Monday, December 28, 2015

The Orientation Session: An Excellent Resource for Research

The main purpose of this blog post is:
  1. To summarise the Kumaran City Idols Challenge Orientation Session.
  2. To provide inputs for students to conduct research on roads/ parks/ circles named after people.
The Orientation Session

Finally after what seemed like "forever", the time for the orientation had arrived. At around 1:00 pm at the High School AV Room, at Kumaran - CBSE (Mallasandra campus), were seated a good 40 people, all of whom had registered for the Kumaran City Idols Challenge. 

The programme began with a concise introduction to the two eminent professors, Prof. Sharmadip Basu and Prof. Chandan Gowda who had come to talk to us about how to conduct research on famous people after whom public places are named. It was great Ms. Juwairia Mehkri from I Change My City (ICMC) was also with us.

Prof. Basu is a professor at the Azim Premji University. His focus lies in the fields of History, Cultural Studies, and Cultural Anthropology. He also has a PhD from the Social Science Program at the Syracuse University. 

Prof. Gowda is a professor of Sociology at the Azim Premji University. He has two doctorate degrees, one from the University of Pittsburgh in Cultural Studies and another from the University of Michigan in Sociology. 

Prof. Basu began with ease and caught the attention of everyone in the room with his captivating speaking style. He touched upon a plethora of important points with regard to the subject of the orientation. 

The talk began with a short introduction to what historical research actually implied, and how it needed to be done. This was an important foundation for the rest of the conversation. 

Some of the main points discussed in this context were:
  • Historical records are of utmost importance to historians whilst they conduct research. These resources can be categorized into two: Intentional records and Unintentional Records
  • Intentional records: These are records that have been left behind purposely with an intention to be found later in the future. These can include diaries, books etc.
  • Unintentional Records: These are essentially records which have been left behind without any purpose of future reference. Fragments of pots, small bronze sculptures are some examples of such records.
From here on, Prof. Basu spoke of documented resources. These resources can be used for mainly more intensive research. These documented resources are mainly contained in libraries and archives. In these libraries, one can obtain a lot of information about many things in great detail. Some of these libraries/ archives that are in Bangalore, which were mentioned by Prof. Basu are: 
  • Karnataka State Archives Department
  • State Central Library (This is the largest library in the state of Karnataka)
Next, was the crucial part, where Prof. Basu spoke of "Digitization of content". This essentially refers to content or information being uploaded on the Internet for easier access. This immensely gargantuan task has been taken up by several global companies/ organisations such as Google and Microsoft, and institutions such as universities. Even some governments are trying to do this.

Coming back to one important point outside of the orientation, conducting research about roads/ parks/ circles named after people in Bangalore can be extremely challenging, because very very little information can actually be obtained about these people through the "Internet Resources" that "we know". In this orientation, Prof. Basu very brilliantly enunciated the "Internet Resources" that "we don't know"!!

In the orientation, Prof. Basu mentioned two golden "Internet Resources". These are:
  • - This is the Google Advanced Book Search link. Here one can search for any information available on Google Books. And if one enters in the right key words, it is highly probable that the search results will contain the required information.
  • Another very vital way to extract information, is to open the relevant Wikipedia Page (if it exists) and see the references section at the bottom of the page. These references can provide a lot more resources for research.
At this stage Prof. Basu wanted to perform a live demonstration of conducting research using the Internet tools that he had just then discussed. 

Prof. Basu used Google Maps, and allowed the students to select a road in Bangalore, named after a person. This turned out to be "Langford Road"

Prof. Basu then used the Google Advanced Book Search tool, and was able to find information on Langford. Similarly he did a couple of other such demonstrations before winding up his session.

Prof. Gowda's talk focused on understanding how roads are named. He also took live examples as he talked to us. 

One of these examples was Pehlwan M. Krishnappa Road which is named after a wrestler - Pehlwan M. Krishnappa. The interesting thing is that there are several small "Dhabas" on this street which serve heavy food in the mornings. This is actually a continuation of a requirement which existed in the past, when wrestlers living and training in large numbers on this street, needed huge breakfasts early in the morning. One can find out about this, not through the Internet, but only by meeting an old "Dhaba" owner, or an old resident who has lived for a long time on this streetThis is a very crucial form of conducting research commonly called "Oral Research". This basically involves physically going to the road/ place and inquiring about its name and history.

