Standing tall with full of pride, RJ Priyanka, a Transgender represents the Sexual Minorities Community. An RJ since 2010, Priyanka has a never-say-no attitude! Respected by everyone in and around Bangalore, Priyanka launched Yari Varu, a show focusing on issues faced by the LGBT community like sexual harassment, unemployment, lack of housing, etc. She is also actively involved in the day to day station management.
Fondly called as the “Drama Queen of Radio Active”, RJ Priyanka was the finalist for two years at the Namma Bengaluru Awards 2013- 2014 and 2014-2015. She is also the winner of ‘Suvarana State Award’ and ‘Yuva Sadheke Award” in the year 2015 for her consistent contribution for empowerment of sexual minority community. She has been featured in various publications, and interviewed on TV & Radio. She has the distinction of being the country’s first Transgender RJ – on air since May 2010. She has also acted in a short film, “Jayanagara 4th Block”, a television serial ”Suryakaanti” broadcast on Zee Kannada and a play ‘Mohinibasmasura’. She has also participated in different reality program such as, ‘Pekkin Express’, ‘Divided’, ‘Matandre Mathu’, to name a few.
Shiv Kumar is an auto-driver by profession and a poet by heart. Following an invitation to be interviewed on the station, he lapped up the idea of being the voice of the auto driver community. In 2010, his first weekly live show called Mukha Mukhi was aired, with a view to provide a common platform for discussions within the auto driver community and the general public. The show addressed a range of issues from faulty meter, aggression, customer service, to health and nutrition, occupational hazards, family issues, dealings with the RTO and the traffic police etc. The show ran successfully till June 2015. He then launched a new show titled “Mathandrae Mathu Manadalada Mathu”, to capture the stories of auto drivers, interesting passenger stories and a sneak peek into the lives of the rickshaw drivers. This show is recorded at the various auto stands in the city. He also produces another show titled Gurukula Budhukina Hadi.
He has been extensively covered in various publications and the TV. In the past he has also won the honesty award from the Bangalore Traffic Police Commissioner. He was also the finalist at the Namma Bengaluru Awards 2012. He has the unique distinction of being the world’s first Autodriver RJ.
Extremely shy and introvert, Manjula is the sole bread winner of her family Her tryst with the station began following a Capacity Building Workshop in Radio Production at her slum in Indira Colony. A regular listener, she participated in a Baseline Survey organized by the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA) on behalf of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India for the Project Planet Earth, in October 2010. Following which she volunteered at the station and started the Active Dasarahalli series.
She is known as “Radio Akka”, in her colony and produces the popular children series “Chinnara Chillipilli”, with the children from the area. She has also worked on the series Ruthumathi and Radio Mathematics mentoring the adolescents of Byransandra and the domestic workers in production respectively. She is instrumental in facilitation of the Annual Story Telling Competition that the station hosts. Even though a little timid while meeting new people, she is completely at home with technology, especially the computer!
Radha Mani is popularly called “Radhamma”, at the station. Ever smiling and soft-spoken, Radha is hardworking and prides herself on taking care of her family as a single woman. Radha’s husband was HIV+ but he was unaware of it till it was too late. In 2003, she lost her husband, and though shattered by her husband’s death, reached out to other people like her to keep her sanity. She started working with World Vision, an NGO for five years, counseling people. In 2013, she had an opportunity to attend the “Community Women Broadcaster’s Workshop conducted by Radio Active CR 90.4 MHz, through Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA)’s support. It was at this workshop, she felt that her voice is important and the need to reach out to the PLHIV community led her to volunteer at the station and eventually joined full time.
She hosts two shows – Active Srirampura and Chiguridha Badaku (Chigurida Baduku literally translated means, a new life)
Radha, is also actively involved with other NGOs working on HIV issues and conducts awareness workshops across the city, in addition counseling the community on available schemes.
Shilok identifies herself as a transgender woman and recently graduated from Jain University. She aspires to be a Psychologist given the growing up trauma she had to encounter because of her confused identity. Labeled, mocked, bullied, abused and harassed, she suddenly found her voice and began to believe in herself, by coming out. In Jaunuary 2015, she accompanied a friend to the station, who was researching on gender and sexuality issues and from there as they say rest is history. She started volunteering at the station from March 2015, for the popular show YariVaru and launched the Season 2 as the main RJ till November 2015. She then launched the show “Colourful Kamanabillu”, focusing on Gender and Sexuality issues.
In her free time she enjoys painting, reading. She loves to dance and she is also a poet who uses poetry as an activism for her community.
Fairy tales are not just a thing of movies. Sometimes, real life happy endings become more poignant than reel life ones. A housekeeping staff, to a sex worker and now an RJ, Shanthi is definitely not your quintessential Cinderella, but her story definitely sets up a precedent for a modern day Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman).
Born as Shankar in Bangalore, Shanti, as a child, always preferred the company of girls, to boys, and also loved spending time with her mother, doing household work. Even at an early age of 7, she walked and spoke like a girl. At 16, when boys her age wrote love letters to their girlfriends, she wrote unrequited love letters, to boys she secretly harbored a crush on. Though being this way was not at all an easy option for her, who was constantly harassed and belittled by her classmates. Adorned in clothes, that her sex was expected to wear, she always felt like a misfit. The woman in her bones exulted in her mom’s saris that she wore and the makeup she put on. At 19, when she finally knew that this was who she wanted to be, for the rest of her life, she mustered up the courage and confessed to her parents, who misconstrued it as abnormal thinking, and forced her get married. However, she turned the tables and told the girl, whom her parents had chosen, “the day I get married, the whole society will look at me differently”. This put off marriage talks for a while, but she was treated like a pariah, and slowly entered depression.
