Monday, 27 January 2014

When a truncated State helped Bangalore

The year 1799 was a watershed in the annals of the Mysore Kingdom. It was the year when the geographical contours of the Kingdom was redefined. It was also the year when the Tiger of Mysore, Tipu Sultan, was slain by the British and  his brave attempt to throw out the British from India ended.
The year of 1799 also saw a major change in the political scene of south India. Till then, Tipu and his father, Hyder Ali, had redefined the polices in the Deccan and their strong opposition to the British had kept the East India Company on its toes and dealt a severe setback to their ambition of  taking over south India.
The death of Tipu led to the extinction of the short-lived Muslim rule over Mysore. Wary of a backlash, the British cleverly handed back the Mysore Kingdom to the Wodeyars but made them sing the Subsidiary Alliance.
The British divided the erstwhile Mysore State into four parts. While they retained Coimbatore and West Coast and also control over Bangalore Cantonment later, the Nizam of Hyderabad was gifted Gutti, Gurumakonda and northern part of Chitradurga. The Marathas were appeased by giving them Harapanahalli, Anegondi and surrounding areas of Bellary.
The remaining portion, which was a truncated leftover, was created as Mysore State and handed over to the Wodeyars. On their part, the five-year-old Mummadi Krishna Raja Wodeyar was coronated the Emperor in a tent in present day Nazarbad in Mysore. The capital of Mysore State too was shifted from Srirangapatna to Mysore.
The British initially maintained a fairly large military presence in Srirangapatna and the expense was borne by the Wodeyars. They then shifted the military presence to Bangalore and forced the Wodeyars to cede administrative and military control over the large tract of land to them.
While Srirangapatna continued to languish and slowly lost out its importance, Mysore and Bangalore developed rapidly and this is no small measure to the Wodeyars and the Dewans of the State.
Dewan Purnaiah took over charge of Mysore State in 1799 and was in the post till 1811. Purnaiah took special interest in developing Bangalore.
He visited Bangalore often and renovated the temple inside the old fort now located in City Market. He also built a choultry for travellers in Tulasi Thota near Majestic. He also financially helped farmers to convert the rocky areas in Sarakki, Jaraganahalli, and Maruthihalli into cultivable lands.
When the British started construction of the Cantonment in Bangalore in 1807, their first base was in 1808 and it was located near where the Command Air Hospital is located today on Old Airport Road.
The emergence of Cantonment as a rival to the pete brought in Western thought, culture and lifestyle to Bangalore. When the British took direct control over the Mysore Kingdom in 1831 and till its return to the Wodeyars in 1881, Mysore was lorded by English Commissioners who had their headquarters in Bangalore. These Commissioners directly reported to the Governor General of India and not to the Governor at Madras.
It was during this period that two Commissioners-Mark Cubbon (1834-1861) and Bowring (1861-1870) gave Bangalore its present character. They ensured that Bangalore received the necessary infrastructure to develop into the foremost City of the times. 

Sunday, 26 January 2014

When famine struck Bangalore

It was sometime in 1877 and India was reeling under a terrible famine. The failure of the monsoons in 1875 and 1876 had led to a prolonged drought in south India and people were finding it difficult to make ends meet.
The Mysore Kingdom and other parts of what is Karnataka today too suffered from the lack of rains. There was no food and cattle was dying everywhere. The prices of food grains and other commodities had shot up and people in Mysore State were suffering.
The severe famine in Mysore State which commenced in December 1876 was the result of the failure of  two successive monsoons in 1875 and 1876. Bangalore was a little more fortunate tan other places of Mysore State and south India as it had fairly adequate stocks of food grains and water.
Seeing Bangalore as a much better option, large number of people from Madras Presidency (as present day Tamil was known then), Hyderabad, Travancore, Bombay Presidency and almost all the districts of  north Karnataka migrated to Bangalore.
The migrants found Bangalore a much better place to live in. The Cantonment was a sprawling city, while the Pete was a prosperous native town.     
This was the period when Chief Commissioner C.B.Saunders was administering the State of Mysore and Dr. J.H.Orr was the President of both Bangalore Pete and Cantonment Municipality.
The huge influx of people led to inflation like situation in Bangalore. The prices of food grains shot up four times its usual price and rents too took an upward swing. Vegetables and fruits too became costlier.
Thargurpet, by then, had become the grain market of Bangalore. Hundreds of shops lined the lanes and bylanes of the locality dealing wholsesale and even in retail food grains.
Many people who had migrated to Bangalore from other parts zeroed in on Thargurpet to feed themselves,. While a lucky few managed to get work, others lazed about and took to begging to feed themselves and their families.
By July 1877, the Bangalore municipality recorded 25,000 famine immigrants to Bangalore.      
Though there was no dearth of food grains in Bangalore, traders and merchants made handsome profits, quoting higher prices. Bangalore also became the nodal centre for distributing food grains to other parts of the State. Every day, 400 tonnes to 500 tonnes of food grains came to Bangalore by rail from Madras.
The food grains and other relief materials were dispatched by rail and road and the Government of India nominated Richard Temple as Special Commissioner to monitor such work from Bangalore.
To tackle the situation in Bangalore, the municipality and the Government appointed specially designated people wearing white and blue caps to identify  weak and starving people and bring them to relief kitchens which were set up across Bangalore.
The Government set up three kitchens under the direct supervision of the General Famine Relief committee. These kitchens fed the migrants twice a day in return for work as they were able to perform.
The Government placed Captain Healey and Lieutenant P.E. Anderson in charge of  relief work in the Pete and cantonment respectively. They supervised the distribution of grains to the poor and also helped people to get back their jobs. These two British officials were assisted in their work by local volunteers. A majority of the volunteers were clerks in Government offices in Bangalore.
Local industrialists, philanthropists and leading citizens of Bangalore also helped out by providing food and shelter and even collecting money. Rai Bahadur Arcot Narayanaswami Mudaliar started a woolen mill where boys were provided with food, clothes and taught to work.
 Brahmo Samaaj and the leading trader of Bangalore, Ele Mallappa Shetty fed 30,000 people daily.
Unfortunately, the magnitude of the famine and drought was so severe that thousands died due to starvation and malnutrition in the State. Bangalore too was not spared such deaths. During August 1877, the average number of dead on the streets of Bangalore was 20 and it shot up to 40 in September. In Cantonment, British soldiers were aghast to find bodies of people, including children, lying exposed and partly devoured by animals.
The Government took up several public works like desilting and repair of Dharmambudi tank and the construction of an additional reservoir adjoining and forming a part of the Sampangi tank. The existing tanks dried up and the Government was forced to dig new tanks and lakes.
Hundreds of  weavers and loom workers of Bangalore who had sold their looms worked as labourers in Sampangi tank. Hundreds of craftsmen too sold off their implements and started working in relief works for their daily bread.
The relief works picked up when the Viceroy of India, Lord Lytton, visited Bangalore in September 1877. He reviewed the famine and drought relief works and appointed Sir Charles Elliot as Famine Commissioner to carry out relief operation more effectively.
Lord Lytton also sanctioned the work of laying of railway line between Bangalore and Mysore.
Thankfully, the drought came to an end when rains lashed Bangalore and other parts of  Mysore State in September and October. However, the relief works continued till November 1878. By then, the devastating famine had resulted in more than seven lakh deaths in Mysore State.
Today, this event is called “The Great Famine of 1876–78.” It is also called as the Southern India famine of 1876–78 or the Madras famine of 1877.
The famine began in 1876 and affected south and south west India first and then spread north and also to some regions of the Central and United provinces. The famine ultimately covered an area of 257,000 square miles (670,000 km2) and directly affected  58,500,000 people. The death toll from this famine is estimated between 5.5 million to 29 million.
Many say that the Great Famine may have been caused by an intense drought resulting in crop failure in the Deccan. Another reason is the foolish decision of Lord Lytton to export huge amounts of food grains to England at the cost of local consumption.
The Great Famine completely shattered the British air of superiority. They had taken over the Mysore Kingdom and in 1873-74 they were thinking a State with surplus in all fields back to the Maharaja.
Their slow response to the famine hastened the rendition or the return of power to the Maharaja apart from exposing their sham of all-round development and a State rich in coffers. The late relief measures cost the Government Rs. 140 lakhs and this was nothing compared to the losses of revenue. Moreover, the Government was forced to borrow Rs. 80 lakhs from the Government of India to tide over the financial crisis.
The famine in the Mysore Kingdom is supposed to have left more than a lakh dead and the inadequate and half-baked measures put in place by the British officials left Lord Lytton fuming. Even, Lord Lytton, the Viceroy, despaired of the lack of proper and sustained relief measures. He as moved to write, that there was “cause for anxiety in the general administration of the State” and  that the Chief Commissioner Saunders “was not in control of  the administration.”    

Saturday, 25 January 2014

When the British wanted Lalbagh to feed their soldiers

The Lalbagh in Bangalore has always been rated as one of the finest botanical gardens of the world. It is not only the pride of Bangalore but it is a rare repository of  exotic plants and trees, many of which go back to the time of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan.
The credit for the making of Lalbagh goes to both Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan. They started planting the gardens sometime between 1740 and 1760 and they both took keen interest in raising the garden.
Both Hyder and Tipu imported exotic plants, seeds and saplings from countries as far away as Turkey, Persia, Afganisthan and the continent of Africa. They also set up a separate garden department to deal with Lalbagh and other gardens.
The death of  Tipu in 1799 did not put the brakes on the development of Lalbagh. Instead, the British took keen interest in redeveloping and subsequently expanding the Lalbagh. They wanted the Lalbagh to cater to the culinary tastes of the British troops stationed in Srirangapatna.
The troops of  the East India Company were not accustomed to eating native fruits and vegetables and they longed for “good old English” vegetables and fruits. Bangalore was found to be ideal for growing some of the English vegetables and fruits.
The East India Company took over Lalbagh and the then  Governor General, Richard Wellesley, commanded surgeon- naturalist Dr. Benjamin Heyne, to look up Lalbagh.
Heyne was also tasked with the job of  ensuring that the Lalbagh  provided food for the regimental messes of the British troops. He was also encouraged to demonstrated to the native gardeners and growers how English vegetables such as potatoes, cabbage and turnips could be cultivated in Bangalore.
Heyne sent a letter to Fort St George, dated April 27, 1803, proposing the retention of a small spot of ground in Bangalore for the purpose of cultivating the potato, turnip and other culinary vegetables.
Lalbagh, under Heyne, came to be transformed into a European style garden and it was only from this period it also began to serve as a botanical garden.
Heyne, who was the first British keeper of Lalbagh, brought 369 plant species from the Western Ghats in South India to Lalbagh. Since Wellesley had asked Heyne to introduce crops, including fruits and vegetables palatable to the British, the botanist did his best to redevelop Lalbagh and grow alien crops in India.
This experiment of Heyne started in 1800 and continued till 1807. He introduced Apples, cocoa, durian, clove, nutmeg and mangosteen and the fist saplings of all these were planted in the Lalbagh.
When the experiments in Lalbagh succeeded, Heyne prevailed upon growers in and round Bangalore to grow European and  British vegetables.
Heyne was in Lalbagh till 1812 after which he joined Francis Buchanan in his survey work. Though he could not transform Lalbagh into a garden to serve the British belly, he protected it and preserved its plants and trees.  