Another interesting example stated by Prof. Gowda was that of a hotel name which in English literally translates into "God save us"!! Similarly there is also a village near Wipro's Bangalore office which is extremely long and complicated to pronounce. Yet, its name has remained as is, despite a lot of people wishing for it to change. 

These three instances exemplify a unique and interesting naming process that one can observe in the city of Bangalore. And it is equally important for us to understand this.

With that, Prof. Gowda wrapped up his talk.

Then, Ms. Juwairia Mehkri spoke about the importance of this City Idols Project.

With a brief vote of thanks, the Kumaran City Idols Challenge Orientation Session concluded.

It was also great that a number of Kumaranites were involved in making all this happen under the guidance of Ms. Jayanthi Sridhar. Sripad Atri, Nikhil Harish, Saujas R, Raghuveer R M, Siddharth V, Raghav Mangalapalli, Anirudh T, Aniketh A and Shyam S. are just some of the Kumaranites who made all this possible. 

All in all, this ultimately useful orientation session went on extremely well!!

The YouTube link to this orientation session can be accessed here: The audio quality is not very good.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Kumaran City Idols Challenge

Very excited that the "Kumaran City Idols Challenge" has been announced on Pupilpod on the Kumaran school intranet. I hope a number of Kumaranites will sign up and benefit from this.

I paste below the full text:

Kumaran City Idols Challenge

We are happy to announce the hosting of “Kumaran City Idols Challenge” in our school.

There are many roads named after prominent personalities. It is unfortunate that many of us do not know and are not able to find information on the internet about these eminent personalities.

This challenge invites contributions from interested students on personalities, after which roads have been named.

This is an excellent opportunity for select high school students to learn and develop research skills, and their knowledge about Bangalore. The research contributions of participating students will be duly recognized by publishing them on the City Idols blog as well as on the Facebook page.

To sign up for this Challenge, please contact Ms. Jayanthi Sridhar (ICT teacher) at the earliest.


An orientation will be conducted for the registered students.
This challenge is open till Jan 31, 2016.

Mrs. Jayanthi Sridhar

Computer Department

Monday, November 23, 2015

ET - Divya Shekhar Series - Johnson Market

Here is the link to the 4th June 2015 article by Divya Shekhar:

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

Johnson Market in Bengaluru was set up in 1929 on a Persian trader's stable 

Tucked away in a narrow bylane between Richmond Town and Hosur Road is the old-worldly Johnson Market. With residential and commercial establishments all around it, its box-sized eaterie are pit-stops for the common man and celebrities alike. 

Extensions to the old Bangalore Pete and the growing population mandated the formation of newer markets towards the end of the 19th Century. 

Close on the heels of the Russell Market, built in 1927 and City Market in 1928, Johnson Market was established in 1929. It was commonly referred to as Russell Market's "poor cousin". 

Named after a former British civil servant, Johnson Market was initially called Richmond Town Market since it served that locality. 

Arun Prasad, independent researcher on Bengaluru's history and head of Discover Bengaluru, told ET that Johnson Market served the local population predominantly comprising traders, domestic servants of the British, gardeners and butchers.

"The land where Johnson Market was formed is said to have been a huge horse shelter belonging to Aga Ali Asker, a rich businessman (from Persia) who owned large tracts of land around Richmond Town," he said."Asker's home 'Arab Lines' was located right opposite Fatima Bakery." The large, two-storeyed, pistachio-coloured building was razed to the ground recently. 

Aga Ali Asker also willed that a mosque be built nearby for a sum of Rs 800. "This was the Masjid-eAskari located in the Masjid-eAskari located in the market," said Prasad. He added that the authorities also appointed a market sergeant who looked after the maintenance and services at the market. Local traders and restaurateurs also credit the existence and development of the market to Sir Mirza Ismail, erstwhile Dewan of Mysuru. "He owned a lot of land here, all of which he is said to have donated for the cause of the community ," said Shahid Hussain, a second-generation entrepreneur at Fanoos, the famous Iranian restaurant that was started in 1976. "As a tribute to his contribution, the area came to be called as the Sir Mirza Ismail Nagar," he added. 

