Bangalore: Bangalore, the neo-cosmopolitan metro, is no longer extending warm welcomes to outsiders. In fact, the city has been experiencing an undercurrent of anti-outsider sentiment for sometime now.
While the Kannadiga–non-Kannadiga debate has been under the surface so far, the local populace of the garden city are quite vocal against the constant influx of migrants and about the changes that the IT boom has brought into this old-world city.
At a south Bangalore park, Arvind and Madhu catch up to talk over the old Bangalore they knew. Both software engineers, they like the money that IT has brought them, but not the growth that's changed their city beyond recognition.
The old, stone bungalows have given way to swanky buildings filled with expats, Udupi hotels have transformed into dhabas and Iyengar Bakeries are struggling for space between Cafe Coffee Days.
“Only 36 per cent of Bangalore’s population consists of locals. It's like you are staying in your home and somebody comes to stay there, and with the passage of time you find yourself doing a servant's job in your own house,” Arvind R says.
But it's another story for Srinivasan Ranganathan, who heads a research company. Ranga has lived all over India, but it's in Bangalore he's suffered the most for being an outsider.
Apart from the daily barbs from auto-rickshaw drivers and landlords, his main worry is the recent spate of riots.
“I still remember this incident last year. We had to call off work and ask people to leave when a mob went around attacking people. They wouldn't care if it were a Kannadiga or a non-Kannadiga. Both sides are affected,” Ranga says.
Perhaps these are first sings of the rising Kannada voice. Two years ago, Kannada activists protested against Infosys for not recruiting locals.
Two weeks back, they protested against the Railways, seeking 'preference for Kannadigas' in jobs.
Attha Ekkadda, ittha ennada, madhya swalpa kannada. Translated, that means a little bit of Tamil on one side, a little bit of Telugu on the other, and caught in-between is a little bit of Kannada.
That's the Kannadiga way to make fun of Bangalore. The anti-outsider sentiment has always been there, but now outsiders have an added sense of insecurity over losing jobs.
What about other cities?