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    July 31st, 2019adminBusiness & Economy, Records, All

    Elevate 2019, organised by the state Department of IT, BT and S&T (Information Technology, Biotechnology, Science and Technoloy) concluded on Tuesday.

    Bengaluru :

    Elevate 2019, organised by the state Department of IT, BT and S&T (Information Technology, Biotechnology, Science and Technology) concluded on Tuesday. Of the 270 startups that made their pitch, 100 of them were selected as winners.

    “Of the 100 winners, 29 are co-founded by women entrepreneurs and 23 are from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. 76 startups from Bengaluru, 10  from Dharwad, 3 from Dakshina Kannada, 2 each from Mysuru and Udupi, and 1 startup from Bijapur, Chamarajnagar, Chikballapur, Davangere, Mandya, Tumakuru and Uttara Kannada respectively won Elevate 2019,” a press statement by the department said.

    TM Vijay Bhaskar, chief secretary, said, “Karnataka is the first state in the country to initiate grant in aid to start-ups without taking equity. We will soon set up an innovation authority headed by the CM to empower start-ups to overcome legal hurdles in innovating technologies and ideas.”

    “The funds are regularly monitored by the government. Funds are released to the start-ups based on their progress. Elevate 2019 generates a lot of visibility for innovative start-ups and enables them to raise further funds from angel investors and capitalists at a later stage,” said Gaurav Gupta, principal secretary of the department.

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Karnataka / by Express News Service / July 31st, 2019

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    To immerse ashes of her mother in Cauvery

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    Mysuru:

    Brindavan Gardens’ designer Gustav Herman Krumbiegel’s great-granddaughter Alyia Phelps Gardiner Krumbiegel is on a visit to the city.

    She is visiting Mysuru and Bengaluru on a purpose and that is to immerse the ashes of her mother Jean Maureen Phelps Gardiner, who had passed away in Jan. 2018 in England.

    Speaking to Star of Mysore here this morning, Alyia said that she had brought her mother’s ashes to India to immerse it in the rivers here, as she (Jean Maureen) always felt that her home was in India.

    “My mother passed away on Jan. 18. 2018 and I was very clear that her body had to be cremated and not buried. Hence, I had to wait for nearly three weeks as I had to book the slot for her cremation in advance. Finally, the slot that was available was Feb.5, 2018 and it was then she was cremated. She had told me that her heart was always in India and hence to respect her last wishes I have brought her ashes to the country she always loved,” said Alyia.

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    Alyia  has already immersed a part of the ashes in Waynad, Kerala and she has plans to immerse it in River Cauvery in Srirangapatna shortly, she said.

    She will also be visiting the Mysuru Zoo with a letter to the Executive Director requesting him to display a plaque of her great-grandfather Krumbiegel who had also planned the Gardens in Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens.

    Alyia will also be visiting the Brindavan Gardens to see for the first time the work of her great-grandfather which all these days she had only heard about.

    She had cycled to Mysuru all the way from Bengaluru a couple of years ago and she had time only to visit the Mysore Palace where she had met Pramoda Devi Wadiyar, she recalled.

    Alyia will later go to Bengaluru and plans to participate in the Independence  Day Flower Show at Lalbagh. In this year’s flower show, there will be a floral tribute to Sri Jayachamaraja Wadiyar, the last Maharaja of the erstwhile State of Mysore, to mark his birth centenary celebrations.

    “My great-grandfather had a big role in designing the Gardens at Lalbagh and I am so happy that this year floral tributes are being paid to Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wadiyar for whom Krumbiegel had worked,” she said.

    source: http://www.starofmysore.com / Star of Mysore / Home> News / July 30th, 2019

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    They used a bioinformatics approach to design protein

    Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) have designed an anti-microbial peptide (AMP) that, researchers say, can effectively and quickly kill a notorious multidrug-resistant bacterium called Acinetobacter baumannii.

    According to a press release by IISc., the bacterium tops the WHO’s list of threats that urgently need new antibiotics because it is “remarkably adept at developing drug resistance”. The release also stated that it is among the six species responsible for most infections in hospitals and health care centres.

    In a new study published in Science Advances, IISc. researchers used a bioinformatics approach to design a new short protein (peptide) called Omega76 that can kill A. baumannii by breaking down its cell membrane.

