Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Not Mumbai, this is Bengaluru!

Not Mumbai, this is Bengaluru!

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A liberal, cosmopolitan Bengaluru has managed to steer clear of regional chauvinism unlike India's commercial capital Mumbai. Though a few groups have attempted to raise the banner of regionalism, the welcoming nature of Kannadigas has prevented such issues from going out of hand, report Madhumitha B. and Amit S. Upadhye

Bengaluru may be the new Mumbai in making but thankfully it is not a hotbed of regionalism and does not see cries like Mumbai for Mumbaikars alone. Parties with regional chauvinism on their agendas have little backing in the city, which is quite the melting pot, welcoming people from different parts of the country to make it their home and prospering as a result of its liberal, open attitude.
The cosmopolitan nature of the city provides a bonding between different communities who have become Bengalureans in every sense of the word, no matter which part of the country they come from. Leaving the city is unimaginable for most.

The roots of this cultural synthesis go back many years and can be traced to the time when migrants arrived to build Bengaluru under Kempe Gowda.

"When Kempe Gowda decided to build Bengaluru he invited skilled workers in large numbers from different parts of country to assist him. While most workers came from Andhra Pradesh, merchants and weavers were brought from Rajasthan and other parts of north India," explains Arun Prasad, research head, Project Discover Bengaluru.

If during Kempe Gowda's regime it was the workers and merchants who arrived from different parts of the country to make Bengaluru their home, the many invasions during Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan's rule saw the soldiers of Chhatrapati Shivaji from Maharashtra arriving here never to return. They are the ancestors of the present day kashtriya Marathas found in many pockets of the city.

As the years passed, a large number of Tamil speaking people moved into the Cantonment during British rule. Also, the establishment of public sector companies like HAL and BHEL saw many skilled workers arriving from different parts of south India to Bengaluru, says Mr Prasad.

Environmentalist A.N.
Yellappa Reddy feels the very welcoming nature of Kannadigas has given the city its cosmopolitan complexion. "The real migration started when Tamil speaking people of the Tigala community were brought to Bengaluru for gardening," he says.

Arun Pai of Bangalore Walks points out that investment still drives people here. "When companies come here, people follow," he observes. The fact that there are no regional parties here unlike neighbours Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu speaks about its lack of regional chauvinism, say Bengalureans.


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