Born in Kochi , Muralidhar Rao has been a Bangalorean since 1959 and a resident of Koramangala since 2005. He is a former industrialist himself. He married his passion for writing and civic mindedness and in 2006 co-founded praja.in. It is an online platform to engage in discussions on civic issues. He is also a member of the citizens group ‘Koramangala Initiative ‘ His wife, Priya Rao, works as a Associate Director-Technical for Indian Spastics Society in Karnataka region. He has a son and a daughter.
Excerpts from his interview.
You are a regular commentator on civic and commentator issues. When and how did that happen?
I used to write several letters to editors in my childhood and 90 % of them used to get published. This is how i developed a flair for writing. Lately I found that our government runs the way it should not. Our airlines, telecom insurance banking amongst others services are comparable the best in the world but still these are not managed well. Vested interests always lie at the core of the issues. I feel that there is a need to speak up on these topics.
How do you see Koramangala develop in midst of all infrastructural growth?
Koramangala has grown far beyond the carrying capacity of its infrastructure.
What are the changes you would like to see in Koramangala, and what is your contribution towards it?
Commercial activities, particularly IT/ ITES operations, should be asked to shift out of Koramangala. Instead of the signal-free corridor that was proposed, perhaps the METRO should have come along that alignment leading to Sarjapura. Futher, the 24 meter wide road linking the Inner Ring Road (at Ejipura junction) with the Outer Ring Road at Agara, along the edge of the army property needs to be pursued speedily.This will help divert the through traffic which is otherwise cluttering up Koramangala.
I also think it’s a shame for a city to have its storm water drains converted to sewers. One of them flows through the heart of Koramangala. I would like to see it restored as a proper storm water drain.
I keep campaigning for all such issues.
Which newspaper have provided you with enough substance to continue your work. Why?
I am an Indian Express loyalist. I used to subscribe to it during my childhood days.My loyalty got re-affirmed during its fight against the repressive emergency regime. I also like the Sunday Times of India, particularly for the columnists.
Do you have a role model?
I can’t say I have a role model. I have great admiration for Dr Jaiprakash Narayan, the LokSatta party founder, and a few others too.
Are there books that completely changed your perspective you look towards society?
Tagore’s poem – "Where the mind is without fear, – – – into that heaven of freedom, my father let my country awake" had a profound influence on me. Apart from that, there are many books. One that I readily recall is "Papillon", which I read during the emergency period, and perhaps led to my liberalist leanings.
Which place attracts you in Bangalore?
What do you do in your spare time?
I play Badminton and Golf regularly. I like to listen to old Hindi film music including classical music.
Mention three things that you like to do in near future.
I wish to see "praja.in" develop fully into a platform of the city’s "upper house", the objective set for us by BESCOM-MD -P. Manivannan. The upper house is more of a concept than to the term and he envisions "upper-house" as a platform consisting of eminent citizens of the society contributing positively to governance through their wisdom.
Apart from that, I would like be a social-entrepreneur particularly in areas where the government have failed to meet the needs.⊕