Friday, December 12, 2014

Towards Clean India

It was October mid. Hardly a couple of weeks after our Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji officially launched "Swachh Bharat Abhiyan" (Clean India Mission) campaign. Whole Indian media was abuzz with term "Swachh Bharat".  Since it was also the time of the year when our office usually celebrates the "Season of Volunteering", few of us decided to volunteer towards cleaning a lake in our office locality and also remove plastics from the surrounding road to raise awareness about cleanliness.

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On the specific day when I arrived at the spot and started picking those countless plastic carry bags, snack covers, chocolate covers, pan parag covers, cigarette packs etc etc strewn carelessly on the road, I grew a special respect for municipal workers who handle this task day-in and day-out to keep our city clean. It was so difficult for me to do it continuously without sweating and cribbing about those who threw them carelessly. At the same time there was not a single moment when a passerby wouldn't give me a strange stare or develop guts to ask me why I am even bothered when municipal workers are paid to do that task!

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Why am I not surprised? Because it is the India I know and very familiar with. Even after all the education about cleanliness and its importance, for us, cleanliness rightly begins at home but sadly ends right after it reaches our doorstep. Beyond that it doesn't matter whether it is clean or shabby. It is the duty of some government appointed person from municipality to keep it clean. If that does not happen properly we will complain, crib, gossip but not take any corrective step towards it. We are Indians and we have been like that for generations. My dear readers, at this point I would like you to watch this wonderful Tedx video on the topic "Why is India so filthy?"


I am sure, after watching this video now you know what is blocking us Indians from getting past the cleanliness problems?

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Yes, it is just our 'attitude'! It only takes a little bend to our ego to extend the cleanliness of our homes to the streets where we live, for a healthy society!!

While cleanliness takes one important side of the coin, sanitation and hygiene takes an important other side!

I was traveling in a local train in Chennai yesterday. The train was passing through a slum and there was an unbearable smell of human excreta from outside. Like programmed robots, people just covered their nose with hand kerchiefs and controlled their breath for a while. And as the train went to a safe-breathing zone, they uncovered their noses and carried on as if nothing happened. Not just Chennai, this is a common scene everywhere in India. Owing to increasing city population, there is an acute strain on urban resources contributing to sanitation problems. People suffer but still live with it blaming it on their poverty, hardly knowing that it is accepting this miserable life is what making them even poorer and falling to this vicious circle.

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Open defecation has become such a common scene in our country that it has sadly become an acceptable menace in our society! By allowing this, we are silently polluting our land and water resources. Lack of toilets is killing children by making them prone to diseases like diarrhea and bacterial infections. Treating children affected by these diseases will only drain the affected family even more. Women are worse affected with verbal and physical assault when they try to use the open spaces for defecation. Needless to mention the trouble the women with menstrual problems go through without proper access to toilets. Girl children even go the extent of dropping out from schools and colleges for not having good toilet facilities, severely hampering their education and potential earning prospective of the family in the future. Just goes on to show the bigger picture of how the development of our country is hampered in the long time for not addressing a common problem!


We can make a huge difference in the lives of millions by teaching people about both public and personal hygiene and its impact on their health. It is that without this education people are accepting their situation as their way of life and falling further for it.

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On the public hygiene front, we should educate people to keep their surroundings clean from filth and avoid littering in the public places. When need arises we should not fail to speak up against those who fail to follow this practice!

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On the personal hygiene front, people can be be educated to keep themselves clean by bathing daily, wearing clean clothing and washing hands with clean soap and water to avoid infections. This will go a long way in avoiding diseases.

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It is high time we care about our society like we care about our family, if we dream of a clean and healthy, developing India!! RB and NDTV have partnered to launch "Dettol – Banega Swachh India" program to address this very rising need in our country. This campaign will aim at creating awareness about the importance of hygiene and sanitation, and also work with NGO partners to support infrastructure for construction and maintenance of toilets. It is such a wonderful initiative from NDTV taking India closer to what we all dream of.

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Read more about this campaign here [http://swachhindia.ndtv.com/] and contribute your best to make this a successful collective initiative!

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With positive mindset and willingness to move towards better sanitation and hygienic living conditions, I am SURE our country will slowly progress towards being clean, healthy and developed country!! I am ready to march towards SWACHH INDIA, are you? :)

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PS: This post was written as part of IndiBogger topic "Banega Swachh India"!

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