Here is the original Kannada version of that follow-up article: Nobody here is bitten by a (mad) dog to raze the city & rebuild it!
Given blow is my unofficial translation of the article. Similar to the previous letter, the Kannada version of the article is in down-to-Earthy everyday colloquial language of Bangalore. Hence, I have tried to retain the same style and mood in my translation.
Excerpt: 'If a Kannadiga raises his voice today, IT bosses will go away to Hyderabad. Then what will become of us?' Let the people who are shouting thus, know one fact: Even the Telugus, Marathis, Bengalis and people of Madhyapradesh know to raise their voices. Then will Azim Premji build the IT industry in the sky? The (apt) response to the arrogance of IT bosses is here...
by Ravi Belagere
The open letter I wrote to Sudha Murthy has heard responses ranging from, 'your head is not right', to trash, bull shit, nonsense, fu.. you man. Kannadiga IT engineers from different countries of the world have expressed their response to this publication.
You probably know. One of the foremost Kannada journalists S. K. Shaamasundar (we call him Shaami) has taken on the responsibility of thatskannada.com. Therein, every week, my column named 'Suryashikaari' is published. Many a time, Shaami selects one of my articles published in 'Haai Bangalore!' and publishes it on his portal. The letter I wrote to Sudha Murthy was so published a couple weeks ago. Kannadigas all over the world are able to read it. Hence, responses from corner corner of the world. IT workers from nearby Infosys, Wipro and other organizations have also sent their responses.
'Your argument is definitely right. We will also come to the protest against the IT bosses. Let us know immediately, the venue, time, date and other details of the protest.' The friends from IT industry have written thus too.
There are also other thousands of readers who have joined their voices to the voice of the magazine. I have browsed all the opinions. Honored all of them. 'Look here Belagere, what you have written is meaningless. It is ridiculous. It is trash. I don't have time to explain how it is meaning. Understand? For just know this. Your argument is meaningless' - this type of meaningful(!) mails have come. I laughed and kept quiet.
But the real and useful response has come from Sudha-akka's 'Infosys' side only! They have given 5 million dollars for America's Katrina disaster relief. Similarly, they have decided to give 5 million rupees to the Chief Minister's relief fund for the victims of North Karnataka's flood. The collection of that money has already started on Infosys campus. If an open letter brings this level of results, what is happier than that? Thanks to Sudhakka. But the problem is not related to Infosys alone. I wrote that letter keeping Sudha Murthy as the center because she is a daughter of a Kannada house. I have made that clear in the letter itself. This problem is not limited to just helping out the people of North Karnataka.
The IT bosses came to Bangalore because they felt it is suitable for establishing the IT industry. Our government started to lay out the red carpet to them because they started to come. The demands-pressures-threats-black mails of the IT bosses had started even from the time Deve Gowda and J. H. Patel were chief ministers. Looking at it that way, Patel himself got irritated and declared like a half-revolutionary, half-scoundrel, "If you want to stay, you may stay. If you want leave, you may leave. If you are not here, will we die starving? If we open ten cabaret joints, the wealthy who will come, will come!" At that time Chandrababu Naidu was (in power) in Andhra.
Administering the state like a typical IT company CEO, Naidu borrowed crores of rupees for the same infrastructure and made the roads of Hyderabad. The IT industry also flourished well there. However, by the time Chandrababu Naidu realized what a big chasm the IT industry created between the city and country lifestyles, the naxalites had risen up in the villages and woods of the Andra. The Raayalaseema movement demanded a separate state itself. The naxalites bombed the car of Naidu himself which came to Tirupati. At that time the IT industry was shaken up.
Such things have not happened in Karnataka until now. The people of Bangalore are peace lovers. Among the IT companies here, even one does not have a trade union. Bangalore is not attacked by floods. It is not hit by the heat. It is a guaranteed airconditioner which works without being switched on. Just a few months back, there was Chief Minister SM Krishna here who behaved as if he was born to the IT bosses. The things that the bosses signalled with their feet, he did them with his tongue. Starting from giving ten years of tax holiday, he snatched thousands of acres of land from farmers and gave them to the IT bosses and stood in front of them with folded hands as if to ask, 'Do you want anything more'. It is then that the real blackmail of the IT bosses started. As per their orders, SM Krishna built roads in Bangalore, using the money which would have been enough to build roads in all the towns and cities of Karnataka. He built flyovers which are not of a naya paisa use and at the same stage brought Indraloka itself for his IT bosses, vowing to turn Bangalore into a Singapore.
The IT bosses are asking for that very same thing. Dharam (Dharam Singh, current chief minister of Karnataka) is shaken and frightened.
