At a trendy pub in this cosmopolitan IT capital, Hemangini Gupta, 28, and some of her girlfriends were recently relaxing with cocktails after work. A group of Hindu men later followed them outside, verbally accosting them for drinking in a public bar and for wearing jeans.
“These guys went psycho,” Gupta said. “This isn’t Afghanistan. But here in Bangalore, as a young woman on the streets, if you are driving a car or in a pub or dressed a certain way, you just feel this rising anger.”
The incident was mild compared with some of the violent assaults on women that have taken place here. The attacks are part of what many see as rising Hindu extremism in much of the country over the past few years, especially in places such as Bangalore, precisely because it is a bastion of India’s fast-changing culture. Bangalore is home to an explosion of software companies, a lively heavy-metal rock music scene and burgeoning gay rights and environmental movements.