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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF ELECTIONS IN KGF IN 1960’s - MR. C M ARUMUGAM


The current Election Season and the hectic canvassing that’s going on at the moment , brings to my mind memories of early elections in KGF. In those days, KGF was a dual member constituency and the Left Parties ie the CPI and the CPI(M)won 4 times. Leaders such as K S Vasan (1952),  M C Narasimhan (1957), S Raja Gopal (1961) were all elected with thumping margins from the Mining areas. Mr. T S Mani won the elections in 1985. The other seat from KGF was a Reserved One and was contested by many parties.

 An amusing memory that I have of my childhood in KGF is of Mr. C M Arumugam, who was the MLA from KGF for the Reserved Seat  for many terms. He belonged to the Republican Party of India. The symbol of the Republican party of India was the ‘Elephant’ symbol.  Mr. C M Arumugam was quite a big made man with a dark complexion. Just before the elections he would come round to all the houses in KGF canvassing for votes and promising a lot of improvement in the lives of the miners. However once he won the election, he conveniently forgot his promises.

While he went round canvassing for votes house to house, he always engaged Mr. Gallyot’s Band to accompany him and his supporters. While the Band provided the entertainment for the kids, Mr Arumugam would respectfully request the grown ups to vote for him.

Mr Arumugam won quite a few elections.  Whenever he won the elections and was made a Member of Parliament, his supporters brought him into KGF on an elephant and of course accompanied by Mr. Gallyot’s Brass Band playing all the victory marches and latest film tunes.

 Our house was on the main road to town, so the procession had to pass our house. It was quite exciting for us to watch Mr Arumugam sitting so majestically on the elephant. However, when he lost an election, he and his supporters just slunk into KGF unnoticed.

 Mr Arumugam once built a statue of himself and installed it in a beautiful park in KGF near the High Court on the road between Oorgaum Station and Robertsonpet. However this did not go down well with the other political parties in KGF so he had it removed it and installed a statue of Dr Ambedkar the Savior of the Dalits in India instead.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

OLD LOYAL AND AFFECTIONATE WORKMEN OF KGF


 
 
My dad Sydney White was an Underground Engineer in Nandydroog Mines. He was in charge of the Section dealing with the Hoists, pipes and sand stowing functions underground. He had about 300 miners working under him. He was a strict disciplinarian as well as a kind Boss. His workers were all loyal and hard working men who served their Boss and the Company faithfully and diligently.
On New Year’s Day every year, all the workers from his section would assemble at our house early in the morning to wish my dad and seek his blessings for the year ahead. They would place garlands of flowers made of roses, jasmines, marigolds and lilies around his neck, shake hands with him, then seek his blessings by touching his feet. They continued this small homely function every year till my dad retired from the mines. The Foreman and the Maistry would give a long speech in Tamil, and all of them would clap their hands loudly and cheer.
My mum would then serve Coffee and snacks to all of them, which they accepted with love and gratitude. Sometimes they brought smaller garlands and garlanded all of us too!!  We would feel quite thrilled with all the attention and adulation. They would also give each of us either an apple or a Mosambi (sweet lime) and then everyone would pose for a group photograph.

In the above photgraph taken in 1965, my dad, mum, my brother John, my sister Maryanne, Mr Daniel - my dad's Writer  and I are seen sitting and some his Section Workers are seen behind.

However, before they placed a garland around dad’s neck, they would first place a beautiful garland of lilies and roses on the picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the sitting room. Dad’s workers were so humble and affectionate. They considered themselves part of our family and we shared in joys and sorrows. They carried us as babies, watched us grow up, attended our weddings, and were inconsolable when our parents passed away.

A few of these loyal and affectionate men who are now more than 80 years old are still in touch with us and visit us regularly. We specially remember Mr. Vishwanathan, affectionately call “Viswa”by us. He can be seen in the photograph below together with my dad, my brother John, Mr Rajan, Murthy, Sam, Lakshmana etc at the Safety Week Celebrations in 1970 at the Gymkhana Grounds.
 
 
 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

THE WAR MEMORIAL IN KGF NEAR THE CENTRAL TELEPHONE EXCHANGE





THE WAR MEMORIAL IN KGF NEAR THE CENTRAL TELEPHONE EXCHANGE
A war memorial is a building, monument, statue or other edifice to celebrate a war or victory, or (predominating in modern times) to commemorate those who died or were injured in war. We also have a War Memorial in KGF near the Central Telephone Exchange and the Central Workshops

Not many from Kolar Gold Fields know about the significance of this War Memorial. This Memorial was erected to commemorate and remember the   members of the armed forces who were killed in the line of duty during the First World War. These brave people are remembered and commemorated on the 11th of November every year on Remembrance Day.

In earlier days a grand Memorial Function was held every year at this War Memorial in KGF. However after the Mines were nationalised and the Government took over, the Ex Servicemen of KGF would generally gather on their own and pay tributes to the martyrs who laid down their lives during World War 1. Later on only a few people observed this day and slowly, the Memorial began to get neglected with grass and other weeds growing all round it.


However, in recent years, the Prasad Charitable Trust run by Mr. Prabhu and his family has now taken over the upkeep and Maintenance of this War Memorial.
Every year a small Function is held near the Memorial and the Trust honours the families of those Ex Servicemen from KGF killed in Action and also arranges for Free Medical Checkups and Health Camps

These are a few Pictures of the Functions held on Remembrance Day by the PRASAD CHARITABLE TRUST KGF. This Trust is doing some invaluable work to help the down trodden and poor miners in KGF. May God bless Mr. Prabhu and his family for starting this Trust
A Short Note on the History of Remembrance Day
Remembrance Day, also known as Poppy Day or Armistice Day is a Memorial Day observed in all Commonwealth countries since the end of World War I to remember the members of their armed forces who died in the line of duty.

Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November every year to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on 11/11/1918. Hostilities formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month," in accordance with the ‘Armistice’ signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning. (However, World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919)

Remembrance Day or Armistice Day was specifically dedicated by King George as a day of remembrance for members of the armed forces who were killed during World War I.

This day is also known as Poppy Day as some of the worst Battles were fought in the fields of Flanders. Bright Red Poppies later bloomed across these battle fields and their brilliant red colour became an appropriate symbol for the blood spilled in World War 1. The Red Remembrance Poppy therefore became a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem "In Flanders Fields”.

In India till today, the day is usually marked by tributes and ceremonies in Army Cantonments. A wreath and other flowers are placed at the foot of the Memorial by the Officers of the Indian Army and a small Memorial Service is observed. Memorial services are held in some churches

Monday, April 1, 2013

KGF BOOK AVAILABLE AT GANGARAMS BOOK BUREAU BANGALORE







COPIES OF MY BOOK KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE AVAILABLE AT :

GANGARAMS BOOK BUREAU,
TRIUMPH TOWERS
2ND FLOOR.
48, CHURCH STREET
OPP MAINLAND CHINA AND HIGH GATES HOTEL
BANGALORE 560001
TEL: 25127888