Marine Drive banners now in a book | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Marine Drive banners now in a book

'Say it fast, say it slow — rationing must go'. Forty years ago, this banner boldly protesting the government's compulsory rationing system for all goods drew large crowds outside the Marine Drive Soona Mahal building.

mumbai Updated: Jun 11, 2010 02:21 IST
Aarefa Johari

'Say it fast, say it slow — rationing must go'.

Forty years ago, this banner boldly protesting the government's compulsory rationing system for all goods drew large crowds outside the Marine Drive Soona Mahal building.

The rationing was revoked owing to protests and the witticisms of Nana Chudasama, the author of the banner, became a permanent feature on the building.

Now, the most popular of these banner slogans will be put out for the public again, this time in the form of a book —History on a Banner — to be released on June 17 by actor Amitabh Bachchan and politician LK Advani.

"The most important leg of democracy is public opinion, and when I saw the response to my first banner, I realised this was a great way to get people thinking," said Chudasama, former sheriff of Mumbai and founder of various non-profit organisations including Giants International and I Love Mumbai.

While he has never repeated a slogan, Chudasama has reserved one banner for use before every election — 'The Greek dictionary meaning of an idiot — a man who does not vote'.

Over the years, the banner slogans have caught people's eye with their good-humoured, often satirical social commentary. "I've found them to be a positive paradox — they make you laugh while telling you about significant contemporary events, pushing you to read and research more," said Tahirih Gaur (26), a Marine Drive resident, who looks forward to new slogans.

Some slogans have invited controversies, most recently the ones rallying support for painter MF Husain. But Chudasama's favourite remains the one put up soon after the Emergency during Indira Gandhi's tenure as prime minister — 'When Mrs. I became all I, people said good-bye'.

(Nana Chudasama's book History on a Banner will be released at the Mumbai University Convocation Hall on June 17 at 5 pm)