10 Comments

  1. I’m an NRI, and I would like to address a point or two raised by NRI bashers. First, much of the progress India has made in the past two decades are due to NRIs lobbying companies and governments to send business to India or to enact policies which benefit India, so NRIs are not the uppity moochers they are portrayed to be sometimes. Next, NRIs can bring a fresh perspective to problems and issues in India, which previously garnered no attention. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, and we certainly cannot afford the NIH(not invented here) mindset. Our problems are too numerous to let ego stand in the way of progress. The Washington Heights dog poop issue raised by Arvind has no relevance to the prevalence of dog poop, trash, leaves, open sewers, unsafe sidewalks, cratered roads and more, which are a fact of life even in so-called “upscale” areas of Bangalore and other Indian cities. Washington Heights is a poor neighborhood, and as the article points out, the snow may have aggravated a relatively minor issue. Such situations are the exception in countries like the US, unlike in India where the reverse is true.

    On my own street in Indiranagar, wealthy people walking their dogs were letting them poop on my sidewalk and in front of my gate, and I got an attitude from them when I asked them to either pick it up or have the dog poop inside their own properties. I then put a sign up to notify anyone walking their dog to please not have them poop in front of my property. These are “educated”, wealthy Indians, who should have more respect for their neighbors and public spaces. What sort of example do they set to others, who are poor, illiterate and/or uneducated? Yes, as an NRI, I think I still have the right to point that out to those who are apathetic to anything outside their own homes, since they don’t seem to have realized it themselves. It’s not “whining”, it’s good civic sense, perhaps acquired through exposure to societies which pride themselves on cleanliness, orderliness and esthetics. And that’s not a bad thing.

  2. I am not an NRI. But I have been writing articles on environmental issues in this journal. Mr.Arvind does not want to read view points of another citizen just because he is already aware and puts the blame on the author for being an NRI !!!
    I would like to know what actions he had taken to improve the neighbourhood. Just because trash is in the side lanes even in USA, what about the same even in the main roads in our cities here?. Please see the article I had written http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/articles/view/2024-improper-bbmp-garbage-disposal-at-chikkalasandra
    We can bring pressure on BBMP but who cares. Can Mr.Arvind take up the cause to improve upon the state of affairs here ?

  3. Hi Arvind,

    If you look into the message what the article is trying to bring across – ” To make an effort to keep our sorroundings and city clean” it is true and not just for Bangalore, but a majority of cities in India. This is certainly not only the responsibility of the civic bodies, but primarily our responsibility – as citizens. We talk about progress etc etc. in our cities – is the state of our cities as they are today really make us proud? There is no NRI whining here. This is a true concern for me as well – my sorroundings and quality of life are important to me. I do not understand the NRI bashing here – this is not what the article or paper is trying to address, but to look at issues concerning the city we live in through various lenses and perpectives.

  4. Solutions: Pick up after your dog, teach your children to be part of keeping the home clean, throw gargage in the trash can, don’t spit on the road, etc etc…are a number of civic lessons that can be part of our upbringing. This author lives here & now and is concerned with what goes on around. She does not jest because it is harrowing to navigate a road full or trash & erratic traffic with two small kids. She does not choose to paint a glorious picture of any country she has lived in. She is only making relevant comparissons to the matter being discussed. Freedom of expression does not require any justification & feedback or critical comments on the article are a welcome chance to learn more. A personal attack on the credibility of the writer is unwarranted.

  5. Vincent, thanks for the clarification. I have no hesitation in saluting the fantastic (and often thankless) work Citizen Matters is doing in not just reporting on the city but in catalyzing change. But I still believe that any reporter (even a guest) who is given the privilege of a byline must do more than just complain. As we keep saying in office meetings — do you want to be part of the problem or part of the solution?

  6. Arvind, thank you for your pointed remarks. This article has been accepted and run as a citizen voice article. Citizen Matters encourages citizen journalism as part of the platform where professional journalists do the hard reporting and analysis.

    We accept citizen-authored pieces like this as long they are written clearly, are connected to city life, and based on real experience of some kind. We don’t edit them to tone down or take away controversial angles – even though we
    expect there will plenty of reactions. That’s the nature of citizen conversation.

    We don’t commission professional journalists for voice/brief opinion pieces.

    Regarding the good stuff that’s happening in the city, there’s plenty of it and we’ve been reporting a lot of that too.

    Please see this effort to save a lake that has gone even further
    http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/blogs/24-puttenahalli-post

    As for waste management, more apartmments are doing a fantastic job, from JP Nagar to Malleswaram and elsewhere. We’re reporting those too.

    -Editor

  7. I think till there is a paradigm shift in us-citizens, a sense of ownership towards the city and keeping it clean,there is little to hope for.Even where trash cans are placed ,people must use them!!!The collective consciousnesses must awaken….

  8. “A drive around the city elicits mixed reactions from me. I do not remember Bangalore the way it used to be. I don’t even know what Bangalore used to be like anymore. I go by what long-time residents tell me it used to be. Memory plays tricks on me.”
    – Amen to that.

    There was a time when I used to come back from any other place in India and find Bangalore actually cleaner. I think it still is true, which is mainly because other dirtier cities have continued to become dirtier. These days with BWSSB digging up everything, incomplete and stuck in litigation infrastructure projects, pollution, dust and the lack of effort towards curbing it, apathy is moving the city towards unlivable. Seems like we are heading towards some catastrophe, to some point where something will have to give (to quote Ravi Shastri). [But then that is true of everything, world economy, Indian economy and political scenario, oh well…]

  9. If I were the editor, I’d seriously spike such whining stories.

    One, NRI’s complaining about India is so yesterday.

    Two, why tell me what I already know? Sure, write about the garbage on the street but then also tell me about the many small and big citizen and government initiatives that are making a difference.

    Three, for heaven’s sakes, compare apples to apples. A university campus is America should not be compared to Hennur main road. Has the author ever visited the inner cities in the US with its filth and drugs and guns and goons?

    I know we live in a city that has huge civic issues and these are compounded by corruption and inefficiency. But any journalist worth a byline should know that it is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. So should the editor.

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