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Posts Tagged ‘Metro’

Of politics and positions

April 11th, 2008

I have been following the construction of the Metro in Bangalore and the various kinds of conflicts that have arisen during the construction process. Almost daily, newspapers report of court cases where people are fighting for their right over private property and are unwilling to give up their land for the construction of the Metro. It seems like this is an interesting phase in the trajectory of Bangalore City.

A week ago, a friend told me about how they have formed a group to protect Nanda Road. Nanda Road, located in Jayanagar, is one of the few green roads in the city. According to the plans, a Metro station will appear right at Nanda Road, thereby destroying the road forever. The group out to save Nanda Road consists of residents of the area. Some of my friends in Bangalore who are not from this city, but who have lived in Jayanagar, have also mentioned how they would be keen to protect Nanda Road since it is one of the only few green roads in the city. It seems like people develop affiliations and emotions with a place even if they are not long-time residents of the city. And the city is vested with these forms of affect.

Last week then, I was discussing the Save Nanda Road initiative with a group of journalists. When I mentioned that this group has been formed around Nanda Road, consisting of residents of Jayanagar, one of the journalists remarked, “Ah, this is a middle-class initiative!” and almost rubbished the initiative. I defended weakly stating how people who are not born in Bangalore, who have lived along the road, have memories of the place and some form of emotional attachment and would be willing to protect the road. But she was convinced that this is a middle-class initiative and implied that it did not deserve to be paid attention to.

That evening, I wondered about how we position ourselves around issues of development and politics in the city. Does a progressive line of thinking have to take an anti-middle class stance on issues? Or does urban politics demand an examination of every unique issue before positions can be taken?

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