There is the story of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiao Bao’s visit to Mumbai in 2005. He had been told that Mumbai was “India’s Shanghai”. Looking out of his window as the plane landed, a bewildered Mr Wen asked an aide whether this was in fact Mumbai and wondered aloud, “Why do they call it India’s Shanghai?”
The sorry state of our best cities is a commentary on many aspects of India’s political economy and fiscal priorities. However, in recent years, there is recognition that we must reverse this, that cities are important and that there are huge positive externalities in urban development for employment generation and economic development.
Yet, the interests of a city rarely figure in the political calculations of most of India’s political parties. Kolkata and Mumbai stand testimony to the decline of two great cities as a consequence of the misplaced priorities of successive governments in these states. New Delhi has been relatively spared because it is the national Capital and a large part of its administration has been delinked from state-level political pressures and priorities.
It is against this background that one must appreciate the rise of cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad, howsoever limited their rise may seem against the even more impressive rise of south-east Asian cities. [italics mine].
howsoever limited. that's the part of the article that should make us pause and think a little. if sanjaya baru, who says that 'four decades ago, I also walked the streets of Hyderabad declaring, like many teenage students, Pachchi pulusoo khayengey, Telangana leyengey (We will subsist on soup, but secure Telangana)', believes hyderabad must be protected by converting it into a union territory, one needs to think a lot.
if things in the city remain as they are, when any politician could impose a bandh on its citizens on any given day...or forget politicians, any random teacher or professor who hasn't been to a classroom in long years or even any random student leader who hasn't finished his first year in college can call for a bandh and depend on politicians and their henchmen, for whatever reasons, to enforce it, i'm sure many more people would start agreeing with mr.baru before long.