Bengaluru – old bottle old wine new nasha

Bangalore’s been renamed, to all kinds of reactions.

Enough said, done and opined on. Just that given the context of current governance, apathy, regressive attitudes in the corridors of the Vidhana Soudha, one is tempted to think that D.Singh and his ilk have firmly established a strong connection between the aforesaid negatives and vernacular. This is not dissimilar to the automatic and unfortunate connection one makes between ‘Bihar’ and ‘backward/casteist/criminal’ or ‘Kerala’ and ‘inefficient/strike/anti-entrepreneur’.

By itself, its a sweet name. Useful/necessary ? No way. Was in common usage anyhow – more as an endearment used by long term Bangaloreans (ALL, not just the Kannadigas). Now, as with with most things forced down the gullet, there’s a monster in the frame and the word’s innocence is lost.

Unfortunately, ‘culture’ is so often extremely narrowly defined in the symbols (even events are more tradition than culture) rather than an ethos or a set of core collective values (wearing/not wearing jeans cannot be a value, for God’s sake). In fact, this itself is a strong (negative) change to Karnataka’s culture – which has always seemed assimilating, warm, friendly and multi-ethnic to me in the past. Of course, this is more a political statement than a cultural change – but the absolute lack of voices against a change (a certain percentage would be a natural occurrence) amongst the local glitterati suggests that they’re as fearful of a minority-driven backlash as their TN counterparts. Thats definitely unhealthy for what aspires to be a cosmopolitan city (and that is a good aspiration).


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