Dec 8, 2011 marked the 10th anniversary of Janaagraha. Thousands of volunteers have marked this phenomenal 10-year journey with their time and dedication. Passionate professionals have chosen to join us at various legs of the journey bolstering our spirit. What started as a small movement to recharge local communities has truly gone on to grow in scale and impact.
In a 3-part series, we are publishing the story behind the birth of Janaagraha written by Ramesh Ramanathan, Co-founder of Janaagraha. First in the series is ‘How it all began’. As a part of the Janaagraha family, we find most of our answers in our organisation’s passionate beginnings detailed in these writings. It is a good read to stir up our collective passions and energies, to remain committed in improving quality of life in urban India.
Tomorrow will be the 100th day of delay in BBMP’s Budget 2012-13. Today’s Deccan Chronicle (http://www.deccanchronicle.com/channels/cities/bengaluru/ashada-new-hurdle-delayed-bbmp-budget-106) carries a report that it could be over a month before Budget 2012-13 is finally presented and that it is unlikely to be realistic, as it is being prepared with an eye on Assembly elections. If this is true, it is a pity that BBMP’s Budget is being used as a political tool rather than as a policy instrument for Bangalore and its citizens. This is the 3rd successive year of delay. How many years before the BBMP presents a realistic Budget on time?
The Bala Janaagraha Civic Fest Finals are done for another year. Thanks to all those who came along. Check out the Facebook page for footage coming soon!
Hello all. This is just a quick post to let you all know that the Bala Janaagraha program now has its own Facebook page! We’ve introduced it to try and increase our presence online, recruit volunteers, and keep a better track of the program’s alumni. For those who haven’t already done so, why not check out the page at…
The Bala Janaagraha Team
B.E.S.T. going strong for the next 5 years
As we conclude our B.E.S.T. pilot project in Shanthi Nagar, Bangalore, good news beckons us. The B.E.S.T. MoU will see extension for another 5 years!
The historic outcome is a result of the meeting that took place on Aug 1, 2011, in Delhi between Janaagraha and the Election Commission of India. Janaagraha was represented by Ms. Swati Ramanathan, Co-founder of Janaagraha, Mr. Gen. Prasad (Retd.), Co-ordinator of Jaagte Raho! and Mr. Narayan Murthy, Chief Mentor of Infosys.
The Area Voter Mitras who have made B.E.S.T., a success will be felicitated in a function to be held towards the end of Aug, 2011. The function will be presided over by Dr. S Y Quraishi and other dignitaries from the Election Commission of India.
As the Economic and Political Weekly begins a new biannual review on issues of urbanisation, this quote caught our imagination:
- A particularly stark image of housing estates. Artist: Nora Sturges
There are cities within cities, invisible or simply inconvenient to the official gaze. Cities are places of creativity and ferment, where hopes are lit and doused, where new political energies, communities, networks, and identities are born, where livelihoods and careers are built and squandered, and where naked violence intertwines daily with quotidian struggles for survival, and longings for emancipation.
You can read the full editorial here.
Do you have more quotes you would like to add to this category? Write in to us – or comment on this post! We’ll be happy to include them!
A true democracy is one where citizens can participate directly in the process of decision making. While voting is the tried and tested way of doing this, for the process to be consultative, it should involve the direct participation and engagement of citizens. In India, citizen groups have emerged both organically and otherwise through which citizens conscientiously engage with the government and their own governance. However, they remain local, informal, fragmented and thus unsustainable as they are not linked to the formal process of decision making of any urban government.
To solve this problem Janaagraha proposed the concept of Area Sabha. This formal platform for participation at the neighbourhood level will be part of the government’s decision-making system.
There is a whole breadth of literature on cities across the world. This is one attempt to capture the different relationships people have with the cities they live in.
- A view of Old Cairo
Amitav Ghosh writes in In an Antique Land
“To most Egyptians outside Cairo, their metaphor stands for the entire city: the whole of it is known as Masr — the city’s formal name al-Qahira is infrequently used. But Cairo, like Delhi or Rome, is actually not so much a single city as an archipelago of townships, founded on neighbouring sites, by various different dynasties and rulers.”
Have a look at The Polis Blog for more such quotes on the cities that we live in.
We will be posting more such quotes in the coming weeks to show the rich perspectives on life in the cities. Do keep an eye out!
(Image source: Greater Archeology)
In the recent past, India has seen an increase in sub-national movements for regional autonomy some of which have resulted in the creation of new states. It is therefore apposite to look more closely at the constitutional framework for federalism in India. Janaagraha Lunch and Learn, for the month of July, focused on ‘comparative federalism,’ presented to the team by Shreyas Jayasimha, a legal practitioner and expert in constitutional law. It would briefly outline the unique history of federalism in India as compared with the rest of South Asia, the constitutional mechanism for the creation of new states in India, and the provisions for dispute resolution amongst states with reference to prominent decisions of the Supreme Court. Sudeep S, our Advocacy Associate talks about what he learnt this lunch time.
Across the world, different countries have adopted different systems of Government. Some countries have adopted a centralised form of Governance where the Central Government is all powerful and the states or provinces draw their powers from the orders of the central Government. Others have adopted the federal form of Government wherein the constitution grants powers to the states or provinces and the centre cannot deprive the states provinces from these powers. What makes a country decide to adopt a particular system? At Shreyas’s Janaagraha Lunch n’ Learn for July, we focussed on how historical factors influenced our decision to go with our current constitution, especially the Government of India Act, 1935.
- Indian Federalism has been a topic of debate and discussion
- Ramesh Ramanathan
Ramesh Ramanathan, co-founder of Janaagraha, writes in response to the bomb blasts in Mumbai on July 13.
I am writing in to request you’ll to read this after stepping away from the breathless pace of your lives!
If terrorism becomes something we get ‘used’ to, like poverty, garbage dumps and traffic jams, it is not an indictment of our citizens – after all, this is a natural coping mechanism when constantly confronted by something over which we have little control.
A country of our size and complexity cannot be governed by government alone. Such a paradigm is weak not only because it is practically not possible, but also because it lets citizens off the hook, allowing us to demand a free-ride on a system that is somehow magically meant to be built and run on its own.
This isn’t some theoretical hand-wringing from armchair activists. As you know, we have spent 12 years now on working systematically at fixing urban participatory systems in India, and actually have made much quiet progress, but much more needs to be done. Continue reading