‘The Ugly Indian’

published on December 12, 2011

We litter the streets, spit paan everywhere, paste posters on empty walls, pee on the streets and dump garbage around the corner from our houses. We are ugly Indians. Not every day, not everyone. But even occasional transgressions can add up to a lot in a country of 1.2 billion.

A faceless, mysterious Bangalore group calling itself “The Ugly Indian” is going about slowly and stealthily changing the dreadful streets in the city. The group, which proclaims itself a “random, unorganised” group is media-averse and operates only through an anonymous email address. It has a three-language motto: “Maatu beda kelasa madu”, “kaam chalu mooh band”, “only work, no talk”.

The Ugly Indians seem to be Bangalore’s answer to the Anna movement. But rather than pointing out all that is wrong with the system, the low-key group members are going about, simply showing how things can be righted. There is no finger-pointing, period. Instead of cribbing about the filth and blaming the lower-rung civil staff, the Ugly Indian has been busy “Spotfixing” in Bangalore. Self-funded volunteers who aggregate through the group’s website, email and Facebook page, descend on a particularly neglected (read, filthy) corner of the city where they each proceed to plough in and mend the spot.

The anonymity of the group has worked in its favour. “No names are exchanged, no introductions are made, no socialising, no networking. Everyone gets it,” the Ugly Indian described in an email to this column. And so the group quietly goes about clearing garbage, fixing pavements, providing litter bins (quirkily named “tereBin”, designed small to save pavement space and keep stray dogs out), painting walls and righting road medians.

The Ugly Indian’s approach is refreshing. The Indian explanation, “we are like that only”, is cute but does not help, says their website; accepting that “we” are part of the problem and only “we” can help fix the problem is more like it, they say.

In Spotfixing, the group makes over a chunk of a busy Bangalore street or corner in a way that engages local storekeepers, civic agency cleaning staff and the public, without apportioning blame or expecting recognition.

Read Full report by Saritha Rai @
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/the-guerrilla-dogooders/884766/0

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