September 19, 2016

India: Why did Bengaluru burn?

livemint.com - Sep 19 2016

by R. Sukumar
Tamil Nadu-bound buses in flames after they were torched by pro-Karnataka activists during a protest over the raging Cauvery water row in Bengaluru last Monday. Photo: PTI

In the early 2000s, soon after Infosys Ltd had built an impressive, and expansive, new wing of its campus in Bengaluru’s Electronics City, I met the company’s then chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy.

As we walked around the campus, talking of business and people, and the brightly coloured umbrellas stacked in the reception of almost every building, he pointed to a couple of the company’s housekeeping staff in their brown uniforms. They were from nearby slums and low-income neighbourhoods, Murthy said, and it was important that they believed they were sharing in Infosys’s growth. I worry about what would happen if they didn’t, he added.

He and I knew the answer even then, and India and the world, last Monday, when the city burnt for a few hours. By numbers alone (one dead, around 100 buses burnt, Rs.20,000 crore of productivity and business losses to companies), the violence the city saw wasn’t significant—a sign of the troubled times in which we live—but it was almost as if, for a few hours, someone had peeled back the motherboard of India’s own Silicon Valley, and shown us the ugliness beneath. [. . .]

FULL TEXT: http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/crNfAzYcEHdtLQovz24tTP/Why-did-Bengaluru-burn.html