This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. The Ugly Indian is an anonymous collective that does not talk to media, wants no publicity and works with the motto – Only Work No Talk. However, they made an exception for TEDxBangalore so that they could open up the question of why we as Indians are okay with filthy public spaces? The tragedy of the commons – can we change it to the victory of the commons?
There’s a silent revolution brewing in India, and it’s called The Ugly Indian. It is anonymous, faceless and leaderless, and has seen thousands of citizens coming out to fix local civic problems following a simple motto: Kaam Chalu Mooh Bandh. Only Work No Talk. What started off as a series of social experiments in Bangalore in 2011, to see what it takes to change everyday ugly Indian behaviour in public spaces (littering, spitting paan, public urination and more), has now transformed into a nation-wide movement that is spreading virally – both on social media, and on the ground. The centrepiece of the TUI approach is the ‘spotfix ‘ where ugly spots are ‘fixed’ by citizens. There is no activism, no sloganeering, no lecturing, no finger-pointing and no ideological debates – just a sincere attempt to solve problems by focusing on a spot – using one’s own time, hands and money.