Thursday, 17 August 2017

Remakkable British Officer Lord Mark Cubbon, builder of Mysore!!

Daily thousands of people visit the beautiful lush green park called Cubbon park in the heart of Bangalore city. Have we ever thought about who was Cubbon and why is the park named after him? With some exception, almost everybody will be blinking his eyes!

Sir Mark Cubbon,Commissioner, mysore State.Revolvy

 Lieutenant-General Sir Mark Cubbon KCB (23 August 1775 – 23 April 1861) was a British army officer during the East India company rule in India. He was a stickler for discipline and made a mark for  himself as an excellent administrator of  extraordinary efficiency, foresight and commitments. He was the longest  the British Commissioner of Mysore in 1834 if Karnataka (the areas that were once under the Mysore kingdom) state is what is today, it is because of Sir Cubbon.. 

During his tenure, he vastly improved the administration and  established  law and order system, besides introducing effective judicial and economic reforms. which stood in good stead in the later years. Prompt actions and correct execution in various fields helped improve the economy of Mysore. He tirelessly worked hard until 1860 when his poor-health forced him to resign the job and he left for England for the first time since his arrival in India as an humble employee in 1800. In 1802, he joined 2nd Madras Battalion. To put it in a nut shell, he was a Karma Yogi, a dedicated  worker whose level of efficiency is unimaginable. This is one of the reasons why the Kingdom of Mysore during the tumultuous 1957 Sepoy Mutiny did not experience any impact. Further, there was nothing to complain about the administration of  Lord Cubbon who was considerate to the natives and never interfered in their religious freedom, etc. 

Statue of Mark Cubbon, High Court,Bangalore Wikimapi

Born  at the vicarage of Maughold, Isle of Man on 23 August 1775, his father was Vicar Thomas Cubbon and his mother was Margaret Wilks. Cubbon was their 7th child and had his early education in a local Parish school before studying under the tutorship of Maddrell of Ramsey. His uncle Mark Wilks got a job for him  and he joined EIC as a cadet in Calcutta, India in the summer of 1801. Being efficient and devoted to duty as he was, it is natural, he slowly claimed the ladder of promotions in succession; mostly he held military appointments  in many parts of India. He became a Major in November 1823 and later a Lieutenant-Colonel on 22 April 1826.

ISLE OF MAN Presentation Pack 1985 SIR MARK CUBBON 10% eBay

Upon the death of  Tipu Sultan in 1799, the British had restored the former Hindu royal family of Mysore under Krishna Raja Wodeyar III, then a minor child with (Purnaiah, minister in Tipu's rule) to administer the kingdom. As corruption and the unfair revenue system remained unsolved, this led to a serious uncontrollable uprising in 1831. At last, it was controlled with the help of the British. A commission was formed to go into the root causes of this uprising. Cubbon was one of the members and the report pointed out poor governance. Gov. General William Bentinck decided to put the kingdom under the direct British control with a resident commissioner -.  Cubbon  in June 1834. The Commissioner was literally the ruler of Mysore kingdom. and the responsibility fell on Sir Mark Cubbon to run the state.

 When the  British took over the administration on 19 October 1831,Cubbon's first  priority was law and order. From 1831 to 1881 the British controlled the kingdom. In those days,  across the kingdom disputes were settled with vigilantism that would end in murder of parties in dispute. Cubbon appointed Silladars or native horsemen who would provide services to the government for a fixed monthly charge. He gave them better pay to avoid corruption, etc. Thus he created a huge force of 4000 horses under various regiments in many taluks. Police force  was introduced in   July 1834, to prevent thefts, etc. He employed people to take care of civil services, road repairs, avoid sandalwood cutting,etc. The offenders had to pay  hefty fine. He favoured  a uniform code of law across all classes  in the Kingdom of Mysore. Particularly, he was quite bullish on crimes.

Cubbon introduced strict administration based on codes. There was no  room for corruption in the revenue department  and court officers holding extreme Wahabi tenets. He formed  nine departments or kacheris: revenue (dewan), posts (anche), police (,kandachar), public works (maramat), military (sowar and barr), medical, public cattle (Amrit Mahal)  and judiciary. Cubbon  encouraged the use of  Kannada and Marathi over Urdu or Hindi in the official work to avoid complications.

 When Cubbon was at the helm, Bangalore saw a lot of development, the Raj Bhavan - the nice residence is his creation that was built on the land he personally bought.  Officially called Chamarajendra Park, the Cubbon Park is a famous hangout for the physical exercise-conscious people. Sir Cubbon made vast improvement in developing the infrastructure  of Mysore .This included improvements of roads, communication, etc. Roads were  laid  connecting Bangalore to all major taluks. The first railway line between Bangalore and Jolarpet was laid. Communication improved with the laying of telegraph lines. Commerce flourished During Cubbon's tenure of 26 years, the State’s revenue rose to Rs 93 lakh, indeed a great accomplishment, starting from the scratch.

