The pioneer of printing process

Bengaluru Puttaiah, through his extraordinary skill and art in printing technology made the Mysore Government known all over the country and abroad

Published - January 02, 2020 03:09 pm IST



In addition to the rulers, kings, British commissioners, Dewans who built Bengaluru, many philanthropists, bureaucrats, and some officials, in their personal capacities have made an amazing contribution for the development of various aspects of Bengaluru and have added feathers to the glory of the City. One of such eminent personalities is Bengaluru Puttaiah, who, through his extraordinary skill and art in printing technology made the Mysore Government known all over the country and abroad, during early part of the last century.

His son, Dr. B.P Radhakrishna, a well known geologist, Padmashree award winner and founder of Geological Society of India with its head quarters in Gavipuram, Bangalore, has written the biography of his father in Kannada, titled Nanna Tande, published in 1945. It got reprinted in 2011. A few chapters of the book give a vivid picture of B. Puttaiah’s contribution to Govt. Printing Press and an equally remarkable service he rendered to some other pioneer organisations of the city between 1909 to 1945. Dr. B.P. Radhakrishna also passed away a few years back.



B. Puttaiah started his career in IGP’s office in Bengaluru. However, with the permission from the Dewan V.P. Madhava Rao, he took long leave and with his close friend K.H. Ramaiah got involved to start Vokkaliga Organisation. He took the responsibility of bringing out a magazine in the name of the community, mainly to educate the rural folk. Yet, on February 8, 1909 he joined along with B. Srinivasa Iyengar as probationers in Govt. Printing Press. After three years training, on May 27, 1922, they were sent to England for higher learning. B. Puttaiah used to regularly send weekly articles to his magazine on both his training and other experiences. The Superintendent of Govt. Press, Mr. C.H. Yates used to fondly call them as Puttaiah’s Weekly. B. Puttaiah’s deep concern about the development of his beloved city Bengaluru was so much that he sent several suggestions from England through his writings for the systematic development of the city, especially when he came to know that Sir M. Visveswaraya was going to become the Dewan of Mysore Province.

He completed his training in flying colours. In fact, Mr. J.R Riddell, the Principal, Bridge Foundation Printing School, Bridge lane Fleet Street, London, in his letter dated August 10, 1915, writes an appreciation letter highlighting the achievements of B. Puttaiah in particular.

The success of the Bengaluru Boys left everyone proud and almost all the news papers eulogised the rare feat of these young men from the city. ‘Karnataka’ a news paper which was widely read, wrote: .

“We are glad to hear messers B. Puttaiya, B.A., and B. Srinivasa Iyengar, B.A., Sub Assistant superintendents of the Government Press, Bangalore, have passed the City and Guilds of London Institute examination in Typography in the first class with honours. It is particularly gratifying that Mr. Puttaiah heads the list of candidates for the United Kingdom and Colonys and has won the Institute’s Silver medal and an additional prize for being the best student taking a first class certificate. Mr. Puttaiah is the first Indian student who has achieved this distinction in typography, and we congratulate him on this brilliant success, and also Mysore Government and Mr. C.H. Yates, Superintendent of the Govt. Press, for the help and the encouragement they gave him for achieving this result and for bringing credit to India in general and Mysore state in particular.”



From 1923 to 1934 B. Puttaiah was the Head of The Mysore State Government Press. During his tenure, the press rose to a higher scale of success and won the accolades from the Dewan and other luminaries even from neighboring states, for printing the Dewan’s speeches, Reformation measures undertaken by Mysore Government, Works of Mysore University and calendars.

The ‘Daily Post’ Bangalore, dated 19.2.1926 wrote….. “We are glad to learn that the Committee of Judges appointed for selecting the prize winners in the Calendar competition instituted by Messers, John Kidd & Co. Printing Ink Manufacturers of London have awarded the first prize of Rs. 150 to the Mysore Government Art Calendar for 1926, printed at the Mysore Govt. Press, Bangalore.

Sir K.P. Puttanna chetty said that it was a credit to the Government press. Sir M Visvesvaraya wrote: ‘I feel I should send you a personal letter of thanks for the trouble and interest you took in printing the Report and Evidence of the Bangalore Disturbances Enquiry Committee. You are always ready to add your own, whenever you thought that they would improve the quality of the work.” Mysore Govt. Press received several such praises.

After his retirement from the Govt. Press, B. Puttaiah was roped in by Mokshagundam Ramachandra Rao to deliver a series of lectures on ‘Printing as a Career’ to unemployed youth in a big house at Shankarapuram. The talks were so popular that ‘British Printer’, a popular paper at that time, dedicated to printing technology, lauded the efforts of B. Puttaiah in sensitising the younger generation about the art of printing.

When Kannada Sahiya Parishat decided to have its own printing division, B. Puttaiah was invited to set up the press. He went to Madras to purchase the required material and started the printing press, Acchukuta.

B. Puttaiah also served many other institutions like Mythic Society, Bangalore International Fellowship, Mariyappa Hostel, Jail reformation committee, Beggar’s rehabilitation committee, Mysore University Senate, and a few other such centres. B. Puttaiah lived at his beautifully built house at the fifth main road junction Chamarajapet and Bull Temple Road. DVG, while remembering B. Puttaiah, writes that his house had a serene atmosphere and was an abode of knowledge. Now, the heritage structure has given way to a modern building.


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