December 24, 2005

Civic activism

Wish I am proved wrong, but I sense that our civic authorities (read mayor/commissioner) have already made up their mind on the Devaraja Market issue. The kind of public pressure we tend to exert doesn’t seem to work. This may be because of a conspicuous lack of rapport between MGP/ACIC and MCC. Correction - it's mutual mistrust. Isn’t there something we are missing here? I thought both have the same mission statement - strive for the public good. Besides, I don’t get the point of another group. Is the Association of Concerned and Informed Citizens (is that right?) an alternate group or an alternative to MGP?
Problem is some of our self-styled caretakers of the interests of ‘informed’ and ‘concerned’ citizens do not seem to realize that they are not taken very seriously by an overwhelming majority of lesser residents. Maybe it’s our mindset. We tend to view with suspicion even the most civic-minded individuals who show up too often in newspaper photos and press statements.
I can see my friend Dr Shenoy taking me on. Do I suggest MGP stay silent when things go wrong? We have been through this, Dr Shenoy and I, in private conversations. His grouse is the good work MGP has done in exposing wrong-doings and the wrong-doers goes unappreciated. As for arm-chair critics, his prescription is, “why don’t they come forward, and take over?” A valid question, to which other arm-chair critics and bloggers might have a definitive answer.
It is not my case that MGP has no role to play. Nor would I say that those at its helms are less capable. In fact, they have expertise in varied fields. To my mind there appears to be an attitude problem – an attitude of confrontation towards MCC. Elsewhere in this site I have held forth on how MGP could do better.
As for arm-chair critics such as yours truly, there are many of us who are not cut out for a meaningful role in MGP. So of us are more inclined to do some public good in our own limited sphere. Individual efforts of a civic-minded few have made a big difference to life around them.
I read a web magazine piece about an NRI pair -”. Aravinda Pillalamarri and Ravi Kuchimanchi – who transplanted themselves from the US to Gujarat, to bring electricity to an Adivasi village . When the web editor Veena Rao asked what NRIs could do to help people back home, they suggested that urban educated individuals, especially NRIs, can help by taking a live interest in issues of public concern back home, and ‘write to our government officials and civic authorities, who tend to behave differently when they know they are being watched, especially by NRIs’. I see a message here for non-resident Mysoreans with a feel for Devaraja Market.
Incidentally, Aravinda and Ravi were the inspiration behind Ashutosh Gowariker’s “Swades”, a Shah Rukh Khan starrer..


Capt.Anup Murthy said...

For some reason, the ‘Aam admi’ of Mysore does not know of the good work done by MGP, regardless of how much coverage they get or ACICM gets in Star of Mysore. ACICM to me is a revamped MATF that was scrapped by the Government. The
general public perhaps is not behind these organizations because I don't think they have taken everyone with them. Sometimes, they look like an elitist group grabbing some news space. Perhaps there are a few individuals who have also done good work for
the citizens of Mysore, in a selfless manner and hence unnoticed.

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