The not-so-ugly Indians
Following Gandhi's rule, 'The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem', an anonymous group of citizens in Bangalore has been going around spot fixing the city with the motto Kaam Chalu Mooh Bandh. The Ugly Indians have been around for almost three years in the country now. Media shy, the members of the group refuse to talk to the media and work quietly, bringing about positive civic change in the city.
One of the longest and biggest projects taken up by the group took place last month, when the Koramangala Passport Office 'Black Spot Cluster' was fixed. New footpaths were built, walls repainted and trees planted. Almost 600 ft of public space was reclaimed and the project was completely citizen-funded.
The group first went viral on the internet in 2011, when thousands of people watched and shared one of their videos which showed them 'spot-fixing' a street on Brigade Road. The video showed masked volunteers cleaning up trash, peeling movie posters off dirty walls and painting them, and cleaning urine stains to turn the dirty lane into a spot-free area.
BBMP garbage staffers, pourakarmikas, cleaning maids, shopkeepers, paanwallas, office staff, staff from BESCOM, BSNL & BWSSB plus several Bangaloreans helped leaving their comfort zone to lend a hand, expecting nothing in return. According to The Ugly Indians, these experiments have worked, and sustained, because 'everyone worked together, nobody pointed fingers, and basically – every Ugly Indian really wants a clean street.'
The group claim to be realists and refuse to blame civic bodies like the BBMP for the current state of the city, and reiterate that people need to take responsibility for their surroundings.
They feel a ‘solution’ is a real solution only if:
It sustains in the public street for at least 90 days.
With no supervision.
Is low-cost (ideally free) and easy to implement and replicate
Changes the behaviour and attitudes of all concerned
Creates minimal change in the daily actions of everyone concerned (nobody should lose a job, lose a source of income, or get seriously inconvenienced – because it takes only one Ugly Indian to undo the good work of a hundred others).
People who wish to contribute and take part in local spot-fixes can write in to firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.theuglyindian.com.