The market is famous for second hand third-generation traders who retain the old-world flavour of the market, said Prem Koshy , whose ancestors turned to Richmond Town to set up the city's first fully-automated Koshy's Bakery on Wellington Street in 1953. 

"Johnson Market was a quiet neighbourhood back in the day , visited only by those living around it. But the growth of population and complementary establishments have made it more crowded and commercial," he said. "But the inherent nature of the market remains unchanged even today." 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

ET - Divya Shekhar Series - Krumbiegel Road

As I had mentioned earlier, in my meeting with Professor Chandan Gowda, he gifted me a book on a German-- G.H. Krumbiegel who had made contributions to Bangalore in several ways. Surprisingly, I found an article by Divya Shekhar on a road named after this very person. 

Here is the link to this article:

I reproduce below, the entire text of the article by Divya Shekhar on Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel for your ready reference.

Hermann Krumbiegel, the German behind a blooming Bengaluru

KRUMBIEGAL ROAD: Erstwhile emperors Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, who formed and developed the city's famous Lalbagh garden, are usually acknowledged as the forces behind Bengaluru's `Garden City' tag.Forgotten among the heavyweights is Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel, a horticulturalist and town planner responsible for imaginatively conceived flower sequences that add soul to the garden all year round.His mention remains restricted to a nondescript road sandwiched between Lalbagh and Mavalli. 

Writer and cultural documentarian Aliyeh Rizvi told ET about the road's nomenclature through personal history . "The Krumbiegel Road is named after a German landscape designer and urban planner Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel who came here at the behest of my great grand uncle, the Diwan of Mysore, Sir Mirza Ismail, and the Maharaja of Mysore, to be the director of Lalbagh and plan the Garden City ." 

Rizvi added that Krumbiegel also introduced a system called `serial planting' to ensure that all avenues in Bengaluru would be planted with seasonally-flowering trees so that the city would bloom all year through. 

Talking about how he walked past Krumbiegel Road as a child to get to National High School, art historian Suresh Jayaram said, "The Ashwath Katte (a platform-like shrine built around large Neem and Peepal trees that was also a community meeting point) is an important cultural landmark on the road." 

Jayaram, who also produced a book called `GH Krumbiegel: Whatever he touched, he adorned', tracing the horticulturist's legacy in Bengaluru, added that Krumbiegel faded away from public memory with even the naming of the road having no official an nouncement or publication."Incidentally , 2015 happens to be his 150th birth anniversary ," he said. 

In his book `The City Beautiful', TP Issar, former chief secretary of Karnataka and chairman of the Urban Arts Commission, said: "(Krumbiegel) was in the employment of the Maharaja from 1908 to 1932 and did much work of lasting value not only in developing Lalbagh but many other gardens in the city...Many of the lines and clusters of cassias, gulmohurs, tabebuias and bougainvillaeas, which we see today , are enduring manifestations of Krumbiegel's dreams of a blossoming Bangalore." 

Post 1932, Krumbiegel stayed on in the city as a consulting architect and advisor in horticulture and town planning till his death in 1956."He was the first to occupy the director's bungalow in Lalbagh," added Jayaram. "His cemetery can be found in the Methodist graveyard on Hosur Road." 

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.

Friday, November 6, 2015

ET - Divya Shekhar Series - Albert Victor Road

Here is the link to the 4th June 2015 article by Divya Shekhar:

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

The mystery behind naming Bengaluru's AV Road revealed:

Albert Victor Road, named after the prince of Wales, is seeing many changes to its name. ET explains the story behind the names. 

When playwright William Shakespeare famously said "What's in a name?" and basked in the resultant adulation, little would the bard have anticipated that many centuries down the line, a metropolis in south India would go all out to dismiss it, multiple times. 

The case in point is Bengaluru's AV Road, whose nomenclature has repeatedly been in the eye of the storm over the years. Originally Albert Victor Road, it was cleverly changed to Alur Venkat Rao Road sometime in the 1960s. Now again, there are forces at work to rename the road. 

AV Road is the first main road of Chamarajpet, which was the first extension created outside the old Pete area in 1892. Historian Suresh Moona said the rationale behind naming it Albert Victor Road was simple. 

