A baby step for better governance in Bangalore

Our sidewalks: Where there were cobblestones, there is rubble. Shops pour onto them. In the remaining places they are saturated with urine. Then there are the relatively better places with nice homes; a strange civic sense has inspired owners to make small garden patches on the sidewalks before their homes. The government has large transformers on them and telecom companies have distribution boxes. The only place to walk is on the street. Get on it and soon our differently educated fellow citizens drive into you, stopping two inches short, horn blaring, driver scowling.

But of course, this is a small slice of the malaise Bangalore suffers.

For real results all round, we should get good people to come to public office. Begin with a baby step: corporators. If we get a couple of decent corporators elected, who set an example of good governance in their wards, we would have begun. Other wards would then throw up good candidates. It is possible. Are there one or two wards where there are residents who can pick an effective leader? How can we identify such a ward? For example, we can rally youngsters to use websites, blogs and such forums of the educated to get started. Criterion can be set: Is the candidate well educated? Does (s)he have (at least minimal) exposure to how world cities are run? Does (s)he have a track record of achieving success working with professionals? Then, most importantly, is the person politically able? A small step like this can ignite a movement. In the next step we can speak and write in larger forums in target areas, rallying more citizens in the wards to become politically demanding. In this process potential leaders will become visible and will take courage run for office. These leaders will present real programs and publish real results which the wards can see and believe.

Such leaders, if they are persons of integrity, can mobilize resources in great measure. As we know, the lack is not in resources; it is in people who have a passion for the city, integrity and the ability to get things done.

Naive? I think it can be done. Bangalore is such a place and it is ready, hungry.