Raghav Madhukar (age 15) started “City Idols”

Residence: Bangalore

Youth venturer since August 2016

Area of work: Education


The Problem

Bengaluru has a number of roads and parks named after people who have made important contributions to society. But their contributions are mostly forgotten. There is also no platform to celebrate the contributions of such local heroes. The youth don’t have enough local role models, and are missing out on inspiring local stories. Remembering the contributions of many such individuals is important to remind youth that they can play a positive role in shaping society. It is important to do more to keep our heritage intact. 


The Strategy

Raghav has built City Idols as an initiative working with youth to research and record the contributions of local heroes, and publicize it. To grow this, he is reaching out to youth at his school and beyond to do research and publicize their findings through traditional means and social media. To begin with, he is focused on street names in Bangalore.  He is now connected to the Madras Local History Group and through social media, is trying to spread the idea to other cities in India, and to other parts of the world. He has now received several entries from Kumaran and Christ College. Because of this, The Better India (news source) has carried a story about idols in Kumaran, which has been shared online more than 500 times. Other universities have shown their support and are encouraging their students to get involved in the research and publicity of this history. The way he sees it from here, is to continue reaching out to more students, more schools and more colleges, and get more entries. In three years, he hopes to get BBMP to put up plaques at least on some major roads that have a person's name, with descriptions of his/her contributions. In five years, he hopes this idea will spread to every city and town in India and around the world which has streets named after people. By this time, he wants a system to be in place such that even without him, the idea will sustain.


The Person

Raghav is an avid reader, and plays several sports, including chess, badminton, tennis and cricket. The idea of City Idols began when his mother asked him to read Kannada sign boards to enhance his reading practice. Raghav became curious as to who the people on the signs were and why these places had to be named after them. He began to research, and realised that the information was often hard to obtain. The main purpose of naming these roads and parks after people was to honour them for the contributions they have made to society, but over the years people have begun forgetting who these people were and what contributions they have made. He decided to change this. Meanwhile, he has himself become inspired by several of the stories the project has uncovered. “We want to bring the feeling to youth that it may not always be a national-level contribution that decides the fate and destinies of everybody in the country, it can also be a small thing like building a hospital or building a community service centre, or levelling a road. There are many ways of contributing”


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