CHURUMURI POLL: Bangalore, best city to live in?

One man’s paayasa is another’s poison. While Bangaloreans, especially the lucky “locals” living in the holy triangle of Malleshwaram, Basavanagudi and Indiranagar, crib and complain at what has become to their once-beautiful City, a new survey has, pinch yourself, rated the city of baked beans as the “best Indian city to live in“.

(It’s another matter, of course, that it is also the best city to take your life in, according to another recent survey.)

Anyway, the Mercer survey that ranks Bangalore as the “best city to live in” in India tells us nothing that most newspaper-reading, television-watching Indians didn’t know. What it tells us in a roundabout sort of way is how pathetic our big cities truly are or are becoming, and how bogus the exultation about Bangalore being No. 1 is.

Because, while Bangalore is certainly ahead of Delhi, Bombay, Madras and Calcutta among the Indian cities, it is way below most global cities. On a ranking of 221 cities, Bangalore it is at 141. In other words, there are at least 140 cities better than Bangalore, which (if you believe surveys like these, which incidentally has been done by a consulting and outsourcing firm) should convey to us how low living standards are in India that is Bharat.

Sure, there is plenty going for Bangalore: nice weather, peaceful, good food, friendly people, and a certain cosmopolitanism that only Bombay among the other big Indian cities has. But surely it is a stretch to wax eloquent about Bangalore’s “qulaity of living”, when you have other worthy contenders like, ahem, Mysore? And those horrible new steel and glass buildings, the traffic jams, the pedestrian-unfriendly roads and pavements, the fake firang accents, the new materialism….

So, is Bangalore really India’s best city to live in? Surely, you must be joking, Mr Friedman!

Also read: A City whose soul has been clinically removed

India as seen from the city of baked beans

Has the IT boom quelled Bangalore’s tensions?

C.N.R. RAO: If IT taks away Bangalore’s values, burn IT

Bangalore’s idiots who speak an idiolect at home

Bangalore’s dying. All we can do is change its name

Why Bangalore hates the English media culture

Real estate sharks gobbling up our best eateries

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33 Responses to “CHURUMURI POLL: Bangalore, best city to live in?”

  1. sanjeeva Says:

    If you have three things, Bangalore is the best city to live – Own House, own vehicle and a bit of money in the bank!

  2. anna saaru Says:

    please stop this idiocy.
    we have enough migrants.
    saakappa saaku.

    dont market like kolageri.

  3. vaidya Says:

    If worldwide they came up with a list of 200 cities that’s big in itself. Surely you can’t expect Mysore, Coimbatore, Guntur or Cuddapah to turn up? A recent survey in India said Jaipur is among the most livable ones, another some years back said Cochin is the place to be. Just read it as “among those surveyed”.

    As a Bangalorean all I can take away from this is that the situation in the other metros has to be really bad to rank below! And if they are considering safety etc, how did Delhi get ahead of Chennai?!

  4. Vinay Says:

    Yes, Bangalore is the best among large metros in India. I have lived in all 6 cities, and Bangalore beats the other cities hands down, if you look at the overall picture.

  5. Alok Prasanna Kumar (@alokpi) Says:

    Yes. Try living in Delhi as opposed to visiting it in winter.

    I think Bangalore has the best combination of economy, climate and cosmopolitanism among Indian cities that make it very livable (even if relatively speaking, it might not do that well on a global scale) as compared to other Indian cities of a similar size.

    It’s not fair to compare Mysore to Bangalore anymore given the exponential difference in population, area and economy.

  6. brahmanyan Says:

    Ofcourse, comparing to other Cities in India, Bangalore is certainly the better place to live in. Character of a city is judged by the location, weather and above all the people who live in the same. Bangalore is the best in all the three.

  7. FirstReality Says:

    141th of 221.


    Of the worst.

  8. gajee Says:

    I have lived outside the holy triangle all my life, in J P Nagar to be precise and even I crib about what has happened to my once beautiful city.

    I hope these kind of shitty surveys don’t increase the influx into the city and turn the entire city into K R Market

  9. chinna Says:

    No way Bangalore is the best city to live in. Because of all IT-BT coolies common mans’ life has become miserable. Along with telugus/tamils and north indian population city has become ugly.
    Lot of fake darshinis with poor quality food. Fake butter dosas.