    Infected mice treated with Omega76 had much better survival rates. The team also found that high doses of Omega76 given for prolonged periods did not produce any toxic effects. Since it is safe and effective, it is a promising candidate for developing new antibiotics, the researchers say.

    Dipshikha Chakravortty, Professor at the Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, who was part of this research, was quoted as saying, “The significance of A. baumannii infection was not sufficiently understood earlier… It was regarded as just another bug in the environment. It has now become a major threat, especially in the intensive care units.”

    The release stated that antibiotics for such infections may soon become ineffective, as resistance to even last-resort drugs such as carbapenems is on the rise.

    “They are not entirely safe either; a drug called colistin, which is considered the last hope for multidrug-resistant infections, has been found to cause severe kidney damage,” said postdoctoral fellow Deepesh Nagarajan.

    While standard drugs act by “blocking specific pathways or processes in bacterial cells,” bacteria can evolve to gain resistance against such drugs. Nagasuma Chandra, Professor at the Department of Biochemistry, said, “On the other hand, anti-microbial peptides (AMPs) actually punch holes in the bacterial cell membrane. The chances of drug resistance are much lower because they act by multiple ways and cause actual physical damage.”

    The researchers plan to improve its design further, and explore clinical uses.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Bengaluru / by Staff Reporter / Bengaluru – July 30th, 2019

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    July 30th, 2019adminBusiness & Economy, Sports

    Instamojo co-founder Sampad Swain takes to football to unwind from work stress.

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    Bengaluru :

    Numerous meetings with investors, clients and his own team members is how Sampad Swain, CEO and co-founder of Instamojo, a Bengaluru-based fintech company, spends his weekdays, along with heated discussions with his in-house software developers and product engineers. Though he enjoys his role as an entrepreneur, his regular football practice keeps him going in a busy work life. “I work for around 10 hours during the week. My job as a start-up entrepreneur is thrilling and satisfying. But we also need to invest some time for other interests. For me, it’s my love for sports. I love to play football during my free time and also coach children in the weekends. It keeps me active and feels refreshing to take a break from work,” says Swain.

    The 37-year-old father of eight-year old twin boys, finds coaching children as interesting as playing football. Today, coaching has evolved from a hobby to serious responsibility for Swain. “Coaching started off as an offshoot hobby. One evening, I had taken my kids out for football practice, and when I saw them playing with their friends, it struck me that I had not played in a really long time. I joined the little champs and started playing along. I also taught them little tricks along the way. That’s how I picked on this hobby. Since then, I go to the ground as often as possible during weekends, coach and play with them. It has been almost a year since I started pursuing this as a weekend getaway hobby,” he says. The sessions are held mainly on Saturday evenings or Sunday mornings at a playground in Koramangala. The tech geek also justifies his reason for coaching just kids. “It is fulfilling to coach enthusiastic children, there is so much to learn from their energy and ideas.”

    Being a fan of Cristiano Ronaldo, he flew down to Russia in June 2018 to watch the FIFA World Cup. “Ronaldo is my all-time favourite soccer player, simply due to his positive attitude and strong work ethics. In a field like sports, talent may have probably 30-40 per cent role to have a successful career, but the rest is determined by one’s work ethics and attitude. We have a lot to learn from him. This helps me at work too,” he says. Though he is a football fanatic, Swain has not taken this sport as a competition. “Football has always been my first love. Back in the day, I spent a lot of time playing football with my society friends, and this was mostly on the road or a nearby playground. I picked up the sport on my own and built on my skills by observing the senior boys in the school football team,” he says, adding that he has never pursued football as a competitive game. “That’s one lesson I’ve learnt in life – you need not pursue everything with a competitive spirit. Sometimes, it is completely okay to pursue something simply because you enjoy it,” he says.

    The entrepreneur also has a message for those who give up their hobby or passion because of their busy work schedule. “Pursuing a hobby is as important as performing well at your job. Some of us really love our jobs, but we need something to break away from our regular routine, and a hobby can help with this. It not only helps as a stressbuster, but gives us something more to look forward to in life.”

