‘Bangalore, like Gurgaon, a city without identity’

Ira Trivedi, one-time Miss India contestant, Columbia business school grad, yogini, and author, is working on a new, non-fiction book, in which she travels to 15 cities to get the under the skin of people’s lives and reports real stories.

She has an interview in the latest issue of Tehelka magazine:

How challenging is it to cover different aspects of urban cities?

It was very difficult. There are cities like Bangalore and Gurgaon, which are so mixed up, they seem to have no identity. Whereas, a city like Shillong is so unique and easy to understand. It is isoloated and cut off, which makes the culture unique.

Also read: ‘A city whose soul has been clinically removed’

Has the IT boom quelled Bangalore’s tensions?

Bangalore’s idiots who speak an idiolect at home

If IT takes away Bangalore’s soul, burn IT

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32 Responses to “‘Bangalore, like Gurgaon, a city without identity’”

  1. harihara Says:

    For yuppies who look at bangalore only by its malls,the traffic snarls , the superficial lives, the back packs, the realtors , the high risers, the ‘gated communities etc life is superficial and things will appear mixed up and most of these live in bengaluru as if it is ahotel or a marketplace; those who look at the bengaluru of the kannadiga, the life and culture in malleswaram, basavanagudi etc, the karanji anjaneya temple and the gavi gangadhara temple the vallabha raya swami temple and the dodda ganesha temple, the bengaluru gayanasamaja and the like ,chick pet the CTr masale the city market the kaadu mallesha temple etc the true identity of bengaluru will be revealed ; what is imposed on that by the IT backpacks , but looks flashy is superficial and surface -has no depth;. to know bengaluru first learn kannada in addition to fashion and makeup and those marketing , mba information

  2. Kodlady Kiran Says:

    Capacity is the key ! Author has the capacity to find, identify the identity of smaller cities like Shillong. Its not easy for anybody to make couple of visits to a city of more than 3000 sq km area and decide the identity.!! Perhaps one cannot completely agree to the views of famous writer, Girish Karnad who lived his life in Bengaluru and seen how the city becoming global on Bengaluru on his latest book. Cosmo culture, Technology, Knowledge, Education,Theatre,non conservative… i guess for a person who believes every city has got its own positive characteristics, then Bengaluru has abundant of those.

  3. dr ramesh Says:

    Not again,
    One more page 3 member in the guise of an author comes up with non sense.
    If she had seen bengalooru karaga or kadle kai parishe she could have got a better idea of identity of Bangalore. As always she would have taken a round of infy campus, electronic city, indiranagar, M G ROAD and come to this conclusion.
    CHURUMURI should not give importance to such ignorant, naive time pass writers.

  4. DHL Says:

    Life could not be any better for me; I live in the vicinity of Basavanagudi and Jayanagar, its the best of both sides. I visit Karanje Anajaneya temple twice daily and meditate, the priest hates me because I dont tip him RS 10 on daily basis. They never installed all the Lighting I bought them. In any case Life is good now, it was Good when I grew up, it be greater in soon, It will greatest in Future.

  5. FirstReality Says:

    Too bad for former miss India contestant that Bangalore and Gurgaon are not museums that she likes it to be. Too bad she can not roam around and see the “characters” frozen in time.

    Whether people living in it are really living or dead, she can not care less.

    Talk about talking BS and asking wrong questions. We always get it right.

  6. Faldo Says:

    Most metro cities including Bengaluru have a distinct character. A short visit may not be enough to decipher it. Long term residents are more likely to be able to explain a city’s character clearly.

    Gurgaon would hardly be an apt comparison as it till recently was a satellite town and many of its residents would be recent additions. Gurgaon and Hosur would be better candidates for comparison as both are satellite cities that have spun off and evolved due to their proximity to a nearby metro.

  7. Deepak Says:

    Who is this Ira Trivedi? How many times has she visited Bangalore before? Has she gone to unique areas of Bangalore like Maklleswaram, Basavangudi, Chamrajpet, Rajajinagar, etc? Or has she been to MG Road and Church street and come to her grand conclusion.

  8. Anonymous Guy Says:

    What the author observed is not untrue. The hodge podge Bangalore she saw is as much as a part of Bangalore as karaga or kadale kai parishe used to be. In the coming years, it will be the only Bangalore.

    Even in Jayanagar or Basavangudi, you can see the commercial pushing out the traditional. Dynamism, noise and chaos are replacing whatever used to be. The old pockets still endure, but they are no longer the defining characteristics of the city. They are just quaint curiosities where a few take refuge.

