The rapid urbanisation of
has seen many
landmarks and heritage buildings and areas razed to the ground. What many do
not know is that the establishment of the Cantonment by the British in Bangalore in 1806
signalled the beginning of the end of the Pete or Pettah area. Bangalore
When the British decided to shift their troops from Srirangapatna to
they compelled the ruling Wodeyar King of
to transfer more than 9000 acres of land near Ulsoor lake to them for building
a modern military establishment. Mysore
John Blackiston was entrusted with designing of the Cantonment. The British preferred to bring labourers and other people from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and ignored the old Pete or Pettah area which till 1799 was ruled by Tipu Sultan. They preferred to let the Pete area to be handled by the Mysore Government.
The moat around the fort was dried and the thorns surrounding them to a distance of 100 yards removed. The British guarded the Cantonment zealously and did not permit natives from the Pete to enter Cantonment.
Entry to Cantonment was regulated and Indians had to obtain passes to visit Cantonment, which soon became the second biggest garrison of the British in
India. The Cantonment had broad roads, avenue lined trees, lakes
and tanks, parks, tastefully designed bungalows and vast open spaces,
playgrounds, churches and of course military barracks.
The old pete continued to be grossly neglected. While the Pete areas were highly congested and overpopulated, the Cantonment soon overtook the pete both in terms of population and trade. The revenues of the Cantonment grew and more and more people migrated to the
Till 1911, the population of Cantonment continued to outstrip that of the Pete. new City
It was Kempe Gowda who laid out the petes in 1537 with permission from the Vijayanagar Emperor, Achuta Deva Raya. The Bangalore Pete area, which is rectangular, covers 2.5 km from east to west and 1.5 km from north to south. It was initially laid out north of the fort. Kempe Gowda had segregated each pete according to a particular trade and this continued well into the reigns of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan and even later.
Both Kempe Gowda I and his son Kempe Gowda II invited businessmen, traders and artisans to settle down in
and each class
of traders got a separate pete or locality. This is how Doddapet or big market,
Chickpet or small market, Balepet or locality of bangle makers, Akki pete or rice
market, Uppara pet or salt sellers area, Kumbara pet or pot makers area,
Ganigarapet or oil makers and Arale pet or Cottonpet (textiles) came up. Bangalore
However, once the Wodeyars took over the Pete area and the British the Cantonment,
once again picked up activity in
commerce. People living in Pete areas began modifying their dwelling houses
into commercial and business establishments. Since the petes had limited space,
commercial establishments came up on the ground floor and houses on the first
and second floors. Many landmark buildings were either pulled down or converted
into business houses. The old Bangalore in Chickpet
was demolished to make way for buildings. Several houses, built decades
earlier, were either repaired or pulled down to make way for business houses. palace
Soon, almost all independent houses in the petes made way for commercial establishments and even today the petes such as Balepet, Chickpet, Doddapet, Cottonpet, Mamulpet, Taramandalpet, Ranasinghpet, Nagarthpet, Akkipet and others areas host a variety of shops, business establishments and commercial outlets.
The explosion of trade and commerce in the pete areas and the rush of people forced the Government to go in for new layouts which were purely residential in nature and character. The great plague of 1898, which affected the pete, led to the founding of Basavanagudi and Malleswaram. Other localities soon followed.
Thus, the pete city is the only known example in south
of transforming itself into a commercial
hub. There is no other such example. India
Today, the Pete is in the heart of
and it has a population of over 2 lakhs. It lends itself to diverse land use
with residential comprising 37.5 per cent, commercial: 34.6 per cent and industrial:
6.1 per cent. Medarpete
is home to more than 500 families of Rajput community, while Muslims predominate
Kumbarpete. The pete even today has temples, mosques and even churches,
jostling for space with wholsesale traders and small retailers. Bangalore
The pete has the largest informal economy in
A special feature of the Pete is the
concentration of its activities on certain streets and neighbourhoods. The best
example is the textile industry of Cubbonpet. Such specialization has encouraged
access to information, led to formation of shop owners associations, distilled social
regulations such as live-work culture. Bangalore
One of the best description of the pete is found in Maratha chronicles called Bhaker such as Shiva Bhaker which described
of the period as a prosperous trading centre, stocked with shops selling goods
and merchandise. The British work, “The Military History of Madras Engineers
and Pioneers from 1743 up to the Present Time”, compiled by H.M. Vibart (1881).
Bangalore as a
major trading centre is also described in his work by Francis Buchanan. Bangalore
Bangalore in 1800, just a few months after the death of
Tipu in Srirangapatna in 1799 and he gives us a vivid account of Bangalore,
and Srirangapatna. He says Mysore
was known for its varied products and commodities like blankets, cotton, silk,
yarn, betel nut, black pepper, sandalwood and salt. He also says Bangalore had several
industrial units relating to tanning, oil pressing and gunny manufacture. Bangalore
Another work on
India: A handbook for European travelers by W. S.
Caine. The Illustrations in the book serialized by The Spectator were by John
Pedder, H. Sheppard Dale, and H. H. Stanton. Bangalore
The book was first published 1890 by G. Routledge & sons, limited. Here, Caine says the pete has handsome houses of prosperous merchants.
Today, the houses may have gone but the trades remain and till the middle of the 20th century they drove the economy of
It was only when big public sector units set shop here and Bangalore became a manufacturing hub that the
pete took a back seat. Bangalore
Even the Government and the agencies have now realized the importance of keeping the Pete tradition and economy alive. The Infrastructure Development Corporation (Karnataka) Limited has come up with a pre-feasibility report on revitalizing the pete area and reviving its economy.