CITIZEN JOURNALISM

Our collaborative model enables urban citizens to not just learn but also engage and contribute their insights and learning as citizen journalists. Across cities, there are remarkable initiatives of citizens, not just activists, Resident Welfare Association (RWA) members and lay volunteers becoming "active citizens" - getting involved in various civic projects from rejuvenating lakes to initiating waste segregation to auditing footpath infrastructure. This section documents their experiences, helping these “doers” share learnings and insights and amplifying citizen voice. We are grateful to Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies for part supporting the Civic Changemaking and Citizen Journalism Programme.

I love my morning walks. I enjoy the birds chirping, the greenery, the flowers and the crows cawing and flying. It is unfortunate that some times we are forced to come across some annoying and disgusting sights as well. For example, people talking loudly on their mobiles and men peeing on the road-side. I am always wary of any cyclist who goes past a little too close to me. Though I do not wear too many pieces of jewellery, I do hide the chain I wear within my dress and close it with a duppatta as well. The other day,…

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Yes, I voted, with a name that was not only spelt wrong, but strangely had an extra word as well - "Meja Pramod Kumar".Over two months ago, I had submitted the form for changing the errors in my name to the ARO, and had got his signed receipt. When I applied for the ID card last month, I realised my name was still listed incorrectly. To avoid missing a chance to vote, I got the same name printed on my ID card. (Now that this election is over, I need to start the process of applying for corrections in the…

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On 14 May, the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC) ruled that the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) can be construed as “Public Authority” and therefore it would be within the purview of the RTI Act. This issue arose out of an RTI application regarding suo motu disclosure by BIAL sought Benson Isaac, a citizen. While refusing to entertain Isaac's RTI application, BIAL took the stand that it was not a public authority as defined under the Act and as such was not under any obligation to make disclosures under RTI. Isaac then appealed at the KIC. The KIC used Section 2(h)…

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Why did I vote?

Yes, I voted couple of days back, as on many other occasions. And I am proud to be one of the only 44% Bangaloreans who voted. Now, why did I vote? I voted because I strongly believe that I have no right to complain about the system if I do not participate in the process of voting. While this sounds cliched, an important incentive for me is that I also believe that unless enough consumer resistance comes up, the system is not going to improve. So I believe in voting, and complaining and in being happy occasionally when I see…

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The first time I ever voted was in these elections. I've lived in Bangalore for 8 years and I figured I've lived here long enough to be eligible to vote. This was before I found you that you only need to be in a place for about 6 months before you're eligible. I wish someone had told me that. In fact, I wish someone had told me a lot of things because I asked the questions, I just didn't get any right answers. So I got out this time. Determined to register, come hell or high water because I'm so…

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The Bannerghata Nature Camp is ideal for a short break, especially if you don't want to drive out too far from the city. The pond in front of the Bannerghata Nature Camp Long time Bangalore residents may remember this road past IIM Bangalore as a pot-holed drive into a fairly verdant area. Now it is a concrete mess right up-to the zoo. The resort is situated a few kilometres beyond the zoo, and we parked the car near the Jungle Lodges' new restaurant and were driven inside in the camp's vehicles.The resort itself consists of a half a dozen tents,…

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There is a huge debate on "Unlocking Bangalore", prominent (sic) people have joined issues. Seriously, this seems so misleading because issues like roads, indiscriminate tree felling, airports have become the major target areas. Remember that not too long back, the commercial transport lobby went on a protest strike against speed governors? Local taxis also joined in sympathy. Did you notice the huge - HUGE difference in the traffic sans these IT/BPO staff bearing taxis? Same roads, same tree lines, same junctions - Bangalore was unlocked during those two days. No jams, no road rage and we reached our respective work…

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5 PM at commercial street. Little drizzle. Cool wind blowing by. It was a weather that every Indian wishes for. No matter what mood you are in, this weather will just lift your moods. I was in high spirits and would have said 'yes' to climb Mt. Everest of asked to now. I was there with a couple of my friends enjoying the weather. By 6 pm, the drizzle turned into a small shower and people were running for shelter. We decided to call it a day and head back home. To my surprise I couldn't find a single Auto…

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The traffic in Bangalore and other cities are increasing alarmingly. This is due to the affordability of the people to buy a vehicle and the competitiveness of the automobile industries which are leading to high density of traffic which is a serious concern for global warming and the changing climatic conditions. There are 3 to 4 cars and 2 to 3 two wheelers for each house. I have seen most of the sedans and midsized cars are driven with a single persons and the government should stop giving licence to manufacture midsize cars and sedans and SUV's and this should…

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For many of the urban poor, education is a luxury. Even as many private schools become unaffordable in Bangalore, quality of government schools are not very impressive. Children from the lower economic background, who attend schools (mostly government schools) are unable to learn much due to poor infrastructure and teaching methodologies. Many of them are scared of subjects like English, Science and Mathematics. One initiative which hopes to tackle this problem is the ‘Evening School Centre’ run by the volunteer group, AID (Association for India's Development, Bangalore Chapter). These are centres found in slums and neighbourhoods populated by the lower…

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