Has the IT boom quelled Bangalore’s tensions?

A City whose population doubled from 30 lakhs to 60 lakhs between 1981 and 2004. A City which attracted five MNCs a month between 1995 and 2005 (which should peg their overall figure at least 600). A City which contributes 34% of India’s $50 billion outsourcing revenue.

A City a third of whose population lives below the poverty line; nearly 15 lakh in slums. A City only a third of whose garbage is collected. A City which has lost 70 per cent of its trees since 1990. A City where more than half the population is from abroad or other parts of India….

Not fanciful numbers from Upendra‘s “Super, but cold statistics being bandied about India’s most “globalised” City—and, therefore, India’s most vulnerable City should there be a recession—Bangalore, by global consulting firm$, expat academic$, NGO$ and thinktank$.

Quoting a recent American paper, Rupa Subramanya Dehejia reported in the Wall Street Journal recently that a 1%  rise in India’s GDP quelled the chances of communal riots by 5%. Writing in Lounge, the Saturday supplement of the business daily Mint, Samar Halarnkar makes a similar point about Bangalore:

“A transformation so rapid, from small town to global metropolis, is obviously not easy on those who see change but are not a part of it. So, the 1990s saw the most visible, violent protests against change. This was the decade when farmers and Kannada chauvinists ransacked the first outlet of Kentucky Fried Chicken, picketed multinationals Cargill Seeds and Monsanto, and protested the Ms Universe contest.

“As the economy swelled to embrace more people, such protests quickly faded, as did Bangalore’s once-regular riots and confrontations—between Hindu and Muslim, Tamilians and Kannadigas, between congregations of various languages in Christian churches.”

Link via Sahridaya Shobhi

Read the full article: Urban change

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

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