World Bank's report is not necessary to bring the government to the street and slap it on the face. The roads here are not good, there are frequent power cuts, there are traffic jams and again, if it rains the low lying areas get flooded - you know this type of problems? These exist in any city like Bangalore, in any third-world country of the world. Mumbai, which was built with better planning than Bangalore, and which grew with grandeur, got caught in the rains recently and struggled to survive.
When an America like America could not bear the hit of Katrina and came down to the position of begging in the street, of what account are Bangalore's Bhoopasandhra, Shivanahalli, Ketamaaranahalli? As you know all the dailies from The Times of India to the Vijaya Karnataka are publishing reports, complaints, rants about the roads of Bangalore on a daily basis. Even after these magazines publish these reports for years, the bad roads, open pits and manholes, flooding areas will always exist in Bangalore. That does not mean they should not be written about.
On the one side, when we have the man who has no houses, no roads, no food to eat, who has lost everything in floodwaters, who is begging for at least an overhead shelter, there is no need to offer warm water for the feet and welcome the IT bosses who order, "Immediately build for us a road which will enable our cars to reach the airport in 5 minutes without any obstructions".
Life here is growing amidst broken streets, dirty gutters, traffic jams, a public life which is shattered by even a light rain, unnecessary traffic density. New things bloom. Our children study and become smart. America invites them and gives them jobs. Infrastructure doesn't mean just roads, toilets, airports, right?
But let us take this opportunity of the issues raised by the IT bosses and criticize our people also a little. What did you do with the road tax we paid? You started a projects of thousands of crores five years ago? How much did you eat out of them? Where are the people who said they would turn Bangalore into a Singapore, released crores of rupees for that? Let them give accounts. Let us gather all the MLAs and corporators of Bangalore in one place and ask them, how many crores worth of work was done in their jurisdictions, their areas? When were the bills approved? What is the state today of the roads built yesterday? What is the state today of the houses they stayed in yesterday? How many times did you become a minister? How many times MLA? From which ward how many times did you win as a corporator? How much work was done? What is your wealth then and now?
Let us begin this habit of demanding accounts at least due to the excuse of the issues raised by the IT bosses. Bangalore should not become Singapore for the sake of the bosses coming from Singapore: it should become so for the sake of the man of this land. If the IT boss wants to come sit here and do business, he should protect and respect the laws and regulations of this place, the social well-being, regional honor, etc. India is not a country like Thailand which is living based on prostitution, to present a throne to every boss who comes and destroy the fabric of our society.
Despite all this, a few rogues among the IT bosses talk thus: 'Not a bad idea. Send a few MPs, MLAs, corporators to Gurgaon, Hyderabad or Mumbai to learn what infrastructure means. Is this thing called Bangalore really a city? It should be totally razed down and rebuilt.'
These words were said by Jack Anderson of a company called NOVASOFT. Before this, an idiot had said that Bangalore should be brought under the Central Government's rule. There are people who have called Bangalore a dead city. But all the people who spoke like this know: All the foreign companies based in Gurgaon are getting work done with their factories full of police. If there is a traffic jam in Calcutta, it takes eight hours to clear. In Hyderabad, if the naxalites burst even a single bomb, Azim Premji's shop closes doors. Which IT boss will make an umbrella for Mumbai's rains? Non sense.
We shall provide facilities for the businessmen and industrialists who come to the city. That is a different matter: Nobody here is bitten by a (mad) dog to raze the city and rebuilt it for his sake. Let pimps like Yediyurappa (BJP leader from Karnataka), who shoot off their mouth shouting, ''If a Kannadiga raises his voice today, IT bosses will go away to Hyderabad. Then what will become of us?', realize one thing: even Telugus, Marathis, Bengalis, people of Madhyapradesh know to raise their voices.
After that, will Azim Premji build the IT industry in the sky?
-- Translation of the article ends --
The letter to Sudha Murthy and the above article together provide interesting insights into the opinion of the average non-IT Indians towards the IT industries.
The angst of the man on the street is understandable. From their perspective, all they see of the IT industries is this: Organizations which employ mostly non-local people, who mostly speak English, who are paid very high. These people move in from outside, increase the population in the city, drive the demand and costs of everything very high. The local public doesn't really know or understand what these organizations do. All they know is that these companies do something for foreign countries, and contribute little or nothing to their own country or locality.
In the case of traditional hardware factories, the local population knew what the factories manufactured. They could see how they contributed to the locality and the country. Most of the people employed were from the local communities. They could see how the factories helped the local community develop. The factories seemed to care for their employees beyond just paying them. They appeared to care for the local communities beyond just using their resources. Not so in the case of IT companies.
The chasm, it appears, is more than just in payscales of the IT workers and the traditional industrial workers. The capitalist-style focus of the IT companies almost exclusively on the profits, with little or negligible care for the personal lives of their employees, and the state of the communities in which they are located, is not helping matters at all!