 Yet another milestone in Cubbon's administration was the  introduction of prompt salaries and pension schemes  to instil confidence in the government and to gain  the loyalties of government servants. Yet another administrative feature was the preparation of  an annual administration report, a unique process that began in 1856-57.

Grave of Mark Cubbon. Sir Mark Cubbon - Muaghold, Isle of ManWaymarking
 Sir Cubbon had a lasting friendship - more than 26 years with the Maharajah of Mysore. His poor health in 1861 abruptly forced him to leave for England. Unfortunately, he died on the way during the voyage at Suez on April 23, 1861. His mortal remains were taken  to  England by his friend Dr Campbell and laid to rest there. A notice that appeared in the Indian Statesman called him the “last of the old school of statesman”. The credit goes to Lord Bowring his successor for  naming of the park which is now known  as Cubbon Park and the statue in front of the present High Court building. Sir Cubbon was an outstanding personality, ever duty-bound till ill-health had struck him. He was one among countless  British officers who loved their job and also had great sympathy for the natives.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Telegraph Office building Simla - one of the oldest automated phone exchanges!!

1922 Shimla, India - The Telegraph Office -Pinterest

Designed by the Scottish architect Scott Begg in 1922, the Telegraph Office building, on the Mall in Simla, Himachal Pradesh  is presently being occupied by BSNL  Hence, it goes by the name of BSNL building. It is a beautiful over ambitiously designed colonial building in which the Government telegraphic office functioned and made first link with the outside world from here. Begg was a consulting architect with the Government of India.  After replacing the old wooden spired structure, Begg built  this  brick building on a stone base. The grey ashlar stone work of the base is both attractive  as well as earthquake proof. The red brick color gives a pleasing appearance to  the building on  the Mall Road. 

Shimla, India - The Telegraph Office -Alamy

Though the building is stately and extravacant in design, no body can question its functionality. An interesting fact is the Simla Telegraph Office that later functioned was one of the world’s first automatic telephone exchanges with a capacity for 2,000 lines. A telephone exchange was established in the  1930s  that was  connected to England and the then Viceroy was the first person to speak down the line.

01. Latin inscription on the west side of the building reads as : "Molem aedificii multi construxerunt : rationem exegit I. Begg". ("Many men created the work of this stone building: the work was directed by J. Begg.)".
02. Scott Begg  also designed the Telegraph Office at Rangoon and Rangoon's Custom House as well.

Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, an epitome of patriotism and sacrifice

Rajkumari Amrit Kaur. Holiday Destinations in India - WordPress.

  Rajkumari Amrit Kaur  (2 February 1889 – 6 February 1964) was a freedom fighter, a great Gandhian and an active social reformer. Coming from a family of an affluent royal family, had she wished a comfortable life within the confines of her family palace, she could have led a life of pomp and power. Instead, she trod a different path which many royal women would avoid. Her parents were Rājā Harnam Singh and Rāni Harnām Singh, who was the daughter of a Bengali Presbyterian mother and an Anglican father.

Educated at Oxford University, England, Kaur's mind was more focused on India's freedom, poverty social disparity, etc., than on her royal family's problems.  Born on 2 February  1889 in Lucknow to a princely family of Kapurthala, a part of undivided India, Ms. Kaur took the credit of being the first Indian woman to hold the position of cabinet minister.  She was the first health minister of independent India and  served for ten years in the capacity. Besides, she was also responsible for starting the All India Medical Institute (AIIMS.). Now, it has many branches and they are premier medical education and research institutes.

Ms. Kaur with Rajajii and Nehru. Photo Division

What forced her to make her foray into an altogether a different cause - freedom fighting and social welfare of the Indian natives?  No Indian can forget the 1919 ( 13 April)
Jallianwala Bagh Massacre master-minded by that crazy Brig. Gen. Reginald Dyer whose regiment without prior warning shot  more than 1000 unarmed innocent men, women and children and injured  several hundred people.This mass murder at Jallianwala Bagh had a severe impact on the psyche of Amrit Kaur and she decided to follow the Gandhian path and take active role in the
Nationalist movement in Punjab. She  travelled across India expressing her protest against the British and explaining  the importance of freeing India from the oppressive British rule.