In 1888, the then prince of Wales Albert Victor visited Bengaluru. He laid the foundation stone for the Lalbagh Glass House. The plaque commemorating this is found at the Lalbagh entrance even today . 

"Even though the British transferred administrative powers to the Mysore maharaja in 1881, they still had a strong hold over important decisions," said Moona. "So when the first extension to the Pete was formed barely four years after the foundation stone for the Glass House was laid, they decided to name it after Albert Victor as a mark of respect." 

Moona added that when the city went on a renaming spree towards the end of 1960s, the only thing it retained of the old name were the initials. It was called Alur Venkat Rao Road. 

Popularly referred to as the Karnataka Kulapurohita, Alur Venkat Rao was an eminent literary personality and historian who led the Karnataka unification movement. He edited and pub lished a newspaper called 'Jaya Karnataka' whose sole aim, he announced, was Karnataka's statehood. In all probability, the renaming of the road was on the heels of Rao's demise in February 1964. 

Although locals and several establishments in the area have adopted the new name, official BBMP records still refer to the road as Albert Victor Road. 

"Irrespective of what the name means, people just call it AV Road," said Moona, adding that re-renaming the road at this juncture would only lead to unwarranted confusion for the administration and disappointment for the people. 

A proposal submitted by the city corporation council to rename AV Road as Tipu Sultan Palace Road was recently met with opposition by a BJP-led delegation. A greater controversy threatened to break out when the corporation claimed that AV Road was officially registered as Albert Victor Road, and nowhere in government or postal records is Alur Venkat Rao Road mentioned. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

ET - Divya Shekhar Series - M.N. Krishna Rao Park

In my post about Professor Chandan Gowda, I had mentioned a book that he gifted me, which was about a German G.H. Krumbiegel and his contributions to Bangalore.

As I read this piece I was struck that another German -- Otto H Koenigsberger has also made a significant contribution to Bangalore.

Now, enough about my musings about Germans and their contributions to Bangalore, let me reproduce the entire text of a recent article by Divya Shekhar in ET for your ready reference.

Here is the link to the 29th October 2015 article:

Bengaluru's MN Krishna Rao Park -- ­ Designed in 1940s exclusively for women and children

MN Narendra recalls that in the early 1940s, a security guard outside the MN Krishna Rao Park in Basavanagudi stopped a man from entering the premises. The park, possibly the first of its kind in the country, was meant only for women and children.

The man who wanted to use it as a shortcut to his daughter's home smiled understandingly and walked away. The dutiful guard never realised that he had refused entry to the very person the park was named after! "Such was the humility of my grandfather, who never flaunted his position and titles," says Rao's 73 ­year­ old grand son Narendra, who lives in the 108 year­ old home built by the former acting dewan of Mysore.

Spread across 25 acres, the square­shaped park is named after Sir MN Krishna Rao, who was the acting dewan of the Mysore princely state in 1941 when Sir Mirza Ismail travelled to England for the Round Table Conference. Rao was conferred knighthood for his contribution to the Mysore state administration.

In the early 1940s, Rao contributed Rs 20,000 from his personal funds to build the park and also laid its foundation stone.

An additional Rs 15,000, Narendra continues, was spent in building the two­storeyed Krishna Rao pavilion at the centre of the park.

The structure was designed by Berlin­ born Otto H Koenigsberger, chief architect and planner of Mysore state, whose repertoire also includes iconic structures like Bal Bhavan and buildings in the Indian Institute of Science. Now neglected and dilapidated, it was once a vibrant space with music and cultural events. The park, with its lush greens, was planned specifically for women because they had very few spaces for recreation.

Rao's own bungalow was just the third home built in the Basavanagudi extension, formed at the aftermath of the bubonic plague in 1898.

Ulhas Anand, a nature enthusiast and cofounder of EcoEdu that conducts tree walks in Bengaluru, said the park is surrounded by three large trees that date back to the 1940s.

"Though it has lost some of its green cover, the park retains many rare trees. The avenue trees, however, were destroyed when the underpass was built."

What a surprising find!!

Today I was looking for some other information in day-before-yesterday's paper. I accidentally stumbled on to this really interesting article on page 2 of The Economic Times Bangalore edition.

