Monday, August 6, 2007


[Picture of Prof. M. Ananthaswami Rau taken by author in April, 2007 at his Lakshmipuram residence]
[This article was written by Prof. M.Ananthaswami Rau for the Diamond Jubilee Souvenir of THE MYSORE GYMKHANA in 1996.]

THE MYSORE GYMKAHANA has completed a glorious chapter of sixty years in the sporting life of the historic city of Mysore. In its Diamond jubilee year, the club can look back with satisfaction on the many achieve­ments in several spheres of the sporting and cultural scenes of the city. Some of these are highlighted in this article with particular ref­erence to the beginning and early phase of development of this institution.

In the late 1930s, some enthusiastic young sportsmen of the city, feeling the absence of a suitable club in the city, desired to establish one which would give opportunities for the young aspir­ants to develop their talents. With the guid­ance and encouragement of the elder sports­men and patrons of the city like C.M.H. Ranajodh Singh, Col D.C.N. Bahadur, F.C. Devaraj Urs, A. Lingaraj Urs, K.M. Subba Rao, V.K. Srinivasan, M.N. Parthasarathy, B.S. Keshavan, A.Narayanaswamy, A. Sambamurthy and others, it was decided to form THE MYSORE GYMKHANA. The benevolent Sardar K. Basavaraj Urs of the Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion kindly consented to be the President and Chief patron of the club. C.B. Jaya Rao, active in the sports and theatre circles acted as Secretary of the club. The club was also permitted the use of the ground adjacent to Maharaja's College foot­ball ground but this was later taken away and the administrative building of the University of Mysore, Crawford Hall has come on it.

The bye-laws of the newly constituted club were prepared and printed by M.S.Cheluva Iyengar, one of the members of the club at his City Power Press. At the General Body meeting held on 24th June 1941 M. Anantaswamy Rau was formally elected as the Secretary under the constitution as contained in the bye-laws of the club and he held this position till 1949. The main sporting activity of THE MYSORE GYMKHANA was cricket and the club actively participated in local cricket tournaments and also in the First Di­vision of the State cricket league tournament for the Sir Mirza Ismail Shield. In the year 1943, THE MYSORE GYMKHANA, after defeating the City Gymkhana of Bangalore in the semi-final, lost to the Indian Gymkhana in the final played at Bangalore but in the following year, the club was successful in winning the shield defeating Central College in the Final played on Maharaja's College ground at Mysore. THE MYSORE GYMKHANA cricket team was successfully captained by M.L. Nanjaraj Urs and A.Sridharmurthy in those years and among the players who represented THE MYSORE GYMKHANA and contributed to its progress in those early years were M.B. Rama Rao, M.B. Vittal Rao, R.Gundu Rao, M.Rama Rao, Y.S. Ramaswamy, T.V.R.Rao, V.A. Kalman, V.A. Chandrashekar, S.Rama Rao, N.S. Parameshwar, V.R. Venkoba Rao, D. Raja Rao, B.R. Garudachar, G.K. Venkataram, P.R. Sitaram, B. Devaraj Urs, M.A.Singara Iyengar, M.R. Rajagopal, C. Srikantan, A.L. Lingaiah, C.Govindaraj, A.K.S. Naidu, R.K Bhagavan, T.A. Azeez, N.N. Kaushik, M.B. Channaraja Urs, K. G. Venkatesh, P. Alasingarachar, Narasimhamurthy, A.R. Satyan, S.S. Krishnamurthy, Chintamani, M. R. Krishnamurthy, M.S. Krishnaswamy, D.R. Prahlada Rao and others. Some of the Gymkhana players also represented the State in the Ranji Trophy matches. The well known cricketers, Charles Pichamuthu, Safi Darashah and C.J. Ramdev who were closely identified with Bangalore cricket graciously offered to play for the Gymkhana during the period of their official posting in Mysore.

