Collating memories of UVCE etched by many of our alumni, here it is presenting to you – “Decadewise Memories”. This article is a narrative by Mr. H Seetharamaiah and Mr.V Hanumanth Rao Naidu about their time at UVCE in 1930’s.
My memory goes back to a period of three decades. 1936 was the year when I entered the College. About 60 students were admitted to the First year class. The Principal was Mr. B. Krishnaswamy Iyengar, a loveable person and highly humane. He infused in us an enthusiasm for hard work and a keen desire for technical knowledge. Mr. K.D. Joshi was Professor of Civil Engineering. He was known for his hard and precise work and he expected his students to be like him. He did not tolerate indiscipline amongst the student population. His dress used to be very simple and he appeared mostly in white suit. The students respected him and were all praise for him. His pet subject was Applied Mechanics and Theory of Structure, though he used to teach, many of the Civil Engineering Subjects, such as Irrigation. By his teaching, the hard and difficult subjects were made very interesting to the students.
While returning the answer papers to the students, he used to pass pleasant and humorous remarks. The students were all curious to know what marks their other friends had secured. The Professor used to say, while returning some of the answer papers,” Mr. X has got road rollers” or “Zero Loads” in other words he meant zero marks.
I cannot forget Mr. C Gopalakrishnan, who was then Assistant Professor and later became the Professor and the Principal. He used to teach Surveying and Hydraulics to our class. He expected strict discipline amongst the students. But what a lovable person he was! We knew he had a rough exterior but a soft interior and loved his students. One day we were all shouting in the class room, thinking that he would not come to take the class. To our surprise, he suddenly appeared and we were all terror-stricken. That day he gave us a lecture, not on the Engineering subject but on the human character, distinguishing man from animals. I quote from memory what he said then.
“The glory of Life is character. It is the noblest asset of the many. It raises every one’s position in the society. It secures the honor without the jealousies of Fame. Truthfulness, integrity and goodness, united with strength of purpose, form the essence of character. Every effort to secure it by work means should be made.” These words can never be forgotten.
A pleasant event took place once in the classroom ( III -Year B.E.). the Professor of Mathematics, Dr C N Srinivasa Iyengar gave some Mathematics problems and said it would be a test paper and the marks obtained would form a part of the class marks for University Examinations. The problems were rather tough and many students did not attempt to answer.
Seeing the plight of the students, the Professor left the room and he sent Assistant Professor Mr. M T Ramaswamy Iyengar to supervise the students and collect the answer papers written by us.
Seeing the situation Mr. M T Ramaswamy Iyengar smiled at our poor knowledge and our unpreparedness and left the classroom, leaving us to ourselves as the students were shouting ”One for all and all for one”. I have narrated the incident to indicate that generally we were not very different from the present-day students. We had respect and reverence towards our teachers and they in turn, had all affection for us.
It gives me great pleasure to go 65 years down the memory lane, to 1937, when I joined University College of Engineering as a student of B.E. civil. The college was the only Engineering College in the whole of the erstwhile Mysore State. It had, even by then, produced several eminent engineers who had become Chief Engineers in the state or occupied important positions in other parts of India.
The college building was in the form of two wings converging at KR Circle enclosing a quadrangle between them. All the lecture and drawing halls were located in them and functioned without any problem since there was hardly any disturbance by traffic on the adjoining roads. The Quadrangle was the favorite meeting place for the students to meet and gossip in the lunch hour, on the stone benches under the shade of the large trees. The Library was just adequate for the needs of the 150-200 students which was the strength of the whole college! The Mechanical Department was situated across Post Office road, so the noise from the workshops did not disturb the teaching block. It was said that this structure was where the college was started and that it was originally destined to be the Loco Shed for the proposed Tramway System for Bangalore city a scheme which never took off.
When we joined the college in ’37, we found the long hours from 7.00 am to 4.45pm very tedious, compared to school and Intermediate. Instead of starting with lectures, where one could doze off or daydream, we had workshop, survey and laboratory in the morning and ended the day with lectures! We enjoyed the Lab work. It was fun regulating the flow of water in the Hydraulic Lab, although I am sure the results were not as accurate as is obtained with sophisticated instruments in the present day. Apart from that we had P.T twice a week after 4.45 pm. What with attending lectures, submitting records and drawings strictly on time we were kept on our toes!
We did not have the benefit of carrying over subjects in the exams.10 to 12 papers had to be cleared in one sitting. I fell ill in the first year and considered myself very lucky when I somehow scraped through the exam. The following year I was fortunate enough to be able to buy a few textbooks- Applied Mechanics by Morly, Hydraulics by Levitt, Surveying by Clark and I did well in the exams and got the First Rank.
A welcome change in our packed schedule came in the month of December when we had a Survey Camp for 3 weeks. We worked only from 7.00 am to 2.00 pm and then enjoyed leisure for the rest of the afternoon. The weather was good, the work was done in groups, which meant that the donkey work was done by a few studious ones, it was a picnic with each of us carrying well stocked’ Tiffin’s’ to the camp! College Day with various Sports events and tournaments ( Cricket, Football, Hockey and Volleyball) also took place in December. I remember playing in the cricket tournament when I was in final year and our team won.
There was a certain amount of interaction between Law and Central College. Classes of Physics, Chemistry and Geology were conducted there. We found it quite thrilling to attend lectures in the galleried halls there. Central College, with its fine Gothic buildings, was to us, as hallowed a place as Oxford or Cambridge. Another connection with this college was the College Union, of which both colleges were members. The Union premises were located in, what is now, the Law College. It was almost like a club with a Lounge, Reading room and Table Tennis Room. We had lectures and cultural programs- once we had opportunity to hear the Late Vidwan Chowdiah, the violin maestro.
Now, when I look back 65 years, I am filled with gratitude towards my teachers and my Alma Mater, who gave me knowledge and a profession, a profession which has been my lifeline.
–V Hanumanth Rao Naidu, (Retd Chief Architect Govt. of Karnataka)