10 December 2007

Burn IT Burn Bengalooru

Burn IT Burn Bengalooru said CNR Rao, a world renowned chemist from Bengalooru. He is shocked that IT has created intellectual grabage. "A coffee and a masala dosa in Vidyarthi Bhavan" kept him and Bengaloorians happy. Look who is talking - a real Bangalorian.

I respect CNR Rao. I respect all the scientists and research assistants working there toiling to make break through. Many of us in IT industry do. We infact feel guilty that we could ot contribute, but that is compulsion. When my friend, a PhD student in physics dropped out and joined IT, I was shocked as well. Before we talk about this brain drain to IT, let us talk about Bengaloorians.

Most of the real Bengaloorians do not know fluent Kannada. A survey indicated that around 90% [as read in a newspaper survey in 1998, on my first visit to Bengalooru] either can not read write or speak in Kannada. So much for the real Bengaloorians whose scholarship we are to respect. Can somebody name a real Bengaloorian Kannada poet? Why should rest of the state care for such Bengalooru? Being the capital of the state, Bengalooru does not care about the heritage of the mother language, which even the Greeks felt comfortable using in their dramas[1], why should rest of the people in Karnataka respect Bengaloor's heritage? These same Bengalooru's kids use the word "Yak" to refer to kids from villages and slums. CNR Rao says there was more music in Bengalooru before. I do not think so. Cultural programmes have increased over the years. It depends on which you choose to concentrate: Bengalooru Habba that let us hear amazing classical music or the pop ones in palace grounds. All these real Bengaloorians are the people whoes parents or grandparents migrated mostly from villages in Karnataka, Andhra and Tamil Nadu. The children of these migrants are real Bengaloorians and recent migrants are fake Bengaloorians?

"A coffee and a masala dosa in Vidyarthi Bhavan"? There are people out there who do not have enough money to pay the bills of Vidhyarthi Bhavan. Should we stop at respecting scholarship and intellect of real Bengaloorians or do something to those starving kids. Now we have these real Bengaloorians Barking when the starving have started to make fortunes. They have to because they too wanted to eat masala dosa in Vidyarthi Bhavan.

IT companies pay taxes. Every IT guy pays about 30% of his earning. Why are real Bengaloorians not cautious about civic responsibilities? Why should the roads be built asks CNR Rao. May be because 20 billion$ export business also pays taxes to get services from the government.

Brain drain to profitable business is a universal problem. Such problems need to be addressed at different levels and CNR Rao`s comments are welcome as it will initiate a debate and put the process in motion. Even the Software Engineers have this problem. When I worked for a Bengalooru based firm my manager commented, "call centres are paying such huge salaries how are we to keep our business going?". Service sector in engineering draws more people as it pays more. Firms in intellectual property based business and high technology business have problem retaining smart engineers. There is nothing new here. What is new is Bengalooru’s exposure to such problems. It is true that the problem is acute.

However if people who shout are those could not score well in competitive exams, and/or those who could not get into engineering, or those missed the train by being ignorant, this is no more than garbage. I would appreciate if they suggest a solution that is more sensible than burning IT or Bengalooru.

Are real Bengaloorians claiming that there was no slum in Bengalooru when there was no IT boom? What did they do about it? Was that not part of the heritage of Bengalooru? Those who talk of peace and serenity should also speak for all the classes. Elitism comes easily. Social conservatism comes from the elite who could afford good education and those who could enjoy the serenity. What about those who could not pay fees to enter institutes like IISc? Are such institutes open to scholarship? NO. IISc displays a board at the entrance "Trespassers will be prosecuted". So much for the premier science institute in India. I will give my own example here. Those who talk about sholorship do not care about science. I wrote an article in 1999: "Paradoxes in Special Theory of relativity" (Resonance - Indian Academy of Sciences). I was in second year engineering then; a 19 year old in a remote engineering college was trying to do some work reading journals and books, in the college library . It received a 3 line review comment. Is it not the responsibility of the people who talk about science and scholarship to give an encouraging and critical review that will help improve writing? Elite of Bengalooru care about their status. They do not care about scholarship. It is from these butts that we see fuming gasses coming out. The elite of Bengalooru neither understand nor willing to think about the hardship that people in other part of the state face. For example, because of all administrative headquarters in Bengalooru a person from Belagaavi (Belgaum) has to travel 600 odd kms to get a work done? Are these elite who are worried about the heritage aware how much money these poor people have to shell out to keep the "heritage" of Bengalooru intact?

