Early Years

BPR was born on 30th April, 1918 at Bangalore as the third son of Shri Bangalore Puttaiah, a well known public figure of Bangalore and the erstwhile princely State of Mysore. Shri Puttaiah, who was himself a graduate in geology, was an expert in printing technology (with his training in UK) and rose to occupy the position of the Superintendent of the Government Printing Press of the Mysore State. Shri Puttaiah was associated with several progressive public institutions and causes like the Civic and Social Progress Association, the Kannada Sahitya Parishad, the  Mythic Society, the Nonentities Club (NC), the  Brahmosamaj and  the  Ramakrishna  Mission in addition to being the founder of the Vokkaligara Sangha along with his close associate Shri K.H. Ramaiah. It is no  accident that BPR  imbibed at an  early age several  qualities in the aesthetics  and art of printing and publishing from his father that would stand him in good stead later in his life, as he set about developing the Journal and other  publications of the  Geological Society of India.

Many outside Karnataka may not be aware that  BPR’s biographical  account of his  father in  Kannada, entitled Nanna Thande (My Father) is rated as a masterpiece in Kannada literature in the genre of biographical narratives. This account of his  father is interwoven with great finesse with the social and cultural history of the period. BPR’s sympathies with the suppressed and backward sections of our society and his ardent desire that all our scientific work and activities should in the ultimate analysis be of some  help in the  social and material  uplift of the rural poor  of this country,  were ideals he acquired early from the life and activities of his father. Shri Puttaiah, was one of the harbingers of modernity in his home State of Mysore, and understandably left an indelible impact on the young Radhakrishna in many ways. Reminiscing about the father-son relationships of that period, BPR would often  recollect  with a tinge of  sadness that he  rarely communicated directly with his father as a result of a mistakenly forbidden custom in a large patriarchal family.

Dr. Radhakrishna had his schooling at Fort High School, not very far from his Chamarajpet residence. He was a favourite student, particularly of his Kannada teachers, reflecting his early interest in Kannada language and literature. Radhakrishna obtained his B.Sc. (Hons) degree in the year 1937 securing a first class and a Gold Medal.