Migration & Barkurians

MIGRATION & BARKURIANS………some facts and few effects…..

At leisure, had an habit of looking back to our fore fathers and, many of us can notice we the Coastal Christians and more so Barkurian’s are attracted to migration, from time to time, in search of better pastures - may it be higher education, a rewarding career, high standard of living, better health and wealth……That’s the reason we are now found everywhere and scattered in every nook and corner of this globe.  Surely it’s not an easy task, adjust to a new place, surrounding and atmosphere or climate, but we are very flexible, friendly, adjustable, and tolerable and will be part and parcel of the new place, mingle with people very easily, irrespective of caste, color or religion. Moreover we are very quick to learn any foreign language and their customs and practices……!

Migration may be to neighboring Brahmmavar or Sastan, Kallianpur or Udupi……for that matter home away from home in Bombay or Bangalore, and of course more eligible and brave in US, Canada, Australia etc…….!

What I have noticed and realized is, Barkurian’s too established, flourished in a big way – in prosperity and recognition elsewhere, than at their own Barkur, with very few exceptions. We congratulate each and every one of you……in union we kept the Barkurian flag flying high….!

A quick look back at History:                         

Not long ago but about 300 odd years back, our ancestors were the natives of Goa and Konkan regions of Maharastra. Thanks to evangelical work of dedicated Portuguese Missionaries - our forefathers accepted Christianity as a way of life. Political, religious, social, commercial compulsions compelled or influenced them to come down on the coastal Karnataka. Hardworking and enterprising Christians flourished economically over the years, as progressive agriculturists, few as landlords, till the infamous captivity of Catholics by Tippu the Sultan of Mysore in 1784. Once British re-established their sovereignty over the region in the beginning of 19th Century and the introduction of new education system, opened broader ways to Catholics and there started two way migration – one group of artisans to Western Ghats up to Bangalore and even Kolar, especially to then famous Mysore city the capital of princely state, in towns like Kollegal, Nanjanagud, Chennapatna etc and other group mainly middle class, to say educated elite, primarily the youngsters to Bombay.

A parallel Barkurian Society in Mumbai:                                       

 Education, I said played a bigger role in the progress of earlier two generations, National High School established in 1948 is mainly responsible for this sea change in the life of average Barkurian. Next 30 years, so to say, since 1950 till 1980, exodus of Youngsters to Mumbai, an unwritten rule after SSLC its to Bombay,  in large number prompted many of them, with hard work who succeeded to climb the ladder of success, to go for a permanent dwelling, eventually to replace clubs / kotri to flats or apartments.

When my generation Barkurians of 80’s reached Mumbai, already there were some 150 plus families settled in different parts of Mumbai. This period also marked by yet another landmark development – Gulf boom. This was the time every household of Barkur had one or two, finding a job in Middle East countries. In the beginning, Kuwait was the place very attractive. Then many Barkurians preferred UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia. In Bahrain and Qatar also Barkurians were fortunate to find decent opportunities. Living with a family was a luxury and expensive at that time in Gulf, hence youngsters were forced to leave their wives and kids either in Mumbai or at native Barkur. It was during this period, many enterprising Barkurians booked flats in the sub urbs of Mumbai.

Very birth of SPCYA, and today’s giant SPA are the results of this strong settlement of Barkurians in Mumbai. Today, no less than 300 families, few may hesitant to acknowledge their roots….. and substantial bachelors are hailing from Barkur, earn their living, in this metropolis.

Today is Bangalore the destination royal…..?

Till 1975, there were just half a dozen families of Barkrians, settled in this garden city. Gulf employed Barkurians showing preference to Bangalore over Mumbai during this time, both for a better education for their children, same State to cope up, and gradually for a peaceful retired life. For the next two decades this trend went on and by the end of year 2000, the number of families settled in the city crossed about 75. Today there is an equally vibrant Barkurian society. Easy overnight access to hometown Barkur, known Kannada language, serene weather of cool and calm – natural air condition, better attracted to Gulf returnee’s, suitable parks and gardens may be few reasons for the present generations’ middle-agers and youngsters’ preference over Mumbai. Situation not remained the same, city is not better than others with congestion and traffic……so also other ailments, inherent to a fast growing city……!

Settlement of Barkurians in UK, USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand…..

Progress made in IT sector in recent times spontaneously brought lot of opportunities to enterprising Barkurians, outstanding professionals in advanced countries. Rough estimate say it in clear words – no less than 100 odd families are at present settled in these nations as their new found home away from home. This startling fact too was unknown till we were exposed to internet and likes of websites etc.