Around this time, she found work as a housekeeping staff at a medical store. It was then that she was approached by a member of her community, who introduced her to Sangama, where she was given a place to express the ‘Shanti’ in her. However, this came with a price and she was asked to choose between begging or sex work. So, the choice was made, and she chose sex work, which required her to stand on highways, and woo potential clients. One incident that she can never forget, was when seven men kidnapped her, took her to a jungle nearby and gang raped her, for four to five hours continuously. She was asked to perform with a knife at her throat, and they assaulted her without any protection. When they were done, she was only worried about one thing – if she would contract some STD and die. As a sex worker, there is very little justice she could hope for. A profession which was sneered upon by the society, they felt that she was not worthy of the blind justice which our constitution awards to every single citizen. Also, she was scared that if she went seeking for help, the gang would come back and kill her so kept mum and continued to suffer silently.
In May 2015, she was invited by a fellow sex-worker to a discussion program at the station, and it was hear that she spoke her heart out through a poetry she composed, and shortly after she started volunteering at the station and soon launched a show titled “Ghanateya Dudimegaagi Naavu Manushyaru”, which features life stories of sex workers and also address issues of housing, social security and the need for decriminalization of sex work.
Rukmini is the voice of the Garment Workers and hosts the series “Behind the Label”. She is also the President of Munnade a community based women’s organization that educates women about their rights. The organization started in 2002 as a pre-union concept to work with women on issues of domestic violence and challenge patriarchy in their daily lives. It was officially founded in 2004 and registered in 2011. She is also an active member of the Garment Labour Union – a women-led trade union based in Bangalore, engaged in organizing garment workers and protecting their rights. She is also the country’s first garment worker RJ. She is currently on a yearlong break.
Sowmya is the voice over artist of the show “Behind the Label”. Before joining Radio Active she was a worker in the garment industry. While working in the industry she came across issues and stories of sexual harassment in the work place. She was moved by the stories and wanted the world to know about it. She volunteered to work with Radio Active and now hosts “Behind the Label”.
Uma, as she is fondly called, represents the sexual minority community. After working for over 14 years on the community issues, Uma was disappointed with the lack of space in the mainstream media and so turned to community media. She registered an NGO called “Jeeva”, to specifically work on advocacy of community media and mental health issues.
She also produced a documentary titled “Shruthi Saranya Love Story”, on lesbian couple, whose family had severe opposition to the relationship. At Radio Active, Uma hosts the popular show “Jeeva Diary”, and runs a quarterly magazine “Ananya”, a Kannada magazine dedicated to bringing sexual minority voices to the forefront.
Mansoor is not your regular scrap dealer. He is a man with a mission. A member of Hasiru Dala, he completed the Scrap Dealer Certification Program, jointly run by Radio Active and Hasiru Dala, and shortly after took charge of managing the operations of a Dry Waste Collection Center in Ward 168 at Jayanagar. A school drop-out, his tryst with technology began when MindTree launched the “I Got Garbage”, an android app that makes it possible to manage the center’s operations by keeping track of inventory, waste pick-ups and more. He soon took it and got on the social media sites like Facebook and started using what’s app to connect to the community. He dreams of building a scrap dealer cooperative, which will enable in creating a fair market place and price, and so decided to work towards building the Clean City Recyclers Association (CCRA). He also has the unique distinction of representing India, at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP (Conference Of Parties) 21
He also volunteers at the station and co-hosts the daily show “Kasa Shramika Parisara Rakshka”
RJ Salma and Siddique, residents on Nayandahalli, hold the distinction of being the world’s first wife and husband waste-picker RJ. They co-host the daily show “Kasa Shramika Parisara Rakshka”. The show broadcasts programs in different Indian languages – Kannada, Tamil, Urdu and Bengali as it caters to listeners in various slums speaking multiple languages.
Salma and Siddique is also working on the “Daastan-e-Nayandahalli “, series, documenting the stories of the recyclers in Nayandahalli.
Venkatesh has over nine years of work experience in the social sector. His work revolved around social security issues like Education, Health, Water, PDS and ICDS Integrated Child Development (ICDS). Specfically with education he has mainly worked on organizing State and district level programme about RTE and SDMC. He has organised workshops related to creating School Development and Monitoring committee (SDMC) in all BBMP Schools and sensitization on the role and responsibility to the SDMC members. He has also worked on awareness camps for women groups on legal issues, domestic violence and government schemes.
His constant work with Slum dwellers has benefited them with awareness and benefits about BPL Card, Bhaghya Lakshmi Bond, Labor Card, RSBY Card Voter I D Card and Student Scholarship. He has also organized Grievance redressal mechanism (GRM) programme. He also has a vast experience with Baseline Survey on Schools and Anganawadi’s and PDS Shops Survey. He also has a good rapport with Government departments and officials to discuss on Policy level problems. Venkatesh also has a flair for writing, and has written street plays and songs He also completed a Diploma in Theater from Hampi University. He has also collected awareness Songs on environment, Water, Health, Education and published the same in the book Geetha Sangama.
Padma is a fervent conservationist – be it know-hows, heritage, culture or environment. With a recent beginning in wildlife conservation, she is equally passionate and committed in her new role of Founder Trustee of Save Tiger First, as much she is in her profession of Marketing that spans to 20 years now. As a consultant her focus has been establishing brands and developing the markets for her clients. She is adept with all the Marketing tools such as corporate films, go to market strategies, market development, market research, PR campaigns and so on and so forth.
Her life-mantras “adaptability above circumstances” and “drive to make things happen” have enriched her journey in life. She is married to Ashok Hallur, a professional photographer and also the Founder Trustee of Save Tiger First.