Monday, December 12, 2016

Road Naming Policy of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations

Pasted below are two extracts from The Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976. This basically explains the policy of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations for naming public streets. 

Section 293 of THE KARNATAKA MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS ACT, 1976 is reproduced below:

293. Naming or numbering of public streets.
(1) The corporation shall give names or numbers to new public streets and may, subject to the
approval of the Government, alter the name or number of any public street.

(2) The Commissioner shall cause to be put up or painted on a
conspicuous part of some building, wall, or place, at or near each end,
corner or entrance of every public street, the name or number by which it is
to be known.

(3) No person shall without lawful authority destroy, pull down or deface
any such name or number or put up any name or number different from that
put up by order of the Commissioner.

is reproduced below:

58. Obligatory functions of the corporations.- It shall be incumbent on the corporation to make reasonable and adequate provision by any means or measures which it is lawfully competent to use or to take, for each of the following matters, namely:-
(7) the naming or numbering of streets and of public places vesting in the corporation and the numbering of premises;

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Story of Tata Silk Farm: The Steelman who Made Silk

As my school Principal Ms. Deepa Sridhar became familiar with City Idols, she shared this very interesting story about Tata Silk Farm, a well known neighbourhood in South Bangalore.  

She discovered this story written by RM Lala, on

Thank you, Deepa ma'am, for all your encouragement and for becoming a contributor on City Idols!
So here is the story:


JAMSETJI took his experiment to grow silk seriously. In France he studied the silk industry, particularly the growing of the silkworm, which was a cottage industry. In 1893, on a visit to Japan he found the Japanese skilled at sericulture. He invited two Japanese experts, a husband and wife, to India. His cousin R. D. Tata's Japanese servant who had picked up English became their translator. Jamsetji sought out a suitable site with a fairly temperate climate and selected Bangalore where he had observed mulberry trees.

With his contact with the State of Mysore he obtained a site. He found out that Mysore had a silk industry at the time of Tippu Sultan which had fallen into disuse, still existed in some villages but their methods were primitive. He directed the Japanese experts to Bangalore.

It appears that Jamsetji had little interest to go into the silk business. Jamsetji was able to get a suitable site. "He endowed a small farm where Indians could study how the mulberry tree grew, how the silk-worm was to be reared, how the diseases that affected it could be treated, how the cocoon should be looked after, how the silk should be reeled, and how it was prepared for the market. The farm was run on Japanese lines. Indian children were trained to resuscitate the ancient industry of their ancestors. Apprentices were engaged for a minimum period of three months, during which they were given free instructions in all aspects of the industry, from the growth of the mulberry tree to the marketing of the final product. Jamsteji's experiment in silk farming proved a success from the start." (Saklatvala and Khosla: Jamsetji Tata, p.54)

While in Bangalore in 1980s this writer was intrigued by a signboard near the Institute of Culture which read, `Tata Silk Farm Crossroads'. He searched for the background. Finally the Mysore State Archives was found to harbour a document that reveals what the farm was all about and what happened to it.

Jamsetji got the help of the Salvation Army. In a booklet by F. Booth Tucker: Experiments by The Salvation Army with French, Italian, Mysore and Erie Silkworms in India and Ceylon 1910-1911 (Published by The salvation Army Headquarters, The Mall, Simla (Price 2 annas), 1912) says: "A few particulars regarding some of our Indian experiments in sericulture may perhaps be of practical interest.

"The Tata Silk Farm in Bangalore. This Institution was established some eight years ago (1902-1903) by late Mr. Jamsetji N. Tata. He felt satisfied that what the silk industry required in India was to introduce the same business principles as had been pursued with such success in Japan.

"A Japanese expert and assistant were brought over. The Mysore Government gave a rent-free grant of land and an annual subsidy of Rs 3,000. A small filature of 10 basins were erected, and a garden was planted with various varieties of mulberry bush."

It is perhaps a little singular that two such able businessmen as Mr. Tata and Sir Thomas Wardle should have gone, one to Japan and the other to France, in search of their models for India. Mr. Tata, who was familiar with both countries, gave preference to Japan.

