- Aparna Alluri
- BBC News, Delhi
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.
“No reason to spit on the wall!” He shouts.
Reactions to his remarks have historically ranged from indifference to anger. “What’s wrong with you? Is it your dad’s property?” The king remembered a man who had heard that.
But The Govt-19 wave has changed some things, Prithvi promises. Some spitters have also apologized.
“The fear of infection made them think,” he says.
India’s war against spitting in its streets has always been sluggish.
The city of Mumbai has tried so hard that “annoying” volunteer researchers are urging people not to spit, litter or urinate in public. But the crime of spitting has long been ignored.
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) anti-saliva force took action against 11 people, including three car drivers, during a campaign against saliva spitting at Masoba Gate Chowk on 12 November 2018.
To Violators They were given a trapOr And was forced to wipe the saliva filled with gutka (Product based on betel nut, tobacco and other products).
Then came the corona virus, which added to the risk of spreading in the air to Indian men preferring to spit in their favorite place. Officers went into action To punish To whom I spatThey were Even higher fines and imprisonmentAll under the Disaster Management Act.
Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi advised his countrymen not to spit in public places, we always know that this is wrong.
This was completely different from 2016, when the Minister of Health, in response to a question on saliva, said in Parliament: “Sir, India is a spitting country. We spit when we are bored; We spit when we are tired; We spit when there is AngerS Or spit because yes. We spit everywhere, at all times and at odd times. “
He is right too. Spitting is something that happens on the streets of India: men resting on the side of the road, inadvertently moving their heads a few centimeters to expel saliva; Men who drive cars, bicycles and rickshaws do not hesitate to spit their heads at traffic lights. This action often comes with a warning: the distinctive intestinal sound they make when producing irritating mucus.
And AndIt’s a Too much masculine habit. Author Santosh Desai says that Indian men are comfortable with their bodies, “and in everything that comes out of the body.”
“A dizziness is easy in freeing yourself in general,” he says. “If I’m embarrassed, I will act immediately. There is really no intention of retreating.”
Spitting “Jewelry “ What Goes with Toxic masculinitySays Uttalak Mukherjee, co-editor of the Indian newspaper Telegraph.
But why do they spit in public?
Raja Narasimhan says he first figured out the reasons for the anger to “pass the time” (there was nothing they could do better) or if they could. “They think they have a right to spit,” he says.
According to historian Mukul Kesavan, it stems from “Indian obsession with pollution and how to eliminate it.”
Some historians believe that this obsession predates Hindu and upper caste ideas, which require maintaining physical purity by expelling anything unclean from the home.
“Attitudes on Action Spitting outweighs health issues. A taxi driver once told me, ‘I had a bad day and wanted to get rid of my experience,’ Mukherjee says.
The war on saliva
There was a time when people everywhere were spitting everywhere. In India, spitting was celebrated in the state courts and was a major spitting center in many homes.
In medieval Europe, it was possible to spit during a meal, as long as it was done under the table. Wrote Erasmus “Absorb saliva” means “immature”.
In 1903, the British Medical Journal called the United States one of the “Hurricane Centers in the World.” In 1908, a Massachusetts health inspector, when asked why tailors spit on the floor at every factory he visited, replied: “Of course they spit on the floor; where do you expect them to spit in their pockets?” ? “.
Spitting on trams was very common and things were much better in Britain where people were fined, while the medical community demanded a law against the practice.
It was the spread of tuberculosis that finally gave it a blow East Habits in the West. Awareness of germ theory played an important role in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, says journalist Vidya Krishnan, author of the forthcoming book. Phantom Blake: How the history of tuberculosis originated (Phantom Blake: How the history of tuberculosis is marked).
“Awareness of how germs are spread has led to new social habits and customs. People have learned to protect themselves from sneezing and coughing, refusing to shake hands and kissing a baby.
According to Krishnan, increased awareness is a “Behavior change in men ” Because they are “generally involved in spitting to the extent that they cause the spread of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis”.
But there are many obstacles that India has to overcome, says Krishnan. Their states never went large enough to kick the habit. And Spitting is still accepted by the communityAthletes chewing tobacco, spitting on camera or spitting while men fight with each other in Bollywood movies.
Raja Narasimhan laments that there is no spitting in modern life. “If I have to spit, where should I spit? I remember when I was a boy in Calcutta spitting on sand-filled lampposts. It disappears and people spit everywhere,” he says.
There are more big challenges. “Large-scale behavioral change or public health intervention cannot rule out issues such as caste, class and gender,” says Krishnan. “In India, toilets, running water and good plumbing are a priority“.
Health experts have warned that simply punishing without understanding why people are spitting will not succeed in the fight against addiction. Two years after the Govt-19 epidemic, interest in curing this particular addiction is waning.
But Raja and Priti Narasimhan were not afraid of their street fight. Most people are not aware that this could contribute to the spread of Covit-19, they say At least they can change a littleIf the problem is not completely fixed.
“It’s okay to waste time, we’ll try. If we can change the attitude of even 2%, we have made the change,” says Raja Narasimhan.
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