I have come back from Bangalore, impressed and struck by its prosperity as well as cosmopolitism. Slums are there, but not like the ones in Delhi which has hordes of them, with new ones coming up all the time. Politicians, bureaucrats and the corporate sectors are mixed up. But the nexus is so open in Delhi that some topmost families in the political field are in the background. At Bangalore, the scale is less and the involvement of top ruling families is comparatively minimal. People spend money on clothes and on eating out. Yet the number of expensively dressed people is fewer and there is no ostentation. In Delhi, it is spending money for the sake of spending and a craze for brands which is practically absent in Bangalore. People there have a sort of simplicity which the Delhites had some 40 years ago. The country of traditions and values still peers through opulent Silicon Valley of India. There is a touch of orderliness. One thing which pleased me most was that a Muslim could seek accommodation anywhere in Bangalore and get it. There is no last minute excuse to bar him on the plea that he is a non-vegetarian, an excuse given in Delhi or, for that matter, in many big cities. Traffic is bad, but not like what prevails in Delhi where it is the survival of the fittest. And one shower does not put the entire city out of gear. Even to get out of your locality in Delhi, you take 45 minutes during the rains. Bangalore has much more rains, but the drainage system is far better. In Delhi, you hear about the preparations to tackle rainwater before the monsoon. But there is hardly anything when the rains come. It is the same story year after year. Rulers and bureaucrats appear to have a nexus with contractors and most funds go to their pocket. People in Bangalore also criticise their government on the limited facilities. But they are more civic minded than the ones living in Delhi. When I compare the Karnataka state with Punjab from where I come, I find the former is better off. True, farmers earn less than the ones in Punjab. The latter are hardy and adventurous. This year when the rains have failed, their hard work would give the country as much rice as they did in the past. However, the Karnataka farmers are not addicted to booze and drugs as farmers in Punjab are. This is depriving farmers in Punjab of their land. The bug of going abroad has not bitten the Kannadas yet. The obsession of Punjabis, particularly of the Sikh youth, is to settle down in a foreign country. They will spare no effort to do so. In the process, they sell even their small land holdings. Corruption is seething in both the states and it is difficult to say which one beats the other. However, you can still find in Karnataka many civil servants who are honest. In Punjab, they can be counted on fingers, thanks to politicians. Former PM Deve Gowda, who was in the same plane in which I travelled from New Delhi to Bangalore, told me how the owners of Bellary mines had corrupted the public life in the state and how there was an illegal makeover of Bangalore-Mysore corridor that has left slum dwellers on the road and the Supreme Court (SC) helpless. It is a scandal which should have rocked the nation, but it did not is the complaint of Gowda. True, corruption in by the corporate sector is galling in Karnataka. Justice N Santosh Hegde, the state's Lokayuktha, was more telling while exposing the entire political machinery for corrupting the society. He pointed out that, on the one hand, PM Manmohan Singh declared there would zero tolerance on corruption and, on the other, he had removed or eased the laws relating to corruption. New Delhi has again brought back the legislation that an official of the rank of joint secretary and above cannot be touched even for inquiry without the government's prior permission. The SC had rejected this distinction. The law has been challenged before it but awaits disposal. In the meanwhile, the BJP ruling party in the state, is doing all it can to saffronise the society. The fight put up by the secular forces is equally strong, but the government machinery is on the BJP side. Since the Kannada people are not a biased lot, the BJP would find it hard to have its Hindutva methods making any headway. If the BJP does not mend its way and goes on needling Muslims and other minorities, I would not be surprised if the party is defeated at the polls next time. One thing disturbing from the point of India's unity I found in Karnataka was more use of English in place of Hindi or even the mother tongue, Kannada. The state is not as bad as Tamil Nadu where Hindi is a taboo. Still English is allowed as the medium of instruction. When challenged, the SC has held that it is not necessary to be taught in the mother tongue or the regional language. This goes against the spirit, if not the letter of the constitution which has laid down the switchover from English to Hindi as the link language from 1955. Many developments have taken place since to give a veto power to the non-Hindi speaking states. Now the switchover to Hindi depends on them because it is they who have to say that they are ready for the switchover. They should be saying soon. Karnataka CM Yediurappa may well be the first person to initiate birth control. No political party is talking about it. The impression is that the Congress lost the election after the emergency in 1977 because Sanjay Gandhi sent policemen to bedrooms. That step was bad enough, but in the process the family planning has got a bad name. The Congress lost elections in northern India because of the excesses during the emergency, not because of birth control. The Karnataka CM has revived the slogan, Hum do, Hamare do. This should be propagated by the centre's Health Ministry which seems too occupied with the swine flu. True, India's population growth averages less than two percent a year, although some states are above it. Still this growth is negating the advantage of development. India has to aim at zero percent growth, as China is doing, to ensure the elimination of poverty. After having crossed the one billion mark, the birth control is a must. The writer is a former member of the Indian Parliament and senior journalist.