People don’t feel they have a stake in the city | india | Hindustan Times
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People don’t feel they have a stake in the city

india Updated: Sep 27, 2009 23:50 IST
Dibaker Banerjee
Dibaker Banerjee
Hindustan Times
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I don’t think urinating in public has anything to do with Delhiites being inherently ill-mannered or loutish. People urinate on the streets because there just aren’t enough public conveniences available.

It’s very convenient for the politicians and bureaucrats residing in leafy bungalows in Lutyens’ Delhi to preach to citizens about adopting manners befitting a ‘world-class’ city, but they need to ask themselves whether they’ve been able to deliver the necessary infrastructure for it.

Despite the Delhi government going on record to say that there is a daily influx of close to seven lakh people in the city, it has failed to do anything about it.

We’ve been living in these crumbling, corrupt cities since Independence — so, seven decades down the line, we’re simply conforming to this lack of infrastructure with this alleged ‘lack of public etiquette’.

Further, I think the people of Delhi don’t believe that they have a stake in the city; why don’t they urinate or spit in the Metro stations? That’s because not only do they see the Metro as a convenient and ‘world class’ means of commuting, but also because the Metro is a matter of prestige for them. In other words — they have claimed it as their own.

But, owing to neglect on the part of the administration, it’s not the case with the rest of the city.

In Europe, for example, it’s not like people don’t spit or urinate in public — but the number of people doing so is far lower as compared to that in Delhi. That’s because most people identify with their city, and feel a connect with it.

The scene in Khosla ka Ghosla, however was not to send out a public message, but to portray the city with realism.

I’ve grown up in the city, so I know that there aren’t many walls in public places that don’t carry the Yahan Peshaab Karna Mana Hai (do not urinate here) message.

What are we trying to do with this sudden emphasis on public etiquette? It’s definitely just for the Commonwealth Games. It’s like fooling visitors into believing you have a beautiful house by remodeling your drawing room, and leaving your kitchen and toilet in a mess.

(Dibaker Banerjee directed the movies Khosla ka Ghosla and Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye.)