If the estate was Rupees, it was still a good deal of money in 1921in India.......I have
my grandfather's cheque book from 1918, the stubbs of which show that you could buy a
new Morris Minor for Rs. 4,000,a wild luxury at a time when very few people here had
cars.You could have 2 boys at a top boarding school in Bangalore for Rs. 43 - 8 annas per
term..!! My maternal grandfather bought a 3 bed bungalow in 1932 in a posh-ish part of
town for Rs.7,500....so in 1921 your grandfather would seem to have been pretty well-off.
Hope this is helpful in getting an angle on it.
With regard to Peter Rodgers' comments on servants, my mother's hosehold accounts
in 1958 show a Bearer (butler / major-domo) at Rs. 65 per month, Cook at Rs.45 p.m.,
Cook's help at Rs. 20 p.m.,a Mali at Rs. 25 p.m. and a Sweeper ( who cleaned the
bathrooms) at Rs. 15. Bearer and Cook got accomodation and food for all the family. Our
house rent was Rs. 400 a month for a 3-bed bungalow in the centre of town........now a
part-time cook, (from 10 to 2) costs Rs 1,500 a month. But after years in London, when a
great treat was a ready-to-eat Korma from Marks & Spencers , I'm not complaining,
unlike most Bangaloreans who moan constantly about servants and never think how lucky they
are. Servants were always cheaper in South India, I know not why, but it looks like wages
never went up much in 30 years, poor things.
Living in India is still comparatively cheap and a young IT professional on Rs. 50,000
-70,000 is considered well-off, and can enjoy a good standard of living....there's not
much we can't get here these days and old Bangaloreans would be amazed at our New York
- style bars and restaurants.....an expensive meal at a 5star hotel is about Rs. 500 a
With reference to the Raj, Charles Allen in his book "Raj: A Scrapbook of British
India 1877-1947", says "The Mutiny marked the beginnings of modern India. On 1
November 1858.........the Raj rose from the ashes of John Company" (the familiar name
of the British East India Company). He later refers to the Raj 'coming of age' on
1 January 1877, the first Delhi Durbar, at which Queen Victoria was proclaimed
Queen-Empress of India, hence his choice of dates.
Patrick Wilson. Bangalore.