It was under the second phase of the Cauvery Power Scheme that it was decided to bring electricity to Bangalore. Under the first phase which became operational in June 1902, power was transmitted to the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), 92 miles away from a power station at the foot of the Shivanasamudra Falls. The 92-mile dual transmission line between the power station and KGF was then the world's longest transmission line. But in 1903, when it was realised there was excess power being generated, the plan to electrify Bangalore, which falls midway, was drawn up.
Historian Gajanana Sharma, who has chronicled the coming of electricity to Karnataka, quotes some prescient lines from the project proposal of Mac Hutchins, a British engineer: "...Most of the electricity that we are producing is being supplied to the gold mines, but the gold mines will not last forever. We have to make alternate plans for the power we are generating... We have to meet industrialists and convince them to set up industries in Bangalore and ensure that the power we are generating is constructively utilised in the future...." The maharaja approved the plan on May 30, 1904, and work began for laying a 35,000-volt single transmission line across 57 miles.
It may be of interest to today's consumers that when power came to Bangalore, an innovative monthly tariff was worked out. For a tubelight or a 40 watt bulb, one rupee and 2 annas were charged. No matter how much power was drawn, it was a blanket price for the consumer. And according to an agreement between the city corporation and the Government of Mysore for street lamps, the corporation had to pay an annual princely fee of Rs 15,000. Still, by the end of 1905, there were 1,395 street lamps in Bangalore city. The electrification was so celebrated that Bangaloreans even feted Maharaja Wodeyar with a line of thanksgiving: "Krishnaraja boopa manemanegu deepa," which simply means 'King Krishnaraja is the light of every home'.
In belated recognition of this historic anniversary (the actual 100th anniversary fell on August 19, 2005), Bharat Lal Meena, MD, Karnataka Power Transmission Company Limited (KPTCL), made an announcement: the setting up of a "light museum" in the city. "It will be called the Centre of Excellence for Lighting (CEL)", he told Outlook, and will be designed to be of interest to lighting professionals as well as the general public. The museum will showcase cutting-edge technology in lighting for diverse arenas, from theatre, painting and photography, to laser/light shows, and holographic 3-D images, he said. With the amazing pace at which Bangalore is evolving, one line says it all: lead kindly light!
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
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