Recently I chanced upon an interesting article in the online archives of the The Hindu newspaper’s Metro Plus Bangalore. By A. Jayaram and dated March 2002, it is about Kankanhalli, a place that we now know as Kanakapura.
A few lines from the article particularly caught my attention.
“Of the many roads that led out of Bangalore, Kankanhalli Road was among the famous — the roads to Mysore, Tumkur, and the two links with Madras. It might be because of the eminent Bangaloreans who had built palatial homes along it in Visvesvarapura and Basavangudi — Ramachandra Rao Scindia, S.V. Srinivasa Setty, Dr. S. Subba Rao, Kota Kamakshayya, Sir M.N. Krishna Rao, Bombay Ramaswamy, K. Matthan or Dr. T. Seshachalam. … … … …
… … … … Kankanhalli Road started from Sajjan Rao or Visvesvarapura Circle. Today, a stretch of the road is renamed Vasavi Temple Road.
Hardly known today is the fact that though called Kankanhalli Road, it did not take one to Kankanhalli (Kanakapura) proper. It was the road to Arkavathi.”
M. Ramachandra Rao Scindia was my great-grandfather. To be precise, he was my father’s mother’s father. He was in the construction business and I am told that along with his father Muthoji Rao Scindia, he was closely associated with the construction of Victoria Hospital, among several other buildings in Bangalore. In 1941-42 he served as the 12th President of the Mysore Chamber of Commerce, now known as Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FKCCI). In a 1949 report about education in Mysore State by Dr C.R. Reddy that can be read online here, his name is listed as one of those interviewed. He was also known to be very generous, a philanthropist in every sense. Many years ago I came across a newspaper report that mentioned his name in connection with saving one of the old institutions of the city through his timely donation, but I have not been able to trace it since.
M. Ramachandra Rao Scindia occupies the central space in this family picture of 1931. The photographer N.G. Vasu (who has signed at the bottom of the picture) has thankfully named everyone, very helpful for descendants like me. The small spelling errors (the Scindia name misses the ‘c’ and the ‘jee’ in the names were really spelt ‘ji’) can well be ignored.
The picture, maybe, was taken at the so-called “palatial home” that finds mention in the newspaper article.
My grandmother, Muthu Bai, was the second of Ramchandra Rao’s ten children, four daughters and six sons. Both she and her elder brother Muthoji, were named after their grandfather Muthoji, the ‘M’ in Ramachandra Rao Scindia’s name.
This picture hung, among many others, on the walls of my grandmother’s house at Sajjan Rao Circle for several years, but we never did pay much attention to any of the pictures in those days. Not until one day, when my dad came home with this one. The picture was taken in June 1931, and dad was born in September of the same year. So in this picture my grandmother was pregnant with my dad, her seventh child. (She had six others subsequently.)
Dad said that Amma, as we called my grandmother, had always told him that he too was in this picture. That day she had given it to him to keep. The picture now hangs prominently in our home in Bangalore, complete with original frame!