"In choosing Mysore as a centre for what he hoped would ultimately develop into a Silk School for India, he was guided by the fact, that the climatic conditions were favourable and that there was a healthy indigenous worm producing an excellent quality of silk.

"In this again he gave the preference to the Polyvoltine Mysore worm over both the Japanese and French varieties, though he hoped by interbreeding with the latter that the best features of both races might be combined.
"In January 1910, we were requested by his son, Sir Dorabji Tata, to take over the Bangalore Silk Farm, the Mysore Government consenting to the arrangement and continuing the subsidy for a period of three years.
"Ensign and Mrs. Graham were placed by us in charge of the Institution, and have proved to be capable and energetic managers. Already seven of our European Officers have just been trained and Indian students and ryots have been received and trained from Mysore, Travancore, Madras and Bombay Presidencies, etc. Supplies of eggs and mulberry cuttings have been distributed not only in Mysore but in the United Provinces, Punjab, Baroda, Gwalior, etc. Villagers and students have been trained in the Japanese system of reeling and re-reeling silk.

A cheap and convenient reeling machine has been manufactured for cottage use. The acreage of mulberry has been considerably increased, several new buildings have been erected, and a number of basins doubled in the filature. Visitors from different parts of India have called, and advice has been sought by numerous correspondents.

"Already the Tata Silk Farm has given birth to three other Institutions of a similar character under our auspices in Ceylon, the United Provinces and the Punjab.

"Thus the aim and object of its founder, that the Tata Silk Farm should be a Pan-Indian character, is already being realised.

"During the past few months this Institution has been awarded a gold medal in Bangalore, and a silver medal in Madras for its exhibit of the entire process from the silkworm egg to the woven article.

"A small weaving school under a trained weaving master now forms a part of this interesting Institution, which is at present still in its infancy, but which possesses in it the nucleus of great future possibilities."

Jamsetji was not interested in it for the sake of business as a follow-up to textiles. He wanted to give the poor a livelihood and India an industry.

When the Salvation Army first came to India it found in Mr. Tata a helpful friend. Its accent was on temperance and Jamsetji favoured their movement.

Mr Booth Tucker of the Salvation Army in a letter to Burjorji Padshah, November 1, 1912, wrote: "The impetus thus given to the silk industry in India can hardly be over-estimated. Government, which before had given up the effort in despair, have now recommended operations. Orders have been issued for the general planting of mulberry trees and bushes.

Bulletins and pamphlets have been issued giving instructions regarding the cultivation of silkworms. Public demonstrations have been made in connexion with Exhibitions... In the not distant days when silk will have become to India what it is already in such countries as Japan, China, France and Italy, the name of the man who launched the enterprise will be held in grateful remembrance by those who will have been benefited by his forethought and labours."

In India of today, it is little known that the flourishing silk industry of South India especially was revived by the same man who was to give it iron and steel and hydroelectricity.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

How Many Roads are Named after Women?

Recently I was speaking about City Idols with my father's colleague. She asked me a question that got me thinking: How many roads in Bangalore are named after women? 
Very few... is the answer. I can think of a few in Bangalore -- Kasturba Gandhi Road, a road and a park named after Kittur Rani Chennamma, Mother Teresa Road, and... I am already running out of names.

As I searched further, I found this interesting article: Mapping the Sexism of City Street Names. As you can see from the article, Bangalore has 39% of its streets named after women. This is higher compared to many of the other cities.

But when I look at the map, I am not able to find such a large number of streets named after women. I am reaching out to Aruna Sankaranarayanan of Mapbox in Bangalore, to understand how they have arrived at this conclusion.

If any of you know how we can get more information on this, please email me at:

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Streets Named after Slum Children in Mumbai!

Almost every big city in India has a Mahatma Gandhi Road. It is certainly important to recognise and remember the Mahatma in every way. But it is equally important to recognise the contributions of local heroes... people from the locality who have made useful contributions to their society.
Door Step School worked with the people in the slums of Bombay and did this amazing thing. This two minute video is inspiring and worth a watch:

This is very motivating. I hope you like it too.
Please do share it widely. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

City Idols wins Ashoka Recognition!