The internationally well known cricketer Phiroze Palia also turned out for THE MYSORE GYMKHANA in some local match­es. A.S. Krishnaswamy a very good all-rounder and prolific scorer who played for Indian Railways narrowly missed representing the country. He played against the visiting West Indies team which consisted of the fearsome Roy Gilchrist. Along with him there were many others who made the grade like D.M. Engineer & M.R. Parthasarathy. Kumaraswamy who played for THE MYSORE GYMKHANA was a prolific run scorer and was popularly known as 'Compton Kumar' in cricketing circles.

In later years, S. Vijay Prakash and A.K.Raghu carried on the high traditions of the club by representing the State in Ranji Trophy games.

In addition to participating in tourna­ments the Club is actively involved in promot­ing the game by organising annual summer coaching camps for youngsters for the past eleven years.

Two members of THE MYSORE GYMKHANA, M.L.Nanjaraj Urs and M. Anantaswamy Rau took the first ever Cricket umpires Examinations conducted by the State Cricket Association in 1942 and both were successful. Later M.Anantaswamy Rau was elected to the first All-India Panel of Cricket Umpires of the Board of Control for Cricket in India in 1946 and he served on the panel for ten years before resigning in 1956. He officiated in many Ranji Trophy matches and in two Zonal matches against visiting teams from abroad: MCC of England at Poona in 1951 and New Zealand at Bangalore in 1955.

Besides cricket, THE MYSORE GYMKHANA was also actively associated with other games in the city. The Basket Ball section had many active members with Vyasa Rao, Anantaram, K.G.V. Krishna, B.L. Srikantiah, Subbanna, S.G. Parthasarathi, Narasimhiya, Rangaswamy, KG. Venkatesh, P.Alasingarachar and others. The Basket Ball team won a local tournament beating Maha­raja's College in the final in 1942.

The Football team had the benefit of advice from elders of the city. The football team efficiently captained by H.M. Nagaraja Rao participated in a local tournament and I well remember receiving the club's share of gate money for a match played on the Doddakere Maidan ground. The great A.C.Somanna of Calcutta football fame was also a member of THE MYSORE GYMKHANA.

The Tennis team participated in the local tournaments and inter-club matches and the team won the Shield in a tournament conduct­ed by the RBNTC in 1949 defeating the Cosmopolitan Club and Medical college re­spectively in the semi-fmal and final, prom­inent players being B.L. Rama Rao and Nanda Kumar who continuously represented the State for many years.

THE MYSORE GYMKHANA is credit­ed with the conduct of a Tennis tournament in 1952 which can be considered as a major event. It was named as the 'Festival of Tennis' where all the top players of South India took ­part and Ramanathan Krishnan who had become the National champion by then at the age of 16 was the Star attraction. He was an easy winner over the former champions and the citizens of Mysore got an opportunity to watch this prodigy in action. His Highness the Maharaja of Mysore Sri Jayachamaraja Wodeyar was the chief guest. This was a feather in the cap of late C.Srikantan who organised this show ably assisted by all members of THE MYSORE GYMKHANA. Mysore had never witnessed such a show of talent earlier.

The members of THE MYSORE GYMKHANA took active part in cultural activities of the city, particularly in the the­atre. With such well known artists like M.S. Cheluva Iyengar (the great Sampath of Cine fame), V.K.Srinivasan, Dr.A.M. Natesh, Dr. H.K. Ranganath, M.V.Krishnaswamy, N.V.K. Murthy, K.G.V.Krishna, M .E. Bharataraj Singh, C.B. Jaya Rao among its members, THE MYSORE GYMKHANA successfully staged plays on several occasions. One of the plays which attracted great attention was DUMB WIFE OF CHEAP SIDE. This play was also staged in a two-day festival at the Town Hall in July 1947. Earlier that year THE MYSORE GYMKHANA won the first prize in a drama competetion conduct­ed by the Karnataka Sangha.

