Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Skeletons tumble from Bangalore’s closet

Skeletons tumble from Bangalore’s closet
Bangalore, August 25, DH News Service:

Who is Campa Gond? According to a report on Medical Topography and Statistics published in 1844, Campa Gond was the ‘Romulus of Bangaloor’.

Yes, it is none other than the founder of Bangalore, Kempe Gowda. Bangalore is termed as ‘Bangaloor’ or ‘Bangalooria’ and according to the report, that was the term used by the ‘natives’.

These are some of the interesting records, along with old photographs, on display at the Exhibition of Archival Images of pre colonial and colonial Bangalore, at the Indian Council of Historical Research.

The exhibition has collections of water colour impressions by James Hunter of Tipu’s palace (1792), pictures of Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple, Bull Temple, St Marks Church, Cubbon Park, GPO, Mayo Hall, Attara Kacheri and Commercial Street.

A write up by an Anglo-Indian Chaplain, which appeared in the Chamber’s Journal in 1882, states, “I wrote a letter and carried it to the post office, where I inquire the price of postage to Bangalore. The official looked at me dumbfounded, and speedily reduced me to a similar condition when he made the Scotch reply: ‘Bangalore, Where is it? Is it in the West Indies or the East?’ I had not been many months in the country when I found that this post-office official wasn’t the only one who had a hazy idea as to the whereabouts of Bangalore.”

Later in the article, the Chaplain rues, “And yet so strangely perverse is human nature, there are to be found not a few of these intelligent Hindus who sigh for the ‘good old times’ and do not hesitate to say to us: ‘All very well, Sahib, but oh, give us back our old Raj!’ It is difficult to make the Hindus grateful to us, and it is almost an impossibility to make them love us.”

Inaugurating the event on Saturday, Jnanpith awardee U R Ananthmurthy spoke about the existence of old, modern and ultra modern consciousness in a single household, and this being a defining feature of most families. Appreciating the collection of photographs, he said that research on the City would yield so many different experiences.

Professor at Bangalore University, Surendra Rao expanded on the Cantonments in Bangalore, and how they led to unconscious demarcation of the rulers and ruled, by creating areas for the rulers, which were cleaner, organised and fashionable area with all civic amenities. The subtle demarcation continues even today as these areas are still sought after by people and are considered the ideal place for living, he explained.
The exhibition is on till August 30.

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