Published On : Wed, Jun 15th, 2016

Is Nagpur being painted in saffron instead of orange?

The newly painted building of the Vivekanand Nagar Hindi High School in Nagpur

The newly painted building of the Vivekanand Nagar Hindi High School in Nagpur. Pic Credit: The Telegraph

Nagpur: Is it the colour of city or polity, one may ask for sure after looking at the specific buildings painted in saffron, slightly different version of orange colour! As the drive to paint key Nagpur buildings in Orange colour (specifically the shade of mandarin orange produced in the region) is yet to pick up, some structures have come up in different hue – saffron instead of orange colour.

A news published in Telegraph points out this glaring difference! As Nagpur is home to the mandarin orange, the citrus fruit, as well as the headquarters of the RSS which is closely associated with the saffron colour, the change is color can certainly change the political equation.

saff1The report says that the Opposition parties have cast a disapproving eye, wondering whether a sweeping “saffronisation” drive is underway right under their noses.

But the ruling BJP says it is unintentional. Unless the proportion is right, a mix of pink and yellow can whip up a saffron hue instead of the shade of mandarin.

Perhaps keen to nip the controversy in the bud, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC), where the BJP has been in power for nine years now, last month issued a formula that would yield the distinct shade of the Nagpur santra (orange).

Mayor Pravin Datke of the BJP said experts had advised a specific orange shade to differentiate it from saffron to avoid any criticism. The formula: 30 per cent magenta and 70 per cent lemon yellow.

Early this year, a newspaper group that runs a Hindi daily came up with the idea, as part of its marketing exercise, to brand Nagpur on its popularity as an orange city.

The group invited the mayor and leaders of all parties for consultations during which they reportedly agreed to move a resolution before the NMC general body to paint orange some landmark buildings and infrastructure projects such as flyovers and pillars of the under-construction Metro rail.

Some of the leaders said there was no reason to oppose the idea; it was after all about a city and its geographical indicator.

Mid-February, the general body unanimously adopted a resolution to brand the city by painting at least the government buildings in mandarin orange.

“The idea is to turn it into a people’s movement,” municipal commissioner Shrawan Hardikar told The Telegraph. “We took the initiative by painting our schools in that colour.”

If someone does not use the right formula, it may look saffron, he said, adding that it is not intentional.
The Congress supports branding but not saffron. “We support the branding of the city but the Congress party doesn’t support the buildings to be painted saffron,” leader of the Opposition in the NMC and Congress councillor Vikas Thakre said. “I am not opposing the idea since it’s in the city’s interest but if the ruling party does any mischief, we will definitely protest.”

Hardikar said the NMC wanted people to join in the movement voluntarily. “We decided to take lead by painting a couple of our own buildings in that colour.”

The first school to be painted in orange late last month was the Vivekanand Nagar Hindi High School, run by the civic body. Passers-by differ on whether the colour is mandarin orange or saffron. The NMC calls it orange.
But when students, mostly from the poorer sections, resume their classes after the summer break later this month, they will be in for a pleasant surprise. Their school has got a fresh coat of paint after a long time.

The NMC is set to paint all its schools in orange in phases over this financial year. The civic body goes to polls early next year.

The next phase will cover the civic body’s administrative buildings and zone offices, followed by compound walls of gardens.