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Looking at the popular yet peculiar practice of adorning vehicles with stickers in India.

Take a walk or drive around the city and you are bound to notice a variety of stickers on vehicles around you. There is no doubt that Indian motorists love to express themselves and often adorn their vehicles with multiple colourful stickers, but where did all of this come from and what does the law say about it?

While it is perhaps impossible to trace a ‘history’ of this practice, it has been common practice for quite some time. Trucks, in particular, are known to carry elaborate and colourful art and slogans like the iconic “Horn OK Please”. Japan has a similar practice called ‘Dekotara’, an abbreviation for ‘decorative truck’ which has been around for many decades.


In India, this practice isn’t all art and decoration and an increasing number of motorists have been decorating their vehicle with stickers that mention their caste, family name, religion, profession, political affiliations and more. From a small sticker on the windscreen to replacing the entire license plate with the name of the driver’s caste, this sticker obsession has turned controversial. The law says that car stickers that denote caste, religion, profession and political association are not permitted and offenders can be fined INR 100 for their first offence and INR 300 for subsequent offences under Section 177 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988. However, this has failed to deter people from continuing to flaunt their caste and affiliations with some believing it is a matter of pride and identity while some believe it is a way to ‘scare’ other motorists or even car thieves by asserting their status.

Another popular sticker that most people will recognise is the bright saffron ‘angry-Hanuman’ that can be found on bikes, scooters and adorns many a rear window of cars. Karan Acharya, a designer and graphic artist from Kumble village in Kerala created this image back in 2015 for some boys from a youth club who wanted something to put on their flags for Ganesh Chaturthi. From there the popularity of the image skyrocketed and appeared on social media pictures and vehicles across the country. Some people even use ‘Government’ or ‘Police’ or ‘Press’ stickers to avoid being stopped by Traffic Police or to be treated with respect by fellow motorists. These stickers are also used to park in areas where parking is normally not permitted or flout traffic rules without any repercussions. The misuse of official stickers has definitely become a common nuisance with no apparent check to the validity or necessity of such stickers on civilian vehicles.

In recent times, Noida Police has led a crackdown on this practice of illegal stickers through their initiative “Operation Clean” that has led to many motorists being fined or even having their vehicles impounded and while some people remain adamant, more people have become aware and have removed these stickers from their vehicles. While many insist they feel pride in flaunting their identity, others argue that it promotes casteism and communalism rather than a national spirit. Many complaints have also been made to the police regarding this matter as many stickers are distasteful, inappropriate or even threatening, making pedestrians and other motorists feel unsafe. Some stickers bear messages or slogans that are hurtful or threaten other motorists with repercussions if they were to accidentally collide with them as they belong to a certain community, which projects a toxic image of that particular community. These stickers can also be a safety hazard with large stickers that cover the rear window obstructing the rear view of the vehicle or distracting other motorists. While it remains to be seen if Police throughout the country will enforce this rule, the sticker culture is booming with more and more people following suit with different intentions.

Picture Credits: Scroll

Tashi Dorjay Sherpa

[email protected]

The 12th Auto Expo commenced on 5th February and closed today on the 11th. This year due to traffic problems, the awaited motor show had been shifted to Greater Noida, earlier being held at Pragati Maidan.

Numerous car models were launched and the show became even more upmarket as accomplished celebrities attended the event. Maruti Suzuki launched a new car Celerio catering to the needs of the lower segment; current pricing is Rs. 3.9 to 4.96 lakh (ex-showroom New Delhi). Attacking the same segment, Japanese giant Toyota launched Etios Cross. Mahindra has still continued its trademark of producing an Electric Car. This time Mahindra named the concept car Halo, unfortunately it is expected that this car would be launched in three years.

Hyundai Venace


Hyundai’s Venace has seemed to catch a lot of attention with its bold looks, aiming to enter the higher segment. Jaguar’s F-Type Coupe finally made its debut in India. The much-anticipated BMW i8 was also inaugurated and the looks did match up the expectations. Few models by Mercedes, Audi, and Land Rover were also launched. Toyota and Honda made noticeable changes in their most selling model Corolla and City respectively.

hero moto corp hastur

Although, the car segment is always the craze of most of the Auto Expo, this year the Bike Segment seemed to have changed the modus operandi. Leaving no doubt Hero Moto Corp has outrageously shown that it’s back in the game. Hero R&D with Eric Buell involvement has developed Hastur, being the most talked bike. Splendor Pro Classic, now features a Café Racer inspired design. To capture the growing scooter segment Hero launched three new scooters. Most of the new launches by Hero are expected to get a green signal by the end of this year. Although, as told by Mr. Pawan Munjal at the Auto Expo, Hastur would require more research before it enters the market. This year there was even more hype for Hero as their brand ambassador Mr. Ranbir Kapoor lauched models. Harley Davidson launched Street 750 at Rs 4.10 lakh, probably aiming a good market in the Indian sector. Bajaj also launched a few concept bikes.

This year many celebrities such as Mr. Ranbir Kapoor, Ms. Priyanka Chopra, Mrs. Kareena Kapoor Khan, Mr. Sachin Tendulkar, Mrs. Samira Reddy, Mr. John Abraham and many more attended and launched models, making the event even more attractive and glamorous. Although the auto market has been experiencing a slump, the Auto Expo has opened doors to hope for a brighter auto year ahead.

At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom….” Jawaharlal Nehru’s words will keep resounding in the ears of generations of Indians to come. While we are no doubt citizens of a free country, and have the liberty to do as we wish, sometimes we do tend to take it for granted. For freedom is a privilege and right till the point it does not impinge on anyone else’s space.

1. While we do believe that dressing is a form of self expression and DU Beat is all for freedom of expression, lets not get so carried away that it blights your sense of judgement. Take the instance of Delhi’s Hard Rock Cafe.It has received ample criticism for being more like a club than a cafe. Delving deeper into the problem reveals that the elaborately adorned girls with cheetah print tubes and high boots,boys with spiked hair and tight shirts accentuating their bulging biceps may well be the root to this problem. Other than providing enormous source of entertainment to the few reasonably dressed ones these ‘elaborate costumes’ may just get a dress code slapped on you.

2. While the Metro is the pride of Delhi, it is sad that authorities had to add “Kripya zor zor se apne phone par gaana na bajaye” to the already elaborate list of announcements . The culprits? ‘Yo’ cool dudes, who voluntarily deign to be the metro DJ. Seriously guys ,get a pair of earphones. Let us recognize the fact that the freedom to listen to what we want, extends to everybody. Difficult as it may be for some to come to terms with, perhaps everyone does not like to listen to Akon at the top of your phone volume.

3. So typical of the Delhi driver is an inherent tendency to park his car wherever he pleases. So lets instill a little road sense into our brain and realise that curtailing parking in the middle of roads is not a gross violation of your rights.

4. Lets just restrict our inner artist a tad bit more specially when he gets the creative urge to decorate public walls. And no, urinating or spray painting with spit deserves no special concession. Graffiti , we have heard, looks infinitely better on the walls of your room. It comes as no surprise that freedom from inhaling non putrid air somehow seems to figure at the top of the list these days