Travel to Peninsular India: Hyderabad Cyberabad
Although Bangalore was first out of the hi-tech gate, many Indian cities have now joined the race for information-technology jobs. Hyderabad's one of them, and the results are incredible to anyone who remembers the city 20 years ago.
For a sketch of the city then, see In the Nizam's Dominions.
It began here, at Cyber Tower, ten miles northwest of the city. The highway signs point to Hi-Tech City, and if the name is tacky, the buildings themselves would be right at home in Silicon Valley. This one is occupied by Microsoft and other tenants.
You thought that was flashy?
Until a few years ago, this was scrub-covered and almost worthless land.
Tidy lawn: a rarity in South Asia.
Rather than commute from the city, some of the workers have moved out here.
A better view of the place.
The effects are felt back in Hyderabad, of course. Here's a shopping center at Abids, the long-time commercial center.
Twenty years ago, Abid's looked like this. Go back another 50 years and you would have found merchants selling Buicks and English hunting boots, tweeds and fine shotguns. This sign, in a style once characteristic of Hyderabad, was removed by the early 1990s.
On the other hand, if you want a latte, there's no problem. (It's better than what you get from you-know-who.)
Different strokes for.... well, the classic orders have a deep and mysterious appeal in Asia, where they are adapted in ways that would convulse a European architect.
If there's a weak link in India's rush to development, it's government. Many governments, including Andhra Pradesh's, have worked hard to support economic development, but jokes like this rest on the realization that in the process they've ignored the poor, who will have their revenge at the polls.
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