By Esther Cabral
The tabloid Mumbai Mirror has always worked towards providing Mumbaikars with a city, free from undesirable hindrance, faced by the city dwellers. Their latest initiative is the ‘Banner Campaign’. I realized the reach and importance of this campaign when I saw banners from my area i.e. Vile Parle (East) removed. These banners caught my attention as it was just opposite the MLA Mr. Krishna Hegde’s newly shifted office. It was annoying as earlier that space was free from these hideous posters. Suddenly one day, on my way back home, I notice three to four banners for miscellaneous reasons, suspended bang opposite the office. These posters are like territorial marking. You are likely to find a number of political parties putting such banners felicitating their seniors or then just announcing he number of things done in their constituency. Even the occasions of festivity is not spared from this political gimmick. One look and you know this is not genuine and just a way to gain appreciation from seniors and make their political party most visible.
This caused a lot of resentment among people about this but nothing as concrete as this was done. I felt helpless as this was the scene everywhere and with no hope of a tangible solution.
But with the mileage this campaign has achieved is appreciated as something is better than nothing. And the immediate results I’ve seen in my area, was heartening. It has also provided the option to contact local ward officers directly. Mumbaikars are seeing this as an effective measure to curb such distractions defacing our city. The number of people replying to this campaign is overwhelming. Social networking site users too have appreciated this campaign. They are being vocal about their resentment with these banners and also providing the paper with areas which still have such banners.
Mumbaikars is finally waking up to the idea of speaking up and being the instrument for change. They are also suggesting viable solutions to put an end to this banner drama. The involvement of people in this campaign is tremendous and gives citizens the power to be the change rather than laying back and expecting others to do it instead. We don’t need a person in power to be our rescue but we ourselves can be the one lifting ourselves from this dungeon. The newspaper is just providing us with the initial push, we as alert citizens need to inform the local authorities if we see our city getting messed up with this foolery. It will be foolish to expect the newspaper to continue this till the end of time. We can’t be complacent with what has happened and forget to follow up.
Another important aspect is that we can’t always wait for a newspaper to come out with such campaigns. We as citizens need to fight for our rights and also perform the expected duties. We can fight for our rights if we know our responsibilities. We need to be aware, with a clear conscience that we are not violating any laws before demanding our rights.
Mumbai Mirror can mirror the concerns of the people of Mumbai; but the onus is on us to work to eradicate the menace we face in the city at an individual and community level.