Friday, 24 January 2014

When Ganjam lost its sheen

It was once a prosperous City that Tipu Sultan, the                          tiger of Mysore, founded. It was on the banks of the Cauvery. No, it was not Srirangapatna but a suburban town that Tipu built when he conquered Sira, near Bangalore.
After the sacking of Sira and the defeat of its ruler, Tipu forced the people of the once thriving town to migrate to another town, many miles away. This was the town of  Shehar Ganjam that he built on the outskirts of Sriranapatna.
Tipu ensured that Shehar Ganjam was well-populated. The city was planned well and it was adjacent to Daria Daulat, his summer palace on one side and Gumbaz, where his father was buried, on the other.
Ganjam had four major roads and it was bisected by smaller roads. Tipu grew several fruits and flowering plants and trees around the town and also encouraged gold and silver smiths. Soon, Ganjam came to be known as the foremost jewellery centre of south India and it rivaled Hyderebad in the design and production of jewellery.
The tradition of jewellery became so synonymous that people called it by the name of the City-Ganjam. The royal patronage endured that artisans and gold and silver smiths apart from jewellery designers flocked to the suburb of Srirangapatna.
There are records to indicate that much of  Tipu’s gold and silver jewellery and the jewellery at the royal treasury came from Ganjam. Of course, there were also spoils of war. But the royal treasury and also the jewellery and ornaments of the high-ranking nobles and courtiers came from Ganjam.
At its peak and this was during the heydays of Tipu, Ganjam was peopled by 12,000 artisans. Ganjam then was also known for its clothes, paper and manufacture of stringed musical instruments.
Ganjam suffered a serious setback in 1799 when the marauding British and Nizam forces set camp at Gajnam and at Karighatta hill. They destroyed the fort of Ganjam and also hacked the magnificent garden and orchards developed by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan.
Many people, including traders and jewelers fled from Ganjam. After Tipu died in 1799 in the fourth and final Anglo-Mysore war, the gold trade of Ganjam received a setback. When the Wodeyars were handed over the Kingdom of Mysore and the sons of  Tipu imprisoned in the Vellore fort, there were fears that Ganjam would lose its importance.
For some time, this proved true as the political uncertainty of the Mysore Kingdom led to a decline in the trade. However, once the political situation stabilised and the Wodeyars shifted their Kingdom to Mysore from Srirangapatna, the trade in gold and jewellery picked up again.     
Over time, the artisans of Ganjam made the jewellery so famous that it rivaled the reputation of Surat. Thus if Surat came to be known for its trade in diamonds, Ganjam earned famed for its signature jewellery.
The intricate design and the many patterns of Ganjam jewellery made its stand out against jewellery from other centres. During the Wodeyar rule from 1799, Ganjam once again regained its prominence as the primary manufacturing and trading centre of jewellery.
Ironically, the final nail in the coffin of Ganjam came after India attained Independence from the British-the very dream that drove Tipu to battle the British. The modernisation of the jewellery making process and the sophisticated equipments used in the manufacture of jewellery and the mechanisation of its process sounded the deathknell of the Ganjam jewellery industry.       
The local jewelers and designers slowly but surely went out of business as orders became far and few. Imitation jewellery and import of gold coupled with high prices of gold and lack of Government support routed the once prosperous small-scale industry.
Where Ganjam once had hundreds of artisans and designers, none survived. Today, it is hard to spot even a single jewellery shop in Ganjam and of course of the designers and makers there is none.
Today, Ganjam survives only as the name of jewellery shops. Of the once thriving trade and commerce centre, there is not a whiff. All we can see is the Gumbaz and the Daria Daulat and sandwiched between them is the village of Ganjam.
Today, thousands of tourists make a beeline to Ganjam to see the Sangam, the Daria Daulat and the Gumbaz. Very few of them know the Ganjam as a prime jewellery manufacturing and designing centre which brought name and fame.     
Ganjam is just two kilometers from Srirangapatna, 17 km from Mysore and 127 km from Bengalore. It is easily accessible from Srirangapatna. 

Thursday, 23 January 2014

What's in a name?

What is in a name, you may ask. “Everything”,  is the answer if it is Bangalore. Unlike many other cities in India, Bangalore was never known or founded by that name.
When Kempe Gowda founded Bangalore it was called Devarayanapura and this was the name that Kempe Gowda the first gave to the City he founded. This name was in honour of Achuta Deva Raya, the Emperor of Vijayanagar who permitted Kempe Gowda to not only found the City and build a fort but also construct petes where each of the locality was allowed in trade in a particular commodity.
Thus the founding of Bangalore and the origin of the petes and there were 84 in all when it all began goes back to the reign of Achuta Deva Raya (1529-1541). However, there is another historical view that Kempe Gowda named his new city as Devarayanapura in honour of Krishna Deva Raya (1509-1529).
There is enough evidence to suggest that Krishna Deva Raya did visit Bangalore and that he stayed at a temple or adjacent to a temple in Madiwala.
Though there was no Bangalore when Krishna Deva Raya stayed in Bangalore, Kempe Gowda might have seen him. That he had heard of  Krishna Deva Raya is undeniable. Kempe Gowda also saw Hampi or Vijayanagar and decided to construct a City on the same lines.
He then set about the process of City building. He first harnessed a pair of bullocks to four carts and sent them away in each of the four directions. He asked his soldiers to accompany the bullock carts and he directed them to mark the exact place where they stopped.
The place where the bullock carts stopped were to be the boundaries of the new city. The centre from where they went out in the four directions is what is today known as Doddapete Circle. Unfortunately, the circle is lost in the hustle and bustle of daily life and not even a  handful of the thousands who pass by the busy circle spare a thought to the history of the circle they are traversing across.
Bangalore was never the name Kempe Gowda gave to his nascent city. Bangaluru near Kodigehalli was the place where his wife came from and where his in-laws lived. His wife came to the new city with a fairly large retinue of servants and relatives. Soon, other inhabitants of Bangaluru followed when they realised that Kempe Gowda meant business and that he was a master of  construction. The many temples that Kempe Gowda built, the tanks and lakes he planned, the petes he set about to plan so assiduously and above all the mud fort at the present City Market gave these people a sense of security.
The people of Bangaluru voluntarily shifted from their village and settled down in the city. Soon, the new city overtook other small habitations around such as Magadi, Yelahanka, Anekal, Bangaluru, Begur and Hoskote.
The new city also worsted the old and established cities of Kolar, Chennapatna and Savandurga. It then came to be known as Bangaluru and the one hundred and one years of  the rule of Kempe Gowdas made the city famous by that name.
Gone were the earlier names of Bangalore such as Kalyanipura and Devarayanapura. Bangalore soon became famous and even the British took to the name.
Though the Adil Shahis first and Marathas and Hyder-Tipu wrested control of  Bangalore over different periods, they could never change the name of Bangalore. After the British took over the administration of Mysore from the Wodeyars, they shifted the capital from Mysore to Bangalore. They too preferred Bangalore as a name.
When the British handed back the kingdom to the Wodeyars, the capital was once again shifted to Mysore. But the Wodeyars never changed the name of Bangalore though the Dewans of the state and sometimes even the Maharajas preferred to stay on in Bangalore.  
When India became Independent, Bangalore was unanimously chosen as the capital of the Mysore State. After the integration of the States and the formation of Karnataka, the city of Bangalore continued to retain its name and also the character as capital of the State.
Today, Bangalore has become Bangalooru and there is no unanimity on how this name came about and whether at all it had anything to do with the Hoysala Emperor, Veera Ballala and the story of boiled beans (Benda Kalluru).
Did Benda Kalluru become Bangalore or did Bangaluru become Bangalore.
Whatever the origin of the name, one thing is clear. Human habitation existed in and around today’s Bangalore even during pre-historic times.    
Several Stone Age weapons dating to periods between 2000 BC  to 1000 BC have been found near Jalahalli, Siddapura and Gavipuram. Besides, relics belonging to the Iron Age dating to about 800 BC have been discovered in Kannur, Jadigenahalli and  Koramangla.
That Bangalore was known to foreigners can be evidenced from the fact that Roman coins belonging to Roman Emperors Augustus, Tibirius, Cadius, and Caligula have been unearthed from Yeshwantapur and HAL localities.
Another legend says sometime in the 5th century the Ganga rulers constructed a small settlement near Kengeri for their guards. The guards were known as Bengavalu in Kannada. Their dwelling place became Bengavaluru, which later became Bengaluru.
What is interesting is that the word Bengaluru first appeared in an inscription of  890 A.D. found in Begur. However, this Bengaluru is different from the Bengaluru near Kodigehalli near Hebbal.
Bangalore was also the place where many hero stones or veeragallu  have been found. The hero stones in Lalbagh and Kengeri (10th Century), lake in Krishnarajapura (11th Century), near Railway Housing Colony (13th Century), and near the band-stand in Lalbagh Glass House (13th Century) tell us that Bangalore was inhabited during those periods.
Apart from coins and implements, a host of inscriptions and historical evidences belonging to various periods - Talakadu Gangas (2nd to 10th Century), Cholas (1004-1116), Hoysalas (1116-1336) and Vijayanagar (1336 to 1537) and of course Kempe Gowda – reveal the antiquity of Bangalore.
Yet, the most romantic story of  how Bangalore got its name comes from the hunting  anecdote of  Veera Ballala. This story goes back to the 12th century.
A few historians say that Venkataru was the City built by Kempe Gowda. As Venkaturu had several temples dedicated to Venkataramana Swamy, it became Benkaturu and finally Bengaluru. Yet another story says Bangalore is the name that came after Benacha kalluru (Benachu is the quartz stone that is found in and around Bangalore). The many Benge trees found in Bengeuru also contributed to the name of Bengaluru.
Ironically, we hardly get to see any Benge trees in Bangalore.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

