Stories About Men

My maternal grandfather – a productive engineer

Bapu Satyanarayana, born 1932 in Bangalore, retired as Chief Engineer, Ministry of Surface Transport. At present, he is the presiding arbitrator of the Dispute Adjudication Board appointed by the National Highway Authority of India. He lives in Mysore, and enjoys writing for various newspapers and magazines on a variety of subjects, including political and civic issues.

My maternal grandfather Sri H.R. Venkatasubba Rao, who died at the age of 52 in 1932, contributed a lot to the then Mysore state during the rule of Maharaja Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodiyar. My grandfather was an executive engineer. The fact that a road named after him still exists 'Road to Uttana Halli'- on Chamundi Hills is indicative of recognition of the honour bestowed on him for his services to Mysore State. I have a picture of him in Darbar dress.

Left, Smti Venkatlakshamma, wife. Right, my grandfather Sri H.R. Venkatasubba Rao in darbar dress. Mysore. 1920s.

My grandfather H.R. Venkatasubba Rao with his wife Smti Venkatlakshamma. Child on her lap is my mother Smti Jayalaksamma. Mysore. 1912.

My mother, Smti Jayalaksamma, his only child who died on Oct 31, 1970, used to get a pension of Rs 30 after her father's death. Dr. D.V. Gundappa (a reputed journalist, a great political philosopher, a renowned legislator, a poet-sage and in short a versatile genius) mentions my grandfather's name in his small booklet Kelavu Mahaneeyaru (A few great men).

I know very little about my grandfather. I was told that details can be traced from Mysore civil list. I did visit the archives in Mysore but could not trace any details. Maybe I have not searched properly under the civil list. However, I am detailing below some details as given by my father.

Citizens of Bangalore must be grateful to him for as secretary for water to Sir M. Visvesvaraya (A statesman-engineer who served as Dewan of the then Mysore state). During his service, my grandfather was involved in several water supply schemes. The schemes he was connected with were Hesaraghatta, Bethmangala, and Ele Mallappa Chetty Tank. Later on, he was connected with Thippagondana Halli, Kanva project, and Honnali bridge. In Mysore, he oversaw the construction of Lalitha Mahal Palace, which served as a Royal Guest House.  He was connected with the statue of Chamaraja Wodiyar, and specially responsible for the golden dome of the statue. He had a passion for cars, which he changed frequently. He had by turn a Dodge, Chevrolet, and Ford.

His father, my great grandfather, was Hullahalli Ramanna, a Harikatha expert. He used to write poetry which got published in Prabhuddha Karnataka. This is lost to us. My efforts to find these have not yielded any results.

He had three houses in Mysore, one in Bangalore, and several parcels of lands. All of these were lost because he was recklessly and ruinously generous. His own close relatives duped him. One of his properties is a grand building in Lakshmipuram, which presently houses Karnataka Department of Sericulture at a huge site. He had donated money to the Sports Division of National College and to Victoria Hospital, both in Bangalore.

© Bapu Satyanarayana. Published July 2019

Great Memories of a Great-Grandfather

Bal Anand was born in 1943, in a village about 20 km south of Ludhiana, in a family of saint-scholars who practised Ayurveda. Graduated from DAV College, Jalandhar, and did Master in English Literature from Govt. College, Ludhiana. After a stint for a few years as lecturer, joined the Indian Foreign Service. Served in nine different countries and retired as India's High commissioner to New Zealand. Now reading, reflecting and writing in nest in Greater Noida.

It was October 2018. I realised – as if in a flash – on the night of 18th October that the next day was the 71st anniversary of passing away of my most beloved and esteemed great-grandfather – a unique Guru, a tactful teacher, a versatile scholar and renowned Vaidya of his time, Shri Pramatmanand ji.

Read more: Great Memories of a Great-Grandfather

My father and Alwar

Meenakshi Hooja

Meenakshi Hooja (nee Mathur) was born at Jhalawar on 26th June, 1952 and after spending early years of her childhood at Jhalawar, Bikaner and Ajmer moved to Jaipur with her parents and family.
Meenakshi taught Political Science at the University of Rajasthan before joining the Rajasthan Cadre of Indian Administrative Service in 1975.  She served on many important positions in Government of Rajasthan and Government of India.
She is widely travelled in India and abroad and was a visiting fellow at Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford in 1999-2000.  Post retirement, she was a Member of the Central Administrative Tribunal.
She has written on a number  of development and administration  related subjects  She has also so published books of poetry in Hindi and English.

Read more: My father and Alwar

Bhupendra Hooja – An Obituary

Editor's note: This obituary was written by Hooja sahib's son, Rakesh, and edited at that time byt Rakesh's brother-in-law Subodh Mathur.

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My father Dr. D.S. Chowdhary 1902-1959

Shakun Banfield nee Chowdhary was born and brought up in the U.K.  She retains a keen interest in her parents' achievements in their adopted country England and has many memories of a happy family life with them and her brother.

She worked for 30 years in the criminal justice system as a probation officer as well as in the family courts as a welfare officer and mediator.  She is now retired and lives with her husband in South London.

Read more: My father Dr. D.S. Chowdhary 1902-1959