With increasing opportunities and foreign investment in Bengaluru, the city is witnessing a major change. While people from all over India are contributing to the current diverse population of the city, a shift in its culture can also be seen. And this shift is the topic for the fourth panel of Women Writers Fest, Bengaluru 2019: Bengaluru: The City And Its Changing Culture. Speakers in this panel include Sadiqa Peerbhoy, Lakshmi Sankar, Vasanthi Hariprakash, Kirtana Kumar and Usha KR, and is moderated by Vani Mahesh.

The Culture Of Bengaluru Makes You Feel At Home

Vasanthi Hariprakash, television and radio anchor, and journalist says, ” You can just feel at home, no matter where you’re from. That is Bengaluru culture. As the city’s official alarm clock, from Monday to Friday, I feel I’m talking to a huge IT Base because you can always find people going to Electronic city on roads.”

Author Sadiqa Peerbhoy feels that Bengaluru at present isn’t a cohesive city. “Ten years from now or six years from now, it will become cohesive, because of different kinds of people coming here and finding themselves at home. The city is not cohesive as a whole, though, is cohesive in pockets, Like you go to Electronic City, the way people relate there is different. Or you go to Maleshwaram, its still very cohesive. You go to Baswantpur, its still very cohesive. But as a whole, I think Bengaluru has expanded too much and too fast, it will take time to find its identity as a city. So at present, it finds a hard foot to define what culture or what type of city Bengaluru is,” says she.

I believe there is culture, but as there are new people coming in, it is such a welcoming city, there are so many influences here, so it is a constantly growing thing. We cannot stop at a particular place and say this is Bengaluru culture- Lakshmi Sankar

The City Is Developing In Various Swings

“It is really amazing to see how the city continues to live in various different ways, and as you go out, you come to a state of the post Independence era, where you had all the public sector, the industries, organizations like ITI, HMT, HAL, which is a public sector paradise. And 50 years later, you have the IT Sector coming up. You have the Electronic city. So here we are, the city developing in various swings.”, says Author Usha KR.

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Kirtana Kumar, actor, director, and filmmaker, based in Bengaluru, who calls herself a bonafide oldtimer, says that Bengaluru’s culture today is heterogeneous. “I am a bonafide oldtimer and spent many many generations in Bengaluru. And the Bengaluru I have been through saw two distinct cultures- the city culture and the cantonment culture. The cantonment culture was diverse and I sat on the cusp of both city and cantonment so I witnessed both. Today, I believe, it has become a heterogeneous culture. I won’t mention languages since there have been a lot of languages. It is not that we don’t have a culture, the thing is that the way we identify it, that has to be explored,” she says.

Bengaluru- A Welcoming And Diverse City

 Lakshmi Sankar, founder of Atta Galatta, Bengaluru opines,” I own a small bookstore, Atta Galatta in Koramangala, and let me tell you, I do not have the guts to have started it elsewhere. I wouldn’t have been able to run this store for 7seven years, without the support of this society, which is multicultured, diverse. I started a bookstore when all other bookstores were closing down. So I believe there is culture, but as there are new people coming in, it is such a welcoming city, there are so many influences here, so it is a constantly growing thing. We cannot stop at a particular place and say this is Bengaluru culture. When we talk about culture, we think its a country thing or a city thing, but culture is a family’s culture- the values you pass on to the next generation. Bengaluru is a welcoming city, Bengaluru is diverse, I would define its culture like that. Culture is a powerful force especially in Bengaluru because you have so many voices. So many different things are happening here and this is what brings people together. This is Bengaluru culture.”

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