    Atta Ekkada itta ennada madya kannada gada gada!

  10. dr ramesh Says:

    best city to live in ,yes for outsiders with high end jobs but with every such reports praising bangalore,life of average kannadiga will only become miserable in the city. time has come to make belagaavi the second capital of karnataka.

  11. Gaampa Says:

    My great grand father built house in Malleswaran in 1890. We still live there. In early seventies, I used to count the Buses that went in front of my house, I would shiver with happiness whenever a bus with a far flung place like Bijapur or Gulbarga crossed Sampige Road. Today, its a living hell… esp with Mantri Mall bottle neck. Bangalore is still comparably charming. But its a long decayed and diseased city.

  12. Bangalore Says:

    yes, Bangalore is the best city to live in

  13. anna saaru Says:

    well said.
    I have seen the Gowdas – real estate agents trying to evacuate senior citizens -most beautiful and original Bengaluru kannadigas to make place for mantris and migrant kantris.

    Gowdas are responsible for the real estate and goondas.
    i can still recall how gowdas use to operate during influx of large number of migrants , kantri amitabh’s miss world days and all those dark ages , how they snatched lands by threatening small families , targeted individuals at night and make way for these capitalists.
    even a t n seetharam’s serial had a similar story.
    no police helped anyone – which is the case even today.

    This actually sparked a kind of rivalry with Brahmins who acted like NRN of going outside and bringing everyone here with a alien complex of globalization.

    Avanigintha Naanenu Kammi ?

    Now they both can happily live by replacing sign boards and asking migrants to speak kannada in english.

    This trait of hating own brethren has to be erased from Kannadigas , then I am sure Bengaluru will become a wonderful place to live.

    Even the present statement of Bala Thakre although against Kambara shows the influence of the “greater karnataka” and “greater kannada” is more than “alien India” till Narmada.

    Hope with the recent excavations in vellore where tamil and kannada inscriptions found we all can unite and form a “uniting kannada” language for all down vindhyas.

  14. Vijay Says:

    Bangalore was good until late 1950s, and as some one who lived his life until then in Mysore- visits to Bangalore were somthing to look forward to, and aside customary calls with my father to his friends’ houses, the then South Parade, the BRV theatre etc.. provided the best attraction for a lad from a sleepy village like Mysore! By early 1960s, the in rush of Telugus and Tamils who hated to learn Kannada and factories like BEL, HMT, ITI, HAL etc.. which discriminated against any one who was a Kanandiga started to make the place creepy. Neverthess,Vidyarthi Bhavan was a worthy place to visit during weekends after the busy week (I was an engineer), and I could still cycle to work shunning the factory van which carried my 5 garrulous colleagues who I avoided as often as I was able to. Good cultural programmes around, listened to Kalinga Rao and Ananthaswamy perform bhavageethegalu. There were talks by such greats as GPR, Masti, PTN, TaRaSU( from Mysore) and AnaKru from time-to-time. If ill, Dr Parthasarathy in Malleswaram would give a friendly advice. All nice and locked in my memory

    Now, I can believe it is the best of the worst lot, but I do not like to be there now ( I moved out of India to the West, and I still use my bicycle to work and walk frequently, eventhough I can afford a good car). The “IT coolies” depress me whenever I hear their talk as they are so ignornat in terms of their general knowledge.

  15. twistleton Says:

    Cities around the world live at a different and rapacious pace after the industrialization of work and culture.

    Indian cities are caught in a warp between old world charm and the steely efficiency of modern urban spaces.

  16. Nastika Says:

    @dr ramesh, is there any requirement that Kannadigas must be a minority in capital of Karnataka? Like Bangalore, Belgaum will be flooded with non Kannadigas.

    Its time the capital of Karnataka be moved to either Davangere, Shivamogga, Haveri or Koppal. Let Bangalore be a business city, not political city. Shifting can happen in phase wise over 20 years. Let the new infrastructure be built in these new places.


  17. harkol Says:

    The only thing bad about Bangalore is the traffic. All other things are pretty good.

    If we fix the traffic problem, I guess we’ll easily be one of the best cities in Asia (not only India).

