Thursday, February 19, 2004
Re: Bangalorean code-writers

The divorce and suicide have less to do with code-writing (or the job pressures), and more to do with the dissipate lifestyle that is most popular in the software professional community in Bangalore. A wholesome social environment and activity can absorb anything. Its all in the mind. A few years ago, I read that one of the biggest reasons Hyderabad wasn't able to attract IT business from B'lore was that Hyd did not have the same kind of "night life" with all the pubs, swingers, etc. Now I hear that sort of culture has transplanted itself successfully in Hyd too. The situation in the Indian countryside is also pretty bad, and has been so for a while now.

I want to emphasize that this is not how it has always been. Shri Aurobindo wrote this on March 31, 1908:

"The Indian peasantry have always been distinguished from the less civilised masses of Europe by their superior piety, gentleness, sobriety, purity, thrift and native intelligence. They are now being brutalised by unexampled oppression; attracted to the liquor shops which a benevolent [British]Government liberally supplies, bestialised by the example of an increasingly immoral aristocracy and gradually driven to the same habits of looseness and brutality which disgrace the European proletariats. This degeneration is proceeding with an alarming rapidity. In some parts of the country it has gone so far that recovery seems impossible.... We have heard of villages where the liquor shop and the prostitute, institutions unknown twenty-five years ago, have now the mastery of the poorest villagers. Many of the villages in West Bengal are now well supplied with these essentials of Western civilisation.... These conditions of the worst districts tend to become general and unless something is done to stem the tide of evil, it will sweep away the soul of India in its turbid current and leave only a shapeless monstrosity of all that is worst in human nature."

Clearly, it is a question of what values and culture are held up in society. When the elite dresses itself up in such filth, you can expect the rest to follow. We've been independent now, but for the last 50 yrs the "native" elite has not changed too much. The current economic development can have a multiplier effect and so these are crucial times -- will the upwardly mobile youth imitate the leftover Westernized elite, or will they form a new elite rooted in Indian culture?

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