Some Councillors - Part 2

Rangaswamy Iyengar

A. Rangaswamy Iyengar started his Government service during the time of Rangacharya. He was revenue commissioner for a long time and later a high court judge. He was a well read man. He had all legal information readily accessible at his fingertips. He was a man of courage and also was an adept horse-rider.

After retiring from Government service, he had the habit of performing bhajans[1] every Saturday. I have even heard it said that he made arrangements to charitable organizations in his will.

Balasundaram Iyer

C. S. Balasundaram Iyer entered service through the Civil Service exam. Among his qualities, I consider four of them to be his best - politeness , ability to understand the pros and cons of any matter, propriety and helpful nature.

He never did anything in haste. He never thought ill of anyone and was very popular with everyone.

He had a discerning eye for critical assessment and was efficient at executing his duties. Visvesvaraya chose to appoint him to the post of Chief Secretary. In due course, he became a councillor.

Since his thought and speech were characterized by clear thinking without haste, prejudices and filled with wisdom, the Diwan respected him and placed great faith in his words. Personally, you could say that he was in the same league as H. V. Nanjundaiah. He had a large family and was generous and charitable.

Balasundaram Iyer’s self-endurance and patience was unparalleled. His eldest son, Subrahmanyam, was a dear friend of mine. He had to undergo an operation. Dr. Mylvaganam, a great surgeon, performed the operation at Victoria Hospital. Unfortunately, Subrahmanyam did not wake up from the operating table. We were grief stricken. His father, Balasundaram Iyer, did not outwardly show the pain he felt after hearing the news of his son’s death. He stood shell-shocked for a few moments after he heard the news. He wiped a tear, and said “this is life!”, and controlling himself, moved on to the subsequent duties.

There were disputes and disagreements regarding public matters that arose between us a few times. He always spoke and behaved affectionately with me. He would oppose my viewpoint with conviction, but not even an iota of love and affection towards me reduced.

A gentleman in all regards and a great one too!

Narasinga Rao

D. M. Narasinga Rao was well known for his intelligence and adeptness. During the tenure of Dewan Sir. P. N. Krishnamurthy, he was a Registrar in the Dewan’s office. At the suggestion of Viceroy Lord Curzon, Narasinga Rao was sent to study the India Secretariat programmes. I have mentioned elsewhere that after his return, he made some improvements in the functioning of the Mysuru Secretariat.

D. M. Narasinga Rao’s father Madhwa Rao was apparently a Judicial Head Clerk at the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Kolar. Since my grandfather was a lawyer, he had frequent goings-on at the judicial department. There was a close friendship between my grandfather and Narasinga Rao due to encounters at the judicial department and also due to the fact that they lived close by. In due course of time, the ties of friendship between my father and D. M. Narasinga Rao strengthened. They used to speak affectionately about each other. It is for that reason that I too was a recipient of D. M. Narasinga Rao’s friendship and trust.

More than any personal reason, the reason for our friendship was that D. M. Narasinga Rao was very interested in print media. I will refer to this later.

Tip Top

D. M. Narasinga Rao was a man in vogue. Tall and with a beautiful complexion, he used to adorn himself with ear rings studded with ten diamonds. He was debonair even in his dress. He certainly was an eye-catching man.

Narasinga Rao had passed the B. L (Bachelor of Law) exams from Madras with First Class Honors. This was a sign of a great scholar in those days.

In my experience, he was extremely good at explaining legalese and the intricacies of law in simpler words; then he would establish the legal point he was trying to make. His intellect and cleverness shone in these legal debates.

In those days in Mysuru, there were two political parties - those of Krishnamurthy’s and Madhava Rao’s respectively. After the tenure of Krishnamurthy as the Dewan, Madhava Rao succeeded him and immediately D. M. Narasinga Rao lost his position in the Secretariat. He was transferred to Sagar or Koppa as a Sub-Division officer. Later, he was a Munsiff for a while at places such as Narasimharajapura, Madhugiri and others. Subsequently, during the tenure of Visvesvaraya, he returned to Bengaluru as the Deputy Secretary. I have heard from several people that Narasinga Rao came to Dewan Visvesvaraya’s attention due to his newspaper columns.

Newspaper Columns

Around 1911, the ‘Indian Patriot’ published from Madras and other newspapers carried weekly articles in English on administration in Mysuru and improvements needed for progress in Mysuru. These columns did not mention the columnist by name in the byline, but only attributed them to ‘By a Mysore Patriot’. These articles continued even when Visvesvaraya was the Dewan. Later, the series of articles were re-published as a book, perhaps in two or three volumes, titled ‘Epoch-making Events in Mysore’. I shall be grateful to anyone who can kindly lend me a copy of that book. One of the epochal points was Visvesvaraya becoming the Dewan. Another was the establishment of the Economic Conference. Those three volumes elucidate the turn of events by the Government of the day, its duties, shortcomings and weaknesses. It provides relevant material to a historian.

Writing Help

Narasinga Rao was helped by B. Rameshwarayya, a teacher at the Mysuru Wesleyan Mission School, in publishing the above columns. I have referred to this earlier. Rameshwarayya himself was a capable writer. He was also well versed in Sanskrit and a proud citizen. He was a helping hand to D. M. Narasinga Rao.

D. M. Narasinga Rao rose through the ranks and was promoted from Deputy Secretary to General Secretary. After continuing in that position for a year, he saw an opportunity in the princely State of Nabha. The Indian Government was dissatisfied in its relationship with Maharaja Ripudaman Singh, the ruler of Nabha. The Maharaja deliberated that in the dispute that arose between him and the Indian Government, he could avail the services of a legal expert and clever problem-solver. At the Maharaja’s invitation, D. M. Narasinga Rao retired from service in Mysuru and departed for Nabha. The events which transpired thereafter are not in the scope of our consideration.

This is the final part of the translation of the twenty-eighth essay in D V Gundappa’s magnum-opus Jnapakachitrashaale (Volume 8) – Samkirna Smrti Samputa.


[1]Singing devotional verses/songs that extol the various deities..



Devanahalli Venkataramanayya Gundappa (1887-1975) was a great visionary and polymath. He was a journalist, poet, art connoisseur, philosopher, political analyst, institution builder, social commentator, social worker, and activist.


Pratap Simha indulges in the study of Indian culture, history, arts, and literature. He is particularly fascinated by classical Sanskrit and Kannada literature. He is an amateur stage actor and a poet. He also has a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering and works as an engineer in California, USA.

Prekshaa Publications

The Mahābhārata is the greatest epic in the world both in magnitude and profundity. A veritable cultural compendium of Bhārata-varṣa, it is a product of the creative genius of Maharṣi Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa. The epic captures the experiential wisdom of our civilization and all subsequent literary, artistic, and philosophical creations are indebted to it. To read the Mahābhārata is to...

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சிவன். ராமன். கிருஷ்ணன்.
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உயர் இந்தியாவில் தலைமுறைகள் பல கடந்தும் கடவுளர்களாக போற்றப்பட்டு வழிகாட்டிகளாக விளங்குபவர்கள்.
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