‘There is a village here; will it be retained or will it be demolished?'

When Rohini Nilekani moved to Koramangala in 1998, it was a very different neighbourhood from what it is now. Covered in green, it used to be an idyllic location, quiet and friendly, and also on the ‘outskirts' of the city.

“It used to be on the fringes of action and famed for its lovely greenery. How things have changed!” says Rohini, former journalist and co-founder of Pratham, a non-profit organisation that produces high-quality, low-cost books for children in regional languages.

Hub of activity

Now Koramangala is a hub of activity and boasts of over 400 restaurants apart from other businesses and commercial establishments. There even used to be an industrial estate in the neighbourhood, though Rohini believes that it could be in the process of being shut down.

So, what is it that ticks for the neighbourhood? For one, it still has a fair amount of greenery, she says, describing beloved 3{+r}{+d} Block as “an island of peace”.

Activism

One of the best things about it is that in the last two years or so, citizens have become very active, much like they are in Mumbai. Rohini adds that “one gets everything one is looking for in the neighbourhood”.

Initiatives

As for citizen's initiatives, she is involved in the community “to some extent”. She contributes financially to the development of the neighbourhood park. The community is also active in trying to revive an old tank, which “is a wise idea”. There are many good leaders in the community, she feels, who do a good job of ensuring their civic duty is fulfilled.

Concern

A point of concern for Rohini, however, is whether the area will retain its inclusive nature. “There is a village down here. But will it be retained or will it be demolished and will Koramangala become increasingly an upper-class bastion?” she says.

The same applies to the large slums around the area, she adds.

But as for now, she maintains it is still one of the best neighbourhoods to live in Bangalore.

Keywords: Koramangala

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Up CloseApril 13, 2011