Absence of Political Hoardings - Are we missing viewing the plastered faces and the best wishes on every corner of the city?

Since the election code has been enforced, the city has seen the removal of the infamous flex banners hanging at every nook and corner...each one more garish and more colorful, with numerous faces wishing some obscure leader 'heartiest congratulations'! And in the background of all these local faces are the unfortunate faces of their party leaders, fighting for space in the limits of the banner. Where have all the 'best wishes' gone? Will we see them sprouting up again post elections?

Frankly, just the other day, I realized that Punekars are really missing out on the hearty entertainment that these flex banners provide. For one thing, its entertaining to count the number of people lined up to wish their leader. Secondly, it is also very entertaining to note that the 'wisher' often occupies more space, with his face covering up most of the banner. Of secondary importance is the 'wishee' to whom the entire banner is addressed and the reason for the celebration is grossly missing from the headlines!

I have observed that there are two or three very prominent reasons why these flex boards are put up. One, is that we people have been led to believe that anything 'printed' is true and hence all these 'printed' wishes coming from the hearts of so many faces should necessarily be true. Second reason is that we like to proclaim our love, our grief and our loyalty. Why else do we need firecrackers in Diwali to let people know that we are celebrating? And why else do we need tall walls of speakers to proclaim our love to God? Coming to the aspect of loyalty, particularly political loyalty, I think the flex printing ensures that the person's loyalty is proclaimed in 'black & white' or in this case in full four color prints!

I particularly miss these flex banners today. Tell me, Punekars, how else can we be introduced to the colorful world in the otherwise dull and drab urban life? How else will we know the faces of our corporators, our chief ministers, prime ministers and party presidents?

Moving from the lighter side of this issue, I start thinking about the urban environment! Where do these banners go after they have served their purpose for the day? I am assuming that they feed to the garbage bins of the city. While we are looking at reducing the garbage, why this unnecessary addition?

Today, world cities are looking towards enhancing the visual urban landscape through urban design and urban aesthetics. Visual coherence, studies have shown, ensures that urbanites have a stress free and enriched urban life. While in Pune and in other Indian cities as well, our political leaders and political aspirants are cluttering up our urban landscapes.

For me, I am definitely not looking forward to the end of the elections. At least the election code has made it possible for me to have an unobstructed view of the traffic junction that I negotiate everyday going to work. As for my earlier point of missing the 'flex banner' entertainment, I will gladly look for other sources of entertainment.


  1. Got the link to your blog from your mail to ECRC moms.
    Nice post and interesting blog topic. Could not agree more with you on the whole banners thing. It's a relief to see the roads devoid of those banners.


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