Who would have guessed, that a business newspaper might carry an article on Bangalore's history!! It appears that they have been doing so for some time now under the by-line "Date with History: ET Explains the story behind the names".

I just googled and found out that Divya Shekhar a journalist with The Economic Times has been running such a series for a while. I will e-mail her just now and see if I can meet with her. I hope she will encourage and guide me to take City Idols forward. Thank you, Divya Shekhar!

I will provide links to her stories on this subject in separate blog posts.

Resources - 1

As I have mentioned several times in the past, our main motive is to crowd-source information on places named after people. And to make a beginning we intend to reach out to interested people to participate.

One of the main concerns has been verification of content that people will submit. But chronologically thinking our primary concern should actually be creation of content. Some of you may now wonder what possible concern there may be, with regard to the creation of content.

The main concern regarding creation of content is that a lot of information on several people, is not available on the Internet. This makes it tougher to gather information on these people.

So now as we know, there is a constraint with the current level of information on the Internet. To meet this issue, we should look up to alternative sources of information.

During my meeting with Professor Chandan Gowda, I was introduced to several books containing very relevant information on prominent people in Bangalore.

I list below the titles of these books:

1. Jnapaka Chitrashale - by D.V. Gundappa

2. The City Beautiful - by T. P. Issar

3. Monkey Tops: Old Buildings in Bangalore Cantonment - by Elizabeth Staley

4. Notes and Monographs - by Kora Chandy

5. Bangalore Roots and Beyond - by Maya Jaypal

6. Bangalore: A Century Of Tales From City & Cantonment - by Peter Colaco

7. Bengalurina Itihasa - by B.N. Sundara Rao

8. Bangalore Through the Centuries - by Fazlul Hasan

This is the first set of resources that I have mentioned, and I intend to post more such resources in the future blog posts as I come across them.

I hope this is useful!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Meeting with Professor Chandan Gowda

Today I had an excellent meeting with Professor Chandan Gowda. He is a professor at Azim Premji University. He is also a prolific writer and is widely read. The main purpose of this meeting with him, was on how to verify the crowd-sourced content.

We met Prof. Gowda at the "Cafe Coffee Day Square'' on Vittal Mallya Road in Bangalore. On meeting me, he gifted me a book called-- "G.H. Krumbiegel 'Whatever he touched, he adorned'" which contains a section authored by him. This book is about a German who settles in Bangalore and the contributions he makes to the erstwhile state of Mysore.

Soon, we had ordered the beverages and were set to commence the meeting!

In a couple minutes after our initial meeting, we were soon very deeply engrossed in a conversation!! Prof. Gowda also recalled several anecdotes about interesting things that used to occur in Bangalore.

Prof. Gowda had also brought along with him three books about Bangalore history, which he suggested were very relevant to the idea and could be used to develop content as well as verify it. These books he had brought, are:

1. Bangalore: A Century Of Tales From City & Cantonment - Peter  
2. Bengalurina Itihasa - B.N. Sundara Rao
3. Bangalore Through the Centuries - Fazlul Hasan

Prof. Gowda also suggested some new ideas. I have mentioned these below: 

  • The Department of Information (Govt. of Karnataka) provides small grants to film makers to produce short documentaries. Some of these might be about prominent individuals in Bangalore.
  • Reach out BBMP and see if there is any naming policy for roads or rather, on what criteria roads are named.
  • Reach out to BBMP and see if there is a list of all roads/parks in Bangalore, and filter it out to only those named after people.
  • Reach out to the "Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage" (INTACH) and see if they will be willing to partner, or contribute information.
I was struck by the fact that despite the fact that Prof. Gowda was meeting a high-school student when he came to meet me, he was fully prepared. He carried three relevant books from his personal library, and a very appropriate book to gift to me.

This was a major learning for me: No matter what the meeting is, one should be thoughtful and go prepared. 

Thank you, Prof. Gowda!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Meeting with I Change My City

Today, I got the opportunity to meet with I Change My City ( As you might know I Change My City (ICMC) is an initiative that closely works with the people of Bangalore to help report civic issues.

I made a presentation of this idea to a senior team of five members which included Ms. Sylvia Veeraraghavan, the head of this initiative. We also had Mr. Vivekananda (Marketing Manager), Mr. Venkatesh (Content Head), Ms. Gayatri Nair (Editor content). It was a privilege to have the opportunity to present this idea to them!!