When rivals plotted against Kempe Gowfa

We all know that the reign of the Kempe Gowdas came to an end when the Adil Shahis of Bijapur conquered Bangalore in 1638.
The then Adil Shahi Sultan, had sent out a huge force under Ranadullah Khan, Afzal Khan (he was subsequently killed by Chatrapathi Shivaji) and Shahaji Bhonsale (father of Shivaji) to Bangalore and Sira.
While Afzal Khan marched towards Sira and conquered it, Ranadulla Khan also called as Rustam Zaman and Shahaji camped at Bangalore.
The forces of Kempe Gowda held out at the fort of Bangalore for three days before succumbing to the mighty Adil Shahi army.
The ruler of Bangalore then was  Kempe Gowda III and he had come to power in 1633. Unfortunately, his reign was marked by jealousies and squabbles and neighbouring palegars and nayaks, who had become wary of  the rising power of  Bangalore, conspired against Kempe Gowda.
These palegars could not digest the fact that Bangalore was becoming an important centre for inland trade and commerce. The natural beauty of Bangalore and its prosperity made them jealous.
Bangalore had never seen a major war after Kempe Gowda established the City in 1537. It had remained as the capital of Yelahanka Nadaprabhu’s or the Kempe Gowdas for 101 years from 1537 to 1638 A.D.
Kempe Gowda I, the founder of Bangalore, was a visionary, builder and a lover of art and architecture. He was also a powerful vassel of the Vijayanagar and he had earned his military spurs by subduing nayakas and palegars.
His son Gidde Gowda ruled for 15 years from 1570 to 1585. Thereafter, Kempe Gowda II ruled for 48 years (from 1585 to 1633), and like his grandfather, he was a builder. He constructed like Ranganathaswamy temple in Balepet and the forts in Magadi and Savanadurga. The watch-towers in Lalbagh, Kempambudhi tank, Halasur tank, and near Mekhri circle have become famous as Kempe Gowda towers.
It was during the reign of his son that the Kempe Gowda rule came to an end in Bangalore. The neighbouring rulers were never on friendly terns with Bangalore. They joined hands and conspired to bring down Kempe Gowda.
The conspiring chieftains: Hanumappa Nayaka of Basavapattana, Dalwai Chennaiah of Chennapattana, and Sumukhi Begur Nayak among others joined hands to topple Kempe Gowda.
Realising that even their combined armies could not defeat the disciplined forces of  Kempe Gowda, they invited the Adilshah to invade Bangalore. The Adil Shah was only too happy and he sent a huge force under commander Ranadulla Khan and his deputy Shahaji Bhonsle.
The Adil Shah army defeated Kempe Gowda’s army in three days and captured Bangalore. Shahaji permitted Kempe Gowda III to surrender and also allowed him to retreat to Magadi in 1638. From that day, the Kempe Gowdas could never set foot on Bangalore again and instead they set about developed Magadi and Savandurga. Shahaji permitted Kempe Gowda to rule from Magadi and this is how he came to be known as Magadi Kempe Gowda. But the char of Bangalore and its prosperity could never be replicated in Magadi.
Kempe Gowda’s descendents ruled from Magadi till 1728 when the Wodeyars under Dodda Krishnaraja Wodeyar (1714-1732) put an end to the Yelahanka Nadaprabhu’s reign. The last of the Kempe Gowdas called Kempeveera Gowda (1705-1728) or Kempe Gowda the third spent his time in a jail in Srirangapatna. It was an unhappy time for him as he had not only lost his kingdom but also liberty. He died in jail along with his general Veerabhadra Nayaka, a sad and unhappy man, ruing his fate and his defeat at Savandurga by the marauding Wodeyars.  

Thus Bangalore was lost to the Adil Shahis and Shahaji and his Marathas reigned over Bangalore from 1638 to 1688. In 1688, Khasim Khan, the Mughal Commander, took Bangalore from the Marathas and then sold it to the Wodeyars.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The Shakti temple of Kshanambike

Nimishamba in Ganjam near Srirangapatna is well-known for its temple dedicated to Nimishamba.
The name Nimishamba has been given to the Goddess as she is believed to grant the wishes or request of a devotee within a minute. In Kannada the word Nimisha means a minute and Amma is mother. Therefore, Nimishamba means a mother who gives boon or grants a wish in a minute.
While the Nimishamba temple is very well-known and thousands visit the shrine every day, there is a temple of another similar Goddess which is not as well-known as Nimishamba.
This is the temple which houses the Kshanambike. Like Nimishamba, this temple too id dedicate to a Goddess and it is located in Srirangapatna itself.
The temple of  Goddess Kshanambika is an ancient one and this is believed to be much older and more powerful than Nimishamba.
If Nimishamba grants wishes in a minute (nimisha), the Kshanambika is said to fulfill the wishes of the devotees within a second (kshana).
In Kannada, the word mans a second and Kshanambika means the Goddess who grants boon in  second. The main source of power of the Goddess here is a bijakdhara garbhita srichakra.
T he Srichakra is a geometrical representation of the universe and this is vital component of yantra worship. The mandala within the Srichakra is believed to activate the energies both within and outside the devotee.
Geometrically, the Srichakra is formed by the intersection of nine isosceles triangles which intersect at various points. While four of the triangles are upright and represent Shiva, the five inverted triangles represent Shakti. All the nine triangles together signify the nine fundamental elements of  skin, blood, flesh, fat, bone,  semen, marrow, breath and the individual soul.
This Srichakra can still be seen in front of the idol of the Goddess Kshanambika. Incidentally, an Astamangala Prashna conducted at the temple has revealed the antiquity of the Srichakra and the Shakti that radiates from the Chakraraja.
The temple of  Kshanambika is located in Srirangapatna itself and it is easy to locate it. If there is any difficulty, locals will be able to guide you to the temple.
The temple is located within the fort and nearby is the Hanuman Temple and the Jumam Masjid.
One can visit both the Nimishamba and Kshanambike temples and both are closely associated with Shakti. If fact, you can club visit to both temples by going in your own transport or hiring an autorickshaw. 

Monday, 20 January 2014

The Ganjam figs

An earlier post had dealt with the City of Ganjam and also the jewellery making. This post is about the world famous figs of Ganjam.
Ganjam was as famous for its jewellery as it was for its figs. Though the city of Shehar Ganjam was constructed by Tipu just two kilometers away from his island capital of Srirangapatna, it developed into a distinct city in itself.
Tipu ensured that Ganjam was surrounded by lovely orchards, farms and plantations. He introduced a variety of Indian and foreign plants and trees. He planted many exotic trees and plants in the Gumbaz gardens and around Daria Daulat palace. If the Gumbaz housed the mausoleum of his father Hyder Ali, the Daria Daulat was his summer retreat.
Both the Gumbaz and Daria Daulat were surrounded by hundreds of varieties of  trees and plants. Since Ganjam city was built between these two buildings, it too received Tipu’s largesse. Tipu imported fig or anjura from several countries and had them planted in and around Ganjam.
Soon, the fog took root in Ganjam thanks to the salubrious climate and the ready supply of water from the nearby Cauvery. The garden department of Tipu supervised the fig in the royal gardens in Ganjam.
Ganjam soon became known for its figs. Farmers were encouraged to grow fig and the special and popular variety of fig grown here came to be known as Ganjam fig (Ganjam anjura).
Even Tipu is known o have enjoyed the Ganam fig. Soon, the fig was an important export from Srirangapatna and it contributed to the local economy.
When the British set up camp at Ganjam and overran the Gumbaz, they also captured Ganjam. They destroyed many trees and plants. Initially, growers and farmers fled Ganjam fearing the British. But they came back after the death of Tipu and once again began cultivating fig.
The British imported Ganja fig from Srirangapatna to Bangalore and other places. The Wodeyars too encouraged the farmers and growers to come back and take back possession of their land. Though the fort of Ganjam was destroyed in 1799, the British and the Wodeyars allowed residents to comeback after the death of Tipu Sultan on May 4, 1799.
 Fig cultivation once again took off. Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar and Dewan Mirza Ismail gave a boost to fig cultivation. Both were admirers of the Ganjam fig and they encouraged 150 farmers in and around the village of  Ganjam to grow them. They gave subsidy and donated five guntas of land to each of the 150 growers. They also initiated steps to irrigate the fig farms with water from the Cauvery.
The figs grown on these 150 farms were initially sent to Mysore palace where the royal family of Wodeyars took pride in serving them to the British officers and visitors. Soon, Ganjam figs began to be exported to other states and they commanded a good price in the market.
The Ganjam figs gave the Australian figs and Pune figs a run for the money. They had a unique taste of their own.  
The fig farms survived till1960 after which they slowly died. Lack of encouragement, lack of proper inputs and the growing interest in other cash crops led to many farmers abandoning the fig. Today, there are barely handful of the 150 fig gardens that could be seen in and around Ganjam till the 1960s.

There is a small patch of land which belongs to the  Horticulture department where it has grown 20 plants. The department had taken possession of this 5.5 acres of land from the PWD in 1964.
It is said that the Horticulture department has taken over the 5.5 acre fig gardens from the Public Works Department in 1964. However, we can see a few Sapota plants there. The Ganjam fig plants can be seen at the department nursery at Javarahalli farm in Ganjam (there are 100 fig trees there) and at the farm in Nagamangala taluk.
When we visit Ganjam, even today we can see rusted machines and pipeline network that were used to pump water from the Cauvery to the farms. The two pumps of 40 HP and 20 HP capacity can still be seen but they are defunct.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

When the King of Nonsense visited Lalbagh

Lalbagh is called by many names and one among them is Kew of India.
This name was given by Edward Lear (1812-1888) in 1874. Lear was an English artist, illustrator, author and poet. Today, he is known mostly for his “literary nonsense”  in poetry and prose and especially his limericks, a form he popularised.
He came to India in 1874 during which he visited Bangalore. He came to Lalbagh in a dog cart and was stunned by its beauty, variety of  plants and shrubs.
By then, the management of Lalbagh had passed from the hands of the British to the Mysore Maharaja or the Wodeyars. While the British kept Cantonment, they handed over the botanical garden laid out by Hyder and Tipu to the Wodeyars.  
The Garden of Waugh, as it was known a few decades earlier and the Cypress and Rose Gardens much earlier, had acquired the name of Lalbagh.
Lear had a particular reason for visiting Lalbagh. His principal areas of work as an artist were threefold: as a draughtsman employed to illustrate birds and animals; making coloured drawings during his journeys, which he reworked later, sometimes as plates for his travel books; and thirdly as a illustrator of English poet Alfred Tennyson’s poems.
As an author, Lear is known principally for his popular nonsense works, which use real and invented English words.  He wrote his nonsense song, “The Cummerbund”,  while sheltering from the monsoon in India.
However, his description of Lalbagh as Kew was more real than imagined and definitely not “nonsense” he wrote about the delightful time he spent in the gardens.
Lear was born into a middle-class family in Holloway, a small village near London. He was the 20th of the 21st children of Ann Clark Skerrett and Jeremiah Lear.
Lear began drawing by the time he was 16 and he soon developed into a serious “ornithological draughtsman” employed by the  Zoological Society.
He arrived in Bombay on November 22, 1873 after a 27-day voyage from Naples. It was his first in India and it would be the last expedition of his life.
This was between 1873 and 1875 and while travelling he produced large quantities of coloured wash drawings.
He had come to India as a guest of Evelyn Baring, the Personal Secretary, of the Viceroy of India, Lord Northbrook.
He came to Bangalore in mid August of 1874 by rail and was stunned on seeing the Lalbagh. “Never saw a more beautiful place”, he wrote and called it the “Kew of India”.
Since Lalbagh had always been a repository of exotic plants and shrubs from the times of Hyder and Tipu, the epithet by Lear appears to be more than appropriate. He himself acknowledges that he  “went in a dog cart to Lalbagh ….never saw a more beautiful place, terraces, trellises.”
Lear found “a sort of homely quiet pervades everything” in Bangalore.  
 Lear was one of the first English writers to use Limericks and literary nonsense and helped to make them popular. He travelled in Italy for three years and published two books of illustrations. At one point, Lear taught Queen Victoria how to draw. He, however, had to bow out of Victoria’s presence as he did not know the proper way to behave with her and this led to awkward incidents. Lear painted all his life upto his death.
His writing and sketches of India reflect his nature and his amazement at the variety that India was. But even then, the rigors of Indian roads or rather the lack of it left him exhausted, leaving him to lament,  “O! Hateful Indian travel.”

