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Cleanliness Of Our Nation is Our Responsibility, But Are We Responsible?

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By Geetanjali Maria:

As I sat in the auto, jam packed with all kinds of people from all sides, in the half an hour journey I observed that at least 6 of the 10 people in the auto had spit outside once or more, or had chucked left-over eatables out of the window and onto the road. These happen to be the same people who later on complain how filthy and unclean India is. We ourselves are indeed responsible for the dirt and scum on the roadsides and other public properties.

No historical monument in India is free from the graffiti posted by unscrupulous Indian visitors who are more interested in recording their arrival than in safekeeping and maintaining our rich heritage that has been left to us by our ancestors. There is no public wall in India to be found free if the dirty-red of pan-spit; a unique feature, found only in India. Every nook and cranny of our country houses plastic litter or half-eaten corn and groundnut leftovers.

We are the same Indians who when traveling/living outside India would take utmost care not to drop even a toffee wrapper on the roadside. We are the same Indians who would blindly follow traffic rules in other countries but while in our own country would jump traffic signals and blare horns at no-noise zones (Ok, some part of this concern does come from the fear of the huge fines such acts may result in). We are the same people who can stand patiently and silently in long queues to get a bottle of whisky but grumble and fight when caught in traffic jams or have to wait in queues for getting any paper clearance done or certificate made. We are the very ones who love to keep our own house and surroundings clean but wouldn’t mind dumping our wastes into our neighbor’s compound. This is the irony of Indians.

But the blame cannot be entirely put on the general public. The lack of amenities like public toilets and waste bins is also partly responsible for all these misdeeds. But it still needs to be seen how much Indians would adhere to these new systems and take a bit of extra pain and trouble to drop the waste wrapper in the dustbin. Despite such facilities provided in some places we can often find people who prefer to relieve themselves in the open than pay a rupee for the use—and—pay toilets. Most of the bins on the roadsides are full and spill over due to either lack of regular disposal by the civic authorities or due to the general trend of the public to throw waste items around the bin than in it and proudly (but falsely) proclaim that he/she is a good citizen and dumps waste only ‘in’ the bin.

India is our country, our home and it is our responsibility to keep it clean and tidy. Carrying a chocolate wrapper half a kilometer with you till you can find a dustbin to dispose it off wouldn’t cost you much of energy or trouble. Just like one doesn’t spit on the walls of one’s own house, it is our moral duty not to spit on the walls of our country. Our surroundings and our way of life is the impression foreign tourists carry of India. Let each one be the other one’s guide and together help keep India clean.

The writer is a Correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.

You must be to comment.
  1. Anika Gera

    I always make sure i never throw garbage or any paper or evn icecream stick on the roads…i throw them in d dustbin or put in my bag n throw them after reaching home,,,and, i make sure that i stop my friends n family also to litter the roads…if they don’t pick..i pick which makes them feel guilty n they do it themselves,,,,dis is how i teach people around me to stop littering the roads n make our place more beautiful !! why people keep saying noida or delhi are so unclean it’s coz of people like us…who litter the roads..if we take 1 step ahead to stop it..10 more will join us n that will make the difference !

    1. hari

      we can do it

  2. edelbert

    4 things i can not tolerate about India
    1. Men peeing everywhere
    2.Men and women spitting everywhere
    3.Stray dogs
    4.Garbage dumps at haphazardly chosen spots

    Why i hate these is because I believe they can be controlled if not entirely eradicated if there are strong laws introduced by the government. Indians will not behave until it pinches them.
    Its time for strong laws and high fines at least within certain city areas where urinals are constructed (particularly with the shameful act of open peeing)

    Lets bring back a sense of shame!

    Thank you

    Edelbert, Bangalore

  3. shubhangi

    cleanliness really means next to goodliness……cleanliness is a part of our life ……we should keep our body//mind//every thing neat nd clean ……by our cleanliness other person too fell nice 2 talk with us …..it gives a nice nd impressable image 2 the person standing near by us …………thus we keep ourself neat nd clean ………..nd make others happy ………..

  4. Gabbar

    Start your counting I am coming. Ha ha ha

  5. Gabbar

    Kill you

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

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