    With the mass influx from North India and elsewhere, even the people are being replaced gradually. In just a couple of generations, Bangalore and Gurgaon have become more similar than we would like to believe.

    Looks like some old time(?) residents of Bangalore are blinded by nostalgia and intertia, they cannot see the simple realities that a one time visitor to Bangalore can.
    More likely the author’s resume raised the residents’ hackles. Girl, miss India contestant, foreign educated… Shanthan paapam.

  9. The Ringer Says:

    I have not visited Bangalore since early 1970s. In a way this person may be right, given the IT mania and associated commercialism reverberating now (although I am an IT person I do l feel that IT education, and the IT mania has skewed the higher education curricula). For me, I would like to remember this city of late 1950s- of Basavanagudi, the Bull and Anjaneya Temple, as the abode of literary luminaries like DVG, Masti and GPR, and the enjoyment It gave walking in the streets of Malleswaram, sauntering in Cubbon Park and Lalbagh, visiting the South Parade Cinema theatres as well as meeting friends at the Engineering College of Sir MV, although I was born, brought up, educated and lived in Mysore for long except a few good (Ramanavami) years of working in Bangalore. It had identity and a soul then.

  10. Gaby Says:

    I have heard of the Padmini-Chitrini-Shankhini-Hastini classification. My grandmother used to tell stories of Shankhinis and daakinis. What on earth is a yogini? Stupid girl playing to a stupid niche market?

  11. A JOURNALIST Says:


  12. M Says:

    Population of Bangalore: 84 Lakhs
    Population of Shillong: 1.5 lakhs

  13. Yadhu Says:

    I live in Bangalore and I agree with the lady, slowly B’lore is losing its identity. People here who are criticizing Ira by citing the temples, their memories, her methodology are only living in false world.

  14. M Says:

    @ Anonymous Guy.

    “More likely the author’s resume raised the residents’ hackles. Girl, miss India contestant, foreign educated… Shanthan paapam.”

    1) A good number of present day Bangaloreans have travelled/lived/studied in West.

    2) Girl. Despite being traditional, gender inequality has not been severe in Bangalore and in most of South India. Maharani’s College was started by the erstwhile princely rulers a century before Women’s Reservation Bill. My mother is a specialist doctor who studied medicine (in Mysore) in the 70s. She was not an exception; she has large number of friends who too were well educated and worked in commendable positions.

    A city is defined not by migrants but by the people who are born and raised in it. For instance, people from Mumbai go about in the hurried non-chalance manner no matter where they live. Their children will pick up a laid back attitude if they are born and raised in Bangalore.

    Migrants are a fact in an active city, but they do not represent the local attitude. Simple question, why do people in India head to Bangalore, Gurgaon, Hyderabad? Why not Cochin, Coimbatore, Kolkata or Patna. In US, why do people head to Seattle, San Dieago, San Francisco or Boston and not to Chattanooga, Mobile or Raleigh. Its because of an ENVIRONMENT CREATED by the locals. Or ask this: why do you see hard working Malayalees across the country and the world but not in Kerala? Why do Bongs who consider themselves the fountain of intellect go everywhere except Kolkata?

    I was in New Delhi a few days ago. It was my first visit and was impressed by its system of roads! Our host’s driver, a migrant from Uttarakhand, had this to say: “Delhi is a great city because some of the brightest people in the Country live here”. Ethnically, Delhi is hodge-podge; you have vedic-puranic Delhi, sultanate-mughlai Delhi, British Delhi, Delhi of post partition migrant Sikhs, Delhi of Indian Govt. employees from across the country and Gurgaon of technocrats. But you can say that Delhi is a city which has ATTRACTED bright people for atleast 3 millenia! What characteristic of Delhi attracts people? I have no idea. Perhaps the central location in the Northern plains means easier control over a vast empire; thus the seat of power; and thus the people.

    Bangalore is about technocracy. After Kempe Gowda founded the city (todays Avenue road area) the first set of migrants were expert horticulturists who came with knowledge to grow and supply vegetables to the growing city. Their descendants can be found among the residents of Siddapura area near Lal Bagh. My parents came here because they found employment as Govt. doctors. My Delhi host’s parents came in the 50s as skilled artisans to build Vidhan Soudha. In 60s and 70s engineers came to work for PSUs (BHEL, HAL, HMT etc.) .Today people are coming in because they are programmers or knowledge service providers.