Among the other social activities of (he club during the early 1940s were the farewell functions arranged in honour of Prof. J.C, Rollo of the Maharaja's College on his retirement (see photo) in 1942 and for Prof. Charles Picthamuthu on his relinquishing charge as the Registrar of Mysore University in 1943. A reception was hosted by Sardar K.Basavaraj Urs for the members of the club at his Mansion. A variety programme arranged by the club at the Mysore Town Hall in 1946 had Sir A.Ramaswamy Mudaliar Dewan of the State as the chief guest.

Throughout the years, THE MYSORE GYMKHANA received unstinted cooperation, from the authorities of the Maharaja's College with Principal J.C. Rollo evincing keen inter­est in the activities and progress of the club. The Department of Physical Education of the College provided all facilities, the use of the ground, equipment, services of ground staff etc. THE MYSORE GYMKHANA owes a deep debt of gratitude to the successive Di­rectors of Physical Education P.R. Krishnappa, A.Narayanaswamy, Y.S.Ramaswamy, B.L. Ramaswamy, Syed Mohammded Ahmed, Dayakara Raju, Muniswamy among others and the ground staff of Ramaiah (Sr), Chickaiah. Ramaiah (Jr.), Kalaiah and others in the earlier years and in later years from Directors Capt. H,Veeraraj Urs, Chickkavenkatappa. C, Krishna and Cricket coach V P. Mylevaghanam and their ground staff.

On being transferred form Mysore to Central College, Bangalore in 1951 and later having left the state in 1956, my active participation in the activities of the club came to an end, and the task of managing the club, in the meantime, having been taken over by such dedicated enthusiasts like Dr.N. Sanjeeva Rao, C. Srikantan and others. My interest in the welfare and progress of THE MYSORE GYMKHANA, however continues to have the highest priority. It is a matter of greatest satisfaction to me as well as to the enlightened citizens of the city that THE MYSORE GYMKHANA has progressed from strength to strength and in the Diamond Jubilee year the club can proudly acclaim its glorious role in promoting sporting activities of the city, particularly in cricket. The crowning achieve­ment which all can be proud of is the great heights to which one of its young members has reached, Javagal Srinath who has attained international recognition and fame as a bowler of highest class and who is now the deadiest weapon in the country's bowling arsenal. All glory to him and to THE MYSORE GYMKHANA.



Ramesh said...

You are a nice and genuine human being, true lover of the game, have good control over writing and above all a thorough gentleman. I love to see and read your articles whenever I get time.

There is something missing from your mighty pen(Keys on computer nowadays)till now i.e. about the emerging 20-20 cricket. I would love to see a detailed article on the topic.

All the best for the future writings/articles. This is probably my first comment on any blog etc as I don't have such might with the 'KEYS' like you. Also, I hesitate to write due to reluctance etc.
But all my good wishes for your writings and other hobbies.


Ramesh Baura
CEERI Pilani (Rajasthan)

Sangeetha said...

Nice article on Mysore Gymkhana, my dad has been named as one of the contributers, I was wondering if you have any pictures or any old paper cuttings we have been looking for.

Tilak said...

Respected Sir,

First I would like to thank you for publishing this article.

I could see my Grand Father's Name(Hon Capt V.A. Chandrashekar) and one of the snaps taken in 1942. You could see him in his Army uniform.

Today we have lost him (7.03.2009), he was 92 years old.

He was a strong pillar for our family, my family misses him a lot for his love, affection, family bonding and a great human being.

The most important thing for him was his family

Thank you once again Sir for the lovely article.

Dinakar KR said...

Thanks for the response and sad to hear the passing away of your g/father. M.A.Rau told his name as V.A.Chandar and that is what is mentioned in the identities list. Rau is now 93. He was fond of telling that he was born when the Mysore University was born - 1916.

The older generation people were always good gentlemen in every respect - including my g/father, on whom there is a separate blog.

Madhu said...

Hi Dinu,
Madhu here. Are you having the copy of bye-law which was printed by Sri.Cheluva Iyengar. If so will you please clarify the matter relating to "termination of membership" ie who has the power, the conditions under which a member can be booted out etc.,