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Bangalore had human habitation in 4000 B.C.

By T.S.Ranganna

BANGALORE, OCT. 26. Bangalore was the first city in undivided India to get electricity, and the first electric lamps were lit at the old City Market building after the Shivasamudram hydro- electric station was established in 1902. This epochal event, which heralded the industrialisation of the City, took place in 1905.

The then Imperial Post Office, which later became the Bangalore General Post Office, was opened here, two centuries ago. This important communication facility was provided to Bangaloreans in 1800. The British, who encouraged trading during the 100 years between 1800 and 1900, discouraged any form of manufacturing activity. Around 1803, a "runner-line" postal service was established among Bombay, Madras, and Bangalore.

Almost a century ago, the first motor car was seen in Bangalore, which has now over 1.5 million vehicles of all kinds on its roads. The Indian Institute of Science -- the first among India`s premier science institutions -- was set up here in 1909, laying the foundation for Bangalore becoming the "Science Capital" of the country.

In the Independence movement, Bangalore played an important role, which was recognised by Mahatma Gandhi, who visited the City in 1927 and 1934 and addressed public meetings.

This was one of the very few cities to have clean and piped drinking water 100 years ago. This was accomplished by commissioning the Hesaraghatta water supply scheme in 1896.

The city was built by Kempegowda I, a local chieftain of the Vijayanagar Empire in 1537 A.D. It was in 1850 that Bangaloreans picked up the habit of drinking coffee when Lord Cubbon promoted the growth of coffee in the Western Ghats.

Most people from the present generation are not aware that Bangalore was given away as a gift to Chatrapathi Shivaji by the Sultan of Bijapur in 1638. It was again in the same City that Shivaji`s marriage took place in 1640, from when the relationship between the two great cities of Bombay and Bangalore started growing. It was another matter that Shivaji was given shelter by the Rani of Keladi in Shimoga District when the Bijapur sultanate was in hot pursuit of him.

In 1809, the British established South India`s largest cantonment at Ulsoor. Bangaloreans had the privilege of using silver coins, after it was introduced in 1854, which continued to be the medium of exchange till Independence. Ten years later, the British brought currency notes into circulation.

These and many other important details of Bangalore`s long history have been brought out by the Directorate of Census Operations, which completed its decadal Census recently. During the Census, the department discovered that Bangalore had human habitation as early as 4,000 B.C (Middle Stone Age), and stone implements were found at Jalahalli, Sudasandra, Siddhapura, and Jadigenahalli belonging to this period.

Around 1,000 B.C (Iron Age), burial grounds were established at Koramangala and Chikkajala on the outskirts of Bangalore. In 27 B.C., coins of the Roman emperors Augustus, Tyberious, and Cladius were found at Yeshwantpur and HAL, which indicated the signs of civilisation and Bangalore`s trans-oceanic contacts.

According to the Director of the Census, Mr. H.Shashidhar, the department culled out these historical facts of Bangalore recently. The name of "Bengaluru" occurs for the first time on a Ninth Century stone inscription at Begur. A brochure on Bangalore with all these historical facts is available now at the Directorate at Koramangala.

Like other cities in India, Bangalore too was conquered, and the conquers left their imprint on the lifestyle of the Bangaloreans. This was another reason for it to get the sobriquet -- "Cosmopolitan City." In 1638, the City was conquered by Ranadulla Khan with Shahaji Bhonsle, father of the great Shivaji, as second in command, who captured the Bangalore Fort. Mohammed Adil Shah, Sultan of Bijapur, gifted it as a jagir to Shivaji. Later, it was captured by the Mughal Army, and it was Hyder Ali, who got it as a jagir and turned it into a garrison.

The famous Lalbagh Gardens was laid in 1760. The Sultan imported plants from Delhi, Lahore, and far-off Multan. He also expanded the gardens and added exotic plants from Kabul, Persia (Iran), Mauritius, and Turkey.

Bangaloreans had their first of modern civil administration, when the British shifted their operations from Mysore to Tipu Sultan's palace in 1881. In the same year, the cantonment area got the first telephones. Three years thereafter, the Chief Court of Mysore, which became the High Court, came into existence and was set up at the Athara Kacheri. It also then housed 18 departments of the government.

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