I am for taxing people like me to fund research in basic science. That will help pay good remunerations to competent scientists. I do not mind loosing 5% of my salary for such a cause. May be 5% more cess on NRIs.

By the way, I am not going to Vidhyarthi Bhavan next time I go to Bengalooru. It is costly and suppliers do not even look at you. I am happy eating Chitranna at those road side camps and a glass of kabbina haalu.


[1] Dr. Hultzsch, E. (1904), "Remarks on a papyrus from Oxyrhynchus", Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1904: 399-405.


  1. Come on Ragu you can’t stay away from this discussion----this is not fight an argument based on your understanding of the issue.
    You are important in this discussion as you are from IT (representative)
    You have put forth your personal perspectives--- I accept that there is lot of benefit from IT industry to state through taxes and export, having said that I would strongly condemn the act of IT bigwigs shouting (Barking) at state machinery for there share of taxed money.
    Come on we are democratic country – government is run for the benefit of all sectors of society, just because you are paying more taxes you can’t ask for your money—what is the fate of agricultural farmer who is exempted form tax don’t you want the tax payers money spent on farmers….. If you say no we are not capitalist country--- DEMOCRETIC!—sacrifices are made by all taxpaying sectors not only IT.
    How could theses big wigs become world know billionaires from Bangalore wasn’t there enough civic amenities in Bangalore---- They have earned lot --- If you want phenomenal growth help your self, why the hell do you (IT big wigs) shout at State machinery which is running whole state not just Bangalore. I mean why don’t you have your own satellite cities with good roads and bettor accommodations for your employees.
    Having said that coming to Ragus issue based remarks—let me come from the issue which I have personally experienced
    I have been to vidyarthi bhavan when there was no IT BOOM, Ragu then it was not costly as cheep as your road side dasa camps. But now people go to roti ghar--- patha nahi kaha se agaya he? Just next to Vidyarthi bhavan---- I have been there also—it is too costly but even now Vidyarthi bhaven is cheaper than this. You have strongly said that Real (You ment reel by saying migrated people) are barking at starving kids making fortune. Who are starving kids here Narayana murthy , Premji ? nope.. These people bark at state machinery and threaten us leaving in soup--- we were good with out there money and we are good with there money. They should feel the benefit they have got from Bangalore and intellectuals from state.
    Heritage is lost to the extent that you substantiate with the modernization – you need to demarcate the extent of cultural sacrifice you do for modernization –As you see cultural sacrifice is too fast in Bangalore, which is partly because of IT.
    Coming to your remarks on IISc, which, doesn’t fit to this discussion forum. As you know I was there in IISc. Every professor gets hundreds of such letters from through out India. They are so much committed to research and they have so much of knowledge resources to refresh on it is very difficult getting time for such letters—but they do go through and may not respond, if that is not extraordinary. Even to write a line of comment on any essay or letter he needs to go thorough it thoroughly. I know little bit because I too have written some bullshit letters to professors and publishers, off late I have realized there significance nothing but zero. Having said that I do accept that students from all over India should be given opportunity to understand what is being done at IISc. For that we need to have some window to show what is being done and there research culture. Merely taking out the board which says tress passers will be prosecuted will not help, which is there for security purpose—I don’t know why one should be offended with that.

    I would join my voice with Professor CNR Rao to say “Burn IT Burn Modern Bangalore”if these IT big wigs are barking at sate machinery.
    I have lot to say lot about heritage—It would be good we come up with list of all aspects heritage. We shall discuss that.

    MaNju AM

  2. Are you telling that there should be more holes on Bengalooru roads? Or is it that bad roads are good for farmers? They do have their towns with good roads. YES Narayana Murthy was a starving kid. His father could not pay IIT fees. We are talking about IT not about businessmen. There are Yella ok cool drinks yaake people in Bengalooru.
    This was a reply to your reply. I am not interested in discussing this with anybody.

  3. something different. i enjoyed the articles. keep it up.


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