Vidya Josephs Blog

A lost Shimoga….

Posted on: ನವೆಂಬರ್ 1, 2008

Shimoga, the one which most of you out there may be familiar with, is lost. Gone forever actually. For most of us, Shimoga immediately brings to mind the Holae (The Tunga River), Meenakshi Bhavan, Krishna Cafe, Shivappa Nayaka Market among other such landmarks like the Sahyadri College and Gopi Circle. The Sacred Heart Cathedral, which is a major land mark now, is a recent addition. But anybody coming to Shimoga city today, will be shocked out of his senses when he drives through the ancient B-H road. For, nothing exists there anymore. Meenakshi Bhavan is almost fully demolished, all the shop fronts have been brought down and the S-N market is a pile of rubble. The new government, whose chief is from Shimoga, believes that Shimoga should be (sic) upgraded! Which naturally means wider roads, more cars, more malls and god knows what else. The result, folks, is that we no longer have the Shimoga we loved and hated, cursed and blessed, which nevertheless was HOME. The government, read the chief minister, wants this ancient, rambling, historic city to be replaced by a so-called sprawling modern metropolis (maybe like Bangalore???) and the hundreds of ancient banyans and tamarinds and neems and honges which lined the shimoga-bhadravathi road were the first casualities. The Nidige lake, which was already fast disappearing because of silt deposits and lack of maintenance was the next. People of Shimoga, especially the merchant classes who had their shop fronts on B-H road were weaving dreams of larger tourist traffic and more business for them when the axe fell on them as well. The road extension of B H Road was taken up, ironically, on Ayudha Pooja and Vijayadashami festivals. The long five day holiday week turned into a nightmare to hundreds of merchant families which lined the B H Road. Even while we were trying to recover from the crassness of the entire operation, we stole a look at the devastated road and realised that Shimogas heartland had been mauled and broken beyond all repair.

I  do not know why this should affect me so much. I have never professed to love this gossipy, nosy old town all that much. But somehow this kind of modernism drives have very sinister overtones. I cannot but recall Hitler who was a hot favourite in Germany in the 20s and the 30s because of his so called dedication to development. Maybe the millions of ordinary Germans never even dreamed that their support to  this one man could result in the deaths of more than a million innocent people. Neither can I forget another mega development guru of our own times, Narendra Modi. A government which can use a festival like Ayudha Pooja to bring down the livelihood of hundreds, a government which is run by a party which professes the Hindutva ideology and swears by Hindu culture, can itself be an instrument which has destroyed a very ancient thriving native culture is, as I said, sinister.


1 Response to "A lost Shimoga…."

Hi Vidya!!
You never told me about your blog!!! I am very angry!!!! 😦
Nice postings. I will follow regularly now on.

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