It was Bangalore and Lalbagh that gave him back his spirit and made his day. This is how the “King of Nonsense” viewed Lalbagh.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

The little-known temple of BR Koppal

There are scores of  temples dedicated to Srinivasa, Ranganatha and Narasimha in the Bangalore-Mysore belt and many of them such as the Ranganatha temples at Srirangapatna and Magadi, the Srinivasa temples of  Apremeya in Dodda Malur and  Bangaru Tirupathi and the Narasimha temples of Maddur and Melkote are well-known.
In fact the districts of  Bangalore, Mysore, Mandya, Ramanagar, Hassan and Kolar which form part of  south Karnataka abound in temples dedicated to Hari and his ten avatars, including Srinivasa and Narasimha.
However, there are many temples which are not as well-known as the temples of Melkote or Magadi. One such temple is that of Sri Manikarnika Gunja Sri Lakshmi Narasimha at Baburayana Koppal  or BR Koppal, which is near Srirangapatna.
The temple is situated at the confluence of Lokapavani and Cauvery rivers.
The deity is Narasimha and he has a small bead, called gulaganji in Kannada, held up in his right palm. This means that this kshetra is more sacred (by the weight of a gulaganji) than the Manikarnika Ghat at Kashi. That is why the deity here is called Manikarnika Sri Gunja Lakshmi Narasimha.
The Manikarnika Ghat of Kashi is supposed to be the very place where Lord Vishnu dug a pit with his chakra while he was performing penance. The pit was filled with his perspiration when he started meditating. When Lord Shiva shook his head in admiration, his jewelled ear ornament fell into the pit with a resounding murmur. This is how the bathing ghat Manikarnika in Kashi got its name.
It is the same name of Manikarnika that distinguishes this Narasima Temple. Local legend has it that Brigu performed penance here.
A little distance away from the Narasimha temple is the beautiful hill of Karighatta where a temple dedicated to Srinivasa is built. Nearby is the famous Naimishamba temple.
The Manikarnika temple is 120 kms from Bangalore and 35 kms from Mysore and it is on the Bangalore-Mysore road. 
e bridge on the river Cauvery before entering Srirangapatna, a left turn on the highway leads to Babu Rayan Koppal and the temple. It is about
Another temple dedicated to Narasimha is the Sri Gunja Narasimha Swamy and Agasthyeshwara Temples at T. Narsipura. The Gunja Narasimhaswamy Temple is on the left side of Cauvery and even here Narasimha has a gulaganji in his right hand.
There is also a Narasimha temple in Srirangapatna. However, the most famous temple of Narasimha in the area of that of Yoga Narasimha in Melkote. This temple is accessible only after a back breaking climb from a steep cluster of steps.  

The Cantonment Saheba

There has always been an ongoing debate about the game of cards or rather poker, its origin and whether it is a game of  skill or a game of chance. While card players say it is a game of skill, the police and law enforcement authorities term it as a game of chance. They label it as gambling and clamp down on it.
A few days ago, the Karnataka High Court had ruled that poker is  a game of skill and, therefore, held that it does not come under gambling. The ruling was in response to petitions urging the court to set aside the police action in terming playing cards as gambling and consequently booking cases against the cars players.
Though playing cards or poker is certainly not a modern sport, it was not unknown in India. The Mysore Kingdom under the Wodeyars popularised the Ganjifa cards and one of its Kings, Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, was an expert and he himself designed several Ganjifa cards.
However, the credit for making Bangalore a card playing centre and a city that hosted Western games such as billiards, snooker, golf, football and cricket must go to the British. The Cantonment Saheba was an expert card player, apart from taking to other British customs such as dressing in a typical British fashion, puffing a cigar and eating with a fork and spoon.
All this and more  began sometime in the early 1800s when the British decide to establish a Cantonment in Bangalore. Read on…..
The British, by 1807, had decided to abandon their garrison at Srirangapatna and shift it to Bangalore. They selected an elevated piece of land abutting present day Ulsoor for their Cantonment.
The British consciously decided to allow a physical boundary of a few small tanks, lakes and a garden which later developed into Cubbon Park in the mid 1800s to separate the new establishment from the old Pete.
The old Pete had bad memories for the British and the victory they had achieved over Tipu Sultan in 1791 was bitter sweet as they had lost several British officers and men.
The stubborn resistance that the then Daroga of the fort, Bahadur Khan, had put up against Lord Cornwallis who led the British army in 1791 was still fresh in their minds. The British allowed the Wodeyars to rule over the ruined Pete, while they forced the Wodeyars to part with a large tract of  land which they named as Cantonment.    
Soon, both the Pete and Cantonment grew separately and each had its own unique and distinct identity. If the pete was full of natives, the Cantonment was the most modern British establishment boasting of well-laid out roads, parks, playgrounds, churches, military barracks, a Stately residence for the British Resident of Mysore, tanks and lakes.
The Cantonment needed people to serve the British and such people settled down in and around present day Ulsoor. While only a handful of people from the Pete could come to the Cantonment, which was out of bounds for a vast majority of Indians, the working class at Ulsoor and other localities who were mostly Tamilians, were given more access.   
The two towns-Pete and Cantonment too developed distinct cultures. The dance and ball culture of the British soon appeared on the Cantonment map. It quickly replaced the native song and dance routine, which then found itself flourishing in the Pete.
The drink-dance culture of the Cantonment gave birth to ball dances, football, cricket, cards games, billiards, tennis, boxing, musical soirees, fancy dress balls, domino dances, polo, golf and of course horse races.
BRV was initially a hall where dances were held. Raffles, the dance club, is where Deccan Herald stands today on MG Road. Just a little away from Deccan Herald on MG Road was Tom’s Billiards Parlour.
The Bangalore Palace of the Wodeyars had a highly polished wooden dance floor where Europeans danced regularly to the beat of the Wodeyar Maharaja’s royal orchestra.
The Opera cinema today at the junction of Residency Road and Brigade Road is the place where boxing bouts took place regularly. Crowds from the pete too thronged the bouts. Football matches were regularly played between European teams at the Sullivan grounds.
The first horse races were organised with the help of the Wodeyar Maharaja at Agaram. Europeans outnumbered Indians and all jockeys were British. Pubs and restaurants too began coming up in and around Cantonment.
The Cantonment was essentially Christian in character. Many churches were built and Sundays revolved on morning mass and singing. There were only handful of temples.  
On the other hand, the pete area had to be satisfied with traditional arts and traditional games. The pete area boasted of several Garadi manes where local wrestlers honed in their skills on red earth in Ranasinghpet and surrounding petes.
There were scores of temples in the Pete area and trading in commodities was the main economic activity. Kannada and Tamil apart from Telugu and a smattering of Marathi was spoken in Pete as against English in Cantonment.
If West End and Sullivan’s Inn in Whitefield signified the British eatery, it was left to small hotels to open shop in Pete areas. These hotels initially had distinct area for orthodox and non-orthodox people and they sold only dosa, idlis and vada. Of course, filter coffee was always there.
If the Mysore peta was must for a high ranking local, the Cantonment gentleman was dressed in Western dress.         
Thus the lifestyle in both the cities of Bangalore differed. This distinction led to the birth of  two new categories of fashionable people. One was called Pete Bhoopa and he was a master of the pete and the other was the dandy Cantonment Saheba.
The two entities continued with their different lifestyle and in 1947 both came to be merged as Bangalore. Yet, the merger has not been able to erase the distinction of  the old pete and the snobbery of the Cantonment.
Even today, we see tree lined avenues, broad roads, spacious bungalows, huge churches, well-maintained parks and playgrounds in Cantonment. None of them can be seen in the Pete area, which is highly congested with small and narrow roads, chok-a-block.
In the initial years, the Cantonment outstripped Pete in all aspects, including economy and population. However, the Pete hit back and slowly and surely, it pulled ahead of the Cantonment from the late 1800s.
The growth of Bangalore or rather the growth of the dual cities of Bangalore was unheard of in any other part of India. Soon, people from other states, mainly Tamilians decided to try their luck in Bangalore and they came in hordes. They were encouraged by the British and the Madras Government which wanted to desperately have a piece of the Bangalore pie.   
British officers, sick and tired of the heat of Madras and the orthodox  lifestyle, fought among themselves and used influence to get postings in Bangalore. Some even were willing to become an attendant to the British officer and all this for a posting in Bangalore.

The highly enlightened rule of the Wodeyars in making Mysore an ideal State made people decide to emigrate to Bangalore. Thus, we see that the Pete and Cantonment both gave rise to the migration of people of other religions and regions into Bangalore. No wonder, to this day, Bangalore continues to remain cosmopolitan. It is a cacophony of cultures and people and it continues to remain so. The only people who seemed to have vanished are the Pete Bhoopa and the Cantonment Saheba. In their place today we have the Cantonment educated Bangalorean sprouting a hybrid of English called Inglish and refusing to speak in Kannada. Of course, he goes to MTR but he also visits KFC and Dominoes. He rarely if ever comes to a Cinema hall but prefers the multiplex. Does he watch Kannada films. No, he prefers English and films of other languages to Kannada. Who is he? A legacy of the British Cantonment Saheba or the modern day Bhoopa. 

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

A Rangoli contest

The resident association of LIC Colony, Canara Bank and GH Layout had two days ago organised a Rangoli competition for women.
The event was held at the BMP ground adjacent to the BBMP Office in LIC Colony and which is located just off the beautiful LIC Colony park.
The competition was open for residents of  the LIC Colony, Canara Bank Layout and GH Layout in Jayanagar 3rd Block, Bangalore. This was one among the many contests organised for women. The competition drew several women and the Rangoli was drawn on the concrete floor of the BBMP playground.
As we all know, Rangoli is a daily ritual among Hindu households and it is drawn in front of the house early morning. The Rangoli has religious significance and it is called by different names in different regions and different states of India.
Rangoli is a floor art and it is drawn on festive occasions and in front of Kalyana Mantapas, temples and venues where religious events are being organised. There are several books on Rangoli.
While Rangoli is generally drawn with white chalk powder every day, it is given a hue of colours on festive occasions and in competitions.
Here are some images of the beautifully drawn Rangoli.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Rayaru in Rangoli

Rangoli is found in front of all Hindu households in India and whichever State or region you go, you can see a variety of rangoli in front of houses, temples, religious institutions such as mathas and Veda Patashalas, Kalyana Mantapas and even in front of  venues hosting social and religious events.
Rangoli is drawn on all auspicious occasions such as marriages, Gruhapravesha and Nishchitarta (engagement ceremony).
The tradition of drawing on the floor or/and in front of houses is called Rangoli. Therefore, it is also called floor art and it is an integral part of an Indian household. Rangoli is called by different names in different regions.
There can be innumerable designs and there are designs for every occasions. In earlier days, Rangoli was created with Hittu which attracted sparrows. Now, they are drawn with white chalk powder and on occasions colours are used.
One of the leading haridasas of Karnataka, Jagannatha Dasa of  Manvi was well-known as Rangoli Dasa as he was an expert at this art. He would draw the image of Hari and other Gods as he sang about them and their glories.
We find different Rangoli designs in front of Raghavendra Swamy Mathas.
The above image of a Rangoli drawing is from the Raghavendra Swamy Temple in Jayanagar 4th Block. We saw that a woman had drawn a beautiful Rangoli of Rayaru in front of the Tulasi Katte or platform where Tulasi was planted.
The Rangoli shows Rayaru holding the Veena, his favourite musical instrument. Rayaru, like his father Thomanna Bhat, and his grandfather, Kanakachala Bhatta, was an expert Veena player. Both hios grandfather and father were at the court of the Vijayanagar Emperor.
We decided to take a photograph of the Rangoli drawing before it disappeared.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

