Struck Off the Travel Posters

Bharati Chaturvedi

Environmentalist and founder of the green non-profit, Chintan

July 29, 2010

Where are you currently holidaying? Chances are, if you are on a trip to India, you would have seen the many dramatic images they put out for tourists.

In the 1980s, Indian government offices were lined with colourful posters with a breathtaking image that said ‘India’ in both English and Hindi. Sometimes, it would be a photograph of the Taj Mahal, and sometimes, one of India’s many indigenous people. I would stare at these posters with fascination — that was the closest I had ever come to these brightly dressed fellow Indians.

But you would have seen the newer ones, from the mid 2000s. The Incredible India campaign. The photographs this time showed another, slicker India. A skinny woman in silver leotards doing yoga on a mountainous ledge, for example. I’m struck by how the rural and the indigenous folk are no longer extravagantly advertised. But I also know there is a reason for this: they are now engaged in numerous David versus Goliath kind of battles against the government and giant private companies over their land and natural resources. The country is not officially proud to show them off. Continue reading