Dharavi (Mumbai) photo by lecercle.
The Ugly Indian is a website and a sort of movement. The site itself is a nice old-school bit of hypertext story telling. Reminds me a bit of HyperCard. The movement seems like shramadana, or people cleaning their own neighborhoods up (as opposed to waiting for politicians or NGOs). They start from a premise that it’s not external factors that are the problem, it’s the Ugly Indian.
It’s time we admitted that many of India’s problems
are because many of us are Ugly Indians.
Look at any Indian street, we have pathetic civic standards.
We tolerate an incredible amount of filth.
This is not about money, knowhow, or systems.
This is about attitudes. About a rooted cultural behaviour.
The Ugly Indian can take the world’s best systems
and find a way around it. Even outside India.
Streets in Indian-dominated suburbs overseas
are good indicators of this lack of civic sense.
Ask those who have visited Southall (London),
Edison (New Jersey) and Little India (Singapore)
It’s time for us Ugly Indians to do something about this.
Only we can save us. From ourselves.
Which is kinda true. India is dirty, and nobody does anything. The site is not, however, cynical. It shows how simply changes – like putting flowerpots in a dumping area – can influence behavior and spread. People generally dump where other people dump, they follow. If you just lead in a different direction, they’d just as easily follow you there.
It’s not rocket science.
It’s a combination of espionage, persuasion, emotional blackmail and leading by example. And dogged persistence. This is all about changing the Ugly Indian’s behaviour.
It’s also about ignoring the skeptics who appear and say ‘don’t waste your time. This won’t work.’ There are many such people floating about ! (The Ugly Indian)
I must say that Sri Lanka is cleaner than India (in general), but we still get pretty dumpy. We could all use a little shramadana.
Check out The Ugly Indian. Interesting little hypertext story.