Poll graffiti still alive, ‘trending’ in Bengal

  • PTI, Kolkata
  • Updated: Mar 19, 2016 11:07 IST
An artist makes graffiti for a Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidate ahead of the assembly elections at Balurghat, in South Dinajpur district of West Bengal. (PTI/ Photo for representation)

‘Thanda Thanda cool cool, ghoosh niyeche Trinamool’, a wall writing in the city goes, referring to the sting video purportedly showing several Trinamool Congress leaders accepting bribe.

With the date for Assembly election in West Bengal drawing near, poll graffiti like this are becoming common once again, demonstrating its unmatched power to grab attention of voters.

It also proves that its power to appeal to voters has not diminished in the age of fashionable social media campaigning. All political parties have vouched for it.

Veteran politician and TMC leader Subrata Mukherjee said the the ability of the wall writings to reach out to masses was unmatched.

“Wall writings and limericks have a very quick impact on the mind of the voters. This has been an age-old method of campaigning in Bengal,” Mukherjee told PTI.

The graffiti - some witty, some satirical and some thought provoking - is an inseparable part of any election in West Bengal since 1952.

“Even in the age of social media, wall writings and limericks are still important as they make an instant impact.

This has been used for campaigning for the last several decades, when we had not witnessed so much of technological advancement,” CPI(M) state secretariat member Sujan Chakraborty said.

“Eto bonchona, eto lanchona, eto kutsa dheu/Tobu Trinamool Congress’er egiye chola Rukhte parbena keua (Such deprivation, such accusations and such malicious campaign/ Still can’t hinder the progress of Trinamool Congress towards the victory lane),” goes another graffiti of the TMC.

This refers to the huge debt burden left by the previous government.

Another one of the TMC says, ‘Hate boma, mukhe prem, Er nam CPI-M (Bomb in hand, love on lips, this is the CPI-M).’

‘Jotoi koro Joth, pabe nako aktao Vote,’ goes another in reference to the alliance between the CPI-M and the Congress.

‘Paye pori Buddhamama, koro nago raj mama, tumi je ei maha jot eke ta janto...,’ a wall writing of a TMC candidate mocking at the alliance between CPI(M) and Congress.

“Now a days you will find campaigns in new wall (Facebook page), but these age-old methods are still very popular to reach out to the masses,” CPI-M state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra said.

While taking about the history of limericks in Bengal, noted poet Sankha Ghosh said,” Limericks not only make a deep impact but are also a form of art, which dates back to the time of first election in 1952.”

For most of the political parties, they have a set of political workers who write the staff. Art students at times are also engaged as graffiti artists during the elections.

However, the digital printing is slowly taking a toll on the age-old political art of graffiti and poetry.

“Political wall writing is an age old art. But it has not been nurtured properly in Bengal. In Europe and Latin America it has acquired a cult status. Neither the Left nor the TMC had taken initiative to preserve this form of art,” said a noted painter who did not wish to be named.

Several leaders cutting across political lines blamed various new rules regrading taking permission from the owners of the walls to responsibility not to make the city walls uglier are having an impact on poll graffiti campaign.

“Now a days you need to take permission letter from the owner of the wall, then there are moral police who will raise hue and cry over walls getting uglier due to poll graffiti,” regretted a political leader.

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