Bangalore in focus at Litfest

Bangalore in focus at Litfest

The City’s luminaries indulged in a spirited discussion on the cultural impact of Bangalore’s changing demography at the Litfest which concluded here on Sunday.

Former Infosys director Mohandas Pai, Jnanpith awardee U R Ananthmurthy, theatre personality Prakash Belwadi, actor Ramya and socialite and writer Shobhaa De spent a good hour discussing “Bangalore, its identity, Kannadigas and the outsiders.” In an engaging discussion, the speakers tried to explore the cultural identity of the City and address concerns over emerging differences between native Bangaloreans and migrants.

They served the audience a platter of diverse opinions. While De wanted a secure City, Belwadi said: “The sense of Kannadiga should prevail, allowing others to co-exist.”

While Ananthmurthy wanted a City where the children and the aged “can cross the roads,” Ramya said she wanted the City to be garbage-free.

Urging the Bangaloreans to shed the garb of chauvinism, Pai made a case for a City where multiple identities merge seamlessly with effortless ease, while Ananthmurthy maintained that identity of the locals was very important and so was generosity. “Kannada and Bangalore goes hand in hand and will remain so.”

Countering De’s contention that it was the city where hooligans assaulted people from the North-East were hounded out, Ananthmurthy said Kannadigas in general strongly opposed such fundamental forces.

“There can never be a Bal Thackerey in the City,” Belwadi quipped.  Surprisingly, the ever blooming IT sector in the City drew flak from Ramya, who held it responsible for robbing Bangalore of its old world charm. Pai, however, defended the sector, hailing it as the economic engine of the City that has contributed significantly to Bangalore’s prosperity.
The topic, that inadvertently triggered the “elite vs common man” debate, led to a heated exchange between De and Ananthmurthy, with De terming the latter an elite.

Presenting his case, Belwadi junked the entire issue of “locals vs outsiders” as bogus. “Chennai, Bombay and many other cities were essentially built by the British, but Bangalore was built by Indians mostly. The City is a confused adolescent and a project in the making,” he said.

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