“I bow to Mysureans and the authorities for preserving the name and the glory of my great grandfather. I can feel the sanctity of the building that is maintained by the Mysureans. Perhaps this would be one of the proud and memorable moments of my life”, said the 29-year-old British Army Captain, James Lake Crawford, the great grandson of Col C W Crawford, speaking to City Today.
He was in the city on Friday to visit the Crawford Hall, the administrative building of University of Mysore. During his visit, he was also invited to grace the occasion of V-C, K S Rangappa’s son’s engagement. During his visit, he also shared some moments with former Prime Minister H D Devegowda, who hails from Hassan (Malenadu) who hugged the young Crawford calling them “Malenadu Hudugaru”.
All started when Samrat Changappa, the landlord of 100 acres estate ‘Hirvate Estate’ of Sakaleshapur taluk in Hassan District, found that his late grandfather had purchased the estate from Helen Gladys, the Niece of Col W L Crawford in 1960.
“I started searching for the Crawford family when I got to know the history of the estate and the mansion. I finally succeeded in finding them in ancestry.com. Later I contacted them and was finally able to bring them back to the country where David Crawford was born and spent his childhood for 10 years,” said 38-year-old Changappa.
Speaking to City Today, David Lake Crawford said: “I am tremendously amused to see that there are so many historical buildings in the state that are named after my ancestors. The government hospital in Sakaleshapur is named after him. I am overwhelmed by the love and affection shown by the people here. My father had always told me that he had his most mesmerising moments in India which he always cherished, and today I am here because of Changappa,” he added.
Speaking about the reunion of Crawford family, Changappa said: “The house in Hirvate estate, where W L Crawford lived till his last is getting its renovation completed by September 2017. The entire family of Crawford’s promised me to grace the occasion. I am happy to have the extended family in the form of the Crawfords,” he added.
W L Crawford who came to India at his age of 19 did not wish to go back to England as he wanted to spend his last days in India. After the independence, he requested the Maharaja of Mysore, Nalvadi Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar to grant him the citizenship and the Wadiyar had obliged.
W L Crowfard died in 1951. After four years, his niece Helen Gladys left to England along with her son David Lake Crawford. During his span in India W L Crawford established the Manjarabad Club and financially assisted the coffee research station in Balehonnur of Chikkamagaluru district.
David Lake Crawford and James Lake Crawford returned to England on Saturday, promising to be back again.
-By Manoj N sharma