Belgaumism!

belgaum_saluteBy Swatee Jog

Bella Vista Belagavi

It is already almost the middle of Octobr and the weather has again turned languid. We all pride in the fact that Belgaum has cool climate and it’s always pleasant here even during high summers. I have met scores of people of late who have complained of being lethargic because of the weather. No elaboration is necessary to describe how many of us pull ourselves out of beds every morning with difficulty – the cold damp weather, dim-lit atmosphere and an overall drowsy feeling engulfs us. Many nights are spent listening to the pitter patter of the rain while we cancel all plans of venturing out even in the evenings for fear of getting wet. Just the day before Ganesh Chaturthi, Belgaumites who gleefully trotted to the city to make their festive purchases were caught unawares and got thoroughly drenched in the sudden downpour.

If we are going to spend 3 to 4 months in a year in this kind of weather and general dull environment, any wonder then that Belgaum has never been overly ambitious in many ways! Before the critics pounce with their admonishing, let me put a disclaimer – ambitious as compared to the fast growing cities elsewhere in the country. Belgaum has immense talent. Pick any house in the city and the odds of at least one relative working abroad or in the IT sector with a high-paying job are high. Why do people from Belgaum flourish more when they migrate elsewhere? Is the damp weather the culprit or the general lack of a hurried pace that makes us sluggish and hence contentment seeps in? Is it because we’ve had it easy in matters of commuting and housing that we don’t push our limits or is it because of the overall prosperity that allows us to lead a life devoid of pace and pulse and action? Yes, it’s true that many city-breds may envy us for this situation, for they are actually chasing the minute-hand and would give a limb for a laid back life. It’s not about the way of life, it’s more to do with what happens BECAUSE of such an environment that has affected the city’s progress. Don’t you, like me, miss a vibrant art circuit – with numerous art forms to learn and appreciate? Don’t you miss that we don’t have a single institute that would teach us beautiful languages like French and Spanish or German? Don’t you miss that we cannot access areas where we can walk and jog without making way for disturbing traffic? Don’t you miss that there is no Marathon that could motivate us out of our slumber, the way even cities like Beirut and places like Thar and Antarctica do?

I watched the Belgaum lady – Rahee Kulkarni recently on TV and felt proud of what she’s doing in Belgaum, but I did feel queasy for she was introduced as being from Pune by the TV news anchor! When will we, from Belgaum, be role models for the country? Why don’t more Belgaum students think beyond engineering-medicine-CA and of the Civil Services and the NDA or even arts or research? Now don’t bombard me with names of those who have done, it is this that I want to point out- contentment with exceptions being confused for the norm. 

Yes, we have Maitrey Kulkarni, but who else? Yes, we have Neeta Baporikar, who else? We have a Malikarjun Jagajampi whose Blackbelt in Karate and the fighting spirit and focus helped him flourish in business.
Who else? It pains because the people of Belgaum definitely have talent, the homes here have raised bright kids who can far out-perform any city kid. The education here could beat any international university and the lack of city-induced stress should have made us better performers in whatever we do. We definitely lack the fighting spirit that is evident even in a normal Mumbai or Delhi guy. If those cities, with all the muck and the hassles can produce immense talent at the national and international level, why can’t we? Show me one college student with that killer ambition, putting in hard work and striving to achieve his dream and I’ll show you ten whose idea of success is ‘any job’. The climate won’t change, nor will the political will strengthen. What is needed is a big positive impetus from the parents and teachers- to dream big, to show that every dream is possible with hard work and focused efforts, that we need to be curious and speak more and work harder to make up for what the city lacks. Contentment can come later – when we have achieved enough to look back and proudly gaze into the TV camera and say – Belgaum made me!

