The defaced paintings at Bandra station and Grant Road station. Pics/ Bipin Kokate and Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Here's proof that we place little value on the good things that come our way for free. The consequence – they are taken away from us. Artists from Sir JJ School of Art are disappointed with the Railways for turning a blind eye to commuters who have spat on murals they painstakingly created across Mumbai stations as part of the Hamara Station, Hamari Shaan campaign. They have refused to be part of the second leg of the project.

In September 2016, a large number of artists, school and college students, citizens, and NGOs participated in the initiative, a local spin-off of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, by cleaning followed by painting railways station walls and even white boards placed on foot overbridges (FOBs). Days of painstaking pro-Bono creativity has been disrespected with those very walls now covered in paan so little and muck.

The artists said they were deeply hurt at their craft being abused and the railways taking no action against offenders. "This is disappointing. Spitting on a painting is an insult to the artist. We worked really hard on these. For six days and nights continuously, we worked to cradle something for Mumbai and sadly, both the Railways and Mumbaikars have shown no respect. We will not participate in the campaign henceforth," said Dnyaneshwar Randhai (25), a third-year textile design student from Sir JJ School of Art, who painted at the Byculla station along with five college mates.

Another artist, Nasreen Shaikh (23), said, "When we participated, we were assured that our paintings would be preserved for at least 10 years."

For 25-year-Pls Raksha Pareek, the humiliation was particularly painful because she witnessed it first hand. "I have seen my work defaced right before my eyes. Once, I was painting at Mahim station, when a commuter passing by on the same FOB spat on the mural next to the one I was making, which I had painted the day before," she said.

Some artists, however, are more forgiving. "I know that wall paintings at stations are unlikely to wipe out the menace of spitting, but I will keep at it in the hope that some day people will think twice and eventually stop," said Pranjali Raut, (23), mural artist.


(Clockwise from top-left) Raksha Paree, Pranjali Raut, Dnyaneshwar Randhai, Nasreen Shaikh, Avnita Bir, Shishir Joshi, Manisha Rangnekar

Disappointed with railways
Principals of schools whose students participated in the campaign lamented about the message adults were sending out to the new generation. "We sent Std VIII and XII students to participate. The fault lies with the people," said Avnita Bir, principal of RN Podar International School.

Chief of Mumbai First, an NGO that worked on the campaign, Shishir Joshi, put the blame squarely on the railways.

"Stations are the railways' responsibility; it's their duty to provide good services and a clean environment. I get several complaints that hawkers at stations set up their stalls right in front of artists' paintings, covering and defacing them with their wares."

The NGO is now worried about the initiative's second leg considering several artists have refused to participate. "Before we joined hands with the Railways, officials had assured us that the volunteers' work would be maintained, but they have not done enough, and everyone involved is very disappointed," said Joshi.

Authorities' defence
Railway officials, however, said that around 200 commuters are being fined daily for vandalising railway property, including spitting.

"We regret that the paintings are not being maintained, but it's not that we have not taken action. Every day, around 200 people are fined Rs 500 each for damaging railway property. It is also the responsibility of commuters to be more respectful and considerate of fellow citizens' hard work," said Mukul Jain, divisional railway manager, Western Railway (WR).

Jain assured that the campaign would resume after the monsoon. "Murals can be cleaned by wiping them with a wet cloth; for that, we have tied up with an NGO, which will clean one station a month. People have to be active and catch those who are spitting on the paintings and hand them to the railway police. Hawkers doing business on foot overbridges, on the other hand, are illegal anyway. Our department will investigate this," said Ravinder Bhakar, chief public relations officer, Western Railway.

HL: Artists spit fire at callous Mumbai

 

Strap: Upset about their work getting little respect, artists say they will not be part of 'Hamara station, Hamari shaan' again

 

Silky Sharma

silky.Sharma@mid-day.com

 

Here's proof that we place little value on the good things that come our way for free. The consequence – they are taken away from us. Artists from Sir JJ School of Art are disappointed with the Railways for turning a blind eye to commuters who have spat on murals they painstakingly created across Mumbai stations as part of the Hamara Station, Hamari Shaan campaign. They have refused to be part of the second leg of the project.

In September 2016, a large number of artists, school and college students, citizens, and NGOs participated in the initiative, a local spin-off of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, by cleaning followed by painting railways station walls and even white boards placed on foot overbridges (FOBs). Days of painstaking pro-Bono creativity has been disrespected with those very walls now covered in paan so little and muck.

The artists said they were deeply hurt at their craft being abused and the railways taking no action against offenders. "This is disappointing. Spitting on a painting is an insult to the artist. We worked really hard on these. For six days and nights continuously, we worked to cradle something for Mumbai and sadly, both the Railways and Mumbaikars have shown no respect. We will not participate in the campaign henceforth," said Dnyaneshwar Randhai (25), a third-year textile design student from Sir JJ School of Art, who painted at the Byculla station along with five college mates.

Another artist, Nasreen Shaikh (23), said, "When we participated, we were assured that our paintings would be preserved for at least 10 years."

For 25-year-Pls Raksha Pareek, the humiliation was particularly painful because she witnessed it first hand. "I have seen my work defaced right before my eyes. Once, I was painting at Mahim station, when a commuter passing by on the same FOB spat on the mural next to the one I was making, which I had painted the day before," she said.

Some artists, however, are more forgiving. "I know that wall paintings at stations are unlikely to wipe out the menace of spitting, but I will keep at it in the hope that some day people will think twice and eventually stop," said Pranjali Raut, (23), mural artist.

Disappointed with railways

Principals of schools whose students participated in the campaign lamented about the message adults were sending out to the new generation. "We sent Std VIII and XII students to participate. The fault lies with the people," said Avnita Bir, principal of RN Podar International School.

Chief of Mumbai First, an NGO that worked on the campaign, Shishir Joshi, put the blame squarely on the railways.

"Stations are the railways' responsibility; it's their duty to provide good services and a clean environment. I get several complaints that hawkers at stations set up their stalls right in front of artists' paintings, covering and defacing them with their wares."

The NGO is now worried about

the initiative's second leg considering several artists have refused to participate. "Before we joined hands with the Railways, officials had assured us that the volunteers' work would be maintained, but they have not done enough, and everyone involved is very disappointed," said Joshi.

Authorities' defence

Railway officials, however, said that around 200 commuters are being fined daily for vandalising railway property, including spitting.

"We regret that the paintings are not being maintained, but it's not that we have not taken action. Every day, around 200 people are fined R500 each for damaging railway property. It is also the responsibility of commuters to be more respectful and considerate of fellow citizens' hard work," said Mukul Jain, divisional railway manager, Western Railway (WR).

Jain assured that the campaign would resume after the monsoon. "Murals can be cleaned by wiping them with a wet cloth; for that, we have tied up with an NGO, which will clean one station a month. People have to be active and catch those who are spitting on the paintings and hand them to the railway police. Hawkers doing business on foot overbridges, on the other hand, are illegal anyway. Our department will investigate this," said Ravinder Bhakar, chief public relations officer, Western Railway.