ISSN : 2266-6060

All you need is milk

Pondichéry, february 2008.

Near a maternity service, two large posters are permanently placed. The first is subtitled in capital letters « Girl Child Is Precious » and the Anglophone reader concludes that it aims to fight against infanticide and abandonment of baby girls. The second is in front of you, representing an ungendered infant topped by an inscription in Tamil, language spoken by 74 million people, including a worldwide pop star . Yet, you shall not speak or sing, but read, and without the ability to decipher, even your electronic external memory is useless.
You shall then interpret images: a woman nursing in the top left, milk in various forms (bottle, box, powder bag) in the bottom right, crossed with a red X, now an almost universal symbol of prohibition or danger. The meaning is so clear, writings can be treated as redundant decorum. Not by chance: this poster has not been designed for traveling ladies, but for Tamil women, half of which as illiterate as you.