Since school began, it has been an effort to catch up with the work of City Idols. But here is a nice update that happened in August...
Recently, City Idols was recognised by Ashoka Youth Venture as a promising idea. Here is the formal announcement:
But the real hard work of taking this to more roads/ parks in Bangalore and then to other cities begins now :-)
Thank you for your support so far. I hope to work with all of you on this journey!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Meeting with Youth for Seva

A few days ago, I met with Mr. Venkatesh Murthy, who is the founder of an organisation called Youth for Seva (YFS). They have chapters in many cities around the country. Here is an extract from the YFS website about what they do:

Youth for Seva (YFS) started in April 2007 as a platform to provide opportunities for youth who wanted to take active part in community development despite time constraints. Through this platform, YFS aims to empower youth to become positive change makers who will enable organizations and institutions to work without a vested interest

The meeting provoked several new ideas such as creating a standard 'Google Form' for submitting entries, creating a separate 'Whatsapp' number for people to send pictures of handwritten entries etc. 

I am really glad for him to have taken out the time to meet and discuss City Idols with him. I am also really grateful for his useful inputs. The best part was that he has also said that he is willing to reach out to his friends in other cities to see if we can get more entries. Keeping fingers crossed :-)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Periera Street in Chennai

This is a well written article on the Periera Street in Chennai, which I found on the Madras Local History Group. The article has been published in The Hindu. The link to the article is:

For those who are interested to read it, the article is also pasted below. 

In my efforts in documenting Chennai's past, several people have helped me. One of these is PB Subramaniam of Rasappa Chetty Street, Park Town. He has not let difficulties in his vision impact his love for history and heritage. A couple of weeks ago, he asked me if I knew of Pereira Street off Wall Tax Road near Central Station. The locals, he said, refer to it as Jamla Thottam.
This narrow thoroughfare establishes a link to the 1650s when our city was in its infancy. It was once a vast garden that belonged to John Pereira, a Portuguese merchant. Known initially in East India Company records as Senhor Joan Perera de Faria, he was practising his business at Nagapattinam in the 1650s. His ships sailed to Indonesia and the king of Macassar (now the provincial capital of South Sulawesi) in that country had appointed him agent for supplying “necessaries from the Indian coast.” His contacts and trading skills made him close to Agents Aaron Baker and Thomas Greenhill of Fort St George. By the late 1650s, Pereira had shifted to Madras where he had a house in Fort St George. In 1678, when Governor Streynsham Master imposed the city’s first conservancy tax, which applied to a few houses in the Fort and in Black Town, Pereira’s residence was among those included.
For his rest and recreation, Pereira acquired in 1671 a garden just outside the Fort measuring 36000 sq ft. To water the 250 coconut trees in it, he had three wells dug. He also erected a small tiled house and a private chapel. He bequeathed the garden to his granddaughter Antonia de Carvalho da Silva after his death in the 1680s. The good woman assumed that it was hers for perpetuity only to discover in 1719 that the land was never Pereira’s to pass on. He had merely leased it for a period of 31 years. At her request, the lease was renewed on the same terms. In 1739, she requested the Company to give her the land in perpetuity, in view of her family having paid the rents for over 60 years. This was refused, but she and her daughter Josepha de Silveira were allowed use of the house during their lifetimes.
In the 1740s, with the area surrounding old Black Town (present-day High Court) being cleared, the dispossessed families were settled in what came to be known as John Pereira Thottam (Tamil for Garden). This later morphed into Jambura/Jamla Thottam. What was once an upmarket area for garden houses degenerated rapidly thereafter. The Trinity Chapel was constructed here in the 1830s, and then in the late 1890s came the biggest landmark of all — Central Station with its appurtenances such as the Rail Mail Sorting Building and the Goods Shed, all built on the garden and the adjoining Hog’s Hill. It’s a wonder that despite all the changes, John Pereira continues to be remembered. Chennai moves in mysterious ways.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Article on The Better India

