It isn’t often that you hear voices on the radio talking about Bengaluru’s public matters, concerns for the city and the interesting changemaking work going in the city. Even on occasions where you hear a little, it is not at the level of depth you will read in a newsmagazine.
On December 2nd, Sunday, between 9am-10am, M A Saleem, the city’s traffic police commissioner and P Manivannan, the head of BESCOM were on the air. They were speaking and responding to questions from noted radio and television journalist Vasanthi Hariprakash. Vasanthi has been hosting this series of shows on the city’s changemakers from November 4th.
The show is an interview-discussion between Vasanthi and the invitees, many of whom are being nominated this year for the Namma Bengaluru Awards, and others who were earlier winners.
A week before this programme, on November 25th, Vasanthi hosted animal welfare activist Alpana Bhartia, and Mamatha Esteves, who heads chapters of the Tech Mahindra Foundation in Bangalore and several other cities. Aplana is founder trustee at People For Animals, Bangalore.
Megha Harish, founder of "I Believe. In You", a kid-to-kid program that builds self-confidence among underprivileged children in Bangalore and Dr Naveen Thomas from Headstreams, a city NGO that creates better livelihood options for unemployed women and youth came on the show on November 18th.
In the programme on December 2nd, both Manivannan and Saleem demonstrated that they were individually very capable and public minded officials, running the city electricity and traffic police systems respectively. Both came prepared to discuss details with numbers. Manivannan also candidly made it clear that government authorities were running behind complex problems in a fast-paced modern society with organisation structures and staff capabilities that were unsuited and archaic. He clearly wants to transform BESCOM into a better organisation from within, and does admit that there is little point one top officer making things work better and leaving only for the system to reverse back to the old ways.
Vasanthi is articulate about the need for platforms in the media where citizens can get to know such genuine do gooders and hear them speak about their own work in their own words.
"Everyday when I turn the pages of my favourite news-source, the newspaper, I’m vexed to see the surplus of wannabe page 3 celebrities! Where are the people who are actually doing things for and in Bangalore?", she asks, in response to her motivations for doing the show. "This is a format that is a first-ever for Bangalore’s radio scene", she notes.
She would like more and more Bangaloreans to hear the city’s social innovators on air, get inspired and share with the city, stories of changemakers in their own neighbourhood. "Why only share, even become changemakers themselves", she hopes.
Citizen Matters on the Changemakers show
Dec 9th: Radio Indigo 91.9 FM at 9am to 10am
Subramaniam (Subbu) Vincent and Jayanagar MLA B N Vijaykumar chat with Vasanthi Hariprakash
Even as the changemakers show is broadcasting the voices of several people working for a better city, it’s sponsor, NBF is encouraging Bangaloreans to nominate citizens and organisations for this year’s Namma Bengaluru Awards (2012).
The awards project was initiated by the NBF in 2009. "The awards are a tribute to the quiet unsung heroes of our city. Those who generously give their time and effort, often against great odds to genuinely make a difference", says Dr M Sudhakar Varanasi, CEO of NBF.
The awards have been given for three years so far through a jury-based selection process in categories that include individuals and organisations. Currently nominations are on for 2012, the fourth editio, and the winners will be selected and felicitated by Feb-March 2013.
Daya Menon, Executive Director at NBF, is a passionate supporter of changemaking in Bengaluru. She says that the smallest acts can have immeasurable consequences. "We are all connected. We breathe the same air, drink the same water and travel the same roads and our kids will all inherit the same city we leave behind….hence it is upto us to take ownership", says Daya, in response to a question on how she relates to changemaking and the city.
NBF says changemakers can be from any of the following sectors: environment, health, infrastructure, women’s rights, child rights, human rights, right to information, and so forth. The last date for nominations in December 15th 2012.
Meanwhile for those of who missed the previous Bangalore’s Changemakers shows, you can listen the archived programmes online at the NBF’s website, here.
And don’t miss the special one! Citizen Matters is on the show to be telecast on Dec 9th Sunday. Tune in between 9am-10am to hear Subramaniam (Subbu) Vincent, co-founder and editor, in conversation with Vasanthi and Jayanagar MLA B N Vijaykumar. Vijaykumar is also a NBA 2009 winner. Hear Vijaykumar also speak about his work, and the city’s latest and perhaps starkest crisis apart from water, garbage.
"I am happy that the Namma Bengaluru Foundation has taken the initiative to do such a show with all its conviction", signs off Vasanthi. ⊕