KGF: Chapter 2 struck gold at the box office worldwide! The Yash starrer movie continues its stellar performance at the box office into its third week. The story of the emancipation of the oppressed and exploited mineworkers at a gold mine has captivated moviegoers.
But not everyone knows the real story of Kolar Gold Fields or KGF, situated in the Southeast region of present-day Karnataka. There are some parallels between the real story and the fictional film.
As per a report in DNA, excavation at KGF began at least 121 years back. In an article, Lieutenant John Warren of the British Government chronicles the history of KGF after Tipu Sultan was killed by the British in 1799. British kept the right of surveying the land to themselves and handed the rest of the responsibility over to the princely state of Mysore.
Warren wrote that people found gold in KGF during the Chole rule. People extracted gold by digging by hand.
Allured by the profits he could make, Warren hired some villagers to dig for gold. However, he was unsuccessful. The extraction plan was shelved.
In 1871, Michael Fitzgerald Levally, a British soldier who came to India from New Zealand and made his home in Bangalore, read Warren’s four-page article on KGF. Fascinated by the prospects, he decided to resume the excavation. In 1873, Levally obtained permission for excavation from the Maharaja of Mysore.
Interestingly, the excavation that began in1875 also made KGF the first region to have active electricity. According to media reports, light from lanterns and torches used was not enough for mining operations. So, Levally arranged for an electricity supply. India’s first power-generation units were built in 1889 to support mining operations at KGF.
Levally’s efforts were fruitful. He had struck gold in KGF. In 1902, the mine employed about 30,000 workers. So far, 900 tonnes of gold has been extracted from the mine here.
Despite gold still being present, the mine closed on 28 February 2001 due to a fall in gold prices. The mine complex also hosted some particle physics experiments between the 1960s and 1992.