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Wall chalking breeding visual pollution and intolerance 

03 Julie 2010 01:22:33


Wall chalking breeding visual pollution and intolerance

Yasir Ilyas

RAWALPINDI, July 3, 2010: Wall chalking, posters and stickers containing substandard and immoral language are a part of the routine ‘scenic beauty’ for the residents of the twin cities. All public places, traffic signboards, boundary walls of colleges and schools, gates and front walls of houses, benches in parks, mosques and even newly constructed sheds for passengers to wait for transport, present a shabby look due to such text, photographs and posters.

This highly offensive material not only spoils the beauty of the sister cities, but also reflects a particular mindset, which is obviously not representative of the whole nation; besides the content of text and use of wording generally is below the level of decency and is not worth reading. Usually such text, wall chalking and posters contain a language reflecting hate, lack of tolerance for particular segments of society and advertisements for different palmists and ‘aamils’ (people practicing black magic), and the element of vulgarity is also quite prominent.

Another common type of wall chalking is slogans by different student political organisations about their demands, protests, greeting messages, welcome notes and condemnation of certain issues.

Political parties, particularly during their election campaigns, run promotional drives that come to an end but such writings remain there for a long period of time.

These posters, texts and walk chalking are spoiling the beauty of the twin cities, as no place is out of reach for such ‘artists’. They paste their posters at every available space, and paste in such an awkward manner that it seems ugly to look at. It is commonly seen that people draw vulgar drawings accompanied by abusive language, particularly on sheds for passengers, where generally females sit to wait for transport.

Abdul Qayyum, a government employee living in Shamsabad whose house’s front wall is full of such posters and stickers, said: “Idiots do this. I really don’t know what to do to stop them from such activities (pasting posters and stickers).”

Javeria Shahid, a student residing in Islamabad, who has to wait for university bus near a shed in Islamabad, said: “How can I use these sheds while waiting for my bus, keeping in mind the abusive text written on the walls?”

Sammar Mobeen, a student activist in a government college, said: “We write on the walls because we don’t have other platforms to express ourselves and we don’t have an access to other channels of communication.”

A teacher said: “This issue should be addressed seriously, as it is a great cause of visual pollution for the people besides having potential for promoting extremism and intolerance in our society.” -- INFN