Report by Prasanna Vynatheya of PNLIT
The event ‘Raise Your Voice Bengaluru’, as I understood it, was to bring those concerned people who would like to participate in their own capacity to make our Karnataka a better place for us and our posterity. The venue was NMKRV College, Jayanagar 3rd Block on Sunday the 27th Oct 2013.
The lead person of the organizing group Mr. Rajeev Gowda spoke eloquently and sincerely, so too each and every one of the other seven speakers. The message was loud and clear! People come out and participate as rightful citizens of this nation, demand quality in all aspects & demand good governance.
Mr. Manivannan, IAS, Chief Project Officer at Karnataka State Highways Improvement Project, spoke about the need for everyone to lodge their protests when they see something amiss in the government departments. He emphasized that if more and more of us insist then any government department will have to buckle under the pressure, and this, he said was completely missing in our country. Also if one person demands explanation, e.g. say complaining about a BMTC bus in bad shape, it then requires a lot of perseverance from that person before the government reacts. Whereas when a number of persons complaining is more, then the remedy coming forward from the government is faster too, that is, he said ‘Action time by the government is inversely proportionate to the number of people demanding’.
There was a group of eight youngsters in their 20s. They were from the group that is running a campaign called ‘Swalpa Clean Maadi’ (Clean up a bit). When they got to know that the program was delayed by about 30 minutes, they went out and cleaned up the foot path and painted up the kerb stones, street address board and even managed to get some lawn and lay it around a tree there. It was quite a stunning sight to see what could be done by a small group in such a short time. Of course there was a short video to show some of the wonderful work these youngsters have been doing.
Retd. Navy officer Commander P.G. Bhat gave out some stunning statistics, recollecting a few:-
That there are something like 67 lakh voters in Bangalore and there are approximately 11 lakh duplicates in them. He said even the MLAs & their families were listed multiple number of times and when asked… well that’s another subject.
Other speakers including Mr. Prithvi Reddy (from Smartvote) made a mention of the fact that only around 40% of the population vote and out of which half is either spurious or dubious votes, and that means he said only 20% of this nation’s people decide who is to govern us. Hence he insisted that each and every voting card holder must and should make it a point to come out and vote.
Mrs. Usha Rajagopalan’s (from PNLIT) presentation on the people’s participation in saving the lake highlighted the fact that only with the help of people can a ‘gone for good’ kind of a lake can be brought back to life.
Mr. Ashwin Mahesh’s with anecdotes drove home the point that a society should increase the number of problem solving people.
Overall the evening program did show that we as citizens could make a big change in the quality and health of this country.
Some references and names:
Janaagraha, Praja.org, Abide, Alternative Law Forum, DAKSH, Bengaluru Unites, Bangalore Political Action Committee. Please see the websites for more information on individual activities of these organisations.
Campaigns like: Pink Chaddi Campaign, Corruption Saaku
Interesting article on P.G. Bhat can be seen here.