The Ugly Indian: Uprooting ‘Ugliness’ from India and Indians
A fact, flagrant though, goes indisputable – ‘We Indians have abysmal standards of public hygiene.’ The truthfulness of the fact is evidenced by the pathetic plight of the streets and places in highly developed foreign countries where Indians reside. We do care about cleanliness at home but we don’t care about neatness and presentability of our streets and public places. If somebody points our filthy and rubbish strewn streets to us, we immediately throw out the blame upon our system and government instead of peeping deep into our conscience and realize that our ‘attitude’ has to be blamed. Even if we are aware about it, we hardly care to do anything about it.
Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. If we really want to see our streets clean, we must not wait for somebody to clean them; instead, we need to take up a broom and start cleaning up the mess. And this frames the vision of The Ugly Indian, a leaderless organization based in Bangalore founded in 2010 that brings together all who live with such a beautiful approach. These anonymous volunteers have taken the pledge to transform the face of India and have been inspiring more and more people to join the feat. Incorporated in 2010, The Ugly Indian has fixed many spots littered by paan stains on walls and piled up garbage on the pavements or open urinals; they have beautifully transformed such spots having cleaned them; painted them and organizing them. The changeover in Bangalore was commendable. Soon, people from all corners of India started joining the campaign and started initiating the change in nearby surrounded dirty areas.
The campaign is carried out with the mission ‘Spot-Fixing’. All tools, materials and instructions are provided on the spot. All spot-fixes are self-funded and volunteers are requested to make a contribution towards material costs. It is noteworthy that nearly 90% of these projects have been successful. Every ‘Spot-Fixing project is hailed as a success only if it remains hygienic and graceful for ninety days; as, it would be a clear indication of change in behavior and attitude of people inhabiting the society. If people don’t want to do the ugly work, drop a message on Facebook and The Ugly Indians will take care of it.
To maintain the decorum of the cleaned spots, the group also has products such as Terebin and WonderLoo in their bags. TereBins are actually dustbins meant for petty litter. Terebin is also offered as a service which sums up installation of the bins, regular supervision and setting up of a daily clearing system. WonderLoos are open urinal systems that add to hygiene maintenance as well as protect the privacy of the users. Maintenance of the WonderLoos is taken care of by local Municipality.
It takes everyone by surprise that The Ugly Indian is not run by any leader. The voluntaries of the group believe they don’t need a face to represent their organization. In one of the TED Talks, a voluntary representing the group appeared wearing in a mask. He said, “Don’t let my mask scare you; I’m just trying to stay anonymous. My name is Anamik Nagrik.” So, why The Ugly Indians have to be anonymous? He added, “The problem with India is – we make judgment on people and not on the work they do. The reason the concept of The Ugly Indian worked out as focus was only on results; not on who did it; why are they doing it? Or what is their motivation? Anonymity allows a lot of people to come and join the fold.”
Uprooting Ugliness from the Indian souls is another motive of ‘The Ugly Indian’. It pleads ‘Stop being an Ugly Indian’ and alleges ‘Chalta hai needs to be Kaam Chaalu Mooh Bandh’.
To become a member of this group, volunteers must send a mail to The Ugly Indian or by registering name and email address on their Facebook page.