One of the Judges ruled that no posters or flex boards featuring living beings can be put up in the city. The Man from Madras Musings assumed that the Chennai Corporation would be delighted and political parties most disappointed with this judgement. In reality it was the other way round – the political parties could not care less and simply continued defacing walls with posters and erecting banners lauding living and dead leaders alike. On the other hand, it was the Corporation that protested, challenging the judgement!
MMM for one is completely unable to see the logic. In what way is the Corporation adversely affected if there is a law banning posters, graffiti and banners? Is it in the business of defacing private walls and digging holes on footpaths or is it a custodian of civic space? Or is it afraid that its overworked, super-efficient staff who have been wearing themselves to the bone removing posters and filling in holes after removing banners will suddenly fall idle? Whatever be the thought behind all this, our civic body decided it must protest and was duly rewarded for its efforts with some sharp remarks from the bench.
Their Lordships noted that Greenway’s Road is full of posters and that if a man were to stand idle on that thoroughfare he would find a poster or two pasted on him. The point that MMM would like to make here, and gently at that, for he fears being hauled up for contempt, is that it is not just Greenway’s Road that suffers from this. If their Lordships were to look up once in a while when being driven to office, they will notice that several, in fact, most thoroughfares in the city suffer from this malaise. It should also be noted by their Lordships that it is not just the political parties that deface walls. The Tamil magazines are greater offenders as also are those offering quack cures for everything from piles upwards. In effect it is in our culture to paste posters and not all the laws of the land are going to clean up our walls.
The Corporation in MMM’s view is more in touch with ground reality. This is, after all, a city where flex boards are erected and posters pasted for every stage of life – birth, first birthday, puberty ceremony aka turmeric shower bath, wedding, birth of baby, first birthday of baby, puberty ceremony aka turmeric shower bath of baby, wedding of baby, birth of baby’s baby, sixtieth birthday, eightieth birthday, kicking of bucket, in memoriam, first year remembrance and so on. Their Lordships can at most hope for a clean Greenway’s Road.