Recently, my teacher and mentor, Ms. Jayanthi Sridhar asked me to write about my City Idols journey for The Better India, which is a well known website that covers positive news from India. This is the article I wrote:

My sincere thanks to The Better India team for highlighting this effort. I hope this idea spreads beyond the confines of Bangalore city.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A.V. Road by Prerana B – SKCH

A. V. Road

Road Name: A.V. Road, initially called Albert Victor Road -in the memory of the former Prince is found at the Lalbagh entrance even today) - it was renamed Aluru Venkata Rao Road (after the leader of the Karnataka Ekikarana movement) post-Independence, ensuring that the abbreviation A V remained.

Road Location: Chamrajapet 1st main road

Famous for/ Contributions to society:

Detailed Description:

The birth of Chamarajpet is a watershed moment in the history of Bengaluru for more reasons than one. It all started way back in 1880 when Bengaluru was a prosperous trade and commerce hub with a population of 80,000. Overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions in the old city prompted the Mysore rulers to create new extensions. Chamarajpet was the first such extension formed in 1892.

But it gained prominence as a residential locality only gradually as people were initially hesitant to move away from the city. Five years after Chamarajpet was created, the plague struck the old city and this led to the population of the extension.

The nomenclature of Chamarajpet 1st Main Road is a story in itself.  Initially called Albert Victor Road -in the memory of the former Prince of Wales, who laid the foundation stone for the Lalbagh Glass House in 1888 (the plaque indicating this is found at the Lalbagh entrance even today) -it was renamed Aluru Venkata Rao Road (after the leader of the Karnataka Ekikarana movement) post-Independence, ensuring that the abbreviation A V remained.

Chamarajpet retains its historical charm with landmarks like Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace, the Kannada Sahitya Parishat that was established in 1915 and religious structures like the Kote Venkataramana Temple.

Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward,known to his friends as ‘Eddie’, was born in 1864 to Prince Albert Edward, who was then known as the Prince of Wales and who later became King Edward VII, and Princess Alexandra. Albert Edward was the son of Queen Victoria. Albert married Princess Mary in February 1892. But the young life was cut off in its early prime. The successor to the throne became a victim of the 1889-92 Great Influenza and met a premature death at the age of 28 on January 14, 1892.

Prior to his death, the lamented Prince undertook in October 1889 a seven-month tour of India as his father, the Prince of Wales, had done in 1875. Albert arrived in Bombay then visited Hyderabad and Madras. On 23rd, the royal train passed Bangalore on its way to Mysore and halted at Srirangapatnam for a while.   

Here, he visited the corner where the breach was made in the fort walls and through which the British troops entered into Srirangapatna. Then he visited Tippu’s Summer Palace, Daria Doulat and Mausoleum. After luncheon, the royal party boarded the special train at Paschimavahini.

On November 25 morning, the Maharaja drove Prince Albert to Khedda camp in Chamarajanagar taluk. The Prince had to go on horseback under hot sun the last five miles to the camp where elaborate arrangements had been made.

The royal party left for Bangalore after a few days. Before they proceeded to Travancore, the Prince laid foundation-stone of a permanent building for horticultural shows in Lal Bagh gardens on November 30. The Glass House at the Lal Bagh was built to commemorate Prince Albert's visit to Bangalore. He was given a reception in the garden by Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar. In Bangalore, a road in Chamarajapet was christiened in his name.

Alur Venkata Rao who was born at Bijapur in 1880. Alur went to Poona for his college education and obtained his B.A. and Law degree. He started the Karnataka Ithihasa Samshodhana Mandali for doing research on Karnataka history. The result was his monumental work about Karnataka’s glorious history, Karnataka Gathavaibhava published in 1917. We should first develop love towards Kannada and Karnataka and only then we can love India, was his view.

Alur also started the Karnataka unit of Home Rule League and organized a tour for Tilak in various places of north Karnataka. He was arrested during the Civil Disobedience Movement during 1931 and barred from political activities.