When courts first took note of pollution

There is a mistaken notion among people today that it is only recently or in the last few years that there has been growing awareness of environment degradation, industrial pollution and deliberate change in land use.
In fact, courts in India have been asking the authorities, particularly the civic agencies, and the governments of course, to abide by local and municipal laws and ensure that residents get pollution free environment.
The courts, particularly, high courts, have been hauling up the civic agencies for the laxity in enforcing the rule of the law.
This post is about a group of people who went to court against pollution from industries and this happened ay back in 1991. The people were residents and devotees of the Raghavendra Swamy Matha in Kalyani garden in Bangalore. Thismatha is today popularly known as Kalyani Raghavendra Swamy Matha and it was established in 1943 by the Kalyani family.
The High Court gave a verdict in favour of the petitioners-V. Lakshmipathy and others and asked the civic agencies to clean up their act. Whether or not the civic agencies and the respondents went in appeal against this order and whether this order was upheld, modified or set aside is not the subject matter of  this post.
This post only wants to highlight the fact the people were aware of  the dangers of pollution two decades and more earlier and courts too acted upon their concern.
We are publishing this judgment only because the Kalyani Raghavendra Swamy Matha in Ashoknagar (near Vidyapeetha) is in the news as an image of Raghavendra Swamy is manifesting itself on the outer walls of the Prakara housing the Brindavana of
the seer of Mantralaya.
This is what the judgment said and, as can be seen, it was delivered by Justice Balakrishna. This judgment is in public domain and in case, anyone needs more information, it can be obtained from the High Court on payment of a nominal fee. If not, the law journals and the advocates who argued the case will have details. 

Karnataka High Court

V. Lakshmipathy versus State Of Karnataka on 9 April, 1991
(ILR 1991 KAR 1334, 1991 (2) KarLJ 453)
Case Number : Writ Petition No. 23138 of 1980
Advocate for Respondent: Sateesh M. Doddamani, Govt. Pleader, H. Thipperudrappa, Gopalakrishna, B.T. Parthasarthy, Ashok R. Kalyana Setty, R.C. Castelino, K.N. Subba Reddy, Dayananda Kumar, S.G. Sundaraswamy.
Advocate for Appellant: M.G. Sathyanarayanamurthy.
Author: H. G. Balakrishna
Bench: H G. Balakrishna

Balakrishna, J.

