The recent death of Kannada film actor Rajkumar in Bangalore unleashed the worst of Bangalore. A veteran of over 200 Kannada language films, Rajkumar was the Bacchan of Bangalore. His fans adored him. They wanted to show their love for him and pay their last respects to someone who was a living legend to them. All this is well and good. But the behavior portrayed by the citizens of this “global” city was nothing short of pathetic and shameful. Police had to resort to lathi-charges, tear-gas and even opening fire to control the crowd. Their grudge? That they didn’t get the see enough of the dead body of Rajkumar. They pelted glass buildings with stones, over turned public and police vehicles and even set a few ablaze. The city was in standstill for three days.
Rajkumar, for all his greatness, was instrumental in trying to ban other local langauge films in the state of Karnataka. He urged fellow Kannadigas to level of fanatical patriotism and this was displayed by their behavior after his death. This past week is a black mark in the history of Bangalore. This is a city that services the global through its massive presence in the software and service industry. I’m hoping that the multinationals figure that Bangalore is currently a bad choice for any further investments. With the money invested, Bangalore has stagnated instead of showing any further development. Of course, the government is to blame for part of this. But as this past week shows, the people of Bangalore are more at fault. They have a incorrect belief that they are invincible. This jingoism is going to lead to their downfall. And personally, the sooner it happens the better. Come back Garden City. Come back Pensioners Paradise. Come back Bangalore.
My good friend, Vasu, has written a piece about this over at his blog, Vasuvius.