BANGALORE: In most Indian cities, including Bangalore, hardly a day passes when you don't spot someone relieving themselves by the road. This, despite the penalty that BBMP threatens for urinating in public spaces.
So when V G Narendra, managing trustee of Indian Institute of Cartoonists was approached by Sustainable Sanitation Alliance, an international network, for an unusual collaboration, he agreed. The synergy resulted in a cartoon and caricature contest based on the theme, 'Break the taboo on sanitation and toilets.'
"After all, what better way to spread awareness on a subject that people are uncomfortable talking about. This way it can initiate the long-awaited discussion among the public," says Narendra, who promptly got in touch with cartoonists across the country and even outside.
Five prizes were given away on March 22, World Water Day, at GIZ, New Delhi. Now, Indian Institute of Cartoonists has brought the top 50 entries to the city via their 99th exhibition and this one too, breaks taboos about the toilet and sanitation debate.
"The response from the Bangalore cartoonists' community has been great as well," he says. "In fact, a Bangalorean even bagged a prize," he adds.
B V Panduranga Rao, a hobby cartoonist, is the man in question. His 'Holy Dip' depicts a man performing ablution in sacred waters, oblivious of a sewage line spewing into it too.
"Even in the city, we don't care enough about hygiene, and sanitation is the most important aspect. So often, when we go out, there isn't a toilet we can go to," says the resident of Vidyaranyapura, and he imagines that the situation in the rural areas can only be worse. The septuagenarian says that he's received positive feedback on social media and his blog after he put out this cartoon, along with a couple of other cartoons based on the same theme. "On one hand, the government has to bring in better sanitation systems and toilets, and people should also understand that it's their individual responsibility," he concludes.
'Breaking Taboos About Toilets and Sanitation' at the Indian Cartoon Gallery, 1, Midford House, off M G Road, on display till June 7.