He worked as an editor for several magazines. In November 1922, he started Jayakarnataka, a monthly magazine where articles on a variety of subjects and topics were published.

Alur’s joy knew no bounds when Karnataka was unified on 1st November 1956. He personally went to Hampi and performed pooja to goddess Bhuvaneshwari in the Virupaksha temple and was aptly called Karnatakada Kulapurohita (highest priest of Kanada family). He felt sad that the name of Karnataka did not find a place in the list of states mentioned in the national anthem and wrote about its inclusion to the Prime Minister and President of India. Fully devoted to the Karnataka and Kannada, Alur breathed his last on 24th 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 Suresh Moona,a well know historian, 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 Roads 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. 

Contributed by: B.Prerana, 9-D, Sri Kumaran Children’s Home CBSE



Saturday, February 6, 2016

Mahakavi Pampa Road by Shreya Shankar – SKCH

Mahakavi Pampa Road

Road Name: Mahakavi Pampa Road named after Adikavi Pampa (902 CE - 10th Century)

Road Location: The Mahakavi Pampa Road is located in Bangalore, Karnataka. It forms a major link connecting KR market, Shankarapuram, and Basavangudi. Its PIN code is 560018. It is just 2.2km away from the Town Hall.

Famous for/ Contributions to society:


Remarkable poet, precise strategist, evocative translator and pugnacious warrior are some of the words that describe the Great Adikavi Pampa. Despite the existence of a few Kannada poets before Pampa, he is widely regarded as the first Kannada poet as his work overshadows that of his predecessors. He is also considered to be one among the three jewels emblazoning the scenery of Kannada literature, the other two being Ponna and Ranna. Even today, a road in Bangalore is named after this illustrious personality. The strong blend of Margam (Sanskrit) and Desi (Kannada) is projected in his every line. Modern Kannada poets still pay homage to this great soul, who showed them the path and took the first steps towards establishing Kannada as a language of sophistication and emotion.

Detailed Description:

“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words” ~ Robert Frost

A market is built through intellect and logic, infrastructure and justice. But it is art, culture, traditions, music and poetry, which makes a mere place of exchange of goods and service, a city or a state. Karnataka captures its on unique niche in the mosaic of a vast country like India by virtue of its breathtaking culture. The mellifluous language Kannada, lends honeyed semi tones to the literature presented in it. But it is not often that an average resident of Karnataka contemplates the achievements of the remarkable individual responsible for elevating Kannada to the status it now enjoys.

Mahakavi Pampa is one of the greatest poets who have walked the earth. Many historians and connoisseurs believe that Pampa was the first Kannada poet, hence he also known as Adikavi. He is one of the three jems of Kannada literature, the other two being Ponna and Ranna. He is believed to have been born in Annigeri in Karnataka. His prowess in prose and verse led him to become the court poet of the Chalukya king Arikesari. Another little known fact about Pampa, was that he also served as an army commander and hence his interest in the Mahabharata is but natural. He also commanded great dexterity in medicine, music and art.

Pampa was initially brought up as an orthodox Hindu. However he embraced Jainism along with his entire family. His father Abhiramadevaraya played an important role in shaping Pampa’s ideas on politics and materialism. In spite of the great riches that followed his every epic, he did not hoard wealth and gave away most of it to the needy. This quality of the educated and artistically inclined intelligentsia seems to carry to this day.

Pampa was considered to be the disciple of Devendramuni. His prodigious talent and unparalleled skill was polished by his Guru. Many of his writings reflect his devotion and gratitude towards his teacher.

True to his religion, his first masterpiece was a translation of a Sanskrit poem written by Jinasena, a Digambar monk. The book was called Adi Purana. This literary marvel was based on the story of the first Tirthankara, Rishabha deva. This was a momentous achievement because translation wasn’t a very well developed skill in that period. Pampa recognized the need for such translations, in order to bring the truth of a religion to the people.