Initially as I entered the building, I was very nervous despite a lot of preparation and practice. But the moment I entered the room the entire ICMC team was so welcoming and courteous, that I felt very comfortable. 

I had a 10 slide presentation. I started by explaining how I came up with this idea. We had a funny moment when I said that I want to start with a "pop quiz" about some road names in Bangalore:-) 

By this time I was at ease in the room. I then made the presentation for around 15 minutes. After I ended, the ICMC team asked very good questions about content creation and verification. They also came up with some ideas about how this initiative can go forward.

Here are some highlights of that conversation:
  1. We discussed the challenges of doing research on people who may not be very well known.
  2. One of the important questions that came up in the discussion was verifying the content that is crowd-sourced. An advisory group comprising people such as Mr. Suresh Moona might be able to address this issue.
  3. There were several good ideas that were made by the ICMC team. I am listing them below as I understand them. 
  • We should reach out to schools and crowd-source information through a Heritage competition/quiz.
  • Each week ICMC could post a couple of road/park names on their website, and ask their users to write in information about these personalities.
If this partnership makes sense for ICMC, it would be wonderful to work with this team to take the idea forward!!

I am planning to reach out to my school Principal, Ms. Deepa Sridhar, and seek her guidance for this project. It would be great if more Kumaranites will be able to participate in this process. 

I am also hoping to meet another historian of repute. Keeping fingers crossed, I will let you know if I am able to get the meeting.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Talk on the Origin of Bengaluru's name!!

In one of the earlier blogs I had mentioned about meeting with Mr. Suresh Moona who is a popular Bangalore historian. In the talk he has given at Takshashila Institution, he discusses the various legends and stories that suggest the origin of Bengaluru's name. I paste below, an excerpt from the blog for your reading pleasure:

The story behind the name stretches across several centuries and civilizations.
The earliest reference to the name ‘Bengaluru’ appears in the ninth century Ganga inscription on a ‘hero-stone’ (vira kallu) found in Begur. The inscription makes a reference to the battle fought at ‘Bengaluru’. The name is believed to owe its origins to the Ganga rulers. Bengavalu was the name of the hamlet that the rulers built for their security guards. Bengavaluru, the name of the guards’ residences is believed to have morphed into Bengaluru. The city has had other names-Devarayapattna in the 16th century and Kalyanpura. During the British rule, the city came to be known as Bangalore. At the 2005 golden jubilee celebration of Suvarna Karnataka, UR Anantha Murthy proposed that the city’s name be changed to Bengaluru. In 2006, BBMP passed the resolution to implement the change of name. On November 12, 2006, the then Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy declared ‘Bengaluru’ to be the city’s official name.

Several legends actively compete with facts in the narration of the history of Bangalore. Among the most popular ones is the story, set in the 12th century, of the tired Hoysala King Veera Ballala who was offered boiled beans (benda kallu in Kannada) by an old woman. In praise of the boiled beans, he named the town Bendakaluru (town of boiled beans). Such stories add a highly interesting dimension to a city’s history, but are not backed by any evidence.

Here is a link to the original post:

Despite Bengaluru being such a prominent city of the world and having a long history, there are still only legends and myths to trace the origin of its name. This is indeed quite unfortunate. That is why I have started this blog with the intention of making sure that places such as roads, parks, circles etc. that are named after prominent people who have contributed to society, do not have legends or myths about the origin of their names. Instead, the memories of such eminent individuals must be honored appropriately by making sure that their contributions to society are chronicled and spread for generations to come.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Some creative ways...!!

In the past few blogs, as you might have observed, I have been making reference to popularising information only through online mediums. But, in fact there are several creative ways of doing so, one of which is shown in the picture below.

This picture was taken from a road in Paris by Mr. Yogesh Upadhyaya. He has been mentoring me in this project. 

Essentially our aim is to popularise information, and to do so there are many ways. The only single factor that an online medium boasts, is that we can let a much larger crowd access the information using less resources.

So it is for this one purpose that we have at least as of now, focused our thoughts towards Wikipedia, Maps etc.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

To begin with... some roads...