  18. rama Says:

    There is truly no city in India which can be called great. Our traffic has no sense, pedestrians are jeered at simply because there are using the eco friendly mode of transport. We live by the day, never knowing when a bad surprise might visit us. Not enough schools to get our children admitted to. Garbage fills all over. And then we clap we have the glitsy metro. Hmm, long long way to go…..

  19. S Vijaya Simha Says:

    The only reason I still live in Bangalore is family and relatives. That too is for another year or two at most, before we move to our new home in 2013.

    Having a metro, or having proper traffic or electricity doesn’t make or break a city. It surely won’t be anywhere close to the “best city in asia”. The problem goes much deeper.

    During my great-grandfather and grandfather’s days we were proud to be Kannada speaking people. Now even in Gandhibazaar people look strangely at me if I speak our native Kannada. Anyone you meet starts off in Hindi or English, it disgusts me no end. It is like going to Delhi and starting a conversation with a stranger in Kannada. There you will be considered an idiot for not using the local language, but here the whole fabric of society has become twisted.

    Even if we somehow get over the language problem due to the unchecked hordes of migrants, the deeper malaise is nearly impossible to cure – our state is one of the most corrupt in India. There is no pride in our culture, language, or way of life. We are ready to roll over and get exploited by anyone. We are blind to the extent of positive social change happening in other progressing cities.

    Now Bangalore is a city of IT coolies (as Vijay puts it) that lacks cultural identity and alienates its own native people to suck up to the newly rich who literally live in another world so completely out of touch with the real Bangalore. Nah, Bangalore is not it. I dearly miss my old Bangalore of the 1960s and 70s, but we need to move on.

    Oh, and talking about “best city in Asia”… dream on.

  20. dr ramesh Says:

    nastika, totally agree. most ideal choice would be davangere, because of its geographical location and business credentials. but recently there was talk of belagaavi being made the second capital during vishwa kannada sammelana. by shifting some of legislative and administrative work to belagaavi ,kannadiga population can be increased ,putting an end to mes goondaism permanently.

  21. Vinay Says:

    S Vijaya Simha:

    Bangalore will be among the best cities of India in the next couple of decades. It may be a dream today, but it is a realistic one.

    Mysore is similar to the ‘Old Bangalore’, so its not like a choice does not exist. Bangalore will become a great business city, and Mysore will retain the old world charm. You have the best of both worlds, 115 km apart.

  22. S Vijaya Simha Says:

    @Vinay, can you elaborate why you think Bangalore will be among the best cities? Is it because other cities will worsen rapidly (not happening, no way), or there is going to be some miracle by which Bangalore will start improving in leaps and bounds?

    I have not seen any real improvement in the quality of life since I can remember.

  23. Vinay Says:

    S Vijaya Simha:

    My take is that quality of life has actually improved in the last few years.

    Because, for some people, by-2 kaapi and masala dose in Vidyarthi bhavan might be the ultimate thing in the city, there are many others who actually need jobs, entertainment avenues, good shopping experience, and so on.

    A far cry from those days when Bengaloorina Hudugas used to move to Mumbai or Delhi for employment opportunities, the city has actually generated and sustained thousands of jobs in the last decade. Not just in “IT and BT”, but many other fields.

    Sure, one can crib constantly about the traffic and the pollution, but then, if one chooses to see what is being done about it, one will take note of the elevated expressways on Bellary road, Tumkur road and Hosur road. The ring road and NICE road (which will be extended into a full second ring), the planned two additional rings, etc. etc. And of course – Namma Metro!! Improvement does not need “miracles” – what is already planned will do quite a lot of good. I won’t even begin to discuss everything else that my city has gained in the course of the decade.

    And it is not like Vidyarthi Bhavan, MTR or Kamat are dead – they still coexist with the KFCs and McDonald’s and Roti Ghars.

    So, it is better if we stop lamenting Bangalore as a “dead city”, and asking silly questions like “who killed Bangalore”. Bangalore is living, vibrant, more full of energy than ever before. And apart from that, things are improving as we speak.

  24. DailyBread Says:

    >I have not seen any real improvement in the quality of life since I can remember.

    Disagree. In last 10-15 years there is a tremndeous improvement in the quality of life, except commute time. The gated community I live in, the park where I jog, the office/place where I work, the mall we go to, the restaurants where we eat, school my kids go to, the hospital where my parents get treated, the airport which I use very frequently, most of the roads I drive on, were not there 10 years back.

