THE MEMBERS of the Bhopal Citizens Forum were jubilant when the government conceded their demand and removed innumerable hoardings that were put all along the VIP Road and on the busy Polytechnic Square. But it was an ephemeral satisfaction for soon hoardings appeared all over the City with a vengeance.
The Citizens Forum felt helpless because this time it was the government at fault that had flooded the prominent squares, high-rise buildings and every possible nook and corner in the City where the hoardings could be installed. The reemergence of hoardings dashed all hopes of making Bhopal a beautiful city.
The City is agog with the posters of the CM, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, his ministerial colleagues, BJP party functionaries etc. There are varieties of posters—thanksgiving posters, birthday posters, welcome posters, and government’s progress-monitoring posters occupying the hoardings. Barring the CM’s face, other faces are completely unknown, but there they are—smiling, waving the public, etc, the least to go public are publicised.
I wonder what makes men show their faces in such public places, like actors and actresses. When Vibha Patel was the Mayor her cutouts often appeared on hoardings on her birthday or on her completing one year etc. It was downright sycophancy, but with the “Pallu” on her head made her look gracefully Indian. Men look out of place on the hoardings: it is as ridiculous as men visiting beauty parlors!
When I asked a psychologist what makes men have their photographs published in the newspapers or magazines, or mounted on the hoardings, he enlightened me that it was nothing but Narcissus complex. Narcissus was a handsome Greek youth, who fell in love with his own reflection in water, thinking it was a nymph and pined away for not meeting the object of his love: I did not find a single Narcissus - like manly beauty on the hoardings.
But whatever the reasons of politicians resorting to hoardings, they jeopardise other people’s lives. The Indian drivers, Bhopalis worst of them all, are the most unruly, careless drivers for you will find them rehearsing accidents all over the City, driving with one hand, the other hand holding that accursed instrument called mobile, or impressing the females riding on their pillions.
The hoardings are a great hazard for they cause distraction—even a careful and alert driver like me was once caught reading the hoardings near Nankay Petrol Pump, unmindful of the green light that had appeared: the great consternation and blowing of horns of the cars behind me was understandable.
I sometimes wonder who pays for the huge posters pasted on the hoardings; if it is the government, they are wasting public money on trifles, even if they recount the government’s achievements and the policies.
If the politicians pay from their pockets, has the Income Tax Department even took note of it? A decade ago when I bought a car after parting with some family jewellery (cost Rs 1 lakh) the ITD had asked me to submit the list of resources.
I understand the ITD has stopped that practice for every Tom, Dick and Harry these days has acquired a car, hardly knowing how to drive, park or handle the automaton.