Outsiders are coming
Columns, In Black & White

Outsiders are coming

September 4, 2021

[Migrants to Mysore]

The recent incident of gang rape and armed robbery has triggered a new topic of conversation in Mysuru, a conversation that was for the most part limited to Bengaluru — the “outsider” problem.

On hearing the news about rape and armed robbery, many Mysureans said it could not have been committed by Mysureans. Two common assumptions were  — “Mysureans don’t have the guts to commit such a heinous crime” and  “Mysureans don’t have such a violent mindset.” These assumptions are not true.

We do have a record of heinous crimes being committed by locals, but for the most part, they are connected to their line of business — a real estate deal gone wrong, a drunken brawl, political rivalry, debt collection etc. It never really affected the common man. But now the random act of violence by criminals from outside States on innocent citizens has triggered a fear of the “outsider.” 

Fearing outsiders or being wary of them is one of our oldest, built-in psychological tendencies. In pre-historic times, this distrust may have made us vigilant and kept our communities safe but in modern times this ingrained fear leads to bigotry and a disharmonious society.  

As for Mysuru, whether we like it or not folks, the outsiders are coming and they will come steadily over the next decade. 

As our airport functions regularly, the 10-lane highway opens and with more trains coming in, we are becoming a well-connected city, with that we become a ‘welcoming city’ — Welcoming industries and employees from all over the country. 

According to the 2011 census, 48 percent of Mysuru’s population was migrant. Back then, our population was  9.2 lakh of which 4.5 lakh people claimed to be migrants. Of this, 90% were migrants from other parts of Karnataka and only 10% came from other States. Now it must be much more. 

When there is development, immigration follows, this is the inevitable reality of modern cities. Cities grow, industries come and then the chain reaction begins — employees follow, construction activities start, labourers come, slums form, traffic increases, so also pollution, and then crime. 

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But before we feel good old Mysuru is doomed and feel gloom, there is hope, only  if the Government is prepared for this urban onslaught. On the bright side, it is an opportunity to make Mysuru a well-planned modern city.  

The Government should have a Comprehensive Development Plan for Mysuru in the next year. Yes, there is one, but it needs much reworking. The Government can have an expert panel that can take some sound decisions to make our city livable and sustainable such as not blindly allowing any type of industry into the city. Choose ones that don’t pollute and hurt our image as a clean city or damage heritage structures. 

Or make building laws that allow more floors so the city grows vertically which means less financial and structural burden to the City Corporation when it comes to providing electricity, water and drainage.  Of course, all this away from important heritage structures in the heart of the city like it’s done in Paris and other heritage-rich cities. 

Also Mysuru City Corporation could be split up,  one for North Mysuru and another for South Mysuru. 

Most important, prepare the Slum Board to be more effective. More construction activities means more labourers from all over the country, which means they’ll pitch a tent in public spaces meant for parks and other public services. 

Finally, Mysuru will need a bigger Police force. A more responsible, stringent and accountable Police because there are going to be political conflicts. 

As immigrants come they tend to congregate, live and thrive in one area. After a while, once they have the numbers, they won’t elect a local Kannadiga leader anymore, it could be a Tamil leader in a Tamil-dominated Ward or a Bihari leader in a Ward dominated with immigrants from that State. This will lead to unrest, unless you have a strong law and order protocol in place. 

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Immigrants can be seen in a negative light as ushering in over-population, pollution and dilution of local culture. Also temporary migrant workers  and non-local industries don’t have a sense of belonging to the city so they don’t care how they treat the city. And they usually treat it badly. But then, if it is handled well immigrants can enrich a city.  There will be new cuisines and a more culturally diverse city with new art forms and artists. 

Of course, steadily but surely you will hear more Hindi and other languages rather than Kannada. And yes, it will make an “original” Mysurean feel like an outsider in his own city. But this is only natural. While it is up to the Government to manage infrastructure and law & order issues, it is up to the people to find a way to live in harmony and the first aspect of it is language. 

The first point of friction between a local and an outsider in India is language. Since our States were created with language as their basis, each State is very proud and protective of its language, so also Karnataka. 

