Raiders Lost the Arc, the idiotically titled and idiotically written Outlook cover story on how IT is ruining Bangalore, has been debunked and fisked enough elsewhere on the blogosphere (Churumuri rebuts CNR Rao here, Nitin points out what the Outlook story missed here). Sugata Srinivasraju doesn’t ever blame IT junta for ruining infrastructure himself, but he conveniently forgets that infrastructure is the government’s responsibility, not the IT industry’s. When developers try to make infrastructure their own responsibility, as in the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor, the government has gone after them with a hatchet.
However, it’s undeniable that there is an influx of immigrants into Bangalore (me included), and that this is leading to new cultural forms (which still does not translate to a destruction of the old culture and values of the city). But there’s something interesting about this wave of migration.
Uptil now, whenever there’s been internal migration in India, the migrants have alsways carried their culture along with them and ghettoised themselves. So Gujrati Jains and Marwaris used to set up their own schools and colleges wherever they went. Mumbai has DG Ruparel College and lots of other Gujew colleges (which are mocked regularly in JAM), and even more Gujrati dominated schools. Even Bangalore has a Gujrati medium school near City Market. Other communities don’t migrate as prodigiously as the Gujratis and Marwaris, but they still cluster. So you have Bongs coalescing in Chittaranjan Park in Delhi, Punjews sending their kids to DAV schools all across UP, and Tams setting up Sangam associations in Delhi and Mumbai. And this is before they extend the ghettoization by marrying somebody from the homelands.
But the IT migration to Bangalore (and Pune and other hotspots) is different. The migrants are united by profession, not by community. And while within the overall migrant community they’ll still form sub-clusters based on language and community affiliations, the ghettoisation is not as extreme as it was when Marwari traders flocked to Chikpet and created their own temples and schools there.
So what I’m eagerly waiting to see is what happens when the IT professionals’ kids go to school – and where they go to school. If migrants’ kids and ‘old-Bangaloreans” kids grow up together, the clash of cultures is probably not going to be as acute.
This could of course go all pear shaped if:
- New schools don’t come up fast enough to cater to the Bengalooru baby boomlet – this worries me the most.
- New schools which do come up price themselves out of reach of the old middle class. Even so, if they do, they’ll price themselves out of reach of a substantial number of IT workers as well, so cultural intermingling would still happen, just in old, cheap schools instead of new, expensive ones. I somewhat doubt this will happen. This is India. People will find the money to educate their kids.
- Cultural factors mean schools end up as IT/ non-IT kids ghettos also. I greatly doubt this will happen. Schools compete for students, just as students compete for schools. If the kid is smart, the school isn’t going to care about the parents (at least at the post Class-10 level). And if the school is really good, the parents aren’t going to care much about who the other parents are.
How this plays out is going to be interesting.