Another of his immensely popular books is Vikramarjuna Vijaya also known as Pampa Bharata. This book is an adaptation of the Sanskrit Mahabharata and has been written in a style known as Champa. His blend of classical Sanskrit and Kannada has made the epic accessible to all. Pampa has also taken the freedom to change of few aspects of the original. He associated Arjun with his patron King Arikesari and hence in Pampa Bharata, Draupadi is married only to Arjun and he ascends the throne after the battle. He also supplies Arjun with many of King Arikesari’s own titles.

Pampa helped bring in Classicism, Jain and Hindu mythology to Kannada. Adikavi Pampa laid the foundation of Kannada literature on which exquisite castles are being built today.

Contributed by: Shreya Shankar, 11-E, Sri Kumaran Children’s Home CBSE


Kengal Hanumantaiah Road by Raghav C. Madhukar – SKCH

Kengal Hanumantaiah Road

Road Name: Kengal Hanumantaiah Road (Commonly called KH Road or Double Road) named after Kengal Hanumantaiah (14 February, 1908 - 1 December, 1980)

Road Location: The Kengal Hanumantaiah Road (KH Road)/ Double Road is located near the Lalbagh area (Pin-code is 560027).

Famous for/ Contributions to society:


Kengal Hanumantaiah is mostly recognized as the second Chief Minister of Karnataka, and the man responsible for the construction of the Vidhana Soudha.

During his youth, inspired by the freedom struggle in India, he joined the Indian National Congress (INC). Consequently, he was imprisoned more than nine times. He rapidly progressed in popularity, and soon reached the status of a leader.

He also occupied several key posts such as, member of the Constituent Assembly of India, and Chief Minister of Karnataka in the year 1952. Later, he moved on to national politics, where he was very successful too. He was elected as Member of Parliament of Bangalore continuously from 1962 to 1977.

Detailed Description:

Kengal Hanumantaiah was born to a family hailing from Lakkappanahalli near Ramanagara, in Karnataka. As part of his higher education, he earned a degree in Arts, from the Maharaja College in Mysore, and another in Law, from the Poona Law College. In his college days, he was elected as the Secretary of the Students Union and the Karnataka Sangha.[1]

Soon after graduating, he joined the Bar Council. Later, under the influence of Dr. P Tandon who was the President of the Indian National Congress (INC), he joined the INC with the intention of serving the freedom struggle. He was imprisoned more than 9 times during the freedom movement. He was also elected leader of the Parliamentary Party wing of the Congress Party in Mysore Assembly in the year 1948. Also, he was a member of the historic Constituent Assembly of India.

With time, he grew more popular, and gradually carved himself out as a leader. And, with the necessary support, he entered electoral politics. His political career was one of great success. He was elected Chief Minister of Karnataka.[2] It is claimed that his chief ministership involved several clashes with Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru because the state leaders had to compromise by matching their agenda with that of the five year plans, which were introduced then.[3] [4]

Later, after completing his tenure as Chief Minister, Kengal Hanumantaiah moved on to national politics, where he achieved exemplary success too. He was elected as Member of Parliament of Bangalore continuously for the entire duration starting from 1962 to 1977. As part of the central government, he held very highly coveted portfolios such as Minister of Railways, Industries etc.

Apart from all of this, and most importantly, he was the man responsible for the construction of the magnificent Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore. The Vidhan Soudha is claimed to be the largest state legislative structure in all of India. The story behind the construction of this building goes like this.

Once, a Cultural and Russian Delegation was visiting Bangalore, and Kengal Hanumantaiah was taking them around the city. The Russians commented harshly on the buildings and criticised them all as restricted to the European style of architecture. Hurt by these statements, Kengal Hanumantaiah set out to build a structure which would include all the unique styles of architecture prevalent in Karnataka. Hence, came into being the regal, royal, majestic and grand legislative building – The Vidhana Soudha[5].

In his memory, his statue was unveiled by President Giani Zail Singh in 1985 in front of Vidhana Soudha.

