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My mother’s family photo 1942

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Amit Shah is a retired publishing executive and owner of Green Comma, an editorial services company. He lives in Lovell, Maine, with frequent stays in Somerville, MA.

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With Mountbatten and Nehru on 15 August 1947

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Ashok Khanna has a B.Sc. (Econ) from London University, an MBA and PhD from Stanford. He has worked with Deloitte Touche (London, New York), taught at New York University's Stern Graduate School of Business, and worked for more than 25 years for the World Bank. He got his first chance to travel out of India when he was seventeen and has not stopped traveling since. In 1998, he began to sporadically write travelogues for friends. These essays increased over time as he traveled more after retiring, and also cover other interests.  Bloomsbury will publish his book on Emperor Ashoka in India in 2019.

I was eight years old, on 15 August 1947, India's independence day. My family had an invitation to the flag-changing ceremony, where Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last British Viceroy of India and the uncle of Prince Philip, the current Duke of Edinburgh, lowered the Union Jack and Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, raised the Indian flag in its place. We got this prized invitation because my father was an executive in a British company.

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My maternal grandfather – a productive engineer

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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

 

Visit to Purbat Ali, Indian occupied territory in Pakistan - 1971

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I C Srivastava was born in 1943. A student of English Literature, he joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1966. During his 37 years tenure, he was Collector/ District Magistrate of three districts, served as the Chairman, Board of Revenue, Rajasthan, and retired as Chairman, Rajasthan State Mines and Minerals Corporation. He has authored several books in Hindi and English. Nowadays, he is associated with various social and cultural activities in Jaipur.

On 16 December 1971, a ceasefire was declared in the war between India and Pakistan. The day marked the end of hostilities and the end of the war.

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Fighting Flames in Indo-Pak War, Barmer 1971

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I C Srivastava was born in 1943. A student of English Literature, he joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1966. During his 37 years tenure, he was Collector/ District Magistrate of three districts, served as the Chairman, Board of Revenue, Rajasthan, and retired as Chairman, Rajasthan State Mines and Minerals Corporation. He has authored several books in Hindi and English. Nowadays, he is associated with various social and cultural activities in Jaipur.

In 1971, I was the Collector and District Magistrate of Rajasthan's Barmer district (area over 28000 sq. kms.), which has a border with Pakistan.

After the outbreak of Indo-Pak War on 3 December 1971, Barmer  witnessed a series of bombing operations by Pakistani warplanes. These planes would usually fly out from Badin Airfield in what was West Pakistan at that time. On the very first day and the night itself, Pakistan Air Force planes destroyed an Indian Air Force aircraft at Uttarlai airfield in Barmer district and martyred one Indian airman.  After random and intermittent bombing of Chohtan, a border tehsil town, and the bed of a rural water tank near Parehpadra Tehsil headquarters, Pakistani warplanes mounted an air assault was mounted on the Railway Station in Barmer city on the night of 8 December 1971.

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