Monday, June 2, 2014

Headache relief

Desodharaka Kasinadhuni Nageswara Rao Pantulu has made an appearance in this blog earlier, via the park bearing his name. His appearance on earth was a long time ago; he was born in 1867 and after his schooling in Machilipatnam, he moved to Madras for his higher studies. After completing his degree from the Madras Christian College, Nageswara Rao ventured into some kind of business. That was not very successful, because the next few years saw him in Calcutta and then in Bombay, where he was working in some office.

It was in Bombay that Nageswara Rao formulated a balm to relieve headaches. It is said that he worked as an apothecary while in Calcutta; maybe he did and the skill he acquired there helped him to both concoct the balm and to sell it to headache stricken sufferers. He named it after Amrit, the legendary nectar of immortality. Amrutanjan soon became the balm of choice in Bombay, but for some reason that I have not been able to figure out, Nageswara Rao brought the business to Madras. It may have been because of his growing association with the movement to create an Andhra state distinct from the Madras Presidency. Whatever the reason was, the production base of Amrutanjan moved near his home in Mylapore, on Luz Church Road.

The factory has remained there since; one can imagine the whiff of the balm being prepared wafting on the sea breeze down Luz Church Road. That pain balm continues to be the mainstay of Amrutanjan Healthcare Ltd, even though the company has branched off into other products. The gate in the picture leads to the head office of the firm; though the factory is also listed as being at this location, most of the production has moved to a new location outside the city. 

The Wikipedia page has it that Nageswara Rao started off distributing Amrutanjan free at music concerts. If that is true, it doesn't speak well of Bombay's concerts in the late 19th century, does it!

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