So, non-Kannada speakers, looking to settle down in Karnataka, will make life easy for themselves. Knowledge of the local language will help one integrate into the community, else they will always remain “outsiders.” 

Also learning the local language is a way of showing respect to the State, which endears one to the people of the State.

More importantly, the local language has an unmatched emotional and communicative value. That is why, Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, it goes to his head. But if you talk to him in his language, it goes to his heart.” So let us hope Mysuru gets immigrants who can integrate into the hearts of Mysureans.e-mail: [email protected]

5 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Outsiders are coming”

  1. Roopadarshi says:

    It is ironic talking about immigrants in Mysuru, when Mysoreans and Indians swamp in thousands in every Western countries. Many of them are techies of sorts ready to work for lower wages, bringing in families who use benefits that are on offer. Indian students in very large numbers with no intention of studying ,swamp countries like Britain, drop out mid-stream of their courses and become illegal immigrants in thousand hoping to settle permanently. In any Western country’s immigration desks the largest number of visa applicants are Indians. Indian passports are heavily scrutinised .
    Tough mate, if immigrants come from other parts in India , to Mysuru. They are doing the same as Mysoreans and others in Indians do in Western countries. Just put up with it. After all these immigrants you complain about in Mysuru are fellow- Indians.

  2. Kautilya says:

    Poor quality editorial pregnant with parochialism, at its core.
    If this concept of outsiders are practiced in the cities of America, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Indians who are certainly rank outsiders coming from a different culture and from a land of choking population of 1.3 billion souls will do no good for them. It sounds downright hypocritical. Do not go through that ‘outsider route, when thousands of Kannadigas attempt to emigrate to Western countries.
    Indians, including a large number from Karnataka are desperate to get out of their country which is mired in corruption, nepotism and caste-based maladies, and go any where to other cultures like in New Zealand, recently in massive numbers, and then start their own sanghas, and so called cultural centres, The ‘Kannada Kootas ( usually nicknamed Kallara Kootas!)’ they set up are exclusively for themselves to stay as a group not integrating with the local culture They invite Karnataka ministers , religious leaders and musicians from Karnataka to visit to celebrate festivals. They hardly have links with local cultural centres, local elected politicians or local community leaders. This happens in all the countries mentioned above.
    In a borough in London, Lingayats from Karnataka have even erected a Basaveshwara statue, That is somehow considered as progress, where as Tamilians, coming to Mysuru for example, and setting up their cultural centres is implied undesirable! Hence, thinking of those coming from outside Karnataka, from neighbouring states, setting up their own cultural centres, as ‘outsiders and their influence is purely wickedness
    Not long ago, a journalist who contributes in the SOM about Mysuru history, visited the San Francisco Bay area, and was talking about Kannada and the culture to Kannadigas who settled there. How many of these Kannadigas in the Bay area, have bothered to study the Spanish culture , and learn the Spanish language ? The same journalist in one of his articles win the SOMa was complaining about immigrants from other parts of India, settling in Mysuru, and not appreciating Mysuru past and its culture! Sheer hypocrisy. indeed! Think about a Tamil Journalist coming to Mysuru to talk about Tamil language and culture in the local Radio programme. Would this be construed as bring ing in an ‘outide’culture’ and hence considered undesirable?
    Finally, Mysoreans /Indians are no more uniquely gifted as immigrants than the Irish or Chinese. Indeed, Irish -Americans rule America, contributing many of its presidents. That tiny country contributed to hundreds of leaders in almost all English =speaking countries of the West. Britain has Indian origin finance and home ministers and the British do not consider them as ”outsiders’ In Britain America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in the education, science and tech area leaderships , there are Indian, Chinese and African leaderships. No, ‘outsider’ branding there!

  3. Kautilya says:

    Sorry, it is a column article, written by the editor.

  4. boregowda says:

    I agree, it is how well one adapts to the culture and language of the place he/she moves to. Be it be USA, Australia, UK, New Zealand, Mysuru, Bengaluru or Timbuktu. We have noticed most of the immigrants to Mysuru / Bengaluru seldom make the tiniest effort to learn the language and culture of these places and people that cause issues.

  5. boregowda says:

    Assimilation, adaptation and compromise would be the key to harmony

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