1. The petitioners, who are the residents of Banashankari Extension I Stage, Block-1, which includes a part of N.R. Colony and Ashokanagar, have embarked on Public Interest Litigation actuated by common cause in defence of public interest. The petitioners are aggrieved by the location and operation of industries and industrial enterprises in a residential area in alleged gross violation of the provisions of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act. The petitioners are questioning industrial activity in residential locality by establishing and running factories, work-shops, factory sheds, manufacture of greases and lubricating oils by distillation process and also production of inflammable products by respondents-17 to 49. According to the petitioners, these questionable activities are being carried on in the area comprising of Sy.Nos. 39/1, 39/2A and 39/2B of Yediyur Nagasandra village, Bangalore. The land situate in Sy.No. 39/1 is called "Vajapeyam Terrace Gardens" and the land in Sy.Nos. 39/2A and 39/2B are known as Kalyani Gardens. It appears that in respect of these areas, Agreements were executed between the erstwhile City Improvement Trust Board (C.I.T.B) and their owners and successors for the purpose of formation of a lay-out in accordance with law, but the Agreements were not implemented for reasons best known to the said Board. It is stated that the Health and Municipal Administration Department of the State of Karnataka issued a direction bearing No. HMA 35 MNX 72 dated 4-7-1972 to the erstwhile C.I.T.B. to handover the said areas to the Corporation of the City of Bangalore (Respondent-14 herein). However, it appears that the direction was not acted upon and these areas were not handed over to the Corporation. Nevertheless inspite of the fact that the said areas were not handed over to the Corporation, taxes are being imposed and collected by the Corporation. The petitioners have stated that there are portions which are not converted though they are reserved Kharab land granted in accordance with the Land Grant Rules falling within the jurisdiction of the Revenue Authorities and strangely enough the Revenue Authorities have failed to exercise jurisdiction and control over these portions and have not enforced the provisions of relevant Law, Rules and Regulations in respect of these lands. In other words, the entire area falling in Sy.Nos. 39/1, 39/2A and 39/2B became virtually "no man's land" because of alleged inaction and abdication of power and control by the Development Authority including the erstwhile C.I.T.B. the Bangalore Development Authority, the Corporation of the City of Bangalore and the Revenue Authorities of the State Government thereby resulting in betrayal of public interest on account of imperviousness to duty, callousness, non-feasance and utter lack of supervisory, administrative and regulatory control over the area in question. The petitioners have also complained of the serious threat to public health on account of environmental hazards posed by the industries and industrial activity. According to the petitioners, the provisions of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961 have been violated and the establishment and running of the industries in the area are contrary to the Outline Development Plan and zoning of land use as dictated by statute. It is specifically alleged that some of the industries have been floated under licences said to have been issued by the Village Panchayat of Kathiraguppe even though the said area falls within the village Yediyur-Nagasandra beyond the limits of Kathiraguppe village and, therefore, beyond jurisdiction. However, it is pointed out that these industrial units have succeeded in securing public services and utilities such as electricity, water etc., from respondents 12 and 13 to which they are not legally entitled. It is also stated that in the light of Section 14 of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, there could be no change in land use contrary to the Act and no authority could grant any licence for user of the land contrary to what the said provision earmarks. In short, the allegation is that the establishment of these industrial units is ab initio illegal. In regard to Sy.No. 39/1, the petitioners have impeached that various orders and directions issued by the competent authorities for the purpose of execution of Agreements with the erstwhile C.I.T.B. in order to obtain sanction of building plans etc., have been flagrantly flouted and transfer of lands have been effected by the jugglery of dissolution and reconstitution of partnerships from time to time for the purpose of manoeuvring in order to locate industries contrary to law, by devious methods circumventing Outline Development Plan and Comprehensive Development Plan. The petitioners have taken strong exception to extensive area of lands reserved by Government being appropriated for private use and activities not consistent with Law without a check. A case on hand is specifically mentioned by the petitioners wherein one Mrs. Seethamma executed an agreement in favour of the erstwhile C.I.T.B. on 22-10-1973 in respect of lands in Sy.Nos. 39/2A and 39/2B based on an alleged sanction of a lay-out for industrial purpose, the sanction being subsequent to 4-7-1972 when the Health and Municipal Administration Department of the Government of Karnataka had directed the erstwhile C.I.T.B. to handover the area vide order No. HMA 35 MNX 72 dated 4-7-1972. The petitioners have pointed out that sanction for industrial purpose is itself ab initio illegal since it was in contravention of the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act as well as the Outline Development Plan which declared the said area as residential zone. It is also pointed out that none of the conditions incorporated in the aforesaid agreement dated 22-10-1973 were complied with, the conditions being (a) maintenance of open space as required and in accordance with the sanctioned plans; (b) prohibition on use of sites without the approval of the erstwhile C.I.T.B., (3) prohibition on alteration of the dimensions as approved in the plan; (d) intimation of date of commencement and programme of execution of lay-out work under the supervision of the Engineers of the erstwhile C.I.T.B. and (e) due compliance with the Rules, Regulations, Bye-laws and Standing Orders regarding obtaining of licences.
2. Non-compliance with the said conditions entail by virtue of a penal clause in the said Agreement, withdrawal of the sanction and acquisition of the property and dealing with the same in accordance with Rules.
3. It is alleged that in a part of the Kalyani Garden' exists a Temple dedicated to Sri Raghavendra Swamy Brindavana under a Deed of Trust dated 29-7-1974 to be run by a Trust called "Sathyabhamamma Seethamma Katyani Raghavendra Ashrama". For the purpose of access to the said Temple, the entire area of Sy.No. 39/2B was required to be reserved; but it was encroached access to the residents and devotees. The result is that they have to wend their way through a labyrinth of industries. It is alleged that the onward course for passage running through Sy.No. 39/2B towards 6th Cross Road of Ashokanagar is via 30' road running within Sy.No. 39/1 as set out in the plan approved by the erstwhile C.I.T.B. vide its Resolution No. 776 dated 12-2-1969 and Resolution No. 492 dated 3-3-1971. But the said road is not properly laid out by the C.I.T.B./B.D.A. nor is it maintained properly by the said bodies and, on the other hand, the passage has been treated as a private road in disregard of the Approved Plan as well as the Resolutions and to cap it all the road is closed on its southern side. It is alleged that constructions have been put up even in the road portion contrary to Law and all this has happened with impunity at the hands of the concerned Authorities who are enjoined with the responsibility of enforcement of Law. This has resulted in detriment to public interest since it is the only road leading to the Temple. The petitioners in particular have complained of acute pollution affecting the environment on account of persistent offensive and unwholesome escape of pollutants such as smoke, vapour and noxious emanations posing danger to health and hygiene of the residents. According to the petitioners, noise pollution is added to the misery of the residents of the locality day in and day out depriving them of a clean environment, quality of life, peace and tranquillity reasonably expected in a residential area.
4. Another grievance articulated is that the decadence contributed by pollution has affected the value of the properties in the entire area.
5. The petitioners assert that the residents of the area have a right to expect strict performance of statutory duties in order to protect public interest by Public Bodies invested with statutory powers, duties and obligations and that these Authorities cannot commit breach of statutory obligations frustrating public interest and public good. It is submitted by the petitioners that inspite of repeated requests and demands, not only the Corporation but also the B.D.A. and the Health Officer of the Corporation have failed to take necessary steps in accordance with Law. It is alleged that representations were made to the Commissioner of the Corporation and the Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department (respondent-2 herein) on 31-7-1979 and also to the Chairman, B.D.A. (respondent-9 herein) on 20-11-1979, in vain and, therefore, the petitioners were constrained to issue a registered notice of demand dated 16-9-1980 addressed to all the 15 Authorities concerned vide Annexure- B. It is stated that all the notices have been served on them. However, the petitioners complain that there was no response from any of these Authorities and the demands were never met by them and hence they have resorted to Public Interest Litigation and to arouse Judicial Conscience for securing legal redress.
6. The petitioners have sought for a declaration that the change in land use in Sy.Nos. 39/1, 39/2A and 39/2B of Yediyur-Nagasandra village, Bangalore, from residential to industrial is violative of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, the Outline Development Plan, the Comprehensive Development Plan and Regulations thereunder and that all consequential actions relating to such violations in land use are void and illegal; that the licences, permissions and certificates of change in land use issued by the concerned Authority especially respondents-9, 14 and 16 for location of industries by respondents-17 to 49 are void and illegal. The petitioners have also sought for a declaration that the recognition or orders passed by the Director of Industries and Commerce granting and conferring benefits on such industries run by respondents-17 to 49 are void and illegal and similarly the power supply sanctioned and granted by the Karnataka Electricity Board as void and illegal. A Writ of Mandamus is also sought by the petitioners for a direction to the Corporation of the City of Bangalore and its Health Officer to forthwith abate the nuisance in Sy.Nos. 39/1, 39/2A and 39/2B of Yediyur-Nagasandra village and direct the Corporation not to levy taxes or collect the same and to refund the taxes already collected. The petitioners have asked for a direction to the B.D.A. to remove the industrial units and to carry out the lay-out work in accordance with law with due provision of all civic amenities including laying of roads, sewerage, water-supply, street lights and to remove all encroachments in public lands and roads including the road leading from 6th Cross Road, Ashokanagar to Raghavendra Swamy Brindavana in Sy.No. 39/2B and lastly the petitioners have sought for a direction to the Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore Urban District, to take steps regarding the portions of revenue lands in Sy.Nos. 39/1, 39/2A and 39/2B and the portions which are reserved as Kharab and land granted and recover non-agricultural assessment in accordance with the Revenue Laws.
7. On behalf of respondents-29 to 31, 34, 37 to 42 and 46 to 49, an elaborate statement of objections is purported to have been filed. All these respondents have been running industries in the area in question. Except the Karnataka Electricity Board (respondent-13 herein), the remaining respondents have not filed any statement of objections. The petitioners have also filed a reply to the counters filed by the concerned respondents.
8. The affidavit in support of the statement of objections is signed by respondent-47 and it is not clear from the affidavit that respondent-47 has been authorised to file the statement of objections and to sign the affidavit not only on its behalf, but also on behalf of respondents-29 to 31, 34, 37 to 42, 46, 48 and 49. It would not be unreasonable to presume that the statement of objections is preferred by respondent-47 for itself and only on its own behalf. In other words, the presumption is that the other respondents have not filed the statement of objections. It is no doubt true that in the beginning of the statement of objections of the respondents, it is stated "The respondents 29, 30, 31, 33, 34, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 46, 47, 48 and 49 beg to state as follows". Barring this statement, I do not find any averment even in the statement of objections that these respondents have authorised respondent-47 to file an affidavit in support of the counter on their behalf. Therefore, I would not Be hyper technical in presuming that the counter is filed only for and on behalf of respondent-47 and the other respondents mentioned in the statement of objections do not subscribe to the counter.
9. In the statement of objections filed by respondent-47, all the allegations made by the petitioners have been categorically denied. It is contended that the petitioners have no legal right to seek relief under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, that the Writ Petition is barred by laches and that the petitioners have not made out any valid ground for grant of the relief sought under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
10. Intelligible in the statement of objections of the K.E.B. are the averments that the Writ Petition is liable to be dismissed for laches, unexplained delay and acquiescence and lack of locus standi of the petitioners while asserting that the power supply sanctioned to the concerned respondents by the K.E.B. is not illegal.
11. The point for consideration is whether the alleged change in land use in Sy.Nos. 39/1, 39/2A and 39/2B of Yediyur-Nagasandra village, Bangalore, from residential to industrial is in contravention of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, the Outline Development Plan, the Comprehensive Development Plan and Regulations thereunder apart from the question whether the Writ Petition is not maintainable on the ground of laches and want of legal right.
12. Arguments, in extenso, were advanced by Sri M.G. Sathyanarayanamurthy for the petitioners, by Sri S.G. Sundaraswamy for respondent-47, Sri R.C. Castelino for the Bangalore City Corporation and Sri H. Thipperudrappa for the B.D.A.
13. Of contextual relevance is Sub-section (3) of Section 9 of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961 ('the Act' for short) which reads as follows:-
"(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in Sub-section (2), -
(i) if any Planning Authority has prepared a plan for the development of the area within its jurisdiction before the date of the coming into force of this Act, it may send the same to the State Government for provisional approval within a period of six months from the said date and the plan so approved shall, notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, be deemed to be the outline development plan for the Planning Area concerned;
(ii) if any Planning Authority is converted into or amalgamated with any other Planning Authority or is sub-divided into two or more Planning Authorities, the outline development plan prepared for the area by the Planning Authority so converted, amalgamated or sub-divided shall, with such alterations and modifications as the State Government may approve, be deemed to be the outline development plan for the area of the new Planning Authority or authorities into or with which the former Planning Authority was converted, amalgamated or sub-divided."
14. In the instant case, the Planning Authority had prepared a plan for the development of the area within its jurisdiction before the date of the coming into force of the Act and had sent the same to the Government for provisional approval within the stipulated time and, therefore, the plan which was approved by the Government is to be deemed to be the Outline Development Plan for the planning area concerned. In the Outline Development Plan prepared by Madhava Rao Committee applicable to the Bangalore Metropolitan Area the use to which the land could be put had been formulated. The land was intended to be used for residential purpose only as is apparent from the Entry in the Outline Development Plan.
15. Section 14 of the Act deals with enforcement of the Outline Development Plan and the Regulations and the same reads as follows:-
"(1) On and from the date of which a declaration of intention to prepare an outline is published under Sub-section (1) of Section 10, every land use, every change in land-use and every development in the area covered by the plan shall conform to the provisions of this Act, the Outline Development Plan and the regulations, as finally approved by the State Government under Sub-section (3) of Section
(2) No such change in land use or development as is referred to in Sub-section (1) shall be made except with the written ' permission of the Planning Authority which shall be contained in a commencement certificate granted by the Planning Authority in the form prescribed."
16. From the above provision, it is crystal clear that before the date on which a Declaration of intention to prepare an outline is published in accordance with Sub-section (1) of Section 10, every land use, every change in land use and every development in the area covered by the plan must conform to the provisions of the Act, the Outline Development Plan and the Regulations as finally approved by the State Government under Sub-section (3) of Section 13. This is mandatory in character. Further, by Sub-section (2), it is to be understood that change in land use or development referred to in Sub-section (1) is permissible only with the written permission of the Planning Authority embodied in a Commencement Certificate granted by the Planning Authority in the prescribed Form.
