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‘Story of ignited minds, history and innovation’ — Bengaluru gets new tech & innovation museum

The museum, a Karnataka govt project, is still in planning stage. It will cover Bengaluru’s journey from an important commercial hub in 16th century to an IT centre in the 21st. 

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Bengaluru: The city of Bengaluru will soon get a technology and innovation museum, the first of its kind in India. Built on the lines of Bezos Centre for Innovation in Seattle, US, and the Peres Centre for Peace & Innovation in Tel Aviv, Israel, the Bengaluru museum will showcase the journey of India’s IT capital and those behind its achievements.

The museum, a Karnataka government project, is still in the planning stage.

“I want to tell the story of all ignited minds of Karnataka, the history and journey of innovation,” said Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj S. Bommai, speaking at the opening of the Bengaluru Design Festival on Thursday. “It will showcase what Bangalore is today, the people who are responsible for it and their achievements.”

Bengaluru has a rich history with many stories around even how it got its name — some say it was because Veera Ballala Raya-II of the Hoysala Dynasty called it “Benda Kaluru”, or city of boiled beans, between the 12th and 13th centuries.

The museum will also cover the city’s rapid rise as an important commercial hub since the 16th century and, more recently, its growing significance on the global stage as one of the biggest technology hubs in the world.

Historians say the museum should be able to “recreate the experience” that a book or pictures may not be able to.

“The history period (of Bengaluru) is low compared to London, Rome and other cities. The history of Bangalore (Bengaluru) is colourful and they (the government) should recreate it,” Bengaluru-based historian Suresh Moona said.

He also added that the government should protect the city’s heritage and not view it only from the perspective of real estate, and bring a diverse set of people to set up the museum that would encapsulate Bengaluru’s ethos within its walls.

Also Read: Bangalore today is like a shy kid forced to be an extrovert

Where culture & heritage meets engineering and innovation 

The museum will come up at the site of the now defunct New Government Electrical Factory (NGEF) in Byappanahalli in east Bengaluru, according to the chief minister.

This 105-acre parcel of land was once a hub of industrialisation, which the city was known for, with noteworthy neighbours — such as the now-defunct Indian Telecom Industries (ITI), which did not survive the technology revolution, and the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), which continue to thrive.

The effort to pursue the proposal for the museum, it appears, is to highlight the more favourable aspects of the city, and take the sting out of its more unfavourable ones, which include its crumbling infrastructure, decline in quality of life and rapid loss of green cover due to unregulated and unplanned urbanisation.

Over the years, some of the city’s heritage structures — like the Bangalore Palace, the Central Library, and Town Hall, among others — have survived this urbanisation, but several others, like Villa Pottipati and Krumbiegel Hall, among others, have either crumbled from years of neglect or been razed to make way for a new and modern city.

“In Bengaluru, there is art, culture, heritage, engineering, innovation and creativity. But there is a need to bring them together. The result of this coordination must become the designs of Brand Bengaluru,” Bommai added.

Bengaluru is the “strongest start-up ecosystem in India” and eighth globally, according to the Global Startup Ecosystem Index by Israel-based StartupBlink. Companies like Ola, Swiggy, Byju’s, and scores of others have thrived here.

(Edited by Zinnia Ray Chaudhuri)

Also Read: ‘Hunger games’ in Bengaluru as home rents spike. Spruce up your LinkedIn, brokers are watching


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