The changing face of Namma Bengaluru

The changing face of Namma Bengaluru

The residential areas in “Namma Bengaluru” are facing an unexpected makeover just when one thought that it was settling down into a pattern. The Namma Metro, road widening, underpasses and over bridges are all set to change the face of the city.

The constant digging of roads in the name of progress is pressing the panic button of the general public who happen to own land along the “roads to progress”. Though none of the landowners want to part with their precious piece of land, some prefer to chicken out of the issue by quietly submitting to the authority, while the more passionate decide to fight tooth and nail to retain their prized possession. Scenes of disharmony on the subject are not rare. The subject is the hot potato of the Metro and just about everybody – landowner or not – is not particularly happy with the situation. Then, the apparent moot question in the situation is, why should the authorities tenaciously persist something, which is totally unpalatable to the people?

In order to comprehend this phenomenon, it is important for us to realise that besides being economic assets, all buildings, urban designs and settlement patterns have a symbolic content, which gives them an identity of their own. They have grown into the psyche of the citizen and have been nurtured by the people who inhabit or observe them. Old Bengalurians will vouch for this home truth without hesitation. They have been mute victims to various modern architectural metamorphoses from time to time. It has  ignored customs and contexts, which eventually resulted in sterile urban environments.

Individual bungalows, which made the city a “Pensioner’s Paradise” gave way to smaller houses with one or two storeys with the coming of several public sector units in the city. Increased business opportunities and arrival of the IT sector gave rise to high rise buildings and flat culture in the Silicon City. All these changes have taken place right under the nose of the conscientious citizens who have invariably turned their noses up in the air at each juncture.

But has it made an iota of difference to the “indifferent authorities” who choose to override the opinion of the common citizen? These frustrating rhetoric questions are the very
ones, which are eroding the peace of mind of the common man! It is immaterial as to whether he is a direct victim of the said circumstances or not!

In the process of development, we ended up losing our balance with nature. With technological progress, we are facing inadequacies in every which way. The impact of globalisation, implication of the virtual world into the real, rapid extinction of basic amenities like potable water and electricity are some of the harsh truths which boggle the metropolitan these days.   

Evolving new direction
It is time we truly reflected over the monstrous manifestation and look for a new direction to evolve sensibly and sensitively. Architects and thinkers on the subject look upon the subject as an embodiment of experiential, emotional and sensory qualities of a city. The much celebrated “salubrious climate” of the city, the regional landscape despite the disappearing green canopy and the symbolic identity of a city which welcomed all and sundry with open arms is a victim of its own “accommodative nature” today.

All the buildings, properties and settlements which were an intrinsic part of the fabric of Namma Bengaluru are apparently fighting a losing battle for they are trying to race against time and the “so-called progress”. They portray a static image of a dynamic entity, which has undergone several transformations over the years, right in front of them. The truth is inevitable, no matter what is said or done; the process of metamorphoses has begun. We have to wait and watch to see how the final picture will turn out to be. One should not be too very surprised if there are more mutations and changes in “city planning” as and when required or desired by the authorities.

A settlement becomes timeless in the minds of its inhabitants because it possesses evolutionary significance. Hence, people who are fighting for their piece of “good earth” are, in fact, commenting on contemporary lifestyles which are but alterations and condensed continuities of the original way of life.

The pragmatic people look upon the changes to come from a socio- economic angle. It is obviously a part of the foreseeable future. The time to face the reality of the realty scene is looming above our heads like the proverbial Damocles’ sword. The ball is in the court of the common man. If we decide not to not succumb to pressure, it is imperative that we stand united by the cause. Just in case we choose to stand divided on the subject, we must be mentally prepared to go with the flow! 

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