When the Maharaja’s son failed an examination


Jayachamaraja Wodeyar with Queen Elizabeth during her visit to Bangalore (courtesy Wikipedia)

Star of Mysore editor-in-chief K.B. Ganapathy reproduces this delightful anecdote from the January issue of the Kannada magazine Uthana, published by Haldipur Vasudeva Rao:

“Mysore Kingdom was being ruled by His Highness Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV (also known as Nalavadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar). He had adopted his brother’s son Jayachamaraja Wodeyar as his heir apparent to the throne as he himself did not have children. During his reign, the University of Mysore was established.

“Jayachamaraja Wadiyar was studying in the intermediate class in the University. T.S. Venkannayya was the head of the Kannada department. Working with him in the department were Thi. Num. Srikantaiah and K.V. Puttappa (Kuvempu) who had just then completed his post-graduate study in Kannada and joined the department as a teacher.

“When the results of the intermediate examination was announced, it was found that the heir apparent to the throne Jayachamaraja Wadiyar had failed in Kannada examination.

“Some days after the results were announced, a call came for T.S. Venkannayya from the Palace to meet the King. On the appointed day and time, the Durbar Bhakshi (Palace Officer) came to Venkannayya’s house in the Palace vehicle and took him before the Maharaja.

“As Venkannayya was waiting in the designated place, the Maharaja came in and the former got up in reverence greeting the Maharaja. Acknowledging the greeting, Maharaja requested Venkannayya to take his seat but he continued to stand waiting for the Maharaja to take his seat.

“However, the Maharaja remained standing waiting for Venkannayya to sit down first out of reverence to a teacher — educationist. Finally both resumed their seats simultaneously. Then followed a brief conversation between the two in the following manner:

Maharaja: The Prince has failed in the exam…

T.S. Venkannayya: Yes, Your Highness. The Prince has failed in Kannada.

Maharaja: What should be done now to make him pass the exam?

Venkannayya: Your Highness, the Prince has to write the exam once again.

Maharaja: Still, if he fails?

Venkannayya: He must be given private tuition.

Maharaja: Okay, will you give him the tuition?

Venkannayya: No, Your Highness. Except in the University classes, I do not teach outside.

Maharaja: If so, how to solve this problem?

Venkannayya: We have one youngster Puttappa who has recently joined Kannada Department. He is very good in teaching. I will entrust him the responsibility.

The Maharaja accepted the suggestion and entrusted the responsibility to T.S. Venkannayya and got up, an indication that the interview was over.

Venkannayya too got up, but in the meanwhile, as arranged before, the Durbar Bhakshi brought a silver tray full of fruits, betel leaves and a gold tasselled shawl and held it before the Maharaja who, after honouring the teacher with the shawl, presented him the silver tray with fruits.

Durbar Bhakshi dropped Venkannayya at his house in the Palace vehicle.

As Venkannayya emptied the silver tray, a surprise awaited him. There was an envelope with one thousand rupees — a huge amount for those days. When Venkannayya sent the silver tray back to the Palace, it came back with the assurance that the tray too was for Venkannayya.

It weighed 108 tholas!

Also read: My daddy, His Highness, the Maharaja of Mysore

Once upon a time, at the Maharaja’s study circle

When Bishen Bedi bowled from the Maharaja College end

Mutton chops, mudde and saaru with Srikantadatta Wodeyar

The maharaja’s elephant that made me a photographer

Rama, Rama rajya, and Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar

Why the Maharani sold her diamonds and jewels

The policeman who stopped the Maharaja