26 July, 2021

The Great Hosedown

Volunteers clear garbage from a colony streetside

The Great Hosedown

Mooh bandh, kaam chalu (No talk, just work). That’s what a bunch of volunteers in Bangalore call their campaign, one that has caught the imagination of people across the country. Groups of volunteers turn up all of a sudden at public spots and with brooms, bins, brushes and paint and other implements and material to ‘spot fix’ filthy pavements, walls, subways, garbage dumping spots and so on. Some take photographs and post them on Facebook, but many prefer to remain anonymous. The anonymity and the strategy of “no lectures, only activism”—they seem to have had some success. Groups have sprung up in Ludhiana, Kanpur, Hyderabad, Pune, Gurgaon and several other cities. Photographs of the event are posted on social media. The homepage of The Ugly Indians (TUI)  website asks: Why are the Indian streets filthy? The answer options: a) The System, Stupid b) Corrupt Government c) Uneducated People. The answer is not any of those items. It is d) We Are All Ugly Indians. Indians are good at beating the best of systems, wherever they go, the...

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