Monday, December 10, 2007

Burn Bangalore, Burn IT - says Dr CNR Rao

'If IT Is Going To Take Away Our Values, Burn Bangalore, Burn IT' :

If you read this spirited statement from Dr. CNR Rao, celebrated scientist and educationist, you would either completely agree with him or disagree with him. As a born and raised Bangalorean, I agree sadly to what he says in this piece, in spite of my having benefited from the IT Boom.

Bangalore is not what it was ten years ago; let's not even talk about the city twenty years ago. I undergo the ordeal of a three hour commute every day and it is quite often that I recall those days when I could have made the same trip in a public bus in half the time before.

Malleswaram is an area that has been close to my heart. Having spent north of ten years studying in the schools and colleges of that area, it still evokes warm nostalgic feelings in me. But unfortunately, Malleswaram has become that place "where fools rush in and angels fear to tread". Gone are those lazy afternoon strolls and quite empty streets that were the norm even fifteen years ago. Not one road is spared from the angry honk of a driver that wants to get someplace. Old palatial homes have made way to high rises. Culture is dying a slow death and consumerism has already raised its ugly head. Can we not see a happy balance?

Kannada is already gone. If you speak in Kannada, you are seen either as a hero (as no other dared to speak in Kannada) or as a loser local. I make it a point to talk in Kannada everywhere. English (a pretty bad strain of it, to add) is heard almost everywhere. Che, hEgiddiddu hEgAgide!

The other important point that he brings up as a scientist is the lure of the IT profession. Several intelligent children are all starry eyed when it comes to the mention of a "Software Engineer". I did an informal survey once ; I asked a bunch of children what they wanted to be when they grew up. Barring a couple, the answer was frighteningly uniform - "Software Engineer". My only grouse is that they don't want to be software engineers for love of the profession but they crave to be so for the sheer love of lucre. As a result, what could have been a great brain theorizing and experimenting on the difficult problems of basic science, becomes ready to be a code jockey. I am really really sorry to use this phrase as I am belittling a fantastic job profile - there is tremendous joy in coding. But the love for anything but money is gone. If the IT profession takes some kind of a correction where salaries come closer to the ground, I wonder if all these kids would be as eager then.

It is because of this that whenever I hear a child say that he/she wants to be a teacher/lawyer/scientist/pilot/policeman (anything other than SW engineer), I grin from side to side and heartily congratulate the child and his/her parents.

Will a return to basics solve Bangalore's woes?


Aram said...

Thanks a lot, Nilagriva. The topics you pick are certainly thought-provoking.

"Will a return to basics solve Bangalore's woes?" is indeed the key question and I just wonder whether the great Prof. CNR Rao, with his infinite wisdom and vision could answer this correctly.

I recall the story of another great scientist, Newton and his two cats which proves that even great scientists with great "uncommon" sense and far superior intelligence are sometimes unable to see the obvious.

I certainly do not believe burning IT and eliminating "it" will even reduce the problem to any degree at all, leave alone solving it.

The problem is definitely NOT IT, but our system of governance and the complete lack of vision and moral values in the people who govern us - both the Babus and the MLAs and ministers. Surely, you are quite well aware that not even a pan shop, leave alone an average IT company, can open shop without approval of the authorities.

Infosys and WIPRO set up their campuses in Bangalore more than a quarter century back and are pride of the nation.

If even after 25 years, the Bangalore administration cannot improve things, the only conclusion to be drawn is that the authorities are bankrupt in morals and are impotent about doing anything worthwhile.

I have a small question for Prof. Rao:- Assuming that all IT companies close shop and migrate to greener pastures/States, how will the Karnataka State cope?

Its revenues will fall by more than 50% and there might not be money even to pay the Government employees, leave alone the pay and perks of the Ministry? Will the great IISc and Prof. Rao invent something to generate revenue, other than by designing a note-printing machine?

(P.S.:- please have a look at

if you haven't done it before - a bunch of techies worrying about how to improve Bangalore.)

~rAGU said...

I had many other things to add. I was rather angry.


Aram said...

There are 2-3 articles in

Worth reading.

Keshav Kulkarni said...

ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಕನ್ನಡವಿಲ್ಲ ಎಂದು ಇಂಗ್ಲೀಷಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಬ್ಲಾಗಿಸುವ ನಿಮ್ಮಲ್ಲೇ ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಕನ್ನಡ ಮರೆಯಾಗುತ್ತಿರುವುದಕ್ಕೆ ಉತ್ತರವಿದೆ ಎಂದು ನಿಮಗೆ ಅನಿಸುವುದಿಲ್ಲವೇ?
- ಕೇಶವ

nIlagrIva said...

Thanks for the comments.

My angst is not for IT per se put towards the inevitable lure of lucre that causes even the more intelligent people to lose focus on the basic issues.

The original article to which I reacted was in English. adakke pratikriye kUDa iMgLIshinallirabEku eMbudu nimage samaMjasavAgi kANalillavE? nAnu AvaraNada bagge kUDa iMglIShinallE barede. Eke? nannalli kannaDada bagge abhimAnAvillaveMdalla. kannaDEtararige kannaDigara kaShTa-naShTagaLa bagge tiLiyali eMdu mAtra. beMgaLUrinalli Eke kannaDa kaDimeyAguttide eMbudara bagge nanna baravaNigeya rItiyalli nimage uttara siguvudilla. uttara sikkide eMdukoMDare adu nimma abhiprAya mAtra.

Keshav Kulkarni said...

Dear Nilagriva,

I reacted in Kannada because I know you are Kannadiga, I do not think any harm in it.
After reading your reply, I must clarify that I misunderstood your intentions of the article. I am really sorry for my comments. Indeed I really appreciate your blog work.


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