Saturday, March 30, 2013

My grandfather's career dilemma

Scene from 1923 and this post is 'letterfull'. My grandfather K.M.Subba Rao had completed his B.A from Presidency College, Madras [now Chennai].  Obviously, it was University of Madras which was one of the oldest and renown schools of learning already.  Subba Rao was 27.   He had been married 9 years before and my father had been born in 1922.   B.A. in those days had a different structure.  If you see the beautiful certificate [below] that was awarded to him, the optional subjects are also mentioned.  English was his Part 1, whatever it had and for Part 2 which was his optional, he had chosen Physical Science. 

Click on the picture to enlarge, read and enjoy. 

Wondering why I have posted this weird image?  Did you read 'Physical Science' above?  Wanted to show the oval shaped wooden board hung there!  My grandfather often used to tell that it was the board he had made for his carpentry project during his that time in Madras, between 1918 and 1923  It has a really perfect shape and very neatly done and was regularly used by my grandmother for rolling chapatis for my father for many decades.  In my time, a new stone board arrived and this was sidelined.  I found use for it in my trash-to-treasure project.  I fastened some brass tumblers and hung the unit as a calling bell!!!  

Just B.A.had no weight.  Subba Rao wanted to study further. What next to pursue for his career?  It appears he was in a dilemma at that stage and had written to some of his well-wishers and teachers. All the letters were in a bunch, excepting one from his brother-in-law C.Srikantia which is missing.  See them:

It appears that B.B.Dey was a teacher at Presidency College.  He does not recommend him joining the science/research. 

One B.Narasinga Rao must have been some family friend / well-wisher.  He also does not recommend him going to science. 

Same with M.Sampath Iyengar. Most of them knew of the already reputed legal practice in the office of K.M.Subba Rao's uncle, another Subba Rao with the initial 'K'. This Subba Rao was a renown 'Pleader' in those times [around 1900 itself!] and the office he partnered with another respected practitioner, B.K.Ramakrishnaiah was at 'Soji Street' near Gandhi Square.  It was to keep the reputation for nearly 90 years.  

With this background, most of them advise/suggest Subba Rao to take up Law.

This is a reply by one D'Souza to Subba Rao's father.  He must  have written to him for guidance.  

After gathering all the responses, Subba Rao writes to his father who was posted for his duties in another town, updating the situation.  Subba Rao obviously had returned to Mysore to the house from where this blogpost is being made, 90 years later! 

Subba Rao prepares to follow the guidance from those letters and went to study Bachelor of Law at Bombay the same year. 

His favourite teacher Tait also wrote to him in July 1923: "I think you will find some interest in Law when you have been a little longer at it."  Subba Rao studied Physical Science and he was now going for Law.  

A year later Tait writes to him again and see what he has written..... he motivates him in such a beautiful manner.  See page 2.

There are no photographs or any more mention of his stay in Bombay, but I have this beautiful large certificate which was awarded to him when he completed the L.L.B in 1925.

That embossed aluminum name-board became my earliest English alphabet recognition thing.  Mails were delivered to him when just his name and city were on the envelope.  He had become that renown and why not!  He was the son of another elite and respected person, K.Mylar Rao, who retired in 1926 when he had risen to Dy. Commissioner.  

Subba Rao became a very respected advocate who, as expected, continued to practice Law with his uncle in 1925 and then attended the office till the day he died in 1976, with the same ideologies which won the hearts of many people/clients.  The office saw its end around 1985, thus ending its glorious run as 'Subba Rao's office'.

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