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Bengaluru / by Lesly Joseph / Express News Service / July 30th, 2019

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    July 29th, 2019adminArts, Culture & Entertainment

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    I am willing to sing any genre of music, says the acclaimed musician, Sangeeta Katti Kulkarni. But, it will come with my touch, the knowledge that my gurus have given me, she explains on the eve of Guru Smaran

    Sangeeta Katti Kulkarni needs no introduction. The Kannadigas love her voice, her style and the manner in which she captures every musical temperament through her euphonious voice. It could be a piece of classical music, bhavageethe, a folk song, or a film song — Sangeeta sings with a natural grace. When she sings the great poet Bendre, it almost feels like he wrote in consultation with Sangeeta — the song and singer sound inseparable. Hailed as a child prodigy, Sangeeta has worked with leading film composers and singers, has travelled widely and has been showered with awards in her four decade journey. A trained classical musician, there is the unmistakable classical music streak in every song that she sings. Trained by three great masters of music, Sangeeta pays them her tribute to through Gurusmaran, in Bengaluru on Sunday. On the eve of this programme, the singer shares her musical journey and the times she spent with her teachers. Excerpts from the interview.

    It is a good place to be in music today. There are a flood of opportunities, and all kinds of musicians thrive in this ecosystem. It is difficult however, because ‘new’ seems to be the buzzword. Everyone is under pressure to do something new, constantly. A serious musician is thinking, rethinking, reinventing and evolving in his music, but this environment asks for visible change. How does it feel to be a musician at this time?

    How many times I have felt that I should have been born in the 40s or 50s! Or I should have been born when my children were born. I was born in the 70s, and have, on many an occasion felt it was not the best time to be born. But then, it was indeed the best time to be born. I got to see the best of both worlds.

    Till I entered college, technology was not such a huge presence. In the later years, it became one of the biggest forces, and things began to change rapidly. By the time you grappled with it, it would change again. Gramophone, radio, cassettes – all these lingered around for a good length of time. But once this phase was over – things just flew. MP3, pen drive, now MP4… it was too fast. Recording technology changed hugely. This had a bearing on how we thought and conceived music.

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    How did you cope?

    My learning, school, my upbringing, my gurus… they exposed me to a solid learning process. I had a wonderful time. Facing this constant change was naturally difficult. What’s happening? I wondered so very often. Each time, it took me a while to make some sense of it.

    This changing aura — where there is no aura — was hard on musicians like me. I’ll tell you why. We were still under the tutelage of our gurus and our thinking, the values of music, sensibility, belonged to another time zone. Gurus were the pivotal force of our lives. But for them, we would have been washed away in this flood. This commercial world would have sucked us. Their moral force, that made a home in us, gave us the ability to recognize the right things. The world outside was moving in real time. That did make it stressful. If I were born in 40s or 50s then this problem would not have been there! (laughs)

    With all this, having seen both worlds, we are the watershed generation. We have to balance, keep the equilibrium.

    Born to music Sangeeta Katti Kulkarni with Begum Parveen Sultana, with Mother Theresa and with her guru, Kishori Amonkar Photos: courtesy Sangeeta Katti Kulkarni and Bhagya Prakash K. (cover and centre spread)

    Born to music Sangeeta Katti Kulkarni with Begum Parveen Sultana, with Mother Theresa and with her guru, Kishori Amonkar Photos: courtesy Sangeeta Katti Kulkarni and Bhagya Prakash K. (cover and centre spread)

    So it is indeed a balancing act? It is about keeping two worlds together.

    In the Nineties, I was singing for Kannada films. And within a year, I had sung for 25-26 films. I was quite a phenomenon then; a Dharwad girl suddenly taking on the Kannada film music scene and singing for all the top film banners, it was no mean achievement. It was during this time that my guru, Basavaraj Rajguru passed away. Then I met Kishori Tai, on listening to me, she said: ‘Building is ready, but finishing is to be done.’ She asked me to take lessons from her. I had established myself as a playback singer, my future had a lot of promise, but without any second thoughts I dropped everything and went to her. I stayed with her for four-five years. In her company, and in her guidance, I used to forget this world. If that is the choice I made, then don’t I have a huge responsibility? It is challenging to keep traditional values in this changing world, but I will do it. I believe in it. Even if I am singing contemporary music, I make an effort to bring the values that all my gurus inculcated in me.

