allow extensive renovation or conservation, we only request that these buildings be used well, but preserved and not altered or demolished in anyway. By bringing out and highlighting the heritage elements of several of the AHVS and Fisheries properties, it accentuates the pride not only in state history and heritage but also the origins and evolution of the vibrant Animal Husbandry Department in the state. Showcasing this in the AHVS website would also demonstrate the department’s interest in sustainability and its consciousness of its own history and origins.
We hope that this note will highlight a hitherto lesser known facet of the department. At Heritage Beku, we are happy to have a discussion with a dynamic and inclusive leader like you on any ideas or thoughts we could collaborate on. We look forward to your support for the heritage of your department .
Founder, Heritage Beku