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Friday, 12 July 2013

Bakrapur to UB City - The legend of Urban Baba

Chapter 1

Welcome to Bakrapur


Welcome to Bakrapur. The residents abhor it being called so.  It was previously called Barakapur, which meant a blessed place, but thanks to an insensitive English surveyor it became Bakrapur. In mythology, it was called Asuradhama later named as Barakapur by invaders from Arab.   These days most urbanites call it the Urban Baba’s City (UB City). The rationalists jeer by saying `it is more sensible to have an UB product, than to believe in Urban Baba’. Bakrapur is located on the seaside and is connected by NH 333. A few years back it was a god forsaken place but a beautiful one, surrounded by hills; lots of greenery and seashore making it a peninsula. Unpolluted air; a clear water lake; loud chirping of the birds; spectacular visions of sunrise and sunset were once part of Bakrapur. Now, it is a concrete jungle with most of its natural beauty torn apart.

In the folklore of Bakrapur, the place and hills were cursed. The hills are called `Asura Parvath’. The Asura King `AnAsura’ won many wars against the Devas. He usually camped on these mountains. As always, in the end, the Devas vanquished him.  One of the gods cursed the hills as well as Bakrapur with famine and obscurity.  On pleading, he blessed the village with greenery and water.  However, he said that the curse of obscurity will go only when the hills are brought down. The hills were in no hurry to disappear and to save themselves, gave shelter to a lot of wild animals; poisonous reptiles and even evil spirits of the Asuras. To save villagers from dangers of the hills, Sage Viparasya created a lake with mystic powers, as a barrier.  The villagers never crossed the lake and they believed that occupants of the hills could never get into the village because of its mystic powers.  As always with beliefs, don’t question the fact that the village is infested with snakes and various other reptiles. To add mystery to the myth, it was rumoured that a few British Botanists did cross the lake but never returned.

Bakrapur is a sort of place where but for the sun; day and night meant the same. If anybody died in his sleep, people would not come to know of it until the corpse started stinking. The major occupation was farming. Very few middlemen brought anything from there, thanks to it being cursed by the gods. Most of the food produced was consumed by the villagers themselves. A few enterprising locals sold the produce on the highway, to unsuspecting travelers.

Bakrapur had its customary temple, blacksmith, carpenter and a goldsmith too!!! There was a village of fishermen near the seashore, who were perceived descendants of the Asuras and they made good money. Obviously, nobody had problem devouring delicacies fished out by the descendants of Asuras. To complicate matters, a few of them had converted to other religions. Hence, they were outcasts and never figured in maters of Bakrapur. Bakrapurians were always thirsting for the fishermen’s blood. The place was cursed with obscurity but its citizens were neither immune to the national craze for gold nor society’s obsession with caste and religion.
In pre UB days, an evening in Bakrapur was an arithmetician’s delight because he could count every nano-second of it. The children, heaped mud, built make believe mountains and later demolished them. The elders engaged themselves in listless stories about the legend of Bakrapur. The women gossiped endlessly about the joy and gaiety in other villages. Once the village slept, it resembled an uninhabited planet.



Thanks to the powers of Urban Baba, The `Asura Pravath’ of today is all but gone. What once looked like a buxom South Indian heroine, today, resembles a size zero model in Paris.  There are few animals and reptiles left in the hills. The evil spirits of the Asuras have been replaced with the mining mafia. The lake is full of slush and rock. Bakrapur now is a buzzing mining city. The residents were happy that the curse of obscurity on their place was finally negated. They were happier about the fact that they made double the money by selling their lands, than all their forefathers put together had made by toiling on them. Urban Baba in the eyes of Bakrapurians is a notch above god.


Mining means money, it also means hogging the core of nature.  Mining increased bank balances of the residents but reduced size of the hills. Mangroves along the seashore were replaced with beach resorts and consequently increased spread of the nearby sea. Even a strong tidal wave meant flooding in the fishermen villages. However, they being perceived descendents of the Asuras had to live with it. When mining mafia wanted to besiege Bakrapur, the first thing UB did was to fuel the hatred Bakrapurians had for the fishermen and incite communal riots. Massive clashes broke out and the fishermen were massacred like wild elephants would trample a banana plantation. Men were slaughtered ruthlessly; women raped brutally and children orphaned. The dissenting voices were effectively silenced and the remaining minority, for fear of their lives and honour, heaped praises on UB. UB and his supporters showcased with a lot of pride praise given by the pulverized fisherman community.

You have heard about many Babas’ but Urban Baba (UB) is unique. For someone who came to Bakrapur in an onion lorry, having a fleet of red Ferrari’s parked outside his Enlightenment Terminal (Ashram in normal words) was a huge achievement. UB was not just about the Ferrari cars parked outside his Enlightenment Terminal (ET). He did not perform any of those routine miracles babas’ did yet the blind faith people had in Urban Baba (UB) justified the English surveyor’s foresight in naming the place as Bakrapur. He could entice the gullible; enable the well connected and embalm err even out his rivals. Numerous videos of him taking bribes on behalf of politicians; plotting murders; fixing cricket matches and in compromising positions with females were played on prominent television channels. He was even arrested a couple of times but these slurs only increased the profile of politicians, businessmen and most importantly celebrity females coming into his fold.

What did he do to get to this position? Was he a business man? Yes, he did business of faith. Exploiting others? Yes, exploiting their lack of self confidence. Misleading people? Yes, misleading those who cannot lead themselves. In this country, even the most educated will believe that human shit, if properly used, can generate 1, 00,000 MWs of power every year. All that you require is pungent oratory skills; an aggressive body language; a few boot licking industrialists to finance your campaign and a media which thrives on sponsored news. UB had all these requirements in abundance. He could get away with killing hundreds of fishermen who protested taking over of their land for crony industrialists on the grounds of religion. Any attempts to question such acts were countered ferociously, both online and offline by his bakths across the globe. He would pay a flying visit to a flood ravaged or famine ridden area and his bakths would go hyper, both online and offline, with absurd claims of UB’s benevolence. UB on his part would neither deny nor accept the claims.

This is Bakrapur Today, where what matters hardly meets the eye and even moonlight has a very loud presence. 

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Banglaore, Karnataka, India