Prakash Murlidhar Kardaley is a journalist to the core. Using his impeccable news sense, he looks at everything analytically. Over the years he made invaluable contribution to the field in his capacity as the founder of the Pune edition of The Indian Express and its Resident Editor from 1989 to 2000.
Kardaley always believed in “empowerment of the people.” But for that citizens needed to be properly informed about the state of affairs. Unfortunately the situation in this country was not conducive for the citizens to seek any information from officials and there was no transparency in the functioning of various governmental departments. Indians, unlike citizens of United States of America or Canada had no right to information. However, many Indians like Kardaley felt the need for such a ‘right.’
After retiring from the Indian Express, Kardaley became the Senior Editor of ‘Express Initiatives.’ A technically savvy Kardaley was part of several internet – based discussion networks. It was through such a network, he got in touch with Arvind Kejriwal, who informed Kardaley about the ‘Maharashtra Right to Information Act’ (MRTI). Kardaley got interested.
Around this time (2001) activist Anna Hazare was launching a movement seeking better right to information. Kardaley knew Hazare for a long time. In no time he joined Hazare’s movement. The state government was forced to draft a new legislation. With other activists (like late Satyaranjan Sathe), Kardaley looked into the draft and made certain suggestions on it to Hazare. “Anna got those suggestion being incorporated in the final Act,” Kardaley recalls with satisfaction. Since then he has been fighting for people’s right to information. “It’s an ongoing fight,” he asserts. “I have become Anna’s associate now in this matter,” he adds.
Kardaley formed a network of activists for educating people about their rights under the MRTI. Gradually the “loose network” became a “formidable force regarding the Act.” Under the guidance of Kardaley the network organized workshops all across the state. People were encouraged to use the state law. “More than 30,000 applications were filed under the MRTI and of them one – third were satisfactorily dealt with,” he informs. It was indeed an achievement on part of the citizens to compel the authorities to act. Kardaley asserts,” Compared to United States and Canada the usage was encouraging, considering the infant stage of the law here.”
He also got in touch with Aruna Roy, who resigned from the administrative service and became an activist. The contact led Kardaley to join the ‘National Campaign for People’s Right to Information’ (NCPRI). He is currently a member of the NCPRI Working Committee. He has been moderating an e-group ‘Hum Janenge’ for last three years to enable people interested to know about the Act and exchange experiences. He has been associated with Maharashtra’s ‘Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration’ as a guest faculty on the RTI Act, training officers about their role in making the law effective.
He feels the Non - government organizations should have a confrontationist attitude. Referring to the current ‘National Right to Information Act’ (NRTI) he recalls the NCPRI’s relentless efforts behind the NRTI right from the conceptual stage. Besides organizing nationwide campaign, it was NCPRI, which formulated the initial draft of the law. “The Government had to introduce the Bill in Parliament in 2002,” Kardaley says. As a veteran activist he feels RTI Acts can be implemented quickly and easily than other public interest laws. With the officers opening up and extending support to the citizens, he thinks the future of the NRTI is bright.
Kardaley sees himself as “an expert of RTI” and “not an user.” With his characteristic determination to shun the spotlight, Kardaley prefers to guide people who file applications under the RTI Act rather than use the law himself. He says, “I have not filed a single application under the Acts so far. As a professional journalist I must safeguard the position of my organization.”
When asked about his opinion on other ‘public interest’ issues, Kardaley’s response is short. “I am now interested in ‘Right to Information’ only. I feel strongly about it and devote most of my time campaigning,”
For those willing to use the act, he has only one advice to offer. “ Always remember the core purpose of the act which is to protect the downtrodden and ensure transparency in the distribution mechanism.”
So go ahead and use the act for it is your fundamental right to know
Source:Postings in pmkpune.blogspot by Random Rambles & virtualpune(dot)com
Re: Personaities prominent in RTI India
Prakash Kardaley, journalist and activist, dies at 65
Prakash Kardaley, former Senior Editor of The Indian Express, passed away on Sunday afternoon following a massive heart attack. He was 65. He is survived by wife Asha and son Amol.
From the time he walked into the Express office on January 14, 1967, to the day he left on February 28, 2007 as Senior Editor (Express Initiatives), Kardaley built for himself and the newspaper a formidable reputation based on the finest tenets of journalistic pursuits.
Fearless, frank and blessed with an intrinsic ability to grasp the crux of any issue and adopt the most effective method of tackling it, he blazed a trail of citizen journalism that was unparalleled. The result was a series of campaigns that he undertook for Pune, a city he lived in and loved unconditionally, that propelled many civic changes and improvements that the citizens have witnessed in recent years.
His was a byline that came to be associated with in-depth knowledge, an accurate analysis of issues and most importantly, an impeccable integrity that shone through every issue he raked up and pursued to its logical conclusion. Throughout his relentless fight against road encroachment by mandals during Ganeshotsav, misuse of basements, building activity on hill tops, welfare of the citizens remained not his foremost, but only aim.
Prakash Kardaley was the founder of the Pune Edition of The Indian Express and its Resident Editor from 1989 to 2000 after which he continued to function in the newspaper as Senior Editor (Express Initiatives). Kardaley founded the Express Citizens Forum, a joint initiative with activist citizens. He was also the coordinator of the Express Citizens' War Memorial, a move that was also a reflection of his unflinching respect for the defence forces of the country.
He spearheaded the initiative for the erection of the War Memorial that today stands as an important landmark in Pune, and bears the names of all post-Independence martyrs from Maharashtra.
Over the past few years it's been the RTI Act that brought out the best in him who has stood for complete transparency at all levels of functioning.
Prakash Kardaley, journalist and activist, dies at 65 - Yahoo! India News
Re: Personaities prominent in RTI India
The interview of Aruna Roy was very interesting!I think more such Success Stories would help popularize this site !Hari Gautam Obhrai
Hari Gautam Obhrai