Kengal Hanumantaiah truly lived an illustrious life, which is remembered very well today by many. For all his significant contributions, and other work he has done, a road close to the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens has been named in honour of him as the Kengal Hanumantaiah Road (KH Road/ commonly called Double Road).

Contributed by: Raghav C. Madhukar, 9-C, Sri Kumaran Children’s Home CBSE


Mehkri Circle by Raghav C. Madhukar – SKCH

Mehkri Circle

Circle Name: Mehkri Circle named after Enayathullah Mehkri (1897 / 98 -1990)

Circle Location: Bellary Road, Ashwath Nagar, Armane Nagar

Full name of Person: 

Famous for/ Contributions to society:


Mehkri Circle is named after Mr. Enayathullah Mehkri. Mr. Mehkri personally financed the proper levelling of the intersection of the Bellary Road and the Hebbal Tank area, so that bullocks would not need to struggle to pull heavy loads on a hilly upward slope.

He held several important posts during his lifetime. He was a municipal councillor and Vice President of the Civil Station Municipal Commission for many years. He was part of several Muslim organisations and educational institutions too.

Mr. Mehkri was also a member of the Indian National Congress during his youth, and was imprisoned as part of the freedom struggle. Later, he served as President of the Karnataka Freedom Fighters’ Association.

Detailed Description:

Mr. Enayathullah Mehkri has immensely contributed to society. He is most commonly known and respected for his absolutely selfless deed of fully financing the levelling of the steep slope in the Hebbal Tank area.

His intentions for doing this, lay in his sympathy for the cows and bulls which experienced great pain while dragging heavy cartloads and travelling up the steep slope of this area. Later, when the news of these proceedings reached the Maharaja of Mysore through the Dewan Sir Mirza, the Maharaja offered to refund Mr. Mehkri for financing the levelling. Mr. Mehkri refused the money. The king named the intersection of the Bellary Road and the Hebbal Tank area as “Enayathullah Mehkri Square” in his honour[i].

Later, Sri R.M. Patil who was then the Minister for Home and Municipal Administration revised the name to “Enayathullah Mehkri Circle” through a state gazette notification in 1965[ii].

Mr. Mehkri is also known to have served society in several other ways.

He was an active member of the Indian National Congress (INC), and is said to have become a member of the INC at the tender age of 17. Consequently, he was imprisoned for more than six months in the Madras Central Jail as part of the freedom struggle. He was in prison along with C. Rajagopalachari and E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker. He was also the only member from Karnataka, on the Advisory Council of the freedom fighters cell in the All India Congress. And, he served as President of the Karnataka Freedom Fighters Association[iii].

Apart from this, he closely worked with several Muslim organisations and institutions. One such instance of this, was that of a Muslim orphanage, of which he was Honorary General Secretary.

He served as Municipal Councillor for several years, and was later elected Vice President of the Civil Station Municipal Commission in 1948. With this job he had the privilege to address the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, and Sardar Vallabhai Patel on behalf of the citizens. He also was a Councillor and Municipal Commissioner at the Civil and Military Station Municipal Commission.

Mr. Mehkri lived in Benson Town[iv] along with his wife, two sons and three daughters. An interesting, yet less known fact about him was that he was conferred knighthood and is hence referred in several instances as Sir Enayathullah Mehkri[v].

Photo 1: Sir Enayathullah Mehkri (Sitting left) and Justice Mir Iqbal – courtesy: Mr. Abid Mehkri

Photo 2:(Left to Right) Mr M.R. Mehkri, Mr. Enayathullah Mehkri, Mr. K. Subba Rao, Lord John Hope, Mr. Humayun Mirza, Dewan of Banganapalle – courtesy: Mr. Abid Mehkri
Contributed by: Raghav C. Madhukar, 9-C, Sri Kumaran Children’s Home CBSE


[i] Mehkri, Abid, grandson of Mr. Enayathullah Mehkri, Oral History Research, 16th January, 2016
[ii]Kandath, Roja, Times Of India City Edition, July 25, 2001
[iii] Freedom Fighters Association Souvenir, 1975, p. 41
[iv] Editor – Sir Stanley Reed , The Times of India Directory and Year Book Including Who's who, p. 982
[v] The Order of the Crest: Tracing the Alumni of Bishop Cotton Boys’ School, Edited by Aditya Sondhi, 2014


