Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXVII No. 1, April 16-30, 2017
One of Madras’s first department stores, Oakes & Co., founded in 1843 had its main shop, Exchange Hall, on Popham’s Broadway, now Prakasam Salai. Oakes also owned, in neighbouring premises, Beehive Foundry, a name that survives to this day as part of India Commerce & Industries Co. P. Ltd., a business started by Kowtha Suryanarayana Rao in 1907. Suryanarayana’s will is a fascinating document about the devolution of the Oakes & Co. property where Beehive Foundry still remains in business.
1. Kowtha Suryanarayana Rao, son of Subbaryudu garu residing at 95, Broadway, Madras declares this to be my last will and TESTAMENT which I make this Eleventh day of August 1960 in my 84th year in good health and of free will.
2. Nothing in this will is intended to revoke or in any wise affect the Will I had previously made providing life-time maintenance and residence (1) to my eldest daughter Nagaraja Lakshmamma which shall therefore continue in force.
3. I most humbly make this will treading the Vedic path in silent reverie of thought of Bhagawan Sri Krishna, the ultimate Reality, the Lord of the Universe, who is all Love and Beauty and Truth, Goodness and Joy forever, who has been in all activities of my life my Sole Guide, Friend, Philosopher and Preceptor, whose Identity I have realised in my spiritual quest of Truth and whose teachings in the following lines in the Blessed Gita have influenced and -permeated my daily life in this material plane
“Janma Karma cha me divya
mevam yo vetti tatwataha
Thyaktwa deham punarjanma
Naiti nameti sorjuna”
Chapter 4 – Sloka 9
Idam Gnana mupasritya
mama sadharmya magathah
Chapter 14 – Sloka 2
“gunebhyascha param vetti
Chapter 14 – Sloka 19
“Gunanetha nathitya thrin
Janma mrityujara dukhai
rvimukto mrita masnuti
Chapter 14 – Sloka 20
I have a life reading of mine from 3000 years old Dhruvanadi of Satyacharya which gives a glimpse of the realisation by me of the Truth in this birth. There are too the letters to me from late Sri Valiveti Bhaskara Lakshminarasimha Sastri Garu, Advocate -Philosopher my father-in-law and my terrestrial garu giving me daily lessons from the Gita, letters which in the course of my interview with Mahatma Gandhi in the Yarravada Jail I read out and were greatly appreciated by him. I have maintained diaries from 1889 to this day which give an account of my spiritual and occult experiences.
4. My beginnings were humble. I started life as a school teacher and within a few months left it to enter business as my life occupation with a capital of Rs. 40 saved by me from my earnings as teacher. Through the grace of Bhagawan Sri Krishna the business flourished and all the Wealth I earned and accumulated from my business of half a century I have held and possessed only as belonging to Bhagawan Sri Krishna to be disposed of as guided by Him.
5. The business concern I started and nourished with care and caution with the loyal and brotherly co-operation of my friend and partner Sri C. Audikesavalu Chettiar for nearly 50 years, is the industrial organisation called The Indian Commerce and Industries Co., (Private) Ltd., Madras which has attained countrywide reputation.
6. Parallel to the above industrial concern, I founded in 1930 a religious and charitable association incorporated in the name and style of the Swadharma Swaarajya Sangh (Orthodox National League) Ltd., under the Indian Companies Act of 1913 for the revival of the declining spiritual and cultural values of Bharateeya life, dharma and religion. The Sangha is a non-dividend declaring private company and has been recently registered under Section 25 of the Companies Act 1956.
7. I own bulk of the shares in both the Indian Commerce and Industries Co., Private Ltd., and the Swadharma Swaarajya Sangha (Orthodox National League) Ltd., Being my own creations I am justly proud of them and in turn they have served as the testing ground of the great principles of right conduct I set before myself. I cherish these institutions as part of my being.
8. From my acquisitions I had already settled some properties on my son Mohanarma Sastri and son’s son Lalitha Manohar and daughter’s son Bulusy Venkata Surya Subramanya by deeds of gift and settlement and discharged my obligations to them as my dependents. I desire to make it known that in making such settlements of property on them, I was influenced by the confidence that my said son and grandsons will respect my sentiments and remain loyal to the two great institutions The Indian Commerce and Industries Co., Private Ltd., and the Swadharma Swaarajya Sangha (Orthodox National League) Ltd., and serve them best in all ways conducive to their continuity and usefulness to the mother country the great Bharatvarsha.
9. From my other acquisitions I have already placed at the feet of Bhagawan Sri Krishna movable and immovable assets of the value of Rs. 20 Lacs donating the same from time to time to the Swadharma Swaarajya Sangha (Orthodox National League) Ltd., for the promotion and propagation of the objects and ideals of the Sangha as narrated in its Memorandum of Association.
10. As a further humble act of my life in this world I now bequeath by this instrument, as an additional donation, to my beloved Swadharma Swaarajya Sangha (Orthodox National League) Ltd., the following properties all of the value of about Eight Lacs, the balance of the bounty to me from Bhagawan Sri Krishna namely
i. House properties: (1) Beehive Buildings bearing Door No. 95, Broadway, Madras together with all the furniture, vessels, iron safe, almirahs and whatsoever contained therein and (2) 40, Broadway, Madras known as Luck Buildings.
ii. One gold plate or tray
One gold cup and saucer
One gold spoon
One gold Doppa
One gold rudrakshamala
All about 20 sovereigns in weight
All silver ware of plates, vessels and tumblers used for Devi Puja.
One iron box in which all the above are kept for safety secured in the house Lalitha Nivas at Vijayavada and all my cooking brass vessels and other belongings in 95, Broadway, Madras.
All the above being used for the religious functions of Swadharma Swaarajya Sangha (Orthodox National League) Ltd.
iii. My Bank balances.
iv. Government Loan Security bonds.
v. All shares held by me in the Indian Commerce and Industries Co., Private Ltd., Madras and Kowtha Business Syndicate (K.B.S.) Private Limited, Vijayavada and all dividends due and remaining unpaid.
vi. My life insurances annuity moneys.
vii. and all other moneys due to me from any source or sources whatsoever. This instrument shall come into effect after my life-time…