Saturday, November 14, 2015

ET - Divya Shekhar Series - Kamaraj Road

Here is the link to the November 5th 2015 article by Divya Shekhar:

I have also reproduced the entire text of the article for your ready reference:

The story behind Bangaluru's Kamaraj Road

The military legacy inherited from the Bangalore Cantonment camouflages the other identities which Kamaraj Road, aka Cavalry Road, once assumed. The diversity of communities occupying in its bylanes lingers on but seldom acknowledged.
As one traverses this arterial road that cuts through Commercial Street, one finds that its mercantile demeanour soon makes way for two-storeyed, Tamil Chettiar kind of homes with heavy wooden doors opening out to the streets. That this is where Sir Arcot Narayanswamy Mudaliar, businessman, philanthropist and contractor who supervised the construction of Attara Kacheri, set up a grocery shop be fore becoming one of the richest men in the city . Here is where freedom fighters scattered grain on the road to trip British horsemen marching past. Old Bengalureans continue to remember it as Cavalry Road though it was renamed -in the 1970s -after the former Tamil Nadu chief minister and president of the Indian National Congress K Kamaraj.
"British soldiers from the Cavalry regiment stayed there," said Poornima Dasharathi, founder of Unhurried Heritage Walks. A military regiment also meant demand for traders and moneylenders, which led to migrants -predominantly Tamil and Marwari communities -making the area their home. "The British officials relied on them to keep accounts, encash salary cheques, take loans etc," says Dasharathi. As people from old Bangalore did not work in the cantonment, migrants filled in. The very fact that the road was renamed after K Kamaraj points to its strong Tamil connection.
One of its numerous personal stories is how it was home to the first and most famous Jewish family of Bengaluru. Rubin Moses started a shoe shop called `Rubin Moses and Sons' on Commercial Street. Kannada writer Nemichandra's novel Yad Vashem, which traces the life of a Jewish girl in Bengaluru, talks about how the Moses came to Bengaluru after an earthquake in San Francisco and joined the gold rush in KGF in the beginning of the 20th century.
Moses built the family home on Cavalry Road in 1921 in the Iraqi Casbah style. "In 2003, when I went looking for 19, Cavalry Road, I realised that the house was converted into Eastern Lodge. The David's Star on the building helped me recognise the Jewish home," Nemichandra told ET. The lodge has been razed while the shoe shop is now the popular Woody's eatery on Commercial Street.

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