As India celebrates her 74th Independence Day, The New Indian Express takes a look at Karnataka’s contribution to the fight for Independence. We also peep into the minds of people, to see what freedom and independence means to them in 2020...
Premier institute of learning
The brainchild of businessman and philanthropist Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, the Indian Institute of Science was conceived in the late 1800s. He set up a provisional committee under the leadership of Burjorji Padshah, an educationist, to come up with a blueprint. He also endowed a substantial part of his personal wealth for this project. Unfortunately, Tata died in 1904, well before the institute came into existence. It was eventually established, through a vesting order passed May 27, 1909 by the British Indian Government in Bengaluru on land donated by the Mysore Durbar. The Institute, which started with just two departments – General and Applied Chemistry and Electrical Technology – today has over 40 departments. It also has a new campus at Challakere in Chitradurga district.
B’luru home to DRDO labs
Not just the PSUs, Bengaluru is home to number of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) laboratories, mostly working in defence aeronautics, radar, engine and related technologies. While Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) which works on military radars and related technologies was among the first DRDO laboratories to be set up in Bengaluru in 1958, a number of other DRDO laboratories have been subsequently established in the city. Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Gas Turbine Research Centre (GTRC) and Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS), Defence Avionics and Research Establishment (DARE) are some of them.
Reaching for the skies
Much before Information Technology put Bengaluru on the global map, defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) had propelled the city and the country on the global aviation map. Among the few big institutions founded before Independence, the defence and aviation bellwether continues to play pivotal role in the country’s defence preparedness. In 1940, Seth Walchand Hirachand founded Hindustan Aircraft Limited, supported by Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV. From the first indigenous designed and developed trainer aircraft Hindustan Trainer-2 that was used by the Indian Air Force for several decades to manufacturing the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), the PSU grew to keep pace with the requirement of the Armed Forces.
Ringing in the change
Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) Ltd was the first Public Sector Undertaking established after Independence. The PSU in telecommunications technology segment, established as a departmental factory in 1948, was manufacturing a diverse range of information and communication products. ITI, HAL and other PSUs were among the major sources of employment in Bengaluru for many decades before information technology, textiles and other sectors grew tremendously in the last few decades.
It had over 19,000 employees in Bengaluru — and over 35,000 across India — on its rolls during its hey days in the 1980s. Unable to withstand competition from foreign firms post liberalisation, it became sick in 2004. However, after being in red for over 16 years, it is now on revival mode.