Wednesday, January 27, 2010

[ZESTCaste] The Dewan’s draft

The Dewan's draft

Ponnu Elizabeth MathewFirst Published : 26 Jan 2010 05:07:00 AM
ISTLast Updated : 26 Jan 2010 07:25:16 AM IST

BANGALORE: January 26, 1950. A little girl hopped around through the
expansive gardens of the famous Himalaya House in Basavanagudi as the
country adopted the newly shaped Constitution. Little did she know
that her grandfather was an important man — so significant that he was
specially chosen to be on the committee the drafted the Constitution
of India along with Dr BR Ambedkar. Sixty years down the line, she
remembers the man who made his way from Guntur district of Andhra
Pradesh to Bangalore to start a life serving the Maharaja of Mysore.

"My grandfather was a very unassuming man," said Dr Sudha Gopinath, a
retired professor of Philosophy at the Bangalore University, as she
proudly produced an old black and white photograph of late N Madhava
Rau, once the Dewan of Mysore. "For me, he was just my grandfather.
That's all," she smiled, adding, "I could have shown you a picture of
my grandfather with the drafting committee, if I had it. The
photograph is now with my niece." "He came to Bangalore as soon as he
passed the Mysore Civil Service examination and started working for
the Maharaja.

That was some time during first decade of the 20th century," noted
Sudha. "He steadily went up the steps to become the Dewan of Mysore.
By the time India became independent, he was retired. But he was
called to be on the drafting committee," she informed.

"I don't remember much since I was a little girl then," grinned Dr Sudha.

But she does remember what others told her about him — about how he
advised the Maharaja of Mysore to merge with independent India and not
to stay a princely state and how well he carried out urban planning as
the Dewan. "Jayanagar was planned by my grandfather, when my father
Lakshman Rau was the administrator of Bangalore Corporation," she

She also remembers how her grandfather dressed immaculately for functions.

"He was a much disciplined man. When he attended European balls, he
looked perfect in well-tailored suits and when he went to the temple,
he wore the traditional silk dhotis," she said.

"Anyway, people don't remember the men from those times. Why just my
grandfather? Look at Gandhi. How much do people actually know about
him?" she queried, as she narrated a joke, "It's like the RK Laxman
cartoon, where a man pointed at Gandhi's statue and asked a boy who it
was. The little boy said, 'Ben Kingsley'."


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