Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Dirty Picture

Ms Vidya Balan is quite ok. Mr. Tushaar Kapoor? Not so much. But look at me commenting on an art I know so less about!

Recently, the elected government put some thought into the tobacco consumption in our country. They ought to. I don’t know the exact numbers, but I’m sure a substantial amount of revenue is collected from this industry and they certainly owe some thought to it. Anyway, here is one of the conclusions. Now the cigarette and other tobacco-containing substances will have an even more obnoxious graphic on their commercial packs. This one has a deformed mouth which should ideally put off any sane man contemplating the bliss of nerve-relaxing, nicotine pumped smoke!

We should appreciate the impetus behind the decision. Here’s another idea. Let’s put up pictures of accumulated fat on all bakery goods. Let’s put up burnt livers on the tags of alcoholic beverages and how about a blocked coronary artery on vegetable oil packs! They all demonstrate a plausible effect. I am not suggesting that vegetable oil can be just as harmful as a pack of cigarettes. But do we need the most disgusting graphics on anything we purchase?

Can we be left alone to decide? If you’re reading this, you can certainly make a call for yourself. But unfortunately, a large percentage of our country cannot. Pictorial representation is a quick-fix solution to reach out to the uneducated to spread the awareness of the ill effects of tobacco. The concord although not without resistance, and largely compelled in nature, from the tobacco brands is laudable. It is unfortunate that we have to resort to graphical methods to communicate with humans who should ideally be able to fend for themselves. It is unfortunate that you and I are only amongst the 6-10% of Indians who complete a Bachelor’s degree. It is unimaginably unfortunate that you and I seem to be unperturbed about it. How long will we depend on a crosscut to communicate? Be it drug abuse, poverty, population explosion or a simpleton spitting on the road communicating diseases he hasn’t even heard of! There’s only so much that can be attained unless we have enlightened minds and not just wide open eyes due to obnoxious graphics. It’s time to stand up, ladies and gentlemen. It’s you who can comprehend this tiny article and it’s only you who can clean the dirty picture. There is no harmony unless all the notes are right.

I’m glad I have a right to comment on this Dirty Picture. Do you?


  1. Initially I felt the title was so misleading! But then I realised the significance of your title!! It's a pun!! Haha!! good one!!

  2. Boy, you write super well. I am impressed. Keep 'em coming.

  3. Thanks both.

    @ Mrin - Worth it, I hope. :)

  4. well written! i like how it brings together so many different ideas - and how it starts with the dirty picture, links to something totally unrelated, and comes back right there at the end :-)

    to the point you make, i do think a)spreading awareness is a good thing, b)we cannot BAN objects as people will always find ways to getting them illegally, c) the "enlightened" minds are also among those that throw plastic on the street, spit out of their card windows and have their dogs shit right outside their apartment blocks. so i guess let's start by cleaning up these "enlightened" minds, before we move to lesser-fortunate ones!

  5. Good thought! Rather than going with the stereotypical idea of using repugnant pictures to ward of people ( making it a quick but an ineffective solution for the mass ) , the government should consider other options to convey its message to each section of the society. SMOKING KILLS, right! It may as well be pre-requisite to diseases, but how many do we know of who know and still continue ? I bet many!
    So here is my point, rather than The Dirty Picture, awareness alone would be sufficient. If the government can consider its citizen to be capable of marriage at 18 , then certainly the citizen are capable of taking this decision by themselves.

  6. @ Santanu & Mehul - Completely agreed. There is a difference between an educated enlightened mind and a mere literate. Let's hope the percentage of former increases and we move forward.

  7. A very well written post!
    It is unfortunate that one's opinion should depend on someone else's imposed thoughts. And the greatest freedom is to think and decide for oneself.
    I'd like to add two of my favourite quotes here -
    "Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school." ~ Albert Einstein.

    "Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught." ~ Oscar Wilde.

  8. this is a good eye-opener... you've played well by toggling between two minds... Rather two sides of a coin! I had this in my debate round in my SSB... :)

  9. I personally think 50 % of introduction to cigarettes is done through peers, friends etc to appear cool. in those cases such graphic warnings wont be effective.the repeat buyers of such brands wont be touched by whatever facts that are mentioned on the pack (Ask a smoker).
    the right way for govt is to stop the use at the trying phase (or when a person is thinking to start or pursuaded by others to use) by effective TV commercials and Outdoor advertising.

  10. Food for thought!