  15. dr ramesh Says:

    This is a part of nefarious design of corporate lobby. They encourage books, articles which create a mirage that kannadigas are minorities in Bangalore. Later they give lot of publicity to such books nationally and lobby for UNION TERRITORY status for Bangalore. This has been happening from decades.
    Churumuri will loose its credibility by becoming a part of such crime.
    Page 3 punks live in a hangover, very rarely they are in real world. They are the most disturbed minds in the country. They need empathy and emotional healing.

    There are hundreds of new books in Kannada which deserve review on a social platform like churumuri.

  16. Goldstar Says:

    For once ( !!) I would agree with Anonymous Guy. Jayanagar is already “lost” to commerce ( there are at least 3 mall/Multiplexes in Jayanagar, I can recall off-hand, and innumerable McDonalds/KFCs ). Malleswaram/ Rajajinagar has a few huge malls and new ones are propping up every year. Basavanagudi, probably sticks on to tradition but may not be for long.

  17. Anon Says:

    Bangalore is a fusion of both temples & offices. But it appears she did a quick round-up & has presented one side of the picture. The poor girl had to visit 14 other cities. It’s a coffee table book for a certain target audience, right sir?

  18. Anonymous Guy Says:

    dr. ramesh, Why dont you teach the page 3 punks a lesson by reviewing a couple of your favourites among the hundred new books in kannada and mail it to Churumuri? Or write about the fun you had in last years Karaga and kadle kai parishe? Definitely Churumuri will not have a problem publishing your thoughts and not lose its credibility.

  19. Gokulam 3rd Stage Says:

    It’s not new. I’ve always felt Bengalooru lacked a unique character. Disclosure – I am from Mysooru.

  20. Sanjeeva Says:

    Dr. Ramesh, Kannadigas are indeed (self-inflicted) minority. During the census, people who are born and brought up in Karnataka, living in Bangalore and Mysore for decades record their mother tongues as Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi, Hindi, etc. Naturally, you will find Kannada speaking people less in number. I am sure, when you go around the city, you will find shopkeepers, conductors, policemen, office-goers speaking mostly in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and even broken English. Kannada, local culture and the identity is definitely losing out.

  21. Vinay Says:

    Gradually, the whole city will become like Koramangala/Indiranagar. Maybe its all for the best. South Bangalore – yes, that includes Jayanagar and Basavanagudi – will become just like Koramangala in the next 5 years. North Bangalore will follow suit – already, New BEL road is almost there – we will see the same thing in Rajajinagar, and then Malleswaram. Yelahanka and other suburbs will follow.

    Ten years down the line, West Bangalore (Nagarbhavi, Vijaynagar, etc.) will be the only localities with some kind of “traditional” feel. Twenty years down the line, even they will succumb.

  22. dr ramesh Says:

    Bangalore became BRUHAT BANGALORE few years back, BBMP was formed by including 100 ‘S of villages in the outskirts of Bangalore, lakhs of people living there were kannadigas. Even today they are the majority, technically population of kannadigas increased.
    Babussabpalya, annasandrapalya, kottanuuru dinne, dodda nekkundi, garudarcharpalya, talagattapura,etc etc list is endless.
    Expansion of the city towards tumkur will result in increase in population of kannadigas in Bangalore.
    I have visited Mumbai, kolkata—— Bangalore is far better when it comes to retention of local,indigenous culture.
    ONE ROUND OF SLOW DOWN IN HIGHLY LEVERAGED IT-BT ECONOMY will ensure that Bangalore is freed from excessive migration.

  23. harkol Says:

    Well, you loose one character and attain another. What are we all cribbing?

    Bangalore was a British Contonment 100years back, a hundred years before that it was more of a small outpost to Mysore. It kept changing.

    After British it became a salubrious retirement city for a while, not before it was taken over by the rapid industrialization, and thus becoming a magnet for immigrant population.

    I knew this guy in US, whose ancestors helped build the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. He was saying that his family owned a few acres of land at the other side of brooklyn bridge, and no one in their family even can pin point where it is now.

    We are but just a random occurance happening in a particular location of the universe at a particular instance in time.

    Time changes everything – John Squire.

    ಕಲಾಯ ತಸ್ಮೈ ನಮಃ

  24. Doddi Buddi Says:

    I agree with Dr. Ramesh. I too feel I see more Kannada than ever in Bangalore. Of course Marwadis have swamped ole Basavanagudi and have built hideously ornate marble Jain temples and crowded tenement style apartments. Extreme eye sores these temples and apartment blocks on narrow roads. I see many ‘security guards’ from Assam and NE States.