    The musicians of yesteryear had a different understanding of time. When you impose those values on present time, what are the repercussions?

    Today we are in an ‘instant’ world. But raga is not instant business. Nevertheless, you have to strike at something ‘instant’ that will keep the mind and interest of today’s listeners. It is a challenge. Hindustani or Carnatic music is not the only music that has tradition. Folk and jazz have traditions of their own, in fact every form of music does. To convey this, it requires a lot of perseverance and patience. It is difficult because the engagement they have with music is not very deep. For instance, let us take a popular number. It is not about how someone has sung the song, it is about the thought that has gone into it. So how do you convince and convey this to your listener? One keeps trying, hoping that atleast five in a 100 will get it. Music is all about essence.

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    There are any number of stories from the past on how a Shuddh Kalyan was taught for six years. That in ten years only five ragas were taught, etc. But today, the idea is to spread wide than to dig deep. Your success is counted on the number of things you can do, and how soon you can make it. Where do you find your sthayi?

    My sthayi is in the world of seven notes. I have no taboos, and my gurus didn’t have it either. Anything melodious, irrespective of style and genre is fine with me. I just love to sing. Afterall, it is about touch and the perspective you bring to the song. Last week, I sang a song for composer Vasuki Vaibhav. I sang twice, but I felt I could do better. I called and asked him to give me one more chance. I do take longer than others to finish a song, but that is because I am trying to explore its possibilities. I am trying to seek something more than the tune that is given to me. I feel every musician should be keen to push beyond the words and the tune. I think of some khatka, a gamak, a murki or an alaap.. I try to add value. Anyway, the good thing is that there are still some people who understand why I like to take time. I keep thinking of my music and that is where I belong.

    There was Lata Mangeshkar, Suman Kalyanpur, P. Susheela, S. Janaki… all singing in the same era, but so different in their musical narratives. Now, every one wants to sound like Shreya Goshal, or an Arijit Singh. So is today all about sounding like someone?

    Today there is too much emphasis on what sells. So if something succeeds, they want everything else to sound like that, and look like that. Music is now an industry in its complete sense. Nobody asks questions these days.

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    So will a take it or leave it attitude work today?

    I don’t know…. Music to me is divine. I fail to explain the feelings that arise in me. I want to impart this knowledge that I have learnt from my gurus. My gurus were remarkable human beings. They believed in sadhana and said fame is ephemeral. You have to enjoy the process, music is not moving from one point to the other.

    Kishori Tai never allowed us to make notes. Now, she was extraordinary, but it is not the same about her disciples. Her classes would be so loaded with knowledge that I would be dying to make a note of every word she uttered. So when she slept in the afternoons, I would retreat to a corner and quietly make notes. One day, she caught me doing it. She looked at me for a moment, said, “Good” and walked away. (She shows me the notes she made that day ten years ago. It is a lesson in Rag Malhar. Sangeeta sings and demonstrates how Kishori Tai explained it to her.)

    I know what a guru is, I have experienced that bliss. I want to keep all those moments alive in me, always. I will sing what is beautiful and truthful, and there are people who know my worth.

    You had three gurus. Pt. Puranikmath who was very subdued, Pt. Rajguru who was so evocative, and Kishori Tai, flamboyant and radical.

    It was Puranikmath sir who took me to Pt. Rajguru. He said you need someone who knows better than me. Can you believe a teacher saying that? Dandapur sir, who taught me my initial lessons was also a picture of humility. When I think about them, I am filled with gratitude. There is so much to learn from each of them. I was a little girl and they pampered and nurtured me. Katigeri sir used to come late evening, by which time I would be tired after a full day at school, homework etc. He would suddenly switch to English, ‘only six lines, come let’s do it,’ he would coax me.

    Once I was at Pt. Rajguru sir’s home for class. He told me he was busy with other students. I got upset and began to cry. He was flustered. ‘Why are you crying?’ he asked. ‘You don’t love me like you love your other students,’ I told him, crying more. He disappeared for about 20-25 minutes, and I sat there unable to stop crying. He came back with a plate full of piping hot upma and green gram unde.‘First you eat this. Don’t cry dear, I am here to teach you…’ How can I forget all that? A man of his stature needn’t have done it. But they were all exemplar human beings. Kishori Tai was unsparing, she made very high demands of her disciples. I have not seen a musician like her — totally committed.

