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Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life is when dreams are surrendered to reality.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Bangalore and Bangalooru...

This was written by Nikhil N R (who incidentally is my brother) in response to an article stating why the name Bangalore shouldn't be changed to Bengalooru as it would affect our perception in the western world. A couple of paragraphs have been added by me to illustrate why we are debating on a non-issue

What is in a name? Bangalore or Bangalooru, its all the same. I do not think that a change in name is going to affect the way businesses run or the way people live. You and I, will be going to our offices, like we always used to, eat, drink and enjoy as we used to. Now is it that Bangalooru is less fashionable or for that matter less westernized that it affects us from being what we are. Bangalore has been popular for its cosmopolitan lifestyle. But I dont see why Bangalooru will change this.

Or, to the other side of it, is Bangalooru going to save the city, bring us more business, have better roads than Bangalore, have something basic like drinking water for the less fortunate, education for the less privileged? Is it the mantra for Utopia?

Bottom line, whatever name you call it, you belong to the same place and change only depends on our deeds as Citizens of the city and not on the name.

The state government is the elected representative of the people of the state. They, represent you and the remaining six million. OK, numerically if we look at it, we may say that the government represents the views of only 22% of the denizens of Bangalore.* The government that is installed is the peoples choice but at 51% polling we are looking at only half the population. Though, no statistical evidence is available, I have observed that the people who throw brick bats at the government are those who may not have voted at all.

Now, 51% of the population took it upon themselves and felt the need to participate proactively for choosing their policy makers for the next five years using the constitutional authority entrusted to them. You and I, may or may not be there in the 51% block. But my individual voice cannot be considered as the voice of the citizens. The voice of the Citizens is what comes out from the government elected by the Citizens.

Having spent most of my childhood in Bangalore, I never considered myself as a Bangalorean. When I left Bangalore, I had fond memories of the place I was born, and was always proud to have been from Bangalore. However, as time flew by and as I gathered worldly wisdom; I began to be critical about Bangalore. I wouldnt be worried about the 1000 flyovers not crisscrossing Bangalore's airspace or the Moorthys or Premjis fleeing the city in the name of infrastructure. If not here, somewhere, they will make money and contribute to the GDP of our country, which is good enough. I would rather be worried about the people who are being sidelined.

Yes, it can be argued that renaming cities and towns by our elected representatives is more political in nature. Re-naming Bombay to Mumbai, or Madras to Chennai has not added or diminished the value that these particular cities had. Old timers may still refer to these cities by their old names, but businesses continue..life goes on.

We, of the Information Technology age, will hardly raise our voice either way, because for us it hardly matters. We are not socially deprived of our basic needs. We have our shopping malls and multiplexes, our McDonalds and KFC's. We complain of bad road conditions and government's inaction. We blame our elected representatives - though it hardly matter that we didnt cast our ballots when we had a chance to - for corruption at all levels. Yet, do we as individuals do anything about it. We raise our voice in protest against the atrocities committed in the name of upholding our cultural values, but we do not fail to pander to anything that is western. We have subconciously started believeing in the 'American Dream'. So we find the upwardly mobile, elite who have fallen for the 'India Shining' campaign looking at non-issues, seeking out their 15 minutes. For them re-naming a city is the biggest problem facing India. Not for them issues like poverty, infant mortality, and lack of basic provisions like drinking water, clothing and shelter for over 40 percent of the country's population.

In conclusion, a true Bangalorean should not be too worried about the name by which his town is being called. He should be worried about what the officials would be able to do for the less privileged who have been side lined in the past 10 years or so. I rather suggest that we should unite to address the issue of Human Development, of schooling for our children, of clean drinking water for everyone, of medical attention for the poor and for the 100 reasons for which we are called social beings. So let's join our hands and raise our voice for the people of Bangalore than for a non-issue.

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