KFC outlet in Bangalore

KFC outlet in Bangalore

1995. The first KFC outlet in Bangalore ransacked by activists and later slapped with a court order to shut it down. Although the reason for the protest was on health grounds citing the reason to be usage of excessive seasonings in KFC recipes, it would not come as a surprise to a social analyst who is aware of the intricacies and effects of globalization in a conservative country like India which was isolated from the western world for 40 years (due to socialist policies and closed economy). i.e At a superficial level, the reason for the outburst was medical, but deep down, it was social.

After the liberalization of economy in 1991, India witnessed a slew of foreign products being introduced in stores which was a cause of concern for the activists who feared the erosion of “Indian values”. [EDIT: Please read the below comments/discussion to understand what “Indian values” mean in this context].
Further entry of foreign brands in the form of dedicated glossy buildings (like KFC) seemed to have crossed the limits which led to revolts like these.

Also, another factor to be considered here is the rapid globalization of a sleepy city due to the software boom in early 90s which was the starting point for the growing disparity between middle class locals and the “elite migrants” who bagged well paying jobs in Bangalore. With such a sociological friction between the groups, it was a predictable phenomenon which would have taken place irrespective of the demographics and geographics. Maybe the transition phase was quick and took people by surprise.

Over the years, with the effect of globalization spreading to majority of the city dwellers, the social friction seems has toned down due to opportunities available for everybody across the economic and social spectrum. The locals began to prefer engineering courses over other streams starting from early 90s and ride the software boom, further reducing the disparity. With the mushrooming of several certification courses and coaching institutes like Aptech & NIIT ensured that even a 12th pass candidate could equip himself with skills required for basic tech jobs. With the advent of BPO industry, the probability of getting a quick job has improved considerably.

Although the software industry appears to be the beneficiary of this open economic model, the benefits are passed on to dependent industries like real estate, transport, restaurants, hotel, retail, entertainment, tourism and more.

Today, Bangalore is a Cosmopolitan (as well as safe) city and foreign brands like KFC & McD are buiding a thriving business with such outlets in every alternate street. It would not be a surprise if the same activists who ransacked KFC in 1995 would be visiting the same outlet with their children/grandchildren today who are the beneficiaries of globalization..

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