GRAAM launches ‘I, the citizen’, a book written by Dr.R.Balasubramaniam

‘i, the citizen’, a book authored by Dr R Balasubramaniam, and published by GRAAM (Grassroots Research and Advocacy Movement), was released at Gandhi Bhavan, Bengaluru, on 28th September 2015. The programme was presided over by former Chief Justice of India, Justice Shri M. N. Venkatachalaiah. Shri. S.V. Ranganath Former Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, and Present Chairman, Industrial Finance Corporation of India, was the Chief Guest. The book was released by ShriT. V. Mohandas Pai, Chairman, Manipal Global Education Services. ShriRamakrishna Upadhya, Senior Editor (Retired), Deccan Herald spoke about the book.

Dr. R. Balasubramaniam, the author of ‘i, the citizen’, is a development activist, policy expert, leadership trainer, thinker, writer, founder of Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM) and Chairman of GRAAM.

Setting the tone for the event, Shri R Basavaraju, Executive Director of GRAAM, welcomed the dignitaries on the dais and audience. He noted that the book provides fundamental principles for GRAAM’s community activities and GRAAM was privileged to be the publisher.

The audience included activists, social leaders, academicians, researchers, writers, policy makers, students, and most importantly, members of the tribal communities, who are protagonists of the book as well as the main actors of the development stories narrated in the book. Over 250 people participated in the event.

In his opening remarks, Ramakrishna Upadhyaya said, “‘I, the citizen’ book is an extraordinary book which narrates extraordinary tales of ordinary people.”He presented several anecdotes from the book that highlighted the needs of the citizens at the grassroots level.

Speaking after releasing the book, Shri Mohandas Pai strongly pointed out that the state and the parliament exist for the people in a democracy and constant interaction between the citizens and the state is necessary.

Speaking about the book, he said, “Dr. Balu has done a wonderful job by making the book happen.

i, the citizen bridges the gap between the state and the people and gives voice to the existing disparities and injustice in contemporary society.”

Shri S.V. Ranganath, speaking after releasing the annual report of GRAAM, said, “One of the prime reasons for mal-governance is the basic entitlements that the citizen are entitled to are not made available to them and majority of the time of legislative and executives is spent in correcting this situation.” He further added that those organizations such as GRAAM, which are working for the cause of ordinary people, should continue tobring the issues faced by the community to the notice of the Government. He said the book ‘I, the citizen’ is a must read for bureaucrats and politicians as it unveils various facets of rural and tribal life connecting to the policy anomaly.

Dr. R. Balasubramaniam reiterated that he derived inspiration from Swami Vivekananda and that the overarching theme of the book was to make democracy work not only in rural areas but urban areas as well.

“Development is all about constant expansion of social and human capital and enhancing human capabilities. i, the citizen, is about awakening people to take greater responsibility towards making their voices heard in development and policy making processes,” he added

In his Presidential remarks Justice Shri M. N. Venkatachalaiah

talked about the vital role of technology in the process of development and accentuated the need for empowerment of women through education. He said there are various viewpoints about development since independence. “While Mahatma Gandhi strongly believed that development should be village-centric, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar felt it should be citizen centric. The book has contextualized the diverse range of perspectives and Dr. Balu has meticulously connected them,” he said. He regretted that Government mechanisms fail to see and understand development from citizen’s perspectives. He also talked about changes that were evident and struck a hopeful note that real change would happen in time. Dr Rajendra Prasad, Research Fellow, GRAAM, thanked dignitaries on the dais and the audience.