About the Author: Swatee Jog teaches at Bharatesh Global Business School, and her articles have been published in Mint, HT and DNA and she has also authored two books which are being published, one on management and one science book for kids.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Hello mam, thanks for the insights. As someone born in Belgaum and an ardent lover of anything in Belgaum, I wouls say Belgaum has changed….for the worse! Gone are the days where you would find smiling faces,peace loving youth…atleast most of the lot, the simplicity of thought and “character”, none from the 80s would second that, ask yourselves how would you treat a stranger in need…gone arethose days! Why???- “ccompetition”! People have suddenly “been busy” ; ” time saakagwaltu”…. In belgaum…..visit a clothing store(“branded”) and after few minutes you’ll be eyed as a “suspicious” character!! Visit the market on your two wheeler and from Chennamma circle to Khade bazaar you will face stiff competition to maintain your lane on the road and saving your tympanic membranes from the irritating honks!!! Is this a “laid back” belgaum?
    Naaaaah!now for the “fighting” spirit and “not being pushed to limits”…people from here do migrate to begger cities….and do what? Run of the mill jobs commuting hundreds of kilometres a month with bad food,bad health,bad sense of caring for loved ones,looking for easy money and on demand entertainment!? Where are we headed for!? We are not ambitious in what? Creating wealth or devising ways to spend!? The latter is but natural for small towners migrating to “big” cities. Entrepreneurial ventures are very less Belgaum-made in Belgaum itself! We need to change that. Students moving to such big cities are the best examples of all the values gone haywire! Loneliness, boredom, unnecessary exposure to “cool” stuff, a prevailing sense of “i should dress/impress/hangout” like this,here etc has made the new generation lose track of what needs to be done,when and how much is too much! Worse still, easy access to places like pubs and bars all notoriety in “ambitious” places is lacking here and touch wood, im praying it stays that way! How the younger lot is shaping up is a huge concern though people turn a blind eye and silently curse. Oldschool was better and we,the people are responsible if we are not this or “that”….nature and its phenomenon are….but, natural. Its we, the people who have become artificial!!!!

  2. Indeed we should do something about getting facilities here. Also, i will definitely remember to mention, “I come from Belgaum.” always. Thank you so much for such an inspiring article.

  3. It’s a nice article but i feel its like trying to simplify things just like that which is not fair. Beglaum is a good place & is dazzled with talent but what more is required is right attitude to build & nurture it. I believe people have to start thinking more Globally & start acting locally which is actually happening the other way around..

  4. Believe me Belgaum is a much better place compared to other cities in Karnataka (like Bellary, Bijapur, Gulbarga etc). Let it be as it is. I enjoy it.

  5. i completely disagree the way you put it , in fact i agree with ravi roa. the state you are talking about is a present day situation of every small town .. what is so belgaum about it , the whether dont think so, there are definately pros and cons to it . in general i think the article is more of a story of most of indian towns and not really about belgaum. also everyone has a pace in life. if some people have not achieved so much in life does not mean they are doing any thing in life . infact they are doing there bit for the city, country. let me put it this way a women giving up her job does not mean she is not serving the country . she staying at home and educating her kids and family is more of a service . in short the slow pace does not mean we dont have dreams .

  6. I am very Happy to read updates in “All about Belgaum”
    I am Vinod M.Uchagaonkar. working as a BelgaumOne Project Co-ordinator.
    on the date of 25th August 2010 the BelgaumOne centers has been started.And it was inaugurated hon Mr,B.S Yeduyurappa Sir,
    And that time we had launche 4 BelgaumOne centers in different locations in Belgaum.
    And now we have 5 center’s in Belgaum city.recently we had started new BelgaumOne center in Big Bazaar tilakwadi.

    So this is the request from my side,please update more information about BelgaumOne and our services.
    so if you able to come in our one of the center I’ll give you the information about our at present running services and our centers detail..
    I hope it will be help to all the viewers of “all about Belgaum”

  7. Is it so essential that everyone has to dream big ? How abt people just enjoying life ? Just as many do in belgaum ! Having been to all corners of the earth, I am a living example of ‘ coming back home’ ! Belgaum is one of the best places on earth and on who has the perspective can enjoy it the most !

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