Coco- Cola threatens Indian photographer with Lawsuit

London : The Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited, a subsidiary of the Atlanta based Coca-Cola company, has threatened Mr. Sharad Haksar, one of India's celebrated photographers, with a lawsuit.

Mr. Haksar, a leading international photographer and winner of the 2005 Cannes Silver Lion, has placed a large billboard in one of Chennai's busiest areas - one of India's largest cities - with his own "work (which) is solely an expression of creativity."

Chennai Billboard
Billboard in Chennai Credit: Sharad Haksar



The billboard features the ubiquitous red Coca-Cola wall painting, commonly found across India. Directly preceding the Coca-Cola ad, and part of the billboard, is a dry water hand-pump, with empty vessels waiting to be filled up with water - a common scene in India, particularly in Chennai.


On July 11, 2005, the law firm of Daniel & Gladys, who represent Coca-Cola's Indian subsidiary, sent a letter to Mr. Haksar threatening him with serious legal actions unless the billboard was replaced 'unconditionally and immediately'. Coca-Cola would seek Indian Rupees 2 million (US$ 45,000) for "incalculable damage to the goodwill and reputation" of Coca-Cola, and also sought an 'unconditional apology in writing'.

Mr. Haksar said, "I have no intentions of issuing any apology. Because I have not committed anything wrong. If Coke pursues this legal course, my lawyers shall take appropriate counter action."

Mr. Haksar's billboard highlights the severe water shortages being experienced by communities that live around Coca-Cola's bottling plants across India. A community close to Chennai, in Gangaikondan, has already held large protests - protesting against an upcoming Coca-Cola plant. In the neighboring state of Kerala, in the village of Plachimada, Coca-Cola has been unable to open its bottling facility for the last 16 months - because the community will not allow it to.

Coca-Cola is in serious trouble in India. A massive rural movement has emerged to hold the company accountable for creating water shortages and polluting the remaining water and soil.

"We appreciate Mr. Haksar's efforts and we condemn Coca-Cola's attempts to silence a public discourse on the issues," said Amit Srivastava of the international campaigning organization, India Resource Center. The campaign continues to receive tremendous public support internationally and has put the Coca-Cola company on the defensive.

The recently held Live 8 concerts pulled out with negotiations with Coca-Cola over sponsorships because of public opposition, spearheaded by the India Resource Center. Coca-Cola was also banned from the Make Poverty History March as a result, on July 2, 2005, a march of close to 300,000 people in Edinburgh in Scotland.



Next time you are thirsty and reach for a soft drink

Just spare a moment to think whether you
want to fill the coffers of a non-ethical corporation
and aid the destruction of communities ?

or

Do you want to
Drink a nariyal pani(tender coconut )
and help a brother make ends meet ?




Mr. Haksar's work can be viewed at www.sharadhaksar.com

(It has some amazing pictures and I really liked all of them
A true genius at photography ! )

Comments

gawker said…
You are doing good work. Keep it up.
Thanks Curious gawker

Coming from you this means a lot
Thanks Mridula

Check out the new one on IIPM
Anonymous said…
why give him hope for a better life...let your "brother" die so his poverty stricken life of suffering will end. My suggestion: Not only buy the coke, but steal the coconut juice and then beat him over the head with it ...hopefully killing him like you would a lame race horse who has outlasted its usefulness
Anonymous said…
why give him hope for a better life...let your "brother" die so his poverty stricken life of suffering will end. My suggestion: Not only buy the coke, but steal the coconut juice and then beat him over the head with it ...hopefully killing him like you would a lame race horse who has outlasted its usefulness
rachel said…
wow i had no idea Cocoa Cola was so inconsiderate and so interested in only making money. I will never look at a coca cola bottle the same again.

thanks for opening my eyes
rachel said…
wow i had no idea Cocoa Cola was so inconsiderate and so interested in only making money. I will never look at a coca cola bottle the same again.

thanks for opening my eyes