She co-founded the All India Women's Conference in 1927, became its secretary in 1930, and president in 1933. She participated in the 240-mile Dandi  salt yatra  on 12 March 1930 led by Mahatma Gandhi. As before, she was arrested and jailed by the British government. She was in  Northwest Frontier Province of Bannu and explained the role played by the INC toward freedom. After a lapse of 7 long years, the British government jailed her on sedition charges without any valid reason.

Rajkumurai Kaur with Gandhiji. WikiVisually
 Her aristocratic  background did not give her satisfaction and this ultimately led to the renunciation of her material goods,etc and became an  active member of Gandhiji's ashram at Sabarmati. She joined the ashram in 1934 and took up the austere life there despite her royal background. She served as one of Gandhi's secretaries for sixteen years. She continued her tirade against social inequality and gender discrimination. She worked hard for the advancement of Harijans in the society.  She was the first woman member of Hindustani Talimi Sangh. In 1942, she took part in the Quit India Movement, and the Raj authorities imprisoned her again.

She died in New Delhi on 6 February 1964. As a dynamic woman, she selflessly worked hard
to get rid of various evils in our society and the young girls of the present generation  should take inspiration from Rajkumari Amrit Kaur and take an active role in nation building.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Raj Kumari Gupta. - unsung woman freedom fighter!!

 In Indian history post 1947, no due attention was paid to the women freedom fighters, barring a few cases. it was a male-dominated world. In those conservative days, despite the societal restrictions these bold and highly motivated women came out of their closet stood side by side with male freedom fighters and scarified their social and family lives to get freedom for our countries. It is an indisputable fact, an unfortunate one that many women patriots remained behind the scene of activities - invisible, unknown and unsung. 

Among the women freedom fighters who  found a place in the Indian history books  invariably many came from affluent families or had  middle class backgrounds. They got the inspiration from their male relatives or parents who never stood in their way. They received support from their relatives too.  More often than not, in the case of highly spirited women hailing from ordinary or poor families with little education, the atmosphere was not conducive to them. By dint of hard work with commitments these women hit the forefront and got a name for themselves. Among them, you can pick
Raj Kumari Gupta who had a strong will power and determination l to do something for our country's freedom. 

Great Kakori train robbery aAlchetron


Above images:  The Kakori Conspiracy (or Kakori train robbery or Kakori Case) was a train robbery that took place between Kakori and, near Lucknow, on 9 August 1925 during the Indian Independence Movement. The robbery was organised by the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA). The robbery was conceived by Ram Prasad Bismil and Ashfaqullah Khan. It was to plunder a train carrying government money on one of the Northern Railway lines to get the  needed money for purchase of weaponry. The robbery plan was executed by Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan, Rajendra Lahiri, Chandrashekhar Azad, et al. They made only an abortive attempt.  ...................................... 


Hailing from  the little-known Banda zilla of Kanpur, she and her husband were close to Mahatma Gandhi and Chandrashekhar Azad. Kakori dacoity case was related to a sensational train robbery attempt made by  freedom fighters to lay their hands on government money to buy ammunition for the revolutionaries  and Chandrasekar Azad was one among the brains. This group did not want to follow the path of non-violence as followed  by Gandhiji as it did not yield the desired result. Raj Kumari played no less role in this matter than others. Unfortunately, her keen participation in the Kakori dacoity case is hardly  figured  in the chronicles of freedom movement. Rajkumari had  to carry out an important but dangerous assignment - supply of revolvers, etc., to those revolutionaries who were involved in the Kakori operation. Besides  she was also carrying secret messages to the freedom fighters. When carrying weapons, To avoid being caught, she safely hid the firearms in her undergarment, casually wearing Khadi clothes  to deliver them. To divert attention, she took her three-year-old son in tow. 

As ill-luck  would have it, she was caught and arrested. In the aftermath of this  incident,
her husband's family disowned her and she had to leave the marital home. 

 Note: Correct image of Ms. Rajkumari Gupta is available

Monday, 14 August 2017

Tiruppur Kumaran, a daring freedom fighter and nationalist

Tiruppur Kumran. YouTube

Tiruppur Kumaran,Tamil Spider

When India's independence struggle was in full swing across India, countless patriotic people in Tamil Nadu joined the struggle ans showed their solidarity with other Indian freedom fighters.  That India got her freedom  from Britain with ease without losing people in thousands is a matter of conjecture. People in thousands lost their lies; many heroes died unsung. Millions died in Bengal famine of 1770 and 1943, the latter being  artificially created by Churchill and his cronies who committed genocide on the Indian soil. The British had never loosened their tight grip on India. In the wake of WWII Britain having taken severe beating, India became unmanageable and the British had no choice except to  leave India  for good. India could have gotten her freedom long ago, but the conservative British politicians, in particular, Winston Churchill never wanted Britain to leave India as it was the main source of income for the British. It is a known fact that the British economy had vastly improved since Clive and others  grabbed rich Bengal in the 18th century. The plunder of Bengal directly contributed to the Industrial Revolution in Britain. With the money amassed from Bengal, the British used it  to invest in British industries such as textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution and greatly increased British wealth. On the other hand, this led to  de-industrialization and famines in Bengal. In the following centuries Britain grabbed the Indian states one by one, using various ruses. Indians were paused to the point of asking the British government to leave India.

