BENGALURU: The decade 2010-19 saw Mysore becoming Mysuru, Hubli Hubballi, Bijapur Vijayapura, and Bangalore Bengaluru.
Mysuru welcomed bespectacled 22-year-old Boston graduate Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar as the 27th titular head of the royal Wadiyar family.
Karnataka also saw the downfall of ‘King of Good Times’ Vijay Mallya who fled India following heavy losses, leaving thousands of employees of his Kingfisher Airlines in despair.
After the tragic end of Mallya’s empire, another sad news was the suicide of 60-year-old coffee baron VG Siddhartha. The man who once showed the world that “anything can happen over a cup of coffee”, ended his life by jumping into the Netravati river near Mangaluru.
The state saw the worst droughts and worst floods in decades. While governments changed, the plight of farmers and those who lost their livelihood in natural calamities remained pathetic.
On a brighter note, 2010-19 will be remembered as the “Social Media Decade” for Bengaluru and the rest of Karnataka. Although launched in the previous decade (Facebook was founded in 2004, YouTube in 2005 and Twitter in 2006), social media platforms saw tremendous success and popularity in the decade just gone by.
People of the state firmly integrated themselves with the global culture, riding on smart-phones, which came into prominence in these 10 years.
Smart-phones permanently changed the lives of millions across Karnataka, transforming internet from part-time convenience to an inseparable part of daily life. Social media integrated itself into societies across the world to the point that its absence is now unthinkable.
Of course, with that has come gaming addictions and PubG related deaths, Blue Whale challenges, Tik Tok blues -- which is a fresh challenge to overcome.
Hub of start ups, Biotech
The already flourishing information technology industry boomed further during 2010-19 with 9,346 tech start-ups launched since 2010, at least 5,541 of them in the last three years alone. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while inaugurating the 107th Indian Science Congress, said Bengaluru, the City of Gardens, has emerged as a field for -- and a hub of -- start-ups in the country.
C N Ashwath Narayan, Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for IT, BT and S&T says tech startup cluster has attracted a good number of investors.
“Bengaluru startups have raised over $31 billion in the last decade, which is over 45 per cent of the total investment that flowed into the Indian startup ecosystem. Since 2016, the city has witnessed more capital inflow (over $20 billion) than Delhi and Mumbai combined,” he says.
The city’s meteoric rise to being the largest technology hub in India continued in the 2010-19 decade too. The minister says, with the highest number of biotech companies in India choosing to locate in Karnataka, the state is a natural hot bed for innovation, growth and monetisation in the field making it the No.1 Biotech hub.
Noticeable too was the way corporate culture changed in the 2010-19 decade. More transparency was brought in. But the last two years saw an economic slowdown too with hundreds of employees laid off.
Kapil Sharma, chief sales officer, Collabera Technologies Private Limited, says: “Bengaluru has over the last decade acquired a reputation of being the best launchpad for progressive HR policies like longer paternity leave, recruitment of transgenders, remote working to keep a smart, young and highly skilled workforce motivated and energized to work on meaningful problems,” he says.
Brightening education and health
In education, the state saw some landmark developments. Space scientist and former chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, K Kasturirangan, who was also the chairperson of the nine-member Karnataka Knowledge Commission drafted the National Education Policy.
The 400-page document hopes the government will adopt and declare a national policy on education in 2020.
Introduction of RTE brought many labourers’ and migrants’ children back to school. Schemes like midday meal ensured they got nutrition and did not miss classes.
Health-wise, several new technologies like gene editing and robotic surgeries, new policies by Niti Aayog, introduction of Ayushman Karnataka for BPL card holders have been a good turning point with the state topping in the analysis of the government’s think-tank on healthcare.
Sandalwood emerged big in the decade just gone by. Non-commercial films and parallel cinemas attracted audiences to multiplexes and single-screen theatres.
Kannada cinema also started reaching international audience in the decade.
Films like KGF, starring Yash made it international. About 220 Kannada films were released in 2019 alone, said to be the highest in any regional language.
But when it came to hits, it was around five to six, says noted actor, director and producer Rishabh Shetty who directed and produced many hits including Kirik Party and Sarkari Hiriya Prarthamika Shale.
“Till late 90s, many parallel movies and experimental movies directed by Puttanna Kanagal and Shankar Nag were well-accepted by the audience. Later, commercial movies, mainly action-oriented ‘masala’ movies started to come”, he says.
“It’s not that parallel cinema was not made in this duration, but that was restricted to awards and special screenings, and they did not reach the audience. It was assumed that commercial movies are for the audience,” he feels.
The domination of commercial films continued till 2010, but in the last one decade, parallel cinema picked up, he said.
Kannada goes big
With the easy availability of smart-phones, more people turned to e-literature in Kannada. Writers, most of them from younger generations, hooked to writing and using Kannada in their social media handles or blogs.
Many creative writers started writing using their mobile phones. Kannada was never used this big beofre. But writer Chandrashekar Kambar says e-literature caused a lack in depth in poetry.
Upswing on highways, energy
There was a lot of positive in highway development and energy sectors in the last decade.
Karnataka is on the threshold of becoming an electricity surplus state after being short of power for well over three decades, largely thanks to the focus on tapping renewable sources of energy, particularly wind and solar.
“It is often said that a political party ruling at the Centre never really entertains the concerns and requests of a state which is ruled by an opposition party. In the case of Karnataka, it is a different story altogether in the matter of electricity generation and supply with the Union and the State Governments working together under the aegis of the 24x7 electricity programme,” said a senior official from the energy department.
Karnataka cricket owned the decade, filling their trophy cabinet with domestic titles. They won Ranji Trophy, Irani Trophy, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy twice each and Vijay Hazare Trophy four times. Karnataka has been a regular supply line for the national team. After legend Rahul Dravid last played in 2012, Manish Pandey, KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal are India regulars now.
City-based franchises were icing on the cake with Bengaluru Bulls winning the Pro Kabaddi League while Bengaluru Raptors were crowned Premier Badminton League champions in 2019.
Rohan Bopanna became the only tennis player from Karnataka to win a Grand Slam title. He partnered Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski to win the 2017 French Open mixed doubles title.
(With inputs from Bismah Malik & Ashim Sunam)