Activism is alive on weekends

The #notwithoutmydog solidarity event at Cubbon Park happened on a Sunday.

Broken potholes, noisy pubs, illegal felling and pruning of trees, name an issue and Bengaluru has it. But Bengalureans are not taking it lying down. Citizen activism is at its best in the city now.

The #notwithoutmydog campaign brought quite a lot of passionate Bengalureans to Cubbon Park at the solidarity event which was organised by the Cubbon Park Canines and the Knights of Cubbon Bark in June.

Sanjana Madappa, a member of Cubbon Park Canines says, “Since most people are free on weekends, they don’t mind stepping out for a cause. Many pet parents come to the Dog Park in Cubbon Park every Sunday and this worked to our advantage.”

She points out that Bengalureans are more vocal about issues, “as they have realised that remaining silent won’t help”. “They do not come just for the glamour factor or to be part of an act,” adds Sanjana.

 


A protest against the cutting of 25 trees to provide visibility for an advertisement in Bellandur in May.

Sunil M Reddy, a member of HSR Citizens Forum, says that when they organised the protest against the cutting of 25 trees for visibility of an advertisement in Bellandur in May, people came out in large numbers.

“On a Saturday, there were more than 150 people. Some came from Hebbal and CBD area. There were physically disabled people, senior citizens and even pregnant women among protesters,” he says. 

There is an appreciable degree of change among citizens and they are more sensitive to such causes now, Sunil points out. “Many people do not know where to start and how to start. Such campaigns help Bengalureans voice out and become actively involved in the betterment of their city,” Sunil says. 

iChange Indiranagar, a collation of eight resident welfare associations in Indiranagar, keeps staging protests for protection of open spaces, reckless commercialisation of the neighbourhood and against pubs. Recently in February, they staged a protest against an upcoming microbrewery. That was again on a Saturday.

Sneha Nandihal, a member of iChange Indiranagar says that the protest saw around 80 participants or more. “The pub is near the Methodist Church and a school in a 100m radius. This by itself is against the norms. Citizen activism has increased here as there is no enforcement of laws and there are violations happening rampantly. People now realise that those who make a noise get heard and others who stay silent, live with it,” she says. 

 


The proposed amendment to the Karnataka Tree Preservation Act resulted in an active protest on a Sunday in February

Vijay Nishanth, a tree doctor, is part of many protests involved with the green cover of the city. 

“Many of these events happen on the weekends and many people turn up. The protest against the permission granted for the axing of a number of species under the Karnataka Tree Preservation Act drew a lot of people on a Sunday in February. People came with concerns about their future generations and the crowd saw children, youngsters and elders too,” he says.

Social media -- an advantage

Social media is able to grab the attention of people easily.

“Protests and activism on social media help to gain the attention of the officials sooner,” adds Sunil M Reddy, a resident of HSR Layout.

A world of views

“People like to meet like-minded groups and connect over a cause. This creates a feeling of belongingness and citizens don’t mind battling traffic for this. Exchange of views and a bigger idea about one’s city also happens at such events.”

Vijay Nishanth, a tree doctor. 

 

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Activism is alive on weekends

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