A survey by the parish may throw better light on related statistics. Yet another point I noted over here, unlike many hailing from our neighboring towns, who opted for nursing profession,  made it a mission to settle in Europe and US, with very few exceptions, our girls didn’t grabbed the golden opportunity to migrate, rather happy to be contented to serve in Middle east countries.

During last decade, with no option, few elders followed their children, either one or two, often with a heavy heart, to settle in these countries, slowly adjusting and now reluctant to return….!

Barkur-on-line as a source of authentic news, knowledge and media to be linked with native Barkur:

I feel it appropriate to make a mention of my own experience couple years back. As usual was on my vacation, somehow it coincides with Christmas season in Dec every year, there was a wedding party….. and the bride’s parents roots from Barkur. While exchanging pleasantries, the topic historical Barkur cropped up. There were many unknown incidents, surrounding and involving Barkur better known to these people who left the place some 40 years back. Some even dared to contradict and referred Barkur-on-line pages, not knowing that I too involved here in a small way, some know my name, but surely not the person! In other words, there are hundreds visit these pages to satiate their curiosity, love and admiration to the place of their forefathers.                                                                                                                       

There is lot to cover, both people and place. In union, let’s put in our efforts, however small it may be to make the place Barkur, better one, attractive one and peaceful one and more known to others and ourselves, utilizing these web pages too.

Is there migration from other places to Barkur?

Compared to out-going population new entrants to our parish is nowhere matching! This is a painful fact, unfortunately hold good only with Barkur, contrary to our own surrounding Churches!! Once upon a time a large parish with 350 families, with almost 2500 parishners, today it lost its old glory. I can substantiate this claim, with one single point, with no further clarification – a parish had the proud privilege of serving two priests now reduced to one, since 1990. Surely number of families may be there for counting sake, but numbers of parishners are little more than just a 1000. Yes our parish as a family is shrinking!!!

It’s also a fact migration of Barkurians to other places contributed a lot in monetary terms. Their remittances back home has helped alleviating poverty, both its level and severity. Average standard of living of Barkurians is fairly high, with 100% literacy.

One simple example, of my own:       

Instead of fingering at others I will explain a bare fact of my own ‘Furtado Clan’. We are 6th generation settlers in Barkur – One Mr. Emmanuel Furtado, who returned or escaped from captivity from Mysore King, Tippu, settled here at Barkur around 1799 is the grand great old man. (Barkur Parish was formed in the year 1861). When I was, (5th generation) at about 9 years old, 3rd generation, decedent, viz. my grand father Gaspar Furtado breathed his last at the age of 82, in the year 1970. At that point of time there were as many as 11 Furtado Households at Barkur, with almost 65 plus members! I have funeral group photograph, to substantiate this claim. Today, just 5, (3 families totally sold out their belongings and further 3 empty houses) account for mere 15 members!

Anyone still have doubts, just check the Maryknoll Hr. Primary School and its Student strength and composition, to compare the variance…..just  a year back, in 2008, it was 80% less than what was in 1965!!

The above case hold good with majority of middle class families of Barkur and the condition of upper middle class the situation still pathetic. It is the economically poor, preferred the birthplace, and preserved the rich tradition of Barkur in them.

In my opinion, Barkur, has suffered and suffering both qualitative and quantitative demerits of migration. This brain drain, or human capital flight, I mean. by sending away the skilled professionals, the home town is a big looser. Our Catholic identity in the town itself challenged. No fresh talent, absence of effective leadership, boredom with same old faces, for decades, a cause of worry. Moreover, small families, less number of children, their diversified admission in different Schools responsible for this imbalance as well as cohesiveness.

Are there any ways and means to encounter this peculiar situation?

There is a silver lining, first grade College at Barkur, offering post graduate courses in MSW, M.Com etc must attract younger ones to study more…. and at least few to embrace teaching in this deemed University of tomorrow, when many other courses likely to be added up. Globalization and liberalization thrown out lot of new opportunities to younger ones – educated need not go out, even go out, need not leave out Barkur…….Manipal, Udupi even Mangalore are nearby cities embracing for drastic change, surely offer new employment hopes……. Better net work of Roads connecting remote villages to be taken up….this will encourage likely sellers, to hold their properties…… Likely up-gradation of State Highway to be National Highway connecting Udupi – Barkur - Shimogga – Bangalore will be a boon in coming days with increased frequency of Buses and public transport….. Well maintained Railway station at Barkur, a perfect link to Mumbai, may be utilized extensively…..

Friends, the above are my personal observation. At times, either situations force us or conveniences attract us to settle in new places / countries, absolutely nothing wrong…. But let us not forget or pretend to forget the place we born and grown…..we at Barkur-on-line just doing the same in a small way to keep you connected to your roots…..

On behalf of Barkur-on-line Team & ICYM Barkur Ex-Members Association,

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