Back in the school yard

Back in the school yard

From the albums

Back in the school yard

This photograph was taken in 1942, five years before we gained Independence. The school where I studied and this photo was taken was called Aryabalika Pathashala. It was a government run school exclusively for girls. It was situated in Sultanpet area of the city. I was in second standard then and this photo was taken on the occasion of our school day in front of the school building. The lady in the centre was our class teacher Puttamma. Although I cannot recall the names of all my classmates in this picture, I vividly remember their faces.

Our school started at 10.30 am and got over at 4 pm. We recited our prayer followed by a song called ‘Kayo Sri Gowri’, considered as the state song of Mysore State, as there was no national anthem at that time. The school celebrated the birthday of Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, the then Maharaja of Mysore State, and distributed sweets to all the students. Although we did not have any special or specific sports in the school, the students were allowed to play for an hour or so in the small playground of the school.

Close to our school was a primary school for called Shamanna Bangale School also run by the government. When I went to my old school area years later, I could not see either of the schools. One can see from the photograph that there was no school uniform or dress code in those days for the students. Some of the girls wore saris while some wore ‘lehenga’ blouse like myself.

Bengaluru of the 50s, 60s and 70s leaves the present generation open-mouthed. And pictures like these would leave the younger generation speechless.

The city was quite small and all commercial activities took place in and around the present day Avenue Road, Cottonpet and other surrounding ‘peteys’ as they were called.

There was Mamulpet, Kumbarpet and Balepet (where bangles were exclusively sold).There were not many schools, especially for girls.

There is one person in this picture whom I remember distinctly. This girl named Ratna was a differently-abled child but a brilliant student. It is highly commendable that the physical disability did not come in her way as she completed college and later obtained a doctorate from a German university. She worked as a professor at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru.

I got married at the age of 14 years and have been a Bengalurean all through. My husband, Prof Y L V Pandit, is no more. I have two sons and two daughters. I have been a social worker all my life helping women gain vocational training and skills.

I am 81-years-old now. Sometimes, I do miss my school days and the city that Bengaluru used to be but I find immense satisfaction in having been able to give back to society in some way and the city that has nurtured me all through my life.

(The author can be contacted at

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