After 32 years in Bangalore I moved 2 years ago when a job came calling. My new station was just a few hours away. I've therefore managed a visit every month with reasonable regularity.
Some time back, I'd posted on this blog in support of the Big Bangalore Protest against the ban on live bands and other entertainment. I strongly support the movement as it infringes on my fundamental rights, but I've started to see things in a different light after my visit to the city last weekend.
First on my list of things to do in Bangalore was to join the 'Protest March' slated for August 15. On my arrival I discovered that the Protest was out of town on vacation. It was a 3 day weekend, and even a fight for one's rights needs a break. I guess that sounds reasonable.
First priority being out of town, I moved on to the others and around the city. And was quite aghast by what I saw. Potholes, ravaged roads, garbage dumped anywhere and everywhere, dividers overgrown with weed, sidewalks that are less walk and more trip 'n' fall, streets with no lights, a CMH road that's been run over by the Metro Rail project, a Koramangala that's lost its trees and everything residential about it... The city is rotting, and nobody seems to give a damn. Not the Government. Not the people. Think about it. There's a serious problem when malls come up overnight and a public utility takes years; when people fight for better drinking conditions rather than better living conditions.
Burn me at the stake for saying it if you want, but I do find the Big Bangalore Protest rather trivial considering the other wounds Bangalore bleeds from. I can't understand people taking to the streets to fight for their right to drink, dance and listen to live music under one roof, when the city's infrastructure resembles a scrap dump. Ironically they do believe that they are fighting to save Bangalore. Even worse, the protest congregates at the Mahatma's statue on MG Road.
I think the Big Bangalore Protest must rewrite its vision statement. There's more to our fundamental rights than the freedom to drink, dance and sing beyond 11pm.