Garbage issues, traffic snarls, potholes and missing footpaths - the issues haunting the city are many and Bengalureans have always found novel ways to deal with them.
The latest one is a video of people putting their best feet forward to highlight the pathetic state of footpaths and the lack of them. The video was widely liked and shared on social media after it was uploaded on Oct. 16.
The video - 'Bharatnatya Saaku, #FootPathBeku' - created by members of an informal citizens' group, Malleshwaram Social, is sarcastic, funny and nicely drives home the message. It begins with two women on a road missing a footpath that's covered with construction debris. Dejected, they decide to wear their ghungroos, summon musicians and begin a 'dance' to discover a path to tread.
"We try to highlight such issues that affect the residents directly or directly," said Dhanush N, a 27-year-old techie and member of Malleshwaram Social. "Malleswaram is a locality with the majority of senior citizens who need proper infrastructure, especially the footpaths. Six of us began the footpath awareness initiative almost four months back. We decided to add fun and sarcasm to our videos to reach a wider audience and create an impact." Dhanush is a part of a 10-member team that came up with the #FootPathBeku video.
The group organises talks, vocational training, and recently created a children's library in Malleswaram. They are trying to create a bridge between the authorities and the residents for a better neighbourhood. "The way forward to a better footpath or infrastructure is cooperation between the residents and the authorities," Dhanush said. "Citizens should be willing to accommodate for better roads and footpaths while the authorities need to understand our needs."
This initiative is one of a number of creative ways that citizens have adopted to protest for a better Bengaluru.
Baadal Nanjundaswamy, a 'pothole artist,' paints canvases portraying broken roads and potholes to get the attention of authorities. Baadal then goes to the roads and sets up sculptures, live installations and paintings there. In 2015, his sculpture of a crocodile at the site of an actual pothole made the BBMP fix it in no time, reported The Hindu. It also earned Baadal the title of crocodile artist.
Similarly, The Ugly Indians group protests by fixing ugly spots around the city. The Ugly Indians are mostly professionals in the 25 to 40 age group who remain anonymous. They respond to media queries only by email. Their mission is to "spot-fix" Bangalore, dirty street by dirty street. Their work has inspired the 'Ugliness Challenge' in other cities, according to the BBC.
Malleswaram Social, the new kid on the block, has managed to quickly make waves. The group hopes that the unique initiative and online campaign will create awareness among citizens and convince them to play an active part in infrastructure improvements.
The #FoothPathBeku video is the first of many videos that the group has planned in the coming days. They will be tackling other civic issues as well. The next question is whether citizens and authorities will make some moves of their own for better footpaths.