    Until Pt. Rajguru was gone I didn’t realise the seriousness; till then I got everything very easily. The actual learning process began when I went to Kishori Tai. She was such a perfectionist. Nothing would please her.

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    It has never been easy for women in the arts. Whether it is Begum Akhtar, Kishori Tai or anyone. There are just too many social baggages.

    My father wanted me to become a musician, and he was the one who made Sangeeta Katti who she is. But it is still a very male-oriented world. Women have too many responsibilities to fulfill. If in the latter half of a woman’s life art has to be keep alive, luck plays a huge role.

    Surbahar presents Guru Smaran – 2019. The Surbahar Puraskar – 2019 goes to Pt. Rajeshwar Acharya, Varanasi. Special Felicitation to Pt. Anantachar Katageri Dasaru, Dharward. There will be performances by both award winners. A vocal-violin duet by Sangeeta Katti Kulkarni and Milind Raikar to follow. Venue is Canara Union, Malleshwaram, Bengaluru, 5 p.m.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Entertainment> Music / by Deepa Ganesh / July 25th, 2019

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    July 29th, 2019adminEducation, Records, All

    The Government Higher Primary School in Navarathna Agrahara near Bengaluru Airport, on a 12,000 sqft area, was completely demolished and reconstructed with the help of Ronald Colaco from Dubai.

    The Government Higher Primary School in Navarathna Agrahara

    The Government Higher Primary School in Navarathna Agrahara

    Bengaluru :

    A first look will make you think it is a private school. It has all modern education tools and infrastructure. This school, 30km from Bengaluru, is changing the way we look at government schools, thanks to an NRI family. For, the general perception is that government schools are not on par with the private ones.

    The Government Higher Primary School in Navarathna Agrahara near Kempegowda International Airport, on a 12,000 sqft area, was completely demolished and reconstructed with the help of Ronald Colaco from Dubai.

    The Colaco family decided to move to the countryside when they saw the villages nearby struggling to make ends meet. The school was built in 1992 and started off with just four classrooms. Over the years, the infrastructure was not updated nor the building repaired. Often classes had to be held outdoors for fear that the building may collapse any time. Eventually, the school strength fell from 92 to 52. Since there were only a few private schools within a 3km radius, many parents had to pay exorbitant fees.

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    Ronald Colaco, a businessman, frequents Bengaluru and has a house near the school. The idea of rebuilding the school came to him as several people in the village used to request him to give financial assistance to pay the school fees. His son,  Nigel Colaco, oversaw the design, construction and execution of the project. “Villagers used to spend all their savings or borrow money to enrol their children in private schools. I used to get requests from parents to support their children’s education. I decided to build the new government school as a permanent solution,” Ronald Colaco told The New Indian Express.

    The school today boasts of 11 well-equipped classrooms, a computer laboratory, a conference hall, sports facilities, staff chambers, 31 CCTV cameras, kitchen and dining hall to provide mid-day meal to the children, a separate washroom for girls and boys, which match the standard of international schools.

    THE construction of the school and other infrastructure cost Rs 3.1 crore As of now, the school conducts classes up to grade seven. The remodelled school was inaugurated on Saturday where Union minister D V Sadananda Gowda was the chief guest. Krishna Byre Gowda, MLA, who was present, said efforts will be made to introduce English medium and also upgrade it to a high school in the following academic year. “It took just five months to complete the construction. Being an NRI, I’ve always wanted to give back to the society,” Colaco said.

    While the school had only three government teachers, Colaco brought in an additional four teachers. Not only that, the school has now seen 24 new admissions. Colaco has requested more people to come forward and develop government schools. Mahesh Kumar N K, the panchayat president, said, “Now the villagers are happy to see a government school of international standards.”

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Good News / by Preeja Prasad / Express News Service / July 29th, 2019

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    Indian Music Experience (IME), a city-based museum that explores the evolution of Indian music with interactive, multi-sensory exhibits, is organising its grand launch on July 27.

