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New Indpress

Bangalore, Dec 4: With 17 months to spare for the inauguration of greenfield international airport, coming-up on the outskirts of Bangalore, the name game has begun. Names of more than half-a-dozen historical figures have cropped up for the new airport.

While City founder Kempe Gowda looks like a forerunner for the International Airport name, Kannada Thespian late Dr Rajkumar and visionary statesman Sir M Visveswaraya too, do not lag behind.

In addition, there is also the name of Tipu Sultan who was born in Devanahalli and had a special attachment with the place, along with Mallabhairagowda, who built Devanahalli in 1551.

Among the names, Tipu Sultan’s name appears more relevant as this warrior was born in Devanahalli in the mid-17th century. Several speculations have been made on the exact year of his birth, with history books terming it as November 20, 1750 AD. But some historians say that he was born in 1753.

Hyder Ali’s second wife Fakhrunnisa (Fathima) was on her way to Devanahalli fort for her first delivery. Before she could reach the fort, she gave birth to her first son Tipu. Young Tipu spend his childhood of 15 years in Devanahalli fort, where most of his education and artillery training took place. Even during his last years he often visited this place.

According to research head of Discover Bangaluru Arun Prasad, Tipu developed the Devanahalli fort after he took over from his father Hyder Ali.

“He installed the famous gun powder factory at Devanahalli, which supplied ammunition for the rocket manufacturing unit at Taramandalpet near City Market area,” he said. When asked about Kempegowda, he said, though Kempe Gowda does not directly belong to Devanahalli, his ancestors belonged to Devanahalli.

Arun Prasad asserted that the fort renovated by Tipu still exists in Devanahalli, and with the international airport coming-up, the area can be developed as a heritage spot.

However, CEO of Bangalore International Airport Albert Bruner is not keen in the name game right now. “Our prime focus is to get the airport ready before the deadline. Let’s get the airport ready first. It will be the collective decision that will decide the name of the airport,” he said.