With friends Kamala Ramaswamy (writer), Champaka Malini (writer) and Hema (theatre artiste); I am second from left in this group.
“First Woman Graduate in the Bapu Family
“I am Prabhamani Rao who completed B.A and graduated from Mysore University (at that time there was no Bangalore University) in 1953. I was 19 and a half when I graduated.
My grandfather Bapu Subba Rao was a Professor of History in Mysore University in the 1890s. He had five sons and four daughters.
My father was Bapu Venkoba Rao, was the fourth son, and was 16 when his father passed away. My father’s elder brothers had nine daughters in all, eight of them older than me. Only two of them entered the university including my elder sister but studied only for a short period. I am the second of four daughters of my parents.
I studied in Maharani’s College for Women in Bangalore. My subjects for BA were English, Sociology, and Philosophy. My tuition fee was Rs.6/- per month; girls received 50% concession in fees.
We lived in South Bangalore, and there were college buses run by the government, for which we paid Rs.8/- per month. The bus would pick me up right in front of my house.
When we moved further south to Jayanagar, we didn’t have the facility of the bus as it was a new locality and there were very few students. So, we used to go to college taking a ride with my father. He would drop us on his way to the office – he was the Principal of the University of Agricultural Sciences in Hebbal. This meant we never attended any functions in the college because we had to get back with him. There was no way of getting back home by bus or any other transport.
I had a good time in college, and developed lasting friendships. In the group photo, my friends are: From left:(Late) Kamala Ramaswamy, whose father was the editor of a very popular humour magazine Koravanji . Kamala became a well-known writer in Kannada, and used to regale us with stories of RK Laxman who visited her house as a shy young cartoonist. Next in the picture is me. The next is (Late) Champaka Malini who was the gold medallist in our group. She was a writer of children’s plays and was deeply involved with AIR as a Children’s programme producer. On the extreme right is Hema, a theatre artiste who used to act in Kannada plays.
Though I was the first Bapu daughter to graduate, my maternal grandmother C.Amba Bai was one of the first women graduates of Mysore University. The day of graduation, 8 January, 1954, was a very proud moment for my family. The Convocation Address by Radha Kumud Mookerji, a scholar who was also a Member of Parliament, was distributed to all – I have a copy still, the cover of which is scanned and attached. Also attached is a scanned copy of the entrance ticket to Crawford Hall, venue of the Convocation, and the “Directions to Candidates Taking Degrees” which listed the dress code, and also the “promises” one had to keep to become members of the University by virtue of the Convocation. We drove down to Mysore, accompanied by my maternal Uncle T.Gopala Rao, armed with his camera. It was he who took the photograph of me in my graduation gown.”
Contributor: Prabhamani Rao
Convocation entrance ticket