    Ustad Zakkir Hussain and Louiz Banks

    Ustad Zakkir Hussain and Louiz Banks

    Bengaluru :

    Indian Music Experience (IME), a city-based museum that explores the evolution of Indian music with interactive, multi-sensory exhibits, is organising its grand launch on July 27. Announcing  this at a press conference,  M R Jaishankar, chairman and managing director of Brigade Group and founder of IME, said, “The grand launch of the IME is a culmination of nearly a decade of effort to set up a truly world-class museum and arts centre in India. We are hopeful that the IME will grow to become a pre-eminent arts hub of the country and preserve and propagate India’s rich cultural heritage to the next generation.”

    Many dignitaries, including Tejasvi Surya, member of Parliament, Bengaluru South and S M Krishna, former union minister for External Affairs, were present. On the occasion, there will be musical confluence by Ustad Zakkir Hussain and Louiz Banks at 7pm. Talking about IME, museum director and classical vocalist Manasi Prasad, shared, “The performing arts teach us to create, communicate and collaborate. India has the most diverse musical culture in the entire world and the museum celebrates this. Going forward, the IME aims to be a centre of music education and research, providing a platform for artistes and art lovers.”

    The exhibit area of IME consists of eight thematic galleries showcasing various facets of Indian music, an instruments gallery with over 100 musical instruments, three mini theatres, and several computer-based interactive installations that allow visitors to experience the process of music-making. The exhibits feature memorabilia belonging to the Bharat Ratna musicians of the country— Bismillah Khan, Bhimsen Joshi and M S Subbulakshmi. In addition, it will also feature a rare phonograph and gramophone, a selection of microphones, gramophone records and other artifacts.
    The launch will be held at IME grounds in JP Nagar at 4.30pm.

    source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Bengaluru / by Express News Service / July 27th, 2019

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    July 28th, 2019adminUncategorized
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    Setty was likely unique in having the audacity to ignore financial worries and get involved in what was still a new and experimental field as an engineering student in Britain.

    An Avro 504. Credit: TSRL/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

    An Avro 504. Credit: TSRL/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

    This wide-ranging column will take as its basis a discussion of a book every month on the history of science and technology, and relate it to a theme of current relevance. Read the other articles here.

    On a recent visit to Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry, a friend pointed out a small printed display next to a wooden model of an early Avro plane. It showed a man in suit and tie, sporting a drooping moustache and a white turban. The caption identified him as S.V. Setty (1879-1918), an “apprentice and unpaid draughtsman” at A.V. Roe and Company in 1912. It went on to declare: “India regards him as its first aircraft engineer”. This was intriguing; to the best of my knowledge Setty is not a household name in India. I set out to find out more.

    Newspapers, websites and online forums have occasionally featured discussions on Setty, but the most detailed account we have of his life is contained in Kashi Viswanatha Setty’s slim volume, The First Indian Aviator: S.V. Setty, published by the Karnataka Arya Vysya Maha Sabha in 1984. Translated from the Kannada, the book gives a timeline of Setty’s life and includes some of his letters in an appendix.

    Srirama Venkatasubba Setty (also known as Setti or Chetty) was born in Mysore in 1879 and earned a B.A. from the Maharaja’s College before enrolling in the Engineering College at Guindy, Madras. From Guindy, he transferred to the Thomason College, Roorkee, where he completed his engineering degree with high honours, but missed out on a prized appointment in the Indian Public Works Department (PWD) because he was above the age limit. He did get a job with the Mysore PWD, however. He served until 1909 before going on leave, having won from the Mysore government a scholarship to Faraday House, London, where he studied for a diploma in electrical engineering. This was a sandwich course , and Setty was soon gaining experience at firms in Rugby, Wolverhampton and London. During this time he also became an associate member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.

    Setty clearly had an appetite for learning. In England, he was attracted to flying and aeroplane design, which were newly in vogue (in the United States, the Wright brothers had made their first successful powered flight in 1903). Extending his leave and procuring loans from some wealthy patrons at home, he joined Avro in 1911 as a trainee pilot and draughtsman at the company’s Brooklands airfield in Surrey. The company, which was among the first aeroplane-makers in Britain, had only been a year old at this point.

