Jug Suraiya has a good funny piece which is actually a serious piece of advice to our govt. He says by naming our public services, roads etc on popular (read political) icons, we actually do latter a disservice. Given such deplorable state of such services, it gives these popular names a bad name really.
So instead we should name them after our villains:
The BJP government is all set to put its stamp, literally, on what it sees as the end of the Congress era. While it may not ever be able to live up to its pre-election pledge of making India ‘Congress free’ it is proposing to make the Indian postal service shed its Congress associations.
Postage stamps depicting Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi will soon yield place to stamps featuring anti-Congress personalities like Ram Manohar Lohia, Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Jai Prakash Narayan, besides cultural icons such as Rabindranath Tagore and Pandit Ravi Shankar.
Like a lot of ideologically-motivated schemes, however, the postal ploy might well backfire. For such is the dismal state of the Indian postal service — which might more aptly be called ‘disservice’, in that it’s discontinued several of its ancillaries, the telegraphic department perhaps being the most notable of these — that it is something of a dubious honour to be pictorially associated with it. The term ‘post-haste’, to denote speed of despatch, has become ‘post-late’, with the moribund postal system largely replaced by private courier companies.
Indeed, most such attempts to pay homage to eminent people by lending their faces and names to public display in the form of statues, roads and parks end up doing exactly the opposite of what they are meant to do.
Statues erected to commemorate netas are inevitably targeted by vandals who use their pedestals to exercise the art of graffiti (‘Rakesh heart Rinku’) and pigeons who bombard them with poop with unerring accuracy.
Similarly, the deplorable states of our garbage-strewn parks and potholed roads on which cattle amble at will do less than justice — in fact do gross injustice — to the legacy of the illustrious people they are named after.
The entire policy of using our shamefully rundown public services and facilities to commemorate our heroes should be turned upside down. It would be far more appropriate if our shambolic public amenities – from the practically non-existent postal system to the traffic-snarled travesties we call roads — were instead named after villains and disreputable scallywags.
Lalit Modi Marg, anyone? Sushmaji could be invited to inaugurate it.
Perhaps let the name Aurangzeb road continue (though there are disputes over how much of a villain he was)..
It could actually be a great nudge as well. People will be be more cautious travelling on our roads hopefully leading to lesser accidents (it is amazing how we continue to have accidents despite such low speeds). It might save us from expenditure on all those road signs for speed control, speedbreakers and so on.