Lavelle Road by Shreya Shankar – SKCH

Lavelle Road

Road Name: Lavelle Road named after Michael Fitzgerald Lavelle (Unknown - 1 August, 1917)

Road Location: Lavelle road is an important road found in Bangalore, Karnataka. It connects Richmond circle and Mahatma Gandhi square. Its PIN code 560001. It is close to the Chinnaswamy stadium.

Famous for/ Contributions to society:


Michael Fitzgerald Lavelle was the pioneer of modern gold mining in India. His fastidious attitude towards overcoming bureaucratic hurdles and his tenacity of spirit is an adage to many modern day entrepreneurs. Even today one of the most popular roads in Bangalore is named after him. Lavelle road is well known for its restaurants and is frequented by food critics and experts. The Lavelle road also has the Oorgaum mansion, which was Lavelle’s house. This is named after the place where the first shaft was sunk to mine gold.  However it is not known to many that this road carries in its name and intangible sense of colonial history.

Detailed Description:

Today, India is one of the world’s largest exporters of gold jewellery, holding around 40% of the international gold trade. The export of gold yields India a large quantity of foreign exchange that helps to maintain a favorable Balance of Payments and ensure a strong foreign reserve ratio. The role of gold trade in shaping India’s economy is well known, but the individual responsible for this has slowly faded into the pages of history.

Michael Fitzgerald Lavelle was an Irish soldier, who served in His Majesty’s regiment during the Maori war in New Zealand. He had also fought against Tipu Sultan in Seringapatnam near Mysore and had been a part of the Bangalore cantonment army. It is known that he was the son of John Lavelle and Bridget O'Neill.

During his stint at New Zealand, he gained exposure to techniques involved in gold mining. Upon his retirement, he heard about the presence of gold in the Kolar.

Previously Lieutenant John Warren had confirmed the presence of gold shafts to carry out small-scale mining. He was undertaking a survey for the British government in 1802 and saw a copious number of pits, indicating the mining of gold. The inhabitants of Urigaum also informed him that Tipu Sultan carried out mining them with the help of an agency headed by Raja Ramchandra. He found that small-scale mining was prelevant in Mrikuppam. Lt. John Warren subsequently undertook the task of surveying and mapping the area. His report was published in the Asiatic journal 1804. Despite Lt. Warren’s Herculean efforts, the government did not initiate formal mining activities.

Lavelle had to travel to Urigaum by a buffalo cart and it took him no less than a fortnight to reach it, showing the lack of development. Research conducted by him showed that the area had gold presents in auriferous strata and the quantity of gold could not be ascertained until the process of construction of shafts began. In order to obtain a Mining license, he applied to the Mysore government. While submitting the report Lavelle indicated that he was primarily interested in mining coal, while receiving the reply he was deeply anguished to find only his proposal to mine coal had been complied with, however with tenacity he acquired the right to mine gold.

After the final agreement was signed Lavelle was allowed to begin gold mining. On 22 February 1875, after assuaging the Maharaja’s fear of abandoned shafts in case of failure and the company official’s doubt on the actual availability of gold, Lavelle began the process of mining gold.

In spite of being given the exclusive right to mine for gold for 3 years in 10 different locations, Lavelle did not have the capital to start large-scale mining.  After approaching a number of affluent persons in Bangalore, Lavelle finally received the funding necessary for the project on 9 March 1877. A small syndicate was formed briefly, however Lavelle began to look for opportunities to sell the rights to another party. After multiple negotiations Major George Beresford and William Arbuthnot acquired the rights and papers.

Subsequently the mine changed many hands, but the legacy of Michael Lavelle lives on through the Lavelle road and the Oorgaum mansion on Lavelle road.

Contributed by: Shreya Shankar, 11-E, Sri Kumaran Children’s Home CBSE