With many heritage buildings in Bengaluru rapidly vanishing off the map, the restoration of the iconic 110-year-old Fort High School comes as a relief for concerned citizens. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) officially began the restoration work for the structure on Thursday.
Situated in the city’s old Chamrajpet area, the once prestigious school has remained in a dilapidated state for several years. Today, it is hard to believe that the same school once produced luminaries like former cricketer G Viswanath, Sandalwood legend Shakti Prasad, and former Chief Minister of Karnataka Kengal Hanumanthaiah, among many others.
INTACH’s involvement with the school has lasted seven years. During this time, it has been in talks with the state government to plan the building’s restoration before turning to private funding.
The school was established during the reign of Maharaja Krishna Raja Wadiyar, when several strides were made in the field of education. His descendant and current Maharaja, Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar, presided as the chief guest at Thursday’s event.
Speaking at the event, he stressed the importance of preserving the city’s rapidly dwindling heritage.
“It is sad to see the current state of this building. Unfortunately, this is not the only building in this condition in the city. This is not the legacy we want to leave behind, not just in terms of tangible aspects but also intangible values. A child growing up in this school imbibes these values, and so it is vital that we leave behind a rich heritage,” he said.
The school was one of the first of its kind when it was established in 1908. An Anglo-vernacular government school, it taught eight languages – English, Kannada, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic. It was also one of the few reputed schools situated outside the British-controlled Cantonment area.
INTACH plans to make the school more eco-friendly, while restoration is set to be completed in one year.