Bengaluru has a legacy of vibrant citizen activism, but it has its own limitations.
The citizen groups in Bengaluru work towards creating awareness around civic issues and organize civic protests in the city. #SteelFlyoverBeda campaign of 2016 and the #ChukuBukuBeku Rail Yatra of 2019 and the recent pothole poojas are examples of this.
“Citizen activism is a checks and balance against government. Citizens are the supervisors of government. There are lots of groups that are pure citizen activism. It is Citizens coming together for a cause, for an issue about the city without any political backing”, said Tara Krishnaswami, co-founder of Citizens For Bangalore.
Resident Welfare Associations of the city plays a major part when it comes to raising civic issues and mobilizing citizens. BBMP responded to the recent pothole pooja saying they are making all efforts to fill the potholes. But many a times the citizen groups are limited as they focus on hyper local issues.
According to urban planner Anjali Mohan Karole “citizen activism has its own limitations and therefore other means that are required to frame a just urban development process.”
The citizen groups in the city were able to conduct successful campaigns in past. But to make Bangalore a sustainable city it is important to have a more mass-based, participatory approach.