I have been criss-crossing different places in the Southern States the past few days when a road-side banner caught my attention.
Banners and hoardings have become integral to the way of life of the Indian citizen. The day all posters and bills are banned by law would leave a feeling of vacuum in the minds of the commuter. Tough, it is, to imagine clean roads and white walls with no stickers whatsoever.
So, I wouldn’t really have expected to spend a post on a roadside scribbling. However, this one was different. It was not the regular “Long Live our Hero” kind of message, nor was it about the ‘call for rising’ by a political wannabe. It was not against MNC’s that affected the lives of the local manufacturers. It wasn’t even about India!
“Suspend the Death sentence to Saddam Hussein!” read the banner.
It occupied almost 10 feet in length and was bold, in colour, in block letters. It wasn’t attributed to any organisation in particular. There were no by-lines. It wasn’t addressed to anyone.
I was left wondering about the reasons that could have gone into the banner. Who was that supposed to be for? Was the International Court of Justice or the World Police, the United States of A, supposed to take note of it in a small town in southern India? Which organisations could have been moved by the sentence to the ousted Dictator? It didn’t seem to be from some Human Rights organisation – there weren’t obvious reasons for such an organisation to remain anonymous. The wordings were in local language – I have translated it in here.
If there were no motives behind the banner, was it merely a medium of expression of personal or organisational opinion? Was it being aimed at the casual commuter? What was it that was supposed to be achieved by that?
I could see no selfish intentions behind the voice. In fact, there just didn’t seem to be any intention at all! Is there something to be read in between the lines at all? Was it really writing on the wall?