  25. Ravi Says:

    “Well, you loose one character and attain another. What are we all cribbing?”
    The case of Brooklyn Bridge and the land beyond? Can’t see the parallel here when a living and breathing city like Bangalore, slowly loses its perceived “loose” character over a time. When I see a plethora of Indians, their shops and their dollar-hungry aptitude in a small city in Mid-West where some 35 years ago I was the only Indian who passed though that city, I could say the same about that Mid-West city.

  26. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Migration is one issue, the point the page 3 author was making is that Bangalore is losing its cultural identity.

    When the folks from kottanuuru dinne are part of Bangalore, do you think the youngsters will draw their inspiration mainly from Karaga or a Kuvempu novel or from a show like Big Boss or an Ekta Kapoor owned serial?

    They may speak kannada and retain elements of their culture, but they will look up to the very same ‘page 3 punks’, actors and cricketers for trends and influences in music, movies, books, sports, social practices and everything else that makes up their identity.

    And the migration wont slow down just because of the urban sprawl. If anything it will aid the process. At best there will be more ghettoization and slums. But that is another discussion.

    So what is this unique identity Bangalore has which the page 3 punk missed?

  27. Anonymous Guy Says:

    harkol, Dont go back to British times. Everything was better then, we haven’t improved anything. But no one wants to admit it.

  28. dr ramesh Says:

    Young kannadigas in Bangalore may not be that inspired by Kannada literary greats, but they are influenced by yogaraj bhat, jayant kaikini etc, no harm as long as they are inspired by kannadigas.
    Yelahanka and surrounding villages are a part of Bangalore —it is a Kannada bastion., Kannada festivals,Kannada movies are celebrated there.
    Recently in yediyur – basavanagudi, paatalamma Devi ooradevathe utsava was celebrated with great fanfare, it is happening every year from decades.
    Same in saarakki -jp nagar.
    Kurubarahalli. In Bangalore has the best statue of Dr.rajkumar —- the best sculpture of a matinee idol in India.
    Having a Masala dose in vidyaarthi bhavan and going down the street to ankita pustaka to buy a Kannada novel is favourite pastime of thousands of kannadigas.

  29. Vinay Says:

    Anonymous Guy shows his tactical brilliance again.

    Before making an ass of yourself with constant white-ass worship, look up the literacy rate, mortality rate, prevalence of famines, etc. in the 1940s and compare it with today. Don’t even compare it with today – compare it with Britain and other European nations of that time.

    Of course, if one wants to indulge in white-ass worship, one will indulge in it. Please take a room in the UK or USA with one of your white idols and indulge in your deepest fantasies there – spare us churumuri readers this drivel, please.

  30. harkol Says:


    No place stays frozen in time. That’s what I meant. In fact, US is one country that has very few cities with any character at all. They all look the same to me with same chains, malls and similar roads/outlook. Cities like NY & Chicago continually attained newer character as they progressed.

    Same goes for Mumbai. 100yrs back, it had a population of about what is today’s Mangalore! So, obviously it’s culture would’ve been that of a ‘small town’ culture with folks knowing their neighbors well etc. Larger social participations, small-town values etc.

    I could never consider living in an apartment, and built a large house in Bangalore. But, I can’t see my daughters living in independent large houses in future! I am sure they’ll opt for smaller flats, in monstrous buildings that have better internal society, recreational facilities and security.

    Time changes our outlook. Which is what we call – character.

    Anonymous Guy:

    I do think you have a point there. Here is my theory – British left behind a muncipal governance system that was suitable for the largest city of that time (about 20-30lakh population). Our governance systems fail the moment the cities start crossing those thresholds, because we haven’t developed new, credible, efficient governance system for large cities with populations of 50lakh to multiple crore people!!

    What is needed is innovation in governance.

  31. Anonymous Guy Says:

    dr. ramesh, Appreciate your optimism. There is no end to our speculation. Whatever the future, unfortunately Bangalore’s identity is viewed by a growing number the same way as the page 3 author. We only wait and watch. Yenne amalu, katu sathyavo time will tell.

    harkol, What is needed is to get the British back before they disappear from their own homeland.

  32. Manava Says:

    I would go many steps further than what Ms Trivedi says, and say India is a nation without identity these days,given the escalating corruption and nepotism, massive moral degradation resulting from endemic societal ills, acceptance of obscene gap between the rich and the poor, at ease with money-grabbing public servants, ever increasing dollar-hungry and emigration-aspiring folks and masking all the rot above with a canopy of meaningless parading of Culture, Holymen and God worship.

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