Durgapur Adda

In the 1930s, the freedom struggle in India occurred sporadically and may patriots came forward unmindful of their lives and did something and got a lasting name for their sacrifice, bravery and patriotism. One such person was Kumaran of Madras Presidency (now Tamil Nadu).

Kumaran also known as Tiruppur Kumaran (04th October 1904 – 11 January 1932) was an Indian revolutionary. Born in Chennimalai, Erode district in Tamil Nadu, he founded what was called Desa Bandhu Youth Association and  on occasions led protests against the British atrocities and misrule. He could not brook the poor treatment meted out to the Indian natives. He was sad that racial discrimination, exploitation of natives were very much across India. 

Freedom fighter Tiruppur Kumaran amudu - blogger

During a protest march against the British government on 11 January 1932, Kumaran  died from injuries sustained from a police assault on the banks of Noyyal River in Tiruppur. At that time, the British government banned the National flag created by the Indian Nationalists and gave severe punishment to those who had held the flag or hoisted it on buildings, etc. 

Kumaran, courageous as he was, was facing death without fear. Most importantly when dying, he was firmly holding the Indian National  flag and he had never let it go off his hand.  This gave rise to the epithet Kodi Kaththa Kumaran (Kumaran who held the flag).

Memorial, Tiruppur Kumaran,
In October 2004, India post issued a  commemorative stamp  to mark his 100th birth anniversary. There is a  statue  in Tiruppur city in his honor which is often used as a focal point for public demonstrations

Karnataka High Court building , Bangalore - a legacy of the British era

Attara Katcheri, Bangalore (Early 1900s), Tucks Post Carden.

The Karnataka High Court,Bangalore, the capital city of Karnataka is a popular red brick building called Atttara Katcheri. Located  opposite to Vidhana Soudha  where the Karnataka legislature is functioning, the history of the High Court goes back to the year 1884 when the Chief Court of Mysore was created with three judges and was designated as the highest court of appeal. District, Magistrate , Sub-courts, etc were operating there to handle many civil cases, etc. In 1881, the office of the Chief Judge was created with full authority in matters of law.
In 1930, it became  High Court of Mysore and the Chief Judge was given the new name of Chief Justice and it was in 1973 the court was renamed the Karnataka High Court. The Karnataka High Court is currently functional in Bangalore, Hubli-Dharwad and Gulbarga.

The High Court  building came up in 1868 under the supervision of
Rao Bahadur Arcot Narayanaswami Mudaliar. The two-storied building of stone and brick, painted red is built, in the Graeco-Roman style of architecture  with impressive Ionic porticoes at the center and at the two ends of the elevation.  In the early stages, it was only a public building and subsequently  eighteen departments in the general and revenue secretariat of the Mysore Government were moved over tonspacious offices  here from their crowded premises in Tipu Sultan's summer palace. Hence the name Attara Katcheri.  

Karnataka High Court bldg. 
Karnataka High Court bldg.

Cubbons' successor Bowring, Commissioner of Bangalore  was not happy with the congested office accommodation in the old Tipu's palace and he preferred much more spacious roomy offices with better ventilation to work efficiently to deal with increased administrative work. The credit goes to Bowring who was very particular about  a full-fledged secretariat building in the city area. The construction began  in 1864 and completed in 1868 at a cost of Rs. 4.5 lakhs.

Commissioner of Bangalore bowring.

 Above image:  Lewin Bentham Bowring (1824–1910) was a British civil servant in India who served as commissioner of Mysore between 1862 and 1870. He was also an author and man of letters. Image:  Unknown - Chetty, T. Rayalu (1910) A brief sketch of the life of Raja Dharma Pravina T.R.A. Thambu Chetti. ............................................

The politicians and others in 1982 wanted this beautiful, historical building demolished for good here was a proposal to demolish this building in the year 1982. Thank God, Justices M. N. Venkatachaliah and Vittal Rao in August 1984 who heard the first PIL case( public interest litigation ) pronounced a judgement that stayed the demolition and closed the case..

