Catch me on Radiocity 91.1, a local FM radio station between 8am and 9am today morning, on a show called "By Two Coffee with RJ Vasanthi". I've been invited to shoot off at the mouth and provide some "inspiration" on a segment in this show called "Bangalore Inspires". Live. May I have the wisdom not to put my foot in my mouth.
Update: Turned out to be two hours in the end, 8 to 10, and still the calls/mails poured in. Hopefully I managed to get people to think, and perhaps in the future act. I was overwhelmed by the response from people. Its amazing... there are so many grievances that people have, so many injustices faced everyday. People asked about me about overcharging, about illegal parking, land encroachment, pay not received from company, broadband problems, noise pollution, traffic problems, auto-ricks overcharging/not plying, even one about dust in Marthahalli! Wow!
Some brief (?) gyan that I perhaps didn't manage to share on the show:
1. Ordinary people can make a difference. Knowledge is power, as hackneyed as it may sound. The only way you can protect your rights is by being knowledgeable. There is no excuse. We live in the Information Age. There is such an immense amount of information available on the Internet in India. Just search and you will find government sites (yes government sites), private sites/blogs, NGO sites, et al.
2. The government/civic authorities are not as "bad/horrible/uncaring/corrupt/slow" as they are perceived to be. I have talked to people from the police, traffic police, BMP, BESCOM, BWSSB, you name it. Every single time I have had courteous conversations, people from these departments have called me back, apologized for whatever trouble I've faced, done whatever they could to put right the problem. And I don't speak Kannada. I am absolutely amazed at the response from all the civic authorities. Not many states/cities in India can boast of this.
3. There are a great many number of laws, rules enacted by the government. Please look these up. Read about previous court rulings, find out about experiences of other people, see how you can escalate matters. The most powerful law is the RTI Act, 2006. If you find that *any* government agency is not responding, or asking for a bribe, or delaying, anything at all, please please use the RTI. Its a weapon in the hands of ordinary citizens. EVERY government agency, the smallest to the largest can be taken to task using the RTI. Many times, the threat of using the RTI is an even bigger deterrent to malpractices.
4. Network, network, network. There is a vast network of bloggers/agencies/NGOs/sites/SHGs/lawyers/journos in India who can be contacted for any help. These people ask for no money, they will extend any possible help for making a small difference to the society we live in. Use these networks to the full extent possible.