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Sunday, October 23, 2011


This is an excerpt from my book KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE

Bethamangalam is a small town located on the banks of the Palar River in Kolar District and was earlier known as ‘Vedamangalam’ or ‘Vedapuri’. It is located about 5 miles south east of KGF and is the underground water source of the Palar River. In 1903, a huge man-made lake in Bethamangalam was constructed to supply filtered water to the Kolar Gold Mines. Two huge reservoirs were constructed to store and suppy a million imperial gallons a day to the mines in Kolar Gold Fields. The Jewell Export Filter Company of New York was given the contract to supply and install the necessary fittings and equipment at the plant, for the complete purification system.

The purification system was fitted with 4 circular filters each having a bed of 3.5 feet in depth and 17 feet in diameter and filtered water was pumped from the reservoir in Bethamangalam through steel pipes to huge tanks in Champion Reefs near the Company Mining Hospital where it was then distributed to all the mines. The actual quantity of water consumed by each mine was registered and recorded by a Venturi Meter on the main pipe line. (This water supply from Bethamangalam continued right up to the time the mines were officially closed in 2001).

Soon Bethamangalam became a popular sailing and picnic spot for the British population in KGF. A Sailing Club was established here around 1905, and it had a good number of Britishers and Europeans as members. A beautiful Club House was constructed, which had a well stocked Bar, a reading room, a Billiards and Snooker Room as well as a Swimming Pool. The Sailing Club had a fleet of canoes and Row boats, and served as a berth for private boats and canoes also.

The Bethamangalam Sailing Club House was also famous for another reason. It seems that a British lady named Molly Manley was the first person to introduce the word game of 'Scrabble', to the British and Anglo-Indian populace of Kolar Gold Field in the early 1900s. Scrabble had only recently come into existence and it caught on fast with the British.  They usually played this game sitting around a table, under a large tree, outside the Bethamangalam Sailing Club House, sipping their drinks and enjoying their snacks while they spelled and formed words and had a lot of fun.

The Sailing Club closed up when the British Left India and the Club House was later converted into the Government Guest House after India’s Independence and is still in use today.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN ME ORY LANE - Book Reading Session held at the Select Book Shop, Brigade Road, Bangalore on 8th October 2011.

The Book Reading Session on my book KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE organized at the Select Book Store Bangalore was a very pleasant and nostalgic occasion. I would like to first of all extend my sincere thanks to Mr. Murthy and his son Mr. Sanjay for organizing and hosting this wonderful session. The ambience and d├ęcor of the Select Book Shop really added to the nostalgia of the session. Thanks also to Suma whose, introductory speech set the trend for the session. My Special thanks to Navin Thomas who arranged this meeting with Mr. Murthy in the first place.
I was happy to see my old friends Tony Lobo and Bernard Manuel who shared a lot of their memories of KGF with the other guests present on the occasion . Bernard spoke of his grand dad who owned the Lazarus Bakery in KGF in the olden days and was very famous with the British and Anglo-Indian population of KGF and of his dear dad Jossy Manuel who was also famous for his delicious cakes and pastries. Mr Jossy Manuel would even oblige people by coming to their homes and baking their Christmas cakes and puddings for them!!!.

Mr. Niranjan Murthy and Mr. K R Krishna Murthy, two very senior Engineers of the mines who were contemporaries of my dad Sydney White shared a lot of valuable information and their experiences of working in KGF with us. It was great having them at the Session.
Mr. Elangovan, a practicing lawyer in Bangalore and an ex-student of KGF School reminisced about KGF School and especially of the teachers and head masters who were responsible for instilling sterling values in him. He made special mention of my aunts Miss White and Mrs. Morris and also of Mrs. Godfrey and Mr. Dudley Pinto and recalled fond memories of his school days.
Wing Commander ‘Kojak’ Bhat who incidentally never lived in KGF but has visited KGF many times also shared a lot of information with the crowd.
Rohit Fernandes who never ever went to KGF but was fascinated by my book attended the session with his parents who listened spell bound to the discussions and interactions. Thanks Rohit.

All in all it was a lovely homely, interactive and nostalgic session and I would like to thank everyone who attended it for their love and affection shown to me. Their strong emotional attachment to KGF was evident in their memories.