Sunday, August 5, 2007

K.M.Subba Rao

A young Subba Rao (from a large framed portrait)
The embossed zinc name plate. Those letters "LL" bring nostalgic memories - I used to point to them by uttering "bill- bill" instead of "el, el", when I was about 2 or 3 years young.

His visiting card, 1930s?
Holding the favourite hand and wearing a favourite terylene shirt!

Here are more pictures from the album.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Konanur Mylar Rao

This was pictured around 1930.


I try to record some information about Konanur Mylar Rao (Some of his earlier records show his name as "Malhar Rao" and "Malhari Rao") that is known to me either from available books, letters, correspondence, from anecdotes and memories of him told to me by people who had actually seen him.

He writes his name as Malhari Rao on a book. This was when he was 16.

Family Background:

Konanur is a small town near Ramanathapura in Hassan district. I am told that Konanur Krishna Rao's father was working in Tipu Sultan's kingdom and when harassment to women and caste/religion bias by Tipu was gaining ground, he decided to flee with his family to escape it. Krishna Rao had been in employment in Mysore Service under the second Councilor around mid-1800s. The family's deity, Mylaralingeshwara is at Mylara near Ranibennur. This Hindu Brahmin family belongs to the Babboor Kamme Smartha sect.

After Krishna Rao's death, his two sons Subba Rao and Mylar Rao toiled hard and took care of the family with plenty of children. Subba Rao the elder of the two was a Pleader and had been practising Law at Mysore's Rave Street near Gandhi Square (which his nephew the illustrious KM Subba Rao had taken over the mantle in 1925 and carried on with great distinction up to 1976).

Thumbnail sketch of Konanur Mylar Rao

[Based on testimonials collected by himself in 1888, correspondence, documents and from anecdotes described by people who have seen or heard about him]:

1868 - Born to Sri K.Krishna Rao and Smt.Lakshmidevamma on 18.9.1868 at Konanur

1885 - Completes B.A in Maharaja's College, Mysore. [He was drawing a scholarship from the Palace till he passed B.A]

1886-88 - Studies B.Law in Central College, Bangalore where he also played cricket and tennis.

1888 - Works for a few months as Assistant Master in Marimallappa's School,Mysore [as Arithmetic teacher]

1889-91 - Works as a teacher [Assistant Master] in The Hindu Theological High School, Madras. He resigned in 1891 to look for greener pastures in Law.

1893 - Enrolls himself to practise Law

1898 - 1926 Works in various capacities like Munsiff (at Chickmagalur), Asst. Commissioner (at …… ), Addl. Munsiff (at )Bangalore, Dy. Commissioner at Kadur and Mysore), etc.

He had accepted the offer of the post of Chairman, City Improvement Trust Board in 1924. The above is the letter offering the same.
He was the Chairman of the City Improvement Trust Board, 1924. [link may not work]
See this screen-shot image I had captured - now not available on the net.

1926 - Retires from service, aged 58.

1936 – Breathes last. It appears that he was having trouble with many of his teeth which were removed in quick succession. That was believed to be the cause of his death.

~ Mylar Rao had married Subbalakshmamma and had thirteen children.

Some Snippets:

~ He was keeping good health with no major diseases. He was keeping himself fit and it appears he had a strong body that resulted from his use of dumbbells and maces (pictured below) and used to walk regularly (his diaries mention about 'strolls' on many occasions).

~ He served as Secretary to Sir Mirza Ismail, the then Diwan of Mysore, for a short period after his retirement. Being a highly disciplined and straightforward man, it appears that he could not tolerate the way the Diwan worked and withdrew from service. (This was told by late KN Chandrashekara, grandson of K.Subba Rao).

~ My uncle tells me that he was a Private Secretary to the Yuvaraja sometime in the late 20s. I think this is the truer fact than the above (of being a Secretary to Mirza) going by the letters he exchanged with the Yuvaraja.

~ Mylar Rao who was upright in his actions and thoughts and never spared anybody if he did not like. In an incident involving Gorur Ramaswami Iyengar, the great Kannada litterateur, was speaking on stage on some occasion. Mylar Rao had stood up and differed his view, which took everyone by surprise and much to the displeasure of Iyengar who has gone on to mention this incident in one of his books (this was told by Mylar Rao’s daughter Nanjamma’s son late Sri S.Chandrasekhar).

~ Disciplined as he was, he had the regular habit of writing the dairy and keeping the family account of expenditure. Some pictures of them are shown below. Had a regular routine of what he did. He was renown for his strict discharge of duties in his service. It appears that he could not tolerate ineffeciency. People respected him at the same time because of his great intellect and kindness.

~ Builds a house named "Chandramouli" in Lakshmipuram in 1910-1911 taking help of Chief Engineer, Ashwathnarayana Rao, on a site bought for Rupees four hundred. This blogpost comes from the same venue. Below is 2008 picture.

~ When I met Mirle Subba Rao on October 18, 2009 in Bangalore (he was my father's classmate and a year younger to him at 86) he mentioned that Mylar Rao had a slow speech. He had seen him during his boyhood.

Have a look at this Vintage Photo Album for some old pictures
Mylar Rao is seen in some of them with illustrious people including the Mysore Maharaja.


Mylar Rao had the fine habit of writing diaries, keeping family expenses account and jotting down important sentences and quotes from newspapers [The Hindu] and other books he read. This he did in the empty pages of other diaries which in itself makes fascinating reading. Another unique part is that his immaculate handwriting remained constant over a spread of 30+ y ears. Such was the consistency. His use of English is amazing even at his young age and his command of the language remained top class. It reflects the quality of education that was imparted in schools and colleges in that era. The British rule has its contribution here!

Here are the little diaries and account books well preserved.

This is from 1929.
He was 31 when he wrote this one in 1899. He warns himself for his bad behaviour in court.

Another page from the same diary, he again points to his slowness in his actions.

This [above] is from 1900. Wonder where he was posted for his job then. He is displeased with himself as he did not consult others before hastily deciding to change his place of stay for a small reason. He repents his action.

Again 1900. The world made a lot of fuss about the turn of the millenium a hundred years later. Mylar Rao was witness when the century turn to the twentieth. He did not make a lot of fuss like what was done about the "Y2K" that our generation experienced! But the occasion was not missed. Read the last line in the diary page above - December 31, 1900.

The very next day, he writes the above page. In this 1901 diary, each page has a quotation written in red ink. Note the one in this: Begin the New Year with good resolutions, and keep them.

Pictured below are some selected pages from his account books:
Click on pictures to magnify and read some of the interesting items and words!

The above is from 1899. Reading the items would be fun. Pay (Salary) Rupees 185. The major share was for House and his elder brother K.Subba Rao who was a Pleader in Mysore. He supported him too as he was going through a lean period [as known from the correspondence they exchanged in those times]. Rupees 185 was not a very fat sum in those days but they had enough to be satisfied with to run a large family. We hear stories from that generation how much just ONE RUPEE could buy.

On the left page above, notice an item Pears Cyclopedia. The 1898 edition of it is still in our bookshelves. Now pages are brittle.

He was continuing the habit of keeping accounts for almost all through his life. This is from 1927.

The above is of 1910.
The handwriting never seemed to have altered even in 1934!