When the fabled founder of Bangalore, Kempe Gowda, set out to build his dream city in the early sixteenth century, his mother gave him two instructions: Keregalam kattu, marangalam nedu. Build lakes, plant trees. Gowda built a hundred lakes and tined the wide avenues of the city with leafy trees. A couple of centuries later, the verdant city, with its benevolent climate, attracted the attention of the British who chose it as the headquarters for the oldest of the three engineering groups of the army.
After India gained independence, Bangalore became known as a pensioners' paradise. In the early 1980s, the city reinvented itself once again, this time as the home of some of the world's most outstanding entrepreneurs. Very rapidly, aided by the dozens of engineering schools that had sprouted in the city since Independence, Bangalore became the hub of India's information technology (IT) revolution. The IT industry even changed the city's name from a noun to a verb; Barack Obama publicly objected to American jobs being 'Bangalored'.
in the twenty-first century, the city is trying to cope with the problems that have accompanied its explosive growth, and enormous success—crumbling infrastructure, traffic jams, soaring real estate prices, corruption and chaos. Despite the challenges it faces, Bangalore continues to be one of the world's most distinctive and interesting cities. T. J. S. George walks us through both 'old' and 'new' Bangalore—from gleaming skyscrapers and lively dance studios to colonial-era bungalows marked by quaint little name-stones, from legendary eating places like Koshy's and Mavalli Tiffin Room (MTR) to shining new eateries that serve craft beer.
Lucid, insightful and deeply felt, Askew is a refreshingly original took at a beloved and beleaguered city.
T. J. S. George is a journalist who began his career at the Free Press Journal in 1950, and was the founding editor of Asiaweek. He established himself as a serious political author and biographer with a series of major books, including M. S. Subbulakshmi: The Definitive Biography, The Life and Times of Nargis and Krishna Menon: A Biography. At present, he is editorial adviser to the New Indian Express. A proud Bangalorean for nearly forty years (where he lives with his wife, Ammu), he received the state's Rajyotsava Award in 2007.
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