This month for the issue of Sattva, I had to do a brief writeup on History of Bangalore. And it was very good, and interesting, doing the research. Considering that I have stayed over five years in Bangalore I hardly know anything about Bangalore history, and interestingly enough most of the people whom I asked in my office, who have been in Bangalore from quite some time did not know much.
Bangalore dates back its history to over thousand years, but it was a small village, as compared to Hampi and Srirangapatnam, which during their glory days were apparently great cities. I also read at various places that there is a folk lore that Bangalore owes its name to one of the Hoysala Kings, (which was as early as 11th century), who on his hunting expedition, lost its way somewhere here. Tired and hungry he came across a poor woman who fed him boiled beans, and the king named the place “benda kaal-ooru” (which in Kannada means town of boiled Beans), which was eventually colloquialised to “Bengalûru”.
Later Kempagowda who was one of the ministers of Vijaynagar formely found Bangalore, by building a small mud fort, and four watch towers in four corners of city, (they still exists, there is one in Lalbaug in the right picture)
But apparently Bangalore still remained a small settlement, until till about early 19th Century. When British defeated Tipu Sultan and got hold of Srirangapatnam, they set up their settlement there. But apparently it seems that the place was infested with lot of mosquitoes, and after ten years of many malarial deaths, British shifted their settlement to Bangalore, and start developing which we present day call cantonment area.
So Bangalore developed as two distinct settlements, one consisting mainly of British near Cantonment and the other one consisting of local population near the city area (what we call chipeth). Hence all this names of Infantry road, Brigade road, Residency road etc.
In course of doing all this research I also read this interesting book on Bangalore from Peter Colaco. Next time you get jobless in crossword take a look at this book.
I think that in schools you should have a simple chapter on regional history, which I guess is very important. It was not there in my syllabus in my schooldays. I grew up only learning about History in bigger perspective of India as whole.
It is funny now that Bangalore all of sudden has become a all new city to me. Each of the road and building I pass has a different story and meaning for me. Some day when I become more free I will try to pen down other things about Bangalore.