All in all, it?s just a blotch on the wall | india | Hindustan Times
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All in all, it?s just a blotch on the wall

All this while, right under the genteel noses of the gentle people of West Bengal, there was something called the West Bengal Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1976.

india Updated: Mar 11, 2006 00:27 IST

All this while, right under the genteel noses of the gentle people of West Bengal, there was something called the West Bengal Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1976. Going by any standing surface smooth or rough in Calcutta and beyond, though, no one would have guessed. For, far more than being just declarations of intent or opinion, political graffiti in Bengal have long been seen as art whose kitsch value was slowly and surely being recognised by the cognoscenti that made calendar pictures and the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma art.

It turns out that the state government has, after a stern finger wag from the EC, issued a directive to clean graffiti from walls across the state before the impending assembly elections. So how, pray, will political parties now reach out to their electorate? Apparently, through leaflets, banners and placards. Hah!

But what will happen to the tens of thousands of youngsters who, having an artistic bent of mind, lend their talent every election year to their party Dada’s or Didi’s political cause via the walls of every house in every neighbourhood? Will they channelise their restlessness elsewhere and turn Bengal into a socio-cultural nightmare? For those of us who live in West Bengal, the answer is that we could very well thank you with blotchless walls. As for the rest of us, who are still upset about hand-pulled rickshaws being taken off the streets of Calcutta — and have houses far from the many dripping paintbrushes with a cause — the ban on graffiti marks another sad day for culturewallahs who may lose another subject to lecture forth on before a grants-providing audience.