Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bangalore calling: it all goes way back…

Bangalore calling: it all goes way back…

Sharath S. Srivatsa

BANGALORE: From the fall of Tipu’s empire to the rise of the information technology, Bangalore has witnessed a sea change in its demographic profile. Assisted by the cool climate, historical links with the neighbouring regions, opening up of employment avenues and the Mysore royalty’s eagerness to bring intellectual wealth, the city that took to its fold many linguistic minorities today presents a medley of cultures.

A large British Army presence in the Cantonment area after the fall of Tipu Sultan brought with it a number of Tamil-speaking population, who either were attached to the military or were military suppliers. In fact, the area was administered directly by the Madras Presidency, and was handed over to the Mysore State only in 1949. Today, the erstwhile Cantonment area comprising Ulsoor, Shivajinagar, Benson Town, Richard’s Town, Frazer Town, Austin Town, Richmond Town, Cox Town, Murphy Town and others still boast a large Tamil populace.
Textile industry boom

The textile industry boom in the early part of 20th Century also witnessed migration from the Madras Presidency. Some of the very well known mills of the time — Binny Mills, Maharaja Mills, Minerva Mills and Suryodaya Mills — employed Tamil-speaking people in large numbers, who settled down in areas such as Srirampura and partially in Chamarajpet.

While the migration of Tamil-speaking population to Bangalore was a result of the presence of British troops, people from the Telugu-speaking region initially came to Bangalore on invitation by the Mysore royalty.

Many big landlords from Andhra and Telangana region were lured to Bangalore for its cool summers, and bought properties here. The Kumara Park area was among their favourite localities in Bangalore, and the area boasted big bungalows owned by the land-owning gentry as well as some royal family.

However, the old Bangalore area around Avenue Road had many Telugu-speaking traders migrated to Bangalore much earlier, and there were localities named as Shettipete and Telugupete that which were predominantly Telugu-speaking. The construction boom in the 1980s also brought huge Telugu populations from Anantapur and surrounding areas.
Malabar traders

Migration from Kerala to Bangalore was around the beginning of the 20th Century when a number of traders from the Malabar region settled here for business. The number of migrants increased with the establishment of public sector undertakings in the 1950s-60s, and improving educational standards also brought a large number of students from Kerala.

The arrival of the Marathi-speaking population in Bangalore was a historical process when Bangalore region was under the Maratha rule. Though they are spread across the city, some Marathis concentration can be found at Rajajinagar, Srirampura, Munireddypalya and old Chikpet areas.

Appointment of eminent personalities such as Sir Albion Bannerjee and Sir Brajendranath Seal by the Mysore royalty, along with several other prominent persons in the field of education and administration, brought many Bengali families.


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