“Those who care should stop whis­per­ing,” says the­atre per­son Prakash Belawadi

India Today - - SIMPLY BANGALORE - The au­thor is a the­atre per­son­al­ity

Bor­row­ing from a vachana of 25th Cen­tury poet and so­cial re­former Basa­vanna, a pop­u­lar Kan­nada movie of the 1960s has this mes­sage: “Kaayakave kailaasa ke­li­ranna, dudde dod­dap­pa­nendu tili­yaranna,” ( Work is the way to heaven, brothers; and money is the big brother). When it comes to money and work, Kar­nataka must turn to Ban­ga­lore, which con­trib­utes to two thirds to the state’s trea­sury and, prac­ti­cally, nine of ten jobs in the new econ­omy. But nei­ther labour nor earn­ing is part of the creed of Kar­nataka’s politi­cians.

For a whole gen­er­a­tion now, ever since the coun­try opened up to the global econ­omy in 1991, en­trepreneurs in the state have worked hard to gen­er­ate jobs and cre­ate wealth in Ban­ga­lore. They have hunted down tal­ent from ev­ery­where in In­dia and trans­formed this balmy and mod­est small town into one of the emerg­ing big cities of the world, promis­ing in­no­va­tion as an prod­uct of a post- colo­nial me­trop­o­lis. But the car­pet bag­gers, who come here elected from ev­ery­where in the state, sim­ply camp for profit, bro­ker­ing deals in trade and com­merce and waf­fling on and on about farm­ers, back­wards, dal­its and mi­nori­ties.

So, what do they have to show? Ban­ga­lore is the only city in Kar­nataka with a pop­u­la­tion of more than one mil­lion peo­ple. Many of the con­stituen­cies they would pro­tect are now ren­dered to be among the most back­ward in the coun­try. Young men are leav­ing agri­cul­tural fields in their dull and de­stroyed vil­lages and mov­ing to Ban­ga­lore to work as cab driv­ers and se­cu­rity guards. Young women are boldly re­fus­ing to marry boys who wish to stay back in the vil­lages.

The carpetbaggers, how­ever, have be­come so rich that they can ri­val, if not sur­pass, the wealth and in­comes of the IT czars and land de­vel­op­ers of Ban­ga­lore. How do th­ese use­less politi­cians of sloth, slush and cun­ning con­tinue to win from the very ru­ral con­stituen­cies they have main­tained in such in­cred­i­ble poverty and slime? The an­swer, partly, is envy. They blame it all on Ban­ga­lore. In­deed, the un­do­ing of Ban­ga­lore is vir­tu­ally the tri­umph of the ru­ral over the ur­ban. Suc­ces­sive regimes have talked about pass­ing a new law for ur­ban gov­er­nance in the state As­sem­bly.

But, given the eco­nomic and so­cial set­ting of the rest of the state, an in­de­pen­dent ad­min­is­tra­tion in the city will mean that the Mayor of Ban­ga­lore will be­come more pow­er­ful than the chief min­is­ter of Kar­nataka. So, ev­ery CM keeps the cru­cial port­fo­lio of Ban­ga­lore city for him­self, mak­ing sure that noth­ing moves in it with­out his take on it.

Even this new Sid­dara­ma­iah gov­ern­ment al­ready looks jaded. Chief Min­is­ter Sid­dara­ma­iah has ex­pended all his re­serves of en­er­gies in an orgy of eco­nomic doles and vo­cal self- pity over his be­ing cheated of the big post in the past by for­mer Prime Min­is­ter HD Deve Gowda. He is now likely to shift into busi­ness- as- usual gear and Ban­ga­lore can head back to limbo. Should we look for op­tions to make Ban­ga­lore a Union Ter­ri­tory? Those who care should stop whis­per­ing. If they don't love, let them leave us.

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