Towards being a truly global city
How does one earmark a city as being truly global? I guess one of the dubious yardsticks is being set by the terrorists unknowingly. If a city has achieved enough, and can make it to the headlines readily, it becomes a potential target for terrorists. The analogy that was good for human beings now unfortunately applies to cities too. When I hear of terrorists being unearthed from our soil, I know we have arrived on the global map.
Flashback Bangalore fifteen years back. One could enter any public place without being screened. Of course, the airports were still an exception but then that is not really a public place again. Now, when I am screened at every mall, every exhibition, and every public function hosting a variety of people, I wonder when this city actually lost its innocence. This article is not to start a blame game but reflect on how and why we have increasingly become sitting ducks for terrorists who shadow our thoughts at every juncture. Except for the one attack at IISC, I do not recall Bangalore going through the trauma that Mumbai, Delhi, or Hyderabad have gotten used to. I hope it never does but tomorrow may be another day and another story. We do need to sit up and take cognizance. Today’s news is not something that will never affect me.
When elections are held in Pakistan, the person who gets elected determines our fate in this city. When the US decides to launch its operation on terror, the countries it targets harbor elements that pose a threat to our country and our cities. When there was unrest in Srilanka, its ripples killed our prime minister in a not so far away place. I could go on. Fact is, sitting in Bangalore, I cannot be complacent about what is happening in the rest of the world or rest of India anymore.
In the past few days, I have heard of people getting recruited into terrorism from colleges and IT companies. It makes me wonder why any sane Indian would want to destroy the very soil he stands on. If the questions are difficult, the answers are not easy either. We have allowed our politicians to wilfully divide us such that we have lost the power of a single voice. Playing one group against the other, they are the only people who have benefited from this mess. With all the security they muster up with our money, they happily watch us getting slaughtered while delivering tokens of sympathy from their safe havens. Everytime there is an attack on a city, it is cloaked under the talk of the city’s resilience. They will not fault their policies, their short-sightedness, and their wily tactics that has brought the citizens to this state.
Increasingly, all the responsibilities of the state are being transferred to its citzens. Poor drinking water? buy it from the next retail store Poor security? Buy the best security apparatus. Poor electricity? Buy a generator Poor education? What are private schools for? Agreed that the goverment can do only so much, but is it even doing that little we have come to expect from it?
Today, when I read of the elections that will be held anywhere between May and November, I truly hope that the people will see beyond religion, caste, and local identities and look at the bigger issues that stare them in the face. This article is just the beginning. I will be talking to as many people as I possibly can and asking them to pass this message. I don’t expect you to do it too but would be wonderful if you did – not to vote for any party or person but to think and decide the best choice from those available to them. Is the person on the podium talking of issues that matter to me? And then rise, and ask him to stop beating round the bush. It is for people to dictate the agenda. If everyone does a little, we will be doing things on a scale we never imagined.
The global city that I hope to see emerge from Bangalore is one that will evolve from the multiple cultures it so wonderfully embraces, a city that every denizen is proud to call its own or as Tagore put it, Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high! Let us work towards making it a reality.