In the Explanation to Section 14, "development" is meant to be the carrying out of building or other operation in or over or under any land or the making of any material change in the use of any building or other land. Sub-clause (b) of the Explanation narrates the operations or uses of land which do not amount to a development of any building or land.
17. Once an entry is made in the Outline Development Plan earmarking the area for residential purpose or use, the land is bound to be put to such an use only. There is no material on record that any written permission of the Planning Authority contained in a Commencement Certificate was obtained from the Planning Authority by the concerned respondents for the purpose of putting up buildings for industrial purpose.
18. Since the Outline Development Plan was prepared by Madhava Rao Committee in 1961 and was declared to be applicable to the Metropolitan Area of the City of Bangalore, the erstwhile C.I.T.B. had no authority to issue any Land Use Certificate or Commencement Certificate. Upto 1976, there was a separate Statutory Body called the Town Planning Authority for the Metropolitan Area of the City of Bangalore. It is, therefore, justifiable for the petitioners to contend that the permission obtained from the erstwhile C.I.T.B. has no legal warrant. The contention that Annexure-A is only an Official Memorandum and not a Conversion Certificate stands to reason. The purported permission under Annexure-'A' and B' seem to be personal to favour the applicants therein as the registered holders of Record of Rights. An extent of 25 guntas of Phut Kharab land out of Sy.No. 39/1 of Yediyur-Nagasandra village was ordered to be reserved for Government and any encroachment on the land was prohibited. Valid permission was directed to be obtained from the concerned Authorities before commencement of lay-out work. It is seen that apart from the fact that there is a violation of Law relating to land use, none of the conditions stipulated in the Official Memorandum and purported Conversion Certificate were complied with. The plan which is said to have been approved in respect of Sy.No. 39/1 of Yediyur-Nagasandra, denotes the existence of only one building in plot No. 32 with open spaces left around it. Factually, upto 1971, all the other 41 plots of land remained vacant and the registered holder of Record of Rights who had applied for permission demised on 17-5-1970. Respondent-29 commenced petroleum industry in 1975. This is in violation of Section 353 of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, according to which no place within the limits of the City shall be used for any of the purposes mentioned in Schedule X of the Act without a licence from the Commissioner and except in accordance with the condition specified therein. All the transfers made in Sy.No. 39/1 are not supported by due permission from the Competent Authority under the provisions of the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976, nor under the Ordinance which preceded the enactment by Parliament. There is no material to show that Returns were filed and Notifications issued as contemplated under Sections 6 to 10 of the said Act and, as already pointed out, there was no permission obtained from the Competent Authority for change of land use to establish numerous industries in the area.
19. Similarly, in respect of Kalyani Gardens, Annexure-3 shows that unauthorised constructions had been put up. The same Annexure substantiates that Sy.No. 39/2 of Yediyur-Nagasandra is the property of the presiding deity of Sri Raghavendra Swamy Matha and Madhva Patasala attached to the temple. In fact, there is nothing to disbelieve the contention of the learned Counsel appearing for the petitioners that Smt. Seethamma and Sri Ananda Tirthachar Kalyani had built the Temple, performed Pratishtha and Utsarga of Sri Raghavendra Swamygala Brindavana in Sy.No. 39/2 in 1942-43 and thereafter were functioning as Dharma Karthas of the temple. It appears the whole establishment was transferred to one A.V. Krishna Murthy in 1953 and again in 1957 the said A.V. Krishna Murthy re-transferred the Temple Mutt and Pathasala to Smt. Seethamma Kalyani requesting her to manage the Temple poojas and kattales out of the proceeds of the lands in Sy.No. 39/2 of Yediyur-Nagasandra. In turn, it appears she created a Trust Committee under the chairmanship of Sri Ananda Tirthachar Kalyani. The Committee, it is said, consisted of 10 Trustees. The construction of industries on those lands belonging to the presiding deity of the Temple is described by the petitioners as not only sacrilegious but also illegal.
20. On the basis of the Government Notifications, it is possible to infer that Kathariguppa village lies beyond the Municipal limits of the Corporation of the City of Bangalore in 49th Division, Banashankari Extension Stage-1 and Sy.No. 39 of Yediyur-Nagasandra is a part of Banashankari Extension Stage-1. It is on this basis the learned Counsel appearing for the petitioners contended that the jurisdiction of Kathariguppa Panchayat in the area is conspicuous by its absence and the alleged licences, permissions etc., said to have been given by the Village Panchayat of Kathariguppa are devoid of authority. The petitioners have also contended that these factories commenced operation only during 1978 and as such there is no delay or acquiescence in preferring the Writ Petition. It is further contended that it is only after the baneful effect of such location of numerous industries in the residential area that it was felt that the aggrieved petitioners should move this Court after exhausting the remedy by way of representations to the concerned Authorities and, therefore, there is no laches on their part. More importantly it is submitted that there are gross violations of substantive provisions of law in Sections 14 to 17 of the Act, Section 32 of the Bangalore Development Authority Act, 1976, Section 505 of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, Sections 6 to 10 of the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976 and Sections 13 and 17 to 20 of the Karnataka Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1927. It is also contended that the Writ Petition is filed entirely in the interest of the general public for proper implementation of Laws which are particularly intended and enacted for peaceful, healthy, clean and pleasant living in decent, well planned, well laid-out, beautiful extensions of the City of Bangalore which had once acquired a good name as the Garden City of India.
21. Out of 49 respondents who are parties to this Writ Petition, respondents-1 to 12, 14 to 46, 48 and 49 have not chosen to file any statement of objections. The only respondents who have filed the counter are respondents-13 to 47. Respondent-13 is the K.E.B. and respondent-47 is Kwality Engineering Company. Allegations of serious nature have been made by the petitioners complaining about gross violations of Sections 14 and 17 of the Act, Section 32 of the B.D.A. Act, Section 505 of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, Sections 6 to 10 of the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act as well as Sections 13 and 17 to 20 of the Karnataka Religious and Charitable Endowments Act. The concerned Authorities who are charged with the responsibility of administering and enforcing the law and who have been impleaded as necessary and proper parties in this Writ Petition have not chosen to file any statement of objections to meet the allegations made by the petitioners. The State of Karnataka, the Housing and Urban Development Department, the Public Health and Family Welfare Department, the Department of Commerce and Industries, the Director of Industries and Commerce, the Director of Town Planning, the Director of Health Services, the Deputy Commissioner of Bangalore District (Urban), the B.D.A., the Engineer Member of the B.D.A., the Town Planning Member of the B.D.A. the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, the Corporation of the City of Bangalore, the Health Officer of the Corporation and the Kathariguppa Village Panchayat are the prominent respondents in this Writ Petition who were called upon to meet the allegations and averments made by the petitioners. None of these Public Authorities and Public Officials has rebutted the allegations and averments of the petitioners. In these circumstances, the course open to me is to hold that the allegations and averments made against these Authorities by the petitioners are not disputed, but admitted. The industrialists who have been arraigned before the Court commencing from respondent-49 also have not chosen to rebut the allegations made against them with the sole exception of respondent-47 which is Kwality Engineering Company. I, therefore, hold that the allegations made against the said respondents have gone without question and have to be presumed to be true. Respondent-47 has filed a detailed statement of objections, apart from the technical objections raised by the K.E.B. in its counter. Hence, the pleadings of respondents-13 and 47 are left to contend with.
22. Since there is no denial either from the Public Authorities or from the Public Officials as well as the concerned industrialists with the exception of respondents-13 and 47, I hold that the petitioners have established their case against these Authorities and establishments.
23. According to Section 505 of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, a Corporation or any Officer or other Authority required by or under the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act to exercise any power or perform any function or discharge any duty with regard to any matter relating to land use or development as defined in the Explanation to Section 14 of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961, shall exercise such power, or perform such function or discharge such duty with regard to such land use or development plan or where there is no development plan, with the concurrence of the Planning Authority. It is further provided under Section 505 of the said Act that the said officer or other authority shall not grant any permission, approval or sanction required by or under the said Act to any person if it relates to any matter in respect of which compliance with the provisions of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961 is necessary unless evidence in support of having complied with the provisions of the said Act is produced by such person to the satisfaction of the Corporation or the officer or other authority, as the case may be. There is no material to hold that even the requirements of Section 505 are complied with by the respondents who set up factory buildings in the area in question.
It is necessary to point out that the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act came, into force on 15-1-1965 and the Outline Development Plan came into force on 13-7-1972 whereas the Comprehensive Development Plan came into force on 12-10-1984. Before the Comprehensive Development Plan was finally brought into force, in accordance with the procedure, the B.D.A. issued a Notification No. BDA/TPM/CDP 1/80-81 dated 1-71980 inviting objection to the Comprehensive Development Plan from the members of the public. No objections were preferred and no efforts were made by any one including the industrialists for change in land use inspite of the said Notification. In short, the concerned respondents settled down with smug complacence making no efforts either to prefer objections or have regularisation. The copy of the Notification dated 1-7-1980 published in Indian Express dated 9-7-1980 has been filed by the learned Counsel appearing for the petitioners under Memo dated 22-8-1990,
24. According to Section 32 of the B.D.A. Act, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any law for the time being in force, no person shall form or attempt to form any extension or layout for the purpose of constructing buildings thereon without the express sanction in writing of the Authority and except in accordance with such conditions as the Authority may specify and where any such extension or layout lies within the local limits of the Corporation, the Authority shall not sanction the formation of such extension or layout without the concurrence of the Corporation. There is no material to substantiate that there is due compliance with the requirements of this provision.
25. Even in the matter of transfer of land to the industrialists who are respondents herein, there is no proof of satisfaction of the requirements of Sections 6 to 10 of the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976, nor the fulfilment of the requirements of Sections 13 and 17 to 20 of the Karnataka Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1927.
The Last Act referred to above is in relation to the Temple lands of which encroachment has been committed and industries set up. In these circumstances, I am of the opinion that the Writ Petition deserves to be allowed.
The petitioners have made out a strong case in regard to the preservation of environment which calls for consideration.
26. The movement for restoration and maintenance of a livable environment requires curbing the power of narrowly oriented administrative agencies in the appropriation of the dwindling acreage of land and water not already irrevocably appropriated. There have been several proposed and discussed means of easing the burdens and handicaps of the substantial evidence -- Rational Basis Rule in environmental cases involving Judicial Review of administrative agency determinations. Some are based upon concepts found in environmental cases and other cases and also explained and analysed by the acknowledged critical Authorities. Others are based not upon Authorities but on the sheer importance of the interests affected, for eg., as documented in the National Environment Policy of India.
In a sense the problem is a part of a larger problem -- that of rendering big Government more responsive to the needs of the individuals whom it governs.
The remarks of Justice Felix Frankfurter addressed to the problems of the thirties are relevant to 20th Century India which is still in a developing stage:
"It is idle to feel either blind resentment against 'Government of Commission' or sterile longing for the golden past that never was. Profound new forces call for new social inventions or fresh adaptations of old experience. The 'great society' with its permeating influence of technology, large scale industry and progressive urbanisation, presses its problems; the history of political and social liberty admonishes us of its lessons. Nothing less is our task than fashioning instruments and processes at once adequate for social needs and the protection of individual freedom."
(See: "The Task of Administrative Law" - Frankfurter)
The explosion of grave concern for environment at any private and Government level is the great political phenomenon of recent times. The sporadic and unorganised struggle of environment stragglers, the wild-life and bird lovers, wilderness wanderers have identified the conservation movement of the environment and are focussing their attention on denuded forests, balding hills, disappearing prairie, extinct species of rare fish, thinning wild life, and vanishing birds. The movement has become the crusade of anyone almost everywhere for a "livable environment". There is an increasing awareness that in cleaning up our environment, if not in wilderness, lies the preservation of the world.
At the moment we are looking into a decade in which most of the people are living in metropolitan or urban areas choked by traffic, poisoned by water, suffocated by smog, deafened by noise and terrorised by crime.
Restoring nature to the natural state is a cause beyond party and beyond factions. It has become a common cause of all the people. It is a cause of particular concern to young Indians because, they, more than us, will reap the grim consequences of our failure to act on the programmes which are needed now if we are to prevent disaster later. An onerous obligation which we owe to posterity is clean air, clean water, greenery and open spaces. These ought to be elevated to the status of birth-rights of every citizen.
Commenting on Business Corporations and environment protection, Robert Reinow a Professor of Political Science at the State University of Newyork, Albany observed:-
"But worse than Corporation funding is the subversion of Government agencies to the role of environmental exploiter. The public interest which should be championed by the agencies with their regulations is ignored or perverted, as the 'iron triangle' of special interests, bureaucrats and committee chair-person form their unholy alliance. This means that the public conscience is entrusted to volunteers in public interest groups, a sacrificial burden of weighty dimensions...
The outstanding feature of modern political life is the shifting of the burden of defence of public interest to civic volunteers. Organised, they must dig into their pockets to hold their groups together; they must respond to calls for protests, launch petition drives, simulate letter writing campaigns, conduct rallies, attend hearings and in general, mortgage the time of their personal lives to an unprecedented extent. Keepers of the social conscience, they express themselves openly and aggressively. When the record of the environmental movement is finally registered, the emphasis will be on the new breed of citizenship it fostered. And it will contrast mightily with the sordid strategy of the corporate Board rooms where they scoff at do-gooders and belittle nobility of purpose."
He added:
"What is becoming clear is that the restructuring of the democratic process has altered the pattern of citizenship. Where once the public official as in the days of Washington or Jefferson had a deep and honest sense of public sacrifice, we are today witnessing the close collaboration of special interests with governmental agencies and elected officials. In the environmental field, Government too often emerges as the advocate of exploitation. This is in large part due to the subtle private and usually corporate pressures. Pressure has become a science that destroys the governmental shield the citizens have erected to protect themselves. It is necessary for the Government to guard against such pit-falls. The choice is between technological progress which proceeds without adequate regard of its consequences and technological change that is influenced by a deeper concern for the interaction between man's tools and the human environment in which they do their work."
