Saturday, November 05, 2011

Politicians, Dogs, and Banners

In the area where I live,  the population has increased by leaps and bounds over the years, with lots of commercial establishments, housing areas, schools, hospitals etc coming up.  In all these new fangled posh establishments, some of us still prefer to go to the old tried and tested, places. One such , is a polyclinic,  run by an old established  landowning family, where our dentist has practiced for the past so any years, way before we became an official suburb.

The local prominent landowner's descendants, are active in politics, and like to think they represent us. The 2009 general elections  saw some desperate campaigning.

I was once sitting in the dentists chair, in great discomfort and pain,  some retractor type stuff stuck in my mouth, 5 circular lights shining into my face, when someone knocked on the door and entered in.  I could still glance sideways and could see a fellow in a "leader's" white khadi outfit, walking in with folded hands. Much welcoming and greeting, and he asked for us to come and vote for him. After small talk, much facetious smiling, he moved on, into some other doctor's chambers, to interrupt someone else again.   Soon after he went, the old lady , a doctor, whose doctor daughter currently managed the polyclinic came by. My dentist took a short break to greet and talk to her , out of respect. 

"He came to touch my feet before starting the campaign. I  told him, this time you must win with a great majority. " she said. (She had known his late father, the original elected person). "It will be good. All those land cases of his, which are stuck, will then get cleared ! "

(I didn't have too much of a problem gaping in shock, since my mouth was held wide open anyway )  . Politics was that blatantly practiced. (Or should I say, "is " ?...)

Subsequently, with tons of hoardings from various candidates, blaring announcements,  endless freebies being handed out and promised, the man got elected, and since then has joined what I call the Hoarding brigade.

Your work needn't speak, but your image, with folded hands, a big cutout, with photos of all your chamchas, (apple-polishers) with their designations, as well as National leaders, past and present, dead or alive,  on a huge hoarding,  was supposed to speak loudly.

It indicated that you were always consulted by them, you knew them, played marbles in childhood with them, were related to them, were as crooked as them, whatever.....

It's not only your subordinates, but  these leaders have no qualms having their pictures  on hoardings, next to late Mahatma Gandhi, late Indira Gandhi(and her assorted late and living family members, the PM, local chief ministers, leaders of the opposition, sometimes even the President of the country.  Someone is always congratulating someone on a (rigged) election, birthday, or welcoming someone with creative spelling mistakes, all this on huge wide hoardings, placed with a blatant disregard for gates, traffic signals, trees, windows of apartments and houses, all so you can see it from a distance.

One of our cricket commentators on TV, decided to spearhead a "remove hoardings" campaign in a gap between his cricket commitments. He met political power-folks, who were photographed agreeing with him 100%, a campaign to remove hoardings was announced. The major local paper took it up.  For a while it looked like it would work.  The municipal authorities, had to depute a vehicle, and 4 people to remove a single hoarding, and most of the hoardings put up (50%) were illegal, where no permission was taken. 

In Mumbai , at least 500 Hoardings fill the skyline everyday .  Announcing social initiatives, visits, birthdays, and assorted religious festivals of every type imaginable. (You must cater to all communities, to be perceived as secular).  Some housing societies crib about ventilation being hindered, light being insufficient due to these huge swathes of fabric hanging across, etc. Some tear these down, some get threatened by goons. Some folks who came to visit us once even missed the turn at our locality gate, because there was a huge hording of a politician covering the wall at the entrance.  And then there are hoarding wars. Candidates  try to out do each other  in size of hoarding, eminent leaders images,  occasions, and followers photos. There have been instances of someone tearing down hoardings and then some coming up overnight. Clearly, political pressure, and law and order folks keep away from each other.

My hometown, Pune , is often criticised for its banners, and signs outside houses and roads.  People from other towns,  like to make fun of this. There are even facebook pages dedicated to this.

And so it was with a sense of great delight that i chanced upon this wonderful pseudopolitical banner displayed recently in the Pune suburb of Hadapser.  Prominently on a corner building.

It celebrated the birthday of a Dog called MaxiDada (Maxi being his name, and Dada a suffix added to indicate seniority). It also  exhibited names and designations of office bearer dogs,( named Bruno,Moti and Brani), and one office bearer Cat (named Money...err Mani),  who featured on the banner, wishing their leader heartily on his birthday. The banner , predictably spanned across two floors of a multistoreyed building, and suitably blocked someone's corner balcony.

I really don't know if anyone cribbed about this. I don't know if anyone tore it down. I even wonder if any political goon types even noticed it and learned a lesson.

Someone said this was a project by some disgusted senior citizens of the area.

But what i enjoyed the best was a comment by someone saying, "please don't insult the dogs.... " 




  1. unbelievable that hoarding wishing Happy birthday to MaxiDada !!!!! :D :D :D We humans are quite a spieces I must say !!!!

    in any case i hope Maxi had a lot of fun and has a great year ahead ! :D

  2. Such a shame that there is so much corruption in politics!

  3. I loved the Maxidada hoarding :)

    The general political boardings, I can't understnd them. If political parties/candidates spent the money and effort they spent doing this, in relevant activities, the need for these hoardings would disappear, no?

  4. Such huge signs are illegal in Hawaii, and perpetrators are prosecuted. During election year, we see smaller signs posted on fences with homeowner's permission. And often you see the candidate and a group of friends lined up on the sidewalk carrying small signs and waving at drivers. But, that's about it.

  5. Happy Birthday, Maxidada!!! I'd rather celebrate yours than celebrate our UP behenji's who's all over with her bags and annoying smiles!!!

  6. OMG! that is so hilarious! how can they have a hoarding like that...but like that someone said 'please dont insult a dog'

  7. Maxi Dada... a great way to teach the so called politicians... but then i just said to myself... u cant teach them... they are the Local Self Proclaimed GODS... in marathi they say "SwayamGhoshit"