Visual pollution during the Ganesh Festival
The religious fervour and euphoria of the ten days of Ganpati Bappa is over. People who fled the city to escape the din (there is considerable amount of sound pollution due to the use of loudspeakers) and the crowds, have come back. Politicians are conducting drives to clear the debris on the beaches. And many of us regret the environmental damage. Another thing we want to put behind us are the instances of intimidation/extortion before the start of the celebrations (to collect money for the Ganesh mandals).
There are two other negative aspects. One concerns aesthetics and the other, the gross commercialisation of the festival. I am not talking of the loud filmi music played at the mandals, but the presence of brands. Whether it’s Idea or Hero Honda, or Lizzat Papad, scores of brands were given permission by the municipality to put up posters and banners and hoardings acrosss Pune city, particularly on roads with the mandals. I am not sure what the financial arrangement was here, how much the mandals got, but I am sure they got something too.
Even if they didn’t, I don’t see why a religious festival has to become an opportunity for the government to make a few extra bucks. All billboard norms were thrown to the wind! I am not in Pune now, but I wonder if these banners have been removed or whether they have been carelessly discarded and are rotting in some ditch! The government knows that no one will protest because the minute anything is “religious” people bear it in silence. People are afraid that if they protest others could well question their faith in God. How else to explain the uglification of a city and people’s tolerance levels? I cannot believe that anyone thinks that polluting the city with ad banners has anything to do with religion.
These are some of the pictures I took during the Ganesh Festival. They speak louder than words.
The brand is not visible in the picture below – it’s Airtel.
And do you think our politicians will pass up an opportunity to plaster their mugs on banners in the guise of wishing the citizens Happy Ganesh Chaturthi?
(All pictures were taken by me in Pune and are copyrighted)
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