Art Teacher Promotes Social Awareness in India

Reviewed by Mary McLaughlin, Ma-TESOL; M.S. SpEd

Vidhya Shree, an art teacher hailing from Rajarajeshwari Nagar, a locality of Bengaluru, Karnataka, India, is pushing her influence past the classroom and into the streets.

As Rajarajeshwari Nagar residents continue to prepare for the highly anticipated Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections, scheduled for August 22nd 2015, Shree is determined to make area road improvements a major voter concern. The BBMP is an administrative entity controlled by the city council and delegated to manage civic and infrastructural resources in Rajarajeshwari Nagar.

Shree began to call attention to poor road conditions by simply holding up posters along the streets that declared “No Road, No Vote.” Understanding that quality roadway systems were a symbol of cultural development, Shree wanted to use the placards as a cautionary device to remind election candidates of the power of voters.

But as more neighbors followed suit, even placing “No Road, No Vote” signs in their front yards, Shree realized that her grassroots campaign could spread with the help of social media. In fact, Shree attracted so much local support that architects affiliated with the Members of Art Club in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Apar Aggarwal, Ashish Bhansal, Chandru, Ganesh Chidhambar-anath, and Nihal, began designing more posters in an act of solidarity.

BBMP elections only occur once ever five years; therefore, Shree believes that her “No Road, No Vote” declaration informs former BBMP members that their failure to create satisfactory road conditions in the past forfeits their political futures. Simultaneously, she also warns current candidates that local demand for greater accountability is a real, and formidable presence.

Although Shree never thought her modest campaign would create such a stir, she now envisions her message spreading from Rajarajeshwari Nagar to greater parts of Bengaluru before the fast approaching election arrives. While some may find her efforts in the realm of “too little, too late,” Shree stands tall as a beacon for a more optimistic “it’s never too late” attitude.