The Golden Era
The cyanide dumps still glitter when the sun rays fall and the view of the mines atop a hill is a sight to behold.
KGF in Kolar which sits on the fringes of Bangalore city has a golden history which the older generations talk about with a lot of pride while the young wish for the gold mines to reopen which have been shut since 2001. People had forgotten about this place and while the Kannada movie KGF isn’t a reflection of the history of the place it certainly got a lot of us curious to dig for the real story.
During the British rule when the mines were open, the people of KGF enjoyed a lot of benefits. Their lifestyle has deteriorated considerably since the mines shut, as it was their main source of income. “Despite the fact that going down the mines was dangerous sometimes a death wish; which if one survived got to comeback with wealth. We had a sense of pride with what we did” - said a miner. Today a lot of them work as security guards, construction workers and more for which most of them travel to Bangalore using the urban trains. They leave as early as 5:00 AM and return late in the night; there is no joy in what they do. “A lot of people are still seen collecting the sand in sieves when it rains, and filter it hoping to find some gold” - said Selvaraj a miner. They have been deprived of medical facilities as the BGML hospital run by the British was shut soon after, leaving the now ex-miners struggle with Silicosis.
One side of the town sees a lot of struggle to make ends meet, A drive through the bylanes and visit to the bungalows on the other side of this town gives you the glimpse of the colonial era.