  25. Faldo Says:

    While we can be happy that Bengaluru is ranked at the top among Indian cities, the ranking needs to be seen in the right perspective. If one looks at the list Bengaluru is at 141, Delhi at 143, Mumbai at 144, Chennai at 150 and Kolkatta at 151. This means that the living conditions in these cities are only marginally different and have a lot of room for improvement in order to be considered world class.

    @Nastika, Dr, Ramesh – Nice point. It would be good to have the capital shifted in the long term. Other than Davangere, Huballi-Dharwad could be a good choice as it is well connected and has a decent infrastructure, besides being a cultural hub.

  26. Vinay Says:


    Good post.

    There will always be naysayers, constantly moaning about the loss of “good old days”. The reality is that the city is simply a better place today. Yet, the naysayers will pick up their two pet peeves – traffic and pollution – and use that to beat down all the progress and improvement that the city has seen!!

  27. DailyBread Says:

    @Vinay :)

    >It would be good to have the capital shifted in the long term. Other than Davangere, Huballi-Dharwad could be a good choice

    This lopsided development/focus on only state capital is depriving other parts of the state a decent quality of infrastructure. Lets split the sate into four and build 3 brand new capitals.If that is not possible, lets start building a metro today in Hubli-Dharwad, Mangalore, Mysore, Gulbarga, etc.

  28. KannadigasLand Says:

    Dont market this issue,enough enough too much outsider.because of them kannada is loosing its essence.why all Malayalis,Tamilians dying to get a job and to do business in Bangalore.?because it is bangalore.tamil and malayalis are blood sucking leeches.KANNADIGAS ALWAYS KANNADIGAS.

  29. Lalala Says:

    All those saying that Bangalore has become worse just because people from all places are flooding in, learn to live. If one stays in one place for ones lifetime, that’d just mean that there’s no proper development taking place. And guys please, be a bit civilized. It’s not like people from other countries are coming in and are kicking you out or anything, is it? We’re all Indians. It’s not illegal to move around the country itself. Grow some brains, goats.
    Just to let you know, I’m a kannadiga and I like knowing people from all states and throughout my life have stayed in almost all the major cities. I love Bangalore the most. Peace all.

  30. naser shariff Says:

    Yes bangalore is better to live as any where in INDIA bt just till 1980’ how can we say its GREEN or a GARDEN city of INDIA since it was spoiled with bad politicians,gundas and migrates specially from north & biharis.incresing traffic and crimes made misreable life of real kandigas.please please do something to bring back the previous bangalore get rid all migreats who are spoiling our beatufull city.

  31. Lalala Says:

    Mr. Naser Shariff, it’s because of people like you that the city isn’t so awesome. You are so old-minded. Doesn’t ANYONE realize that migration is an indicator of globalization?!

  32. Sanjukta Says:

    Five years after I wrote the Life in Bangalore post, today I published the 162nd comment on the post. I am finally closing the comment thread on that post. The post would remain as one of the first few search result if you Google for “Life in Bangalore” Cross posting the link here, since this was the other post I found in the search results.

  33. Dan Says:

    Did I hear this before..? Discussion about my great City, if there is any development or no, how the migrants from other states are screwing up my city and so on….

    I grew up in Mumbai and heard the same discussion years ago. I remember Mumbai in even 80’s was one of the best place in India to live and work. But it grew cancerous. It is a dying city on ventilator now.

    After realizing I can’t live comfortably in Mumbai when I moved to Pune it was 4th greenest city in India where most old houses did not even have ceiling fans, in late 90s. In a few years IT Companies followed, construction began, concrete roads built, trees felled, not to remain behind migrants and investors flocked alike. Pune registered 400 rapes in last 6 yrs and summer temperature routinely touched 40 degrees.

    We don’t need an astrologer to tell us our Cities can’t grow past 10 million mark before they start panting, soon thereafter they go on life-support. Politicians will make everything to make it look alive. How does a dying city looks..we have to look at Mumbai and Delhi. Same fate awaits to those cities in India that try to differentiate themselves and try to become prosperous inviting Industries, Investors and migrants.

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