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History of bangalore - then

After much deliberation, it was decided that I should join College from the next academic year. With a little bit of influence I got admission to the prestigious St.Josephs College in Bangalore. This college was situated in the Bangalore cantonment area and was affiliated to the Madras University and so there was not much of a problem as the Calicut school from where I passed SSLC was also affiliated to the Madras University. A question arises here. Why was the St.Joseph’s College affiliated to far off Madras University and not Mysore University? Bangalore is in fact comprised of two cities in those days prior to independence and was separated by the vast stretch of beautiful gardens more famously known as the Cubbon Park. In this stretch of land stood the majestic Attara Kutcheri the seat of the Government of the day. Facing the building was the awe inspiring statue of Sir Mark Cubbon, riding a horse, the then Resident of the British Government. There was an imaginary border between the two parts of the town culturally so different that even the language spoken was different, one part Kannada and the other Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and mostly English which was the language of administration. While the whole State was under the Maharaja’s administration with the Dewan as the Executive Head, roughly half of Bangalore was under the British Resident appointed by the British rulers to keep an effective control over the Maharaja of Mysore who was ruling the State independently. The area under the British Resident predominantly comprised of a number of army regiments under military administration. Hence it was called a Cantonment. The area had its own civil administration as well with its own police and municipal wings. The area was also known as the “Civil and Military Station”. Many of the thoroughfares sported army related names like Infantry Road, Cavalry Road, South Parade besides the King’s Road, the Queen’s Road, Lady Curzon Road, Cubbon Road etc. During the war years it was common to see British soldiers and the native army men rubbing shoulders with local population. A large number of prisoners of war, mainly Italians, were stationed near the city. They were good footballers and were brought to the city to play against local teams on week ends. I have seen a few of those matches and had thoroughly enjoyed. In fact I became a fan of the Italians and cursed the Army for holding them in prison camps. However the British soldiers roamed free in the town spending money lavishly. I recall an incident one late evening when my father was returning home from office he saw one large wallet lying on the practically deserted road. He picked it up and seeing a large wad of currency notes was wondering whom it belonged to. On scrutiny he found the identification of a British soldier. He saw two British soldiers apparently drunk walking ahead of him in an inebriated state. He briskly approached them to hand over the purse. Even in that drunken state the soldier identified his purse and was trying to hand over a wad of notes to my father as thanksgiving but my father politely refused it.

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