Mt. Mary’s Basilica, Mumbai, a historical old church

Mount Mary’s Basilica. Bandara, Mumbai. Culture Trip
Mount Mary Church: Bandara, Mumbai. TripAdvisor
Since Bombay happened to be a huge presidency during the British rule and  home to a large community of Europeans, numerous churches came up in Bombay (Mumbai) and other cities like Pune to take care of their spiritual needs like Sunday mass , Baptism, etc. Architecturally, these places of worship are impressive and take right us back to the heyday of the colonial rule. 

Mount Mary’s Basilica  atop a hillock (
about 80 metres above sea level) overlooking the Arabian Sea, near the Taj Lands End hotel in Bandra West is a popular and historical Roman basilica. Believed to be first around 1570, the structure was rebuilt in 1640 and then again in 1760. Earlier, the church was destroyed in 1738 during a raid by the Marathas.The present church was designed by one Shapoorjee Chandabhoy in 1904, an architect of repute then. The new structure which is more than 100 years has a beautiful statue of Mother Mary which is said to have been brought to India by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The Jesuit priests from Portugal brought the statue to the current location and constructed a chapel. In 1700 Arab pirates mistook the gilt-lined object held in the hand for gold and disfigured the statue by cutting off the right hand.  When in 1760, the church was rebuilt and the statue was replaced with a statue of Our Lady of Navigators in St. Andrew's church nearby. 

Mount Mary’s

There is an interesting legend behind the statue. Once a local Koli fisherman  had a dream in which he saw the statue floating in the sea. As dreamed by him, following day, he saw the statue floating in the sea, somewhre between the period between 1700 and 1760. This claim is confirmed by a  Jesuit Annual Letter dated  1669 and published in the book St. Andrew's Church, Bandra (1616–1966) . The Koli Fishermen call the statue  Mot Mauli, literally meaning The Pearl Mother. The old statue is also repaired and restored here. Both christian and Hindu koli fishermen visit this church. 

Mount Mary’s Basilica Mumbai.

The feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary is held with great devotion here on the first Sunday after 8 September, the birthday of the Virgin Mary. The feast is followed by a week-long celebration known locally as the Bandra Fair and is visited by thousands of people. Drawn by the  miraculous powers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, people in thousands - both sick and  with incurable disease  visit this venerated place to be blessed by Mother Mary.  The statue of Mother Mary  is outside the Church, Bandra.,_Bandra

Fascinating Town hall (Asiatic Library & Museum) building, Mumbai

Town Hall building, Mumbai.Alamy

Built in the year 1833, and presently houses the Asiatic Society of Mumbai, Town Hall - this early colonial building  was designed  by Colonel Thomas Cowper, in neo classical style that has features  like a portico adorned with eight, iconic Doric columns and a flight of  steps leading up to it. Located on Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Fort,Mumbai, it is one of the most majestic structures among the other heritage buildings in this city and is one of the last architectural remnants of the Victorian Bombay.

Often colloquially referred to  as Tondal in the 19th century, the construction work began in 1911 and the progress was slow due to financial constraints.  The 'Literary Society of Bombay' wanted to construct a nice building to house library and museum to create interest among the people in art, science and literature. In the later years, it became a storehouse of information for the well-read people. An initial amount of Rs.10,000.00 came through lottery for the early constructon work and the work continued slowly whenever the funds were made available to the society and, at last, the building was completed in 1933. 

Town Hallbuilding, Mumbai. India Tours And Travels

 The Greek and Roman architectural styles gave inspiration to the architect of this building,
Colonel Thomas Cowper. The structure has a 
span of 200 feet and a height of 100 feet, with the entrance to the building adorned with a Grecian portico and 8 impressive Doric styled pillars.  A flight of steps  with 30 steps  leads to the entrance of the Town Hall. An interesting feature is the building was made of stones specially imported from England and this was done to add zest to neo-classical  design introduced here. The major features inside the building are  wooden flooring (using ancient wood), spiral  staircases  and the ornamental terraces  with beautiful wrought iron. The hall has a collection of  beautiful marble statues of the 19th century.

Town Hall(Asiatic Society)building, Mumbai.Alamy

The library of the Asiatic Society, has vast collection of books -15,000 rare and valuable books among its collection of over one hundred thousand including one of the two known original copies of Dante’s Divine Comedy (first issue of 'Inferno') and Sanskrit texts dating back to the 13th century. Besides the ancient manuscripts in Persian, Prakrit, Urdu and Sanskrit, several other treasures are safely preserved inside the hall. Also included is a  collection of 1,000 ancient coins and the exceptional gold 'mohur' that once  Mogul ruler Akbar owned.