Wednesday, February 3, 2010

From engineering to Poltics

He is not the usual face one would find in a a local body election. The Bangalore City Coroporation or the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palika has a hard-fought election with politicians battling it for the post of corporator.

Dr Shankara Prasad is different compared to the rest of the candidates. An M.Tech in Materials Engineering from the IIT-Kanpur and a Ph.D in Materials Science & Engineering from State University of New York, Stony Brook, United States of America, Dr Prasad after spending a major part of life outside India has returned to his home town Bangalore and says that he wants to make a change.

"Rahul Gandhi or Dr Manmohan Singh cannot make an impact on the people. It is the politicians at the local level who can achieve that," says Dr Prasad, while justifying his decision to take the political route.

From engineering to politics, there has been a complete shift in what Dr Prasad does. In this interaction with, Dr Prasad tells why he decided to join politics and what his plans are for the future.

Over to Prasad.

I have travelled a lot in my life and finally I decided to come down and settle in my home town. When I looked around, I saw a lot of people complaining about a lot of things. That is when it occurred to me that the only way to change the system is to be in politics. I started to do a lot of work outside the government and I discovered that unless people have the passion and courage it is very difficult to change the system.

I also did a lot of work at the gram panchayat level and realized that that is the place where people need the real services. This is where I realized that politics at a local level can impact these people as they need the services the most and expect a lot of interaction. I could have joined an NGO or some other group and worked for the people, but I realized that the only way to make a difference is to be in politics. That is why I decided that I would contest the elections to the Palika as an Independent.

I have noticed certain changes between the politics in India and in Europe. In India, there is a tendency of relieving themselves of the responsibility once they cast their vote. This is a wrong trend and there is a need for people to participate. However in Europe, this is not the way. Once people vote, they expect participation and the candidate is accountable at all times.

However in India, we have a beautiful system. The gram sabha is something that impressed me the most. There is a large level of participation from the public at the gram sabha. However, the same cannot be said about the city. We people in the city are apathetic and there is a tendency of not appreciating good work if the candidate has done something good. Worse, we don't even criticize something bad that the candidate has done.

There are other differences that I noticed between India and Europe. When the government makes rules over there they follow it and the governments have no trouble in implementing rules. We have good rules here, but the challenge lies in making the people follow it. I feel that there is a need to bring about that change in the lowest levels that we belong to this country and also instill a sense of pride that we belong.

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