Is this the only way to 'grow'?

Sir Ken Robinson argues in his book titled 'The Element' that it is difficult to identify the things which we take for granted. This is because they 'become basic assumptions that we don't question, part of the fabric of our logic. We don't question them because we see them as fundamental, as an integral part of our lives.'

Throughout my 10+ years of stay in Bengaluru, I could never take it for granted that the way the city is 'growing' is the only way possible. I could never take for granted the dust, the filth, the commotion, the pollution, the confusion. In a word, I could never take it for granted that Bengaluru has to go through a stage of being hell on its growth path.

Of course, whether I take it for granted or not does not matter much, because millions more do. Perhaps hundreds of millions more do. But I cannot keep my thought to myself, so if you will kindly let me speak it.

I don't mean to slight the efforts to cut the above problems that well-minded people are undertaking today. But none of those efforts go to the depth of the problem, which is the model of growth that Bengaluru seems to be cursed with, and that we seem to take for granted.

Bengaluru's growth is not organic. Very few of Bengaluru's growth stories are authored by the 'sons of the soil' (if you can pardon the cliche) i.e., Kannadigas. Kannadigas are at best the pawns in a game of chess played in a cesspool. By and large, they are the ones to whom things are done; they aren't the doers. They are not the Subjects, they are the Objects.

This was not always the case. Only with the accession of the Princely State of Mysore to India, followed by unchecked and mindless migration from other states (esp. from the north) and the conversion of humans into robots did this hell come to be.

This conversion into robots has eroded Indians' sense of what a good life is - so badly that most educated Indians fail to recognize that they are living in hell, with all its fumes and deadly diseases of both mind and body. This has become the normal way of living, and things only get worse when rich and famous Indians raise their car windows and login to their laptops while the driver manoevers through hell.

If Bengaluru needs to improve, it must return to organic growth based on what the 'sons of the soil' can do, will do, and at their own pace. When outsiders 'grow' a city, they don't tread softly on the dreams of the natives which are spread beneath their feet. This has resulted in massacres elsewhere in the world, but in India, these cities have turned into living hells.

This, as far as I can see, can be prevented only by stressing on organic growth, controlled migration, and by discarding the idea that cities are basically real estate. No, cities are living things with living people, and their development cannot and must not be understood as real estate development.

Life has to blossom from within India's cities. It can't be imported, and it can't be done quickly. Only death can be imported that way, and Bengaluru is proof for this. Only the organic model can help other 'growing' cities avoid replicating hells all over India.

The question is, are we - the educated people of India - ready to question what we are taking for granted? If not, are we really educated, or are we just in a state of paralysis of mind?

(pic: acralive.org)

1 comment:

Jai Veerupaksha said...

The physical(materialistic) growth that is happening in BengaLuru and a few other Indian cities is at the expense of quality of living ( a mental state of well being) and at the expense of the very spirit and the soul of the place.
No habbas or planting of a few trees here and there will be able to reverse the irreversible damage of converting BengaLuru to another piece of real estate.
The agony of this pain is the most when you see how Europe's various cities have been able to successfully globalise without losing the essence of their identity.
What is it that is missing in our DNA that we cannot think beyond quick fixes and short terms hedonistic pleasures?

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