April 2, 2023

Great Indian Mutiny

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“When we are bored, tired or angry we spit. That is why we spit”: Public struggle in India to stop spitting

  • Aparna Alluri
  • BBC News, Delhi

Image source, Getty Images


Street graffiti is being used to raise awareness about the dangers of spitting in public places in Mumbai.

Earlier this year, Raja and Priti Narasimhan embarked on a road trip to India armed with a message: Stop spitting in public. The couple carried a loudspeaker and shouted their message, covered with anti-saliva slogans from inside the car.

If you have ever spent time in India, you already know what the Narasimhas oppose. Saliva adorns the streets. Sometimes simple and abundant, sometimes mixed with tobacco or buy chewing betel leaves to turn blood red, which uniformly adorns simple walls and strong buildings. It also threatens the historic Howrah Bridge in Calcutta.

Narasimhans travel across the country to protect the country’s streets, buildings and bridges from saliva. They live in Pune and have been war veterans since 2010 against the atrocities of spitting.

Workshops, online and offline campaigns, cleanup efforts with local municipalities – all done. Once, at the Pune railway station, Raja says they painted bio stains on a wall only to make people start salivating again after three days.