The Dharwad town in the state of Karnataka, hitherto renowned as a pensioner’s paradise, looks to have lost the popular tag over a period of time. All old-timers who had had the privilege of being born here, did the schooling and left it forever in search of green pastures are bound to be dejected, sad and perplexed at the way the now bustling city has transformed itself into.
No traces of the villages now: In fact, the town Dharwad came into being with the clubbing of 13 villages like Saidapur, Gulaganji Koppa, Malapur, Kamalapur, Haveripet, Hebballi Agasi, Hosayellapur, Madarmaddi, Malamaddi, Saptapur, Sadhanakeri among others. These localities remained isolated from one another during the early seventies. But now, you hardly knd any gap between them with unhindered growth in all possible directions.
Prof traces rural instincts: Dr BH Rajoor, head of the department, Department of Economics, Karnataka University, Dharwad, in spite of having settled down here, had not ventured into the typical old Dharwad. Incidentally, he happened to visit one such locality, recently. He was taken aback at the rustic locale and found it interesting to experience the village in a city.
Pelt a stone and it will hit a writer’s home: There was a saying in Dharwad that translates to: “If you throw a stone in any locality of the town, it is bound to fall on a writer’s house!” That was also an indication of the cultural luxury the upcoming town boasted of. Not that, these days there are no authors left. But these days they look to be outnumbered by the spurt of overnight literates over social networking sites. Dr BH Nagoor regrets: “These days the younger generation has no time to make in- depth studies”.
Vidya Kashi of North Karnataka: Dharwad was once regarded as the “Vidya Kashi” of the whole of northern Karnataka region comprising former Mumbai Karnataka and Hyderabad Karnataka regions.
Karnataka University, the only varsity of these regions attracted young boys and girls intending to pursue higher education.
Thanks to Sam Pitroda and his vision of at least one university to every district, all districts in the state now boast of multiple universities, public and private ones!
Universities in abundance: From one university at a time, the town went on acquiring new ones over a period of time. University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Karnataka State Law University (KSLU), Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) has come up along with industrial hubs like Belur Industrial Area on the outskirts.
Residential areas pave way for Tutorials, PGs’, and Colleges…: As a result, now the centre of knowledge looks to have entirely transformed into a busy business place in the name of education. Some of the wholly residential areas have made way for Tutorial Classes, PGs’, mushrooming of private colleges, residential school/colleges, eateries and what not. Basavaraj Sugandhi, now with Aqueus Aerospace Company and who once rejoiced gate crashing to palls’ homes in Saptapur during his school days, laments: “These days, there are no houses left there. All along the area, you can only knd commercial ventures”.
Guava, Sapota and Mango orchards vanish: Navalur village on the way to Hubballi was known for its special variety of Guava, Sapota and Aapus (Alphonso) variety of Mangoes. Now also you can knd people selling these fruits on the road. But locals say that all these are sourced from elsewhere as the orchards have vanished to realtors.
Pedha shops all over the city: Long back, one had to wait for hours together before the tiny Babusingh Pedha shop to get half a kg of delicious Pedha. Only half a kg; Yes, because late Babusingh’s son believed in catering to more numbers with the self-proclaimed ration system. The wait used to be worthwhile as the mouthwatering sweets lasted for more than a week. These days, you go to any nook and corner; you will knd shops selling Pedha. The quantity has gone up in a tremendous manner and likewise the quality as well!
Dharwad and Mother Earth continue to weep: This morning went for an early morning walk in the hitherto areas covered with lush green kelds with a variety of rain- fed crops. To my astonishment and shock the former kelds, Mango orchards had gone missing and in their place had come up new residential areas. Most of them appeared to be without planning and with scant respect to any town planning norms. Less than a handful of them looked like authorized layouts. In between the layouts, some patches of kelds continue to exist. But they were knding themselves odd with their newfound neighbours’…
…The pathetic plight of the farmlands brought tears and reminded me of my 88 years old mother crippled with partial paralysis on the right portion. Yet, she continues to be on her own. She moves around her room, eats with her left hand, goes to the bathroom without troubling or bothering anyone. But the tragic part is, she has lost her speech, literally struggles to talk, and does all possible signs to make you understand in vain. Realizing, you have understood nothing, she slaps herself on her mouth, forehead and chest and cries…
…To me, it looked the pathetic plight of the kelds is by and large similar. Mother Earth is crumbled, squeezed and strangulated, but unfortunately, she has no voice of her own. In spite of all unthinkable onslaught and deterioration over her, she continues to remain a blind, dumb and deaf spectator. Maybe, she is trying to express in her own way. But, where are the listeners?