In this blog post I list some of the plethora of roads in Bangalore alone, which are named after people. 

Now the challenge that awaits us is to gather information on these people and make it available, to a larger population!!

1. Seshadri Road
2. Victoria Road
3. Dickenson Road
4. Murphy Road
5. Richmond Road
6. A.S.Char St. & BVK Iyengar Road
7. Subedar Chatram Road
8. K. Kamaraj Road
9. General K.S. Thimayya Road
10. Miller Tank Bund Road
11. Cunningham Road
12. Miller’s Road
13. Dr. Ambedkar Road
14. Kumara Swamy Layout Road
15. Suranjan Das Road
16. Dickson Road
17. Shivaji Road
18. Madhava Mudaliar Road
19. J.C. Road
20. M.G. Road
21. Ali Asker Road
22. Kasturba Road
23. Venkataswamy Naidu Road 
24. Danwanthari Road
25. D.V.G. Road
26. Govindappa Road
27. Dr. Omer Sheriff Road
28. Cubbon Road
29. Vittal Malya Road
30. Kalinga Rao
31. Sanjeevappa Ln 
32. B.V.K. Iyengar Road
33. Sangolli Rayanna Road
34. O'Shaughnessy Road
35. Myrtle Ln Road
36. Norris Road
37. Curley Road
38. Alfred Road
39. Basappa Road
40. Nanjappa Road

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sample Write-ups

In one of the earlier blogs I had made a mention of developing sample write-ups on people after whom places have been named. So now, I have come up with two such samples.

1. DVG Road

DVG- Road is named after the renowned Kannada writer and philosopher Devanahalli Venkataramanaiah Gundappa. He was born on the 17th of March 1887 in the town of Mulbagal. One of his most notable works include Manku Thimmana Kagga. He was also a journalist during his early years and is credited to have founded Kannada newspapers such as “Bharat” and “Karnataka”. He also was a pioneer in Kannada Biography writing. Some of his other notable works include Srimad Bhagavad Geetha Tatparya which won him the Sahitya Akademi Award, Vasanta Kusumanjali, Nivedana etc. Some of the awards which he has received are the Padmabhushan in the year 1974, he was also specially honoured by the chief minister of Karnataka in 1970, and a commemorative stamp was issued by the Indian Post of him in the year 1988. On 7th October 1975 he left us all, and an ocean of literature behind forever.

2. KH- Road

KH- Road is named after the second Chief Minister of Karnataka Kengal Hanumantaiah. He was chief minister from 1952 to 1956. He is best remembered for his huge vision and contribution towards the construction of the Vidhan Soudha. He was born in Lakkappanahalli on the 14th of February 1908. After resigning as Chief Minister shortly before the Unification of Karnataka (in which he played a major role) in 1956, he moved on to national politics. He was successively elected as a Member of Parliament representing Bangalore from 1962 to 1977. During this period he served as minister in the cabinet handling a number of portfolios such as Railways, Industries etc. On December 1st 1980 he passed away leaving behind with us a Unified Karnataka and the largest legislature-cum-office building in India at that time- the Vidhan Soudha.

One thing that can be noticed is that neither of the above have exceeded a word limit of 150 words which is the maximum ceiling. This is to ensure brevity in writing, and convey only the important information about the person to the reader.

A Comparison...

In the earlier blog posts, I had mentioned about reaching out to, and convince an online mapping software to popularise the infomation gathered, on people after whom places have been named.

Just as part of my own research, I have read up about of the few currently leading online mapping sites and have made a brief comparison of these.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Meeting with Suresh Moona

In my quest to solve the content creation and verification issue, I was introduced to Mr. Suresh Moona by a friend, who recommended me to meet him.

Mr. Moona is a well-regarded Bangalore historian who is known for his significant efforts in spreading historical awareness on Bangalore. He has also authored over ten books, conducted several heritage walks, and is currently providing content to the local radio, which is read out on a routinely basis. Apart from all these credentials, Mr. Moona is also the director of Aarambh (An Association for Reviving Awareness About Monuments of Bengaluru Heritage). 

Considering all this, I felt that it would be relevant and a good idea to meet him. So on the morning of 21st June 2015, I was finally able to set up a time to meet him.