Inserted by the Constitution 42nd Amendment Act 1976, Article 48A lays down that the State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safe-guard the forests and wild life of the Country.
Article 51A(g) exhorts the citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for living creatures.
Part IV-A on Fundamental Duties has been added by the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act 1976 in accordance with the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee bringing the Constitution in line with Article 29(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitutions of China, Japan and U.S.S.R.
The mandate of our Constitution is to build a Welfare Society and Legislations made in that behalf to give effect to Directive Principles of State Policy have to be respected. If the Constitutional obligations are not discharged by due enforcement by the administrative agencies, the Court cannot turn a Nelson's eye. The Fundamental Duties are intended to promote peoples participation in restructuring and building a Welfare Society and the Directive Principles under Part IV are intended to build the edifice of Welfare State. Environment and its preservation is a subject-matter of both, thus emphasising the importance given to it by our Constitution. Protection of environment is a matter of Constitutional priority. Neglect of it is an invitation to disaster. The problem is the concern of every citizen and action brought cannot be dismissed on the ground of locus standi. The right to sue in this regard is inherent in the petitioners. When administrators do not mend their ways, the Courts become the battle ground of social upheaval. The paradigm of bureaucracy conducive to public welfare features standard operating procedures, humane outlook, hierarchical authority, prompt law enforcement besides job specialisation and personnel rules among others. If the administrators show indifference to the principle of accountability, law will become a dead-letter on the statute book, and public interest will be the casualty. Entitlement to a clean environment is one of the recognised basic human rights and Human Rights Jurisprudence cannot be permitted to be thwarted by status quoism on the basis of unfounded apprehensions.
Article 226 of the Constitution enables the citizens to move the High Court to enforce the performance of statutory obligations of any Authority coming within the sweep of Article 21 of the Constitution in particular, or for eg., under the Anti-Pollution Laws of the land like the Pollution Control Act etc. Hence, it has to be regarded as a Constitutional right of the petitioners responded by Constitutional remedies of a wide repertoire under Article 226.
"He (petitioner) is a person interested in protecting the lives of the people who make use of the water flowing in the river Ganga and his right to maintain the petition cannot be disputed."
In another decision in M.C. MEHTA v. UNION OF INDIA, delivered subsequent to the earlier Ruling referred to above, the Court observed:-
"Life, public health and ecology have priority over unemployment and loss of revenue problem."
In another landmark Judgment, a Bench of five Judges of the Supreme Court held in M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, familiarly known as Sriram Mills case of Oleum Gas leakage from the Fertiliser and Chemical Factory run by a private enterprise, that a creative and innovative interpretation in consonance with our Constitutional Jurisprudence is commended. The Court observed:-
"However, the principle behind the doctrine of state aid, control, and regulation so impregnating a private activity as to give it the colour of state action can be applied to the limited extent to which it can be Indianised and harmoniously blended with our constitutional jurisprudence."
Even assuming that one of the petitioners is actuated by an oblique motive, the grievance of other petitioners cannot be discarded.
The facts of the case bring to focus the need for a change of administrative culture to put an end to the tendency towards regression in social order and institutionalisation of administrative deviance.
James B. White in "When words lose their meaning" observed:-
"Behind all the theoretical talk of Government and legitimacy, behind the systems and projects, behind even the forms of Government itself there is a culture, a living organisation of mankind upon which all the talk of system and mechanism depends, both for its intelligibility and for its effects...In all its complexity and interconnectedness, it is our substantive and actual constitution."
(See: "Constitutional Cultures" - The Mentality and Consequences of Judicial Review" - Robert F. Nagel).
Even otherwise, the Court would not be unjustified in exercising its power of equity in the realm of epistolary jurisdiction under three critical principles of equity which are:-
1. Where there is a right, there is a remedy;
2. Equity Court is a Court of conscience;
3. Judges in equity rule act according to conscience.
Professor Abraham Chayes of Harvard Law School has this to say:-
"The characteristic features of the public law model are very different from those of the traditional models. The party structure is sprawling and amorphous and subject to change over the course of litigation. The traditional adversary relationship is suffused and intermixed with negotiating and mediating process at every point. The Judge is the dominant figure in organising and guiding the case and he draws for support not only on the parties and their counsel but on a wide range of outsiders --masters, experts and oversight personnel. Most important, the trial Judge has increasingly become the creator and manager of complex forms of on going relief which have wide spread effects on persons not before the Court and require the Judge's continuing involvement in administration and implementation."
(See: "The Role of the Judge in Public Law Litigation" 87 Har.Law.Rev. 1281 (1284) 1976. Chayes)
Equity Jurisprudence is based on hardship, accident, trust and fraud.
27. The onus is on the Authorities concerned to establish by demonstrable evidence and not by undisclosed measures that action has been taken to control and hold pollution within reasonable limits. The pollution alleged by the petitioners consists of both air pollution and noise pollution. Desecration of the quality of environment is impermissible as is evident from a series of Legislations enacted by the Parliament from time to time in the interest of clean air and clean environment in general. As already pointed out, none of the Authorities concerned who have been impleaded as respondents in this Writ Petition have either denied the existence of pollution or have come forward with any explanation as to what measures have been taken in order to curtail the pollution. In these circumstances, there is sufficient basis to hold that the grievance of the petitioners as to the existence of air pollution and noise pollution affecting the environment to the detriment of the members of the public is substantiated. I am, therefore, of the opinion that, on that score also, the Writ Petition is to be allowed.
28. Often cited decisions of the British Courts which are of persuasive value call for consideration.
"Any body can apply for it - a member of the public who has been inconvenienced or a particular party or person who has a particular grievance of his own. If the application is made by what for convenience one may call a stranger, the remedy is purely discretionary. Where, however, it is made by a person who has a particular grievance of his own, whether as a party or otherwise, then the remedy lies ex debito justitiae." - Parker L.J.
"Every citizen has standing to invite the Court to prevent some abuse of power and in doing so, he may claim to be regarded not as a meddlesome busy body but as a public benefactor.
A rate-payer, likewise, has a particular grievance if the rating list is invalidly made, even though the defects will make no difference to him financially."
Lord Denning M.R. observed:-
"If he has not sufficient interest, no other citizen has.
Unless any citizen has standing, therefore, there is often no means of keeping public authorities within the law unless the Attorney General will act - which frequently he will not. That private persons should be able to obtain some remedy was therefore 'a matter of high constitutional principle.'
The Court will not listen, of; course, to a mere busy body who was interfering in things which did not concern him. But it will listen to any one whose interests are affected by what has been done."
Lord Diplock affirmed the principle when he said:-
"It would, in my view, be a grave lacuna in our system of public law if a pressure group, like the federation, or even a single public-spirited tax-payer were prevented by outdated technical rules of locus standi from bringing the matter to the attention of the Court to vindicate the rule of law and get the unlawful conduct stopped."
As enunciated by Lord Diplock:-
"The Court has not only the power but also the duty to weigh the public interest of justice to litigants against the public interest asserted by the public authority contrary to its actual conduct. Considering the duty which such bodies owe to the members of the public, it would not be unjust to observe that no public interest immunity could be attached to such bodies."
Lord Denning M.R. reiterated:-
"I regard it as a matter of high constitutional principle that if there is a good ground for supposing that a Government department or public authority is transgressing the law, or is about to transgress it, in a way which offends or injures thousands of Her Majesty's subjects, then anyone of those offended or injured can draw it to the attention of the Court of Law and seek to have the law enforced, and the Courts in their discretion can grant whatever remedy is appropriate."
By Judicial inactivism, the dice will be loaded heavily against the citizen who challenges state action or inaction of the Public Authorities and there is a fear that Courts may in the process become Cheer-leaders for the Government in the dock, rather than guardians of public interest and individual's rights. The real thrust stems from a Jurisprudence of public duties and the faith that the Rule of Law is used as a formula for expressing the fact that the Laws of the Constitution are not the source but the consequences of the rights of the individuals as defined and expressed by Courts.
According to Dr. Vern.O. Khudsen, a Physicist and former founder of the Acoustical Society of America and also a former Chancellor of the University of Palifornia:-
"Noise is a slow agent of death."
Another Expert in the field Dr. Fabian Rouke of U.S. reporting to the Newyork Committee for a Quiet City said:
"One of the incidious aspects of excessive noise is the fact that an individual may be unconsciously building up nervous tension due to noise exposures. This may cause a person thus exposed to noise suddenly to be catapulted into an act of violence or mental collapse by some seemingly minor sounds which drive him beyond the point of endurance. Many persons who are using tranquilisers may be treating the symptoms rather than the disease."
The continuing deterioration of man's habital demands a revaluation of the present approach to ecomanagement. Dr. Wagner who is an Authority on the subject of Air Pollution while referring to the adverse effects of air pollution said:
"We are experiencing diseases today from hazards we did'nt control yesterday. What we don't take care of today will be there for our children to handle tomorrow."
It would not be inappropriate in the context of Human Rights to reproduce an illustration given by Shue 1979: 72-5 in regard to the consequences of inaction:-
"A man is stranded on an out of the way desert island with neither food nor water. A sailor from a passing ship comes ashore, but leaves the man to die (an act of omission). This is as serious as violation of his rights as strangling him (an act of commission). It is killing him, plain and simple - indirectly, through 'inaction' but just as surely; perhaps even more cruelly."
We are on a larger issue of community interest which concerns the preservation of environment against pollution hazards posed by deleterious sources of nuisance. The broad question of containment of pollution cannot be oversimplified and dismissed as routine nuisance of which no person of ordinary sense and temper would complain or because rightly or wrongly industries have been permitted to be set up. In the case on hand, the public authorities most closely associated with the issue have chosen to maintain silence and mysterious aloofness failing to meet the allegations made by the petitioners, for reasons best known to them. The state of these Authorities who are the concerned respondents in this case, presents a baffling enigma. They do not respond to the grievances of the petitioners and do not lay bare before the Court information either denying or admitting the existence of pollution and the extent of pollution such as emission of noxious gases, toxic wastes, assault on the senses by noise pollution and the like which are imputed by the petitioners in the way they could express. Terminological inexactitude cannot bar legal redress.
What is alleged in substance is persistent pollution which is offensive and detrimental to public health. These allegations have gone without repudiation by the Public Authorities,
Environment protection is not a preoccupation of the educated and the affluent. It has socio-political dimensions. The disposal and control of toxic waste and Governmental regulation of polluting industries is public interest oriented. The effective implementation of Environmental Legislation is a social learning process which could fundamentally change the character of public administration in the Country. From a Global perspective, the struggle to preserve a 'livable environment' is a part of a broader struggle to create a more just Global society both within and between Nations. The impact of the human dimensions on the economically and educationally disadvantaged who inhabit the developing areas cannot be underscored.
Examples are not wanting of valiant efforts made by public spirited individuals and groups around the world, to repair and restore the damaged natural resources that are crucial to the present and future well-being of the nationals relating to essentials such as water, land, wild-life and environment in general, as well as quality of life in particular in cities and towns. In the United States of America, mentioned by Berger, John, J., in his book "Restoring the Earth" are illuminating instances:-
a) A house-wife who led a crusade to clean up a river in Massachusettes;
b) A California Pharmacist who saved a Red-Wood forest;
c) A Pennsylvania Mine-Inspector who repaired a strip-mined land;
d) A Wisconsin architect who saved a town affected by floods and redesigned it as a flood-proof solar village;
e) A plumber from Cape Cod who transformed a brush-choked ditch into a Trout stream.
He observes that their yeoman services have made human settlements more ecologically sound as well as more enjoyable places to live in and that environmentalism is a truly popular movement. I am of the view that it would be incongruous to stiffle the present Public Interest Action by applying truncated standards.
The right to life inherent in Article 21 of the Constitution of India does not fall short of the requirements of qualitative life which is possible only in an environment of quality. Where, on account of human agencies, the quality of air and the quality of environment are threatened or affected, the Court would not hesitate to use its innovative power within its epistolary jurisdiction to enforce and safeguard the right to life to promote public interest. Specific guarantees in Article 21 unfold penumbras shaped by emanations from those Constitutional assurances which help give them life and substance. In the circumstantial context and factual back-drop, judicial intervention is warranted especially since the Supreme Court of India has already laid the foundation of juristic activism in unmistakable language of certainty and deep concern.
By allowing the Writ Petition, if calamitous consequences visit the concerned respondents as a result of non-feasance or mal-feasance or mis-feasance on the part of Public Authorities or Public Officials, the doors of Justice are open to them to sue the Public Authorities for pecuniary relief by enforcing the principle of accountability.
29. In the light of the above discussion, I hold that the change in land use in Sy.Nos. 39/1, 39/2A and 39/2B of Yediyur-Nagasandra Village, Bangalore, from residential to industrial is in contravention of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, the Outline Development Plan, the Comprehensive Development Plan and Regulations thereunder and that the Writ Petition is maintainable.
30. For the reasons stated above, the Writ Petition succeeds and is, therefore, allowed. It is hereby declared that the change in land use in Sy.Nos. 39/1, 39/2A and 39/2B of Yediyur-Nagasandra village, Bangalore, from residential to industrial is violative of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, the Outline Development Plan, the Comprehensive Development Plan and the Regulations thereunder and that all consequential actions relating to such violation in land use are void and illegal. It is further declared that the licences, permissions and certificates of change in land use issued by respondents-9, 14 and 16 for location of industries by respondents-17 to 49 are also void and illegal. A Mandamus is issued hereby with a direction to the Corporation of the City of Bangalore and its Health Officer to abate the pollution in Sy.Nos. 39/1, 39/2A and 39/2B of Yediyur-Nagasandra village and also a direction to the Bangalore Development Authority to stop operation of the industrial units and to carry out the lay-out work in accordance with law and remove all encroachments in public lands and roads in the area in question and in particular the road leading from 6th Cross Road, Ashokanagar to Raghavendra Swamy Brindavana in Sy.No. 39/2B.
31. Action should be taken by the concerned Authorities to implement the order of this Court within sixty days from the date of receipt of a copy of this Order.

32. The petitioners are entitled to costs of Rs. 3,000/- (Rupees three thousand only) from the respondents.