How do people usually protest — take to the streets, hold out a banner or maybe shout slogans? A Coimbatore-based Facebook page came up with a unique way to seek the attention of authorities and make them take action, a ‘photo contest’.
‘Happy Theatre’ invited people to submit photos of roads and streets in dire need of repair. The campaign asked people to submit the pictures of damaged roads, mud roads, swamps or overflowing garbage and the best photos would be awarded t-shirts. The post read:
“How do people tolerate this? This road problem is largely unknown to people who are threatened with life and property. First we need to take note of what our roads look like. Can you see such roads elsewhere in Coimbatore. Let everybody realize the roadway where 25000 carriages go daily.”
According to S Mohammed Siyad, a 22-year-old college student, he along with others, started the campaign after authorities refused to pay heed to their petitions. He told TNM,
“We were planning to do this campaign for the entire city but restricted it to this area to see how it worked. Residents here are slowly getting used to these bad roads. But students are the demographic that suffers the worst. There are schools around here and a lot of college students also. Workers dug up the road and did not patch it up properly. So after there is rain, it becomes like a swamp.”
Siyad says the campaign has received around 100 entries.
Other innovative protests
This follows other innovative protests forcing local authorities to take action. Earlier this month, a Bengaluru-based artist created a video where he was dressed as an astronaut and walked on the city’s potholes. The video went viral and prompted the city’s civic body to fill up the potholes highlighted in the video.
In 2017, RJ Malishka found widespread support after her song ‘Mumbai tula BMC var bharosa nahi ka’ went viral. The song took a dig at Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for the condition of Mumbai’s roads during the monsoon. BMC workers were later seen repairing roads after a spell of heavy rain.
In Delhi, a 39-year-old office-goer put up posters shaming the UT’s three major political parties for not acting on the problem of water-stagnation on the streets. Soon after, the Public Works Department (PWD) responded and fixed the area’s waterlogging problem.