On meeting him, I briefly gave him a description of the idea, and on what progress had happened till then. He seemed to like the idea very much, and soon we were involved in a very nice discussion.

Mr. Suresh Moona was an absolutely erudite person in the study of Bangalore history. He seemed to know a lot about many things in Bangalore.
Whilst discussing in the context of ‘verification of content’, he also gave references to many books that could be of possible help such as Bangalore Darshana, Bangalore Nagara, Kempegowda Vaignyanikara etc. just to name a few. He also mentioned that the Gokhale Institute and Mithick Society could help too.

After we had talked about the idea, all that he had, and was trying to do in order to spread awareness on Bangalore’s history, and on his inputs, we finally decided to make a move.

I felt it really helpful to have met Mr. Suresh Moona, and would be really glad to have his support in this idea.

A New Perspective

So now I have talked with a couple of people and have received a few suggestions and ideas on what I can potentially do to make this project happen.

So essentially there were two perspectives with which people saw this idea.
The first one was, that we crowd source the information on the people from probably school students or the general public, and verify it using some resource before presenting it to a mapping platform. And this is what I had, and am still considering.

In this case, the one main problem which arises, is the verification issue. And this is because there are several places named after people, and it would be quite a laborious task for anyone to actually verify the precision of the content.

The other way that people saw this was, was to go to a mapping platform, tell them our idea, and have them use the content on Wikipedia about people after whom places have been named. One of the advantages of Wikipedia is that the content that it provides is mostly quite accurate, as the information is viewed and edited by several people.

This was a pretty tempting idea, until the fact that there weren’t Wikipedia entries on a lot of the people, befell upon us. And so then we decided. “Why not convince people to write more Wikipedia entries on such people?”

But even if this did work out, one of the foremost issues would yet remain—Will a mapping platform mind having Wikipedia content up on its pages? Now this is a problem for us, because many organizations, companies or conferences do not permit Wikipedia as a source of information. This is as the information is crowd-sourced, and can be edited by anyone with basic access to Internet and so is generally not considered accurate. And so we are not sure if a mapping platform would mind having information from Wikipedia up on its pages. And so, this is where the problem arises for us.

So now that we have gotten these ideas, it is time for us to seize which track to head on! 

The Idea...

As I promised in my last blog post, I will now actually explain the idea and the steps involved in it, to you. But before that, let us just quickly recap the essence of the project once more. 

Essentially, as I had previously stated, this project aims at truly honouring people who have contributed to society. And the way we are trying to do that, is by gathering and popularising information on those people after whom places have been named.

Now down to the actual framework of the project, we really intend to just crowd source the information, under ideal circumstances partner with a mapping platform, and use it to popularise the gathered information.

Essentially how we intend to proceed is quiet simple. At a very high level, I have mentioned the route that we will most probably be heading on as for now.

1.      The first step is to develop sample write-ups on people after whom places have been named. The main point of this is to just provide examples to people on the format of the information (Information here refers to information on people after whom places are named) that will be required, when we actually begin crowd-sourcing.                                                                                        
2.      I am really eager to meet with Deepa ma’am (Principal of Sri Kumaran Children’s Home- CBSE) and discuss the idea with her and see how she can support us from the school’s point of view. Another thing that I am aiming to achieve from this discussion is to see if we can crowd-source the information from SKCH students itself. I believe that this can be a great way to gather information. Added to that writing about these great people, can also be a very educative process for the students themselves. 

3.      Now, I would like to create an advisory board of three or four people, to whom I can look up to, and take help from. I also feel an advisory board can be useful to have especially when we go and reach out to institutional partners or mapping platforms.

4.      Now with this much of a support system, we can probably start crowd-sourcing information on people after whom places are named.

5.      Once we have crowd-sourced sufficient information, and have enough substance to show off, we shall try reaching out to a mapping platform. One of the main reasons as to why we are crowd-sourcing information, and not directly going to a mapping platform and sharing with it the idea, is because we need to convince them that the idea will work, and is implementable.

So that’s about what the idea is. And when I say all this, it sounds rather easy. I am sure there are many hurdles that I will need to cross and lessons I will learn along the way. And some of this may mean that the path could be different from how I am anticipating it right now. 

Meanwhile, if you have any queries or suggestions, please post those in the comment box below.