    At Brooklands, Setty regularly flew in various Avro planes, earning several mentions in Flight , the journal of the Aero Club in Britain. This was an experience few Indians would have had until the end of World War I. Flying took off in India in the 1910s but was mainly the preserve of wealthy princes. Setty was by no means alone in being an Indian engineering student in Britain – but he was probably unique in having the audacity to ignore financial worries and get involved in what was still a new and experimental field, offering little by way of career options in India. It couldn’t have been easy. For one thing, flying in the early days involved mortal danger. For another, he would have stuck out like a sore thumb at Brooklands. On one occasion, when he veered off course, Flight reported, “After two or three straight lines he turned off and ran into the sewage farm. He is a vegetarian, and it is thought that he may possibly have had some irresistible attraction for the cabbages which grow that way.” This may well have been good-natured ribbing but it would not be surprising if it felt like a barb at some level.

    In addition to flying, Setty was involved in preparing drawings for various planes being designed at Avro in 1911-12. It is difficult to establish with certainty the exact nature of Setty’s contribution. Documentary evidence from his time at Brooklands is scarce, and Avro’s early records perished in a fire in the 1950s. (Setty’s great-grandson has collected some documents and a medallion awarded to his ancestor, though I have not had the opportunity to look at these in the original.) The most reasonable assessment I have found so far is in a note on Setty prepared by the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, and kindly made available to me by them. Considering various sources carefully, the note concludes that Setty “definitely worked on general arrangement drawings for the Avro Type F” (the first plane with an enclosed cockpit), and possibly “worked on drawings for the original [Avro] Type E”, a biplane – having wings in a double-decker arrangement – that formed the basis for the Avro 500 series. The Avro 504 would play a major part in World War I.

    Having received a handsome certificate from Avro, Setty went back to his job in Mysore, leaving England in June 1912. There he was deputed as superintendent of the Mechanical Engineering School in Bangalore. He continued to have an interest in aviation, and with his year-long experience with Avro he was confident that he could build an aeroplane in India. He sought permission from the Mysore government and requested Rs 15,000 in funding. From the estimate of expenses that he enclosed with his request, it appears that he aimed to construct a biplane along the lines of the ones he had worked on in England. The dream was short-lived, however, as World War I broke out and the Government of India disallowed the flying of aircraft in its territory.

    Why is Setty not better known? In his lifetime he was not shy of publicity. He was eulogised by the Calcutta-based Modern Review, sent photographs of himself with an Avro biplane to a professional journal and, upon his return to India in 1912, was honoured at gatherings in Erode, Bangalore, Madras, Coimbatore and Kollegal. But what fame he enjoyed was tied to his career in aviation, which had lasted all of one year, and which he had no way of continuing. Still, had Setty lived a long life, his reputation might have grown. But he was denied that privilege: the influenza pandemic of 1918 claimed him before he was forty.

    Perhaps it is a mistake to focus exclusively on Setty’s exploits in the air, for he became a prominent citizen of Bangalore and continued to make an impact in other fields. He set up scholarships in his parents’ names; experimented with building a Kannada typewriter; was almost certainly a member of the Freemason Lodge in Bangalore; and was acting professor in the city’s engineering college (he was confirmed in the post shortly before his death).

    Trying to identify firsts in the history of technology is often an unrewarding exercise – nor is it particularly useful to invoke individual genius in explaining technological developments. Personal courage, determination and imagination are by no means unimportant – and S.V. Setty had them in good measure – but we would do him a disservice if we saw him in isolation from the world in which he worked. A number of interesting questions beckon.

    How did this Roorkee graduate develop an interest in electrical engineering, still a novel subject in the 1900s? In what circles did he move as a student in London, and how did aviation catch his fancy? To what extent did the munificence of the Mysore government and his acquaintances influence the direction of his career? Did Setty’s efforts have a long-term impact on aviation in India? It may have been a coincidence, but when aircraft manufacture eventually took root in India in the 1940s, it did so in Bangalore and with the support of the Mysore government. But that is a story for another day.

    Aparajith Ramnath is a historian of modern science, technology and business.

    source: http://www.thewire.in / The Wire / Home> History / by Aparajith Ramnath / May 15th, 2017

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