Bangalore’s very own The Ugly Indians work to give the city a facelift under the cloak of anonymity

It is unusual for an individual or community to turn down their chance to shine in the media spotlight. But, for The Ugly Indians this is standard practice. The group does not indulge the media with stories of their clean-up drives, spot-fixing successes or securing of death-traps. So, when I approach them for a story, it’s suggested to me that I visit their recent sites, speak to locals and look up previously published stories on the group.

Exciting as it is to be on the trail of an anonymous group, one can’t help miss the face-to-face interaction. Admiration and awe soon take over and one is impressed with the group philosophy: ‘Kaam chalu, mooh bandh’ or Stop talking, start doing. This attitude even got the group to disqualify itself for the Namma Bengaluru Awards. Despite its best efforts at not being considered, the group was one of the finalists for the award in 2011. They managed to disqualify themselves by not responding to emails!

The Ugly Indians, a community that is growing every day, works to beautify and make safe the streets and roads of Bangalore while you and I are safely tucked in bed. They work, without blaming the system, taking matters into their own hands to fix the city’s problem areas: open dumps, filthy streets, pan-stained walls, death traps and public urination spots. Every week a spot or area is identified and members quietly “spot-fix” the problem. The group has fixed over a 100 spots in the city of Bangalore till date.

On their official website, the group state, “Of our many civic problems, we view the problem of visible filth on our streets as a behaviour and attitude problem that can be solved in our lifetime (or rather, this month). This can be achieved without spending money or changing legislation or systems. It requires coming up with smart ideas to change people’s rooted cultural behaviour and attitudes. And making sure those ideas work.” Working under the cloak of anonymity, The Ugly Indians take no funding and raise the funds for their challenges among themselves. Members are informed over email about an upcoming spot-fix with details on location, timings and the kind of clothing to be worn. The email also asks members to come directly to the spot where tools and instructions will be given.

Recently, The Ugly Indians fixed a terrifying death trap in the up market location of 80 Feet Road, Indiranagar . The death trap – a pushcart guy near the spot informs me – was lying open for nearly eight months and was repaired in less than four hours by The Ugly Indians. The area is now cleanly sealed and has been marked as a spot of success with red brick paint.

If you haven’t heard of The Ugly IndiansUgl until now, it’s quite alright – they are, after all, an anonymous group. But if you would like to join this people’s movement, take a look at their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/theugl.yindian and YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/theuglyindian1?feature=mhee#p/u. The social networking site is up-to-date with their latest spot fixes and chronicles all their good work. The YouTube videos are both entertaining and educative as interesting juxtaposes of ‘before’ and ‘after’ images bring a smile to your face. To join the movement email the group on theuglyindian@gmail.com or log on to http://www.theuglyindian.com for more information.