2 and 1/2 Years of “Swachh Bharat” and The Not-So-Swachh Bharat.

Posted by Shibhangi Ghose
July 15, 2017

Self-Published

Cleanliness is next to Godliness.“~ Mahatma Gandhi.

This quote of the Mahatma is perhaps one of his best remembered among all of his quotes, both in the country and globally.

Ironically, while the whole world follows suit of the Mahatma , his own country forgets to throw their used litter in the dustbin; the roads and pavements seem to be a pretty good substitute.

No matter how much adverts come up on TV interrupting our daily shows, or how much Shilpa Shetty and her gang of adorable street urban kids insist on shaming Meena Aunty for throwing her trash in the playground, we never seem to learn. Sure, for the moment, we all lecture and pose to be the righteous citizen but our on the streets, that oh-so-law-abiding nature disappears and is replaced with a kya-hoga-yahan-fek-do attitude.

Okay,so how do we battle this ?

Seems like the Govt. Of India has already found an answer.

Two years back India launched Swachh Bharat Mission, with a vision to clean up the dirt and garbage which veneers the streets and roads of the country. The mission also aimed to fight to the problem of sanitation which was and still is one of the major social issues in Indian society.

Why did they do this?

India accounts for about 90% of population in South Asia and 59% of the 1.3 billion population still defecates in the open, making it the single largest contributor to open defecation in the entire world.

Apparently, poor sanitation has also been cited as a cause for short and stunted growth among children. It vitiates the functioning of gut bacteria, leading to poor absorption of nutrients. This causes poor development of cognitive abilities in children along with stunted growth. It’s impact ultimately is witnessed in increased health expenditure and poor skill development leaving the country with a poor human resource.

Connected to basic hygiene are also the rights of people engaged in cleaning. Whom we tend to not categorize as humans. They are exposed to not only some highly dangerous stuff but also pretty gross stuff. Just as we all claim that we have the right to choose what to do and what not and rant about a democracy, we are very well forgetting that we are also indirectly hampering someone’s right- the right not to do something out of compulsion , something that no human being is supposed to do and should to degraded to such a level.

 

India is currently going through a phase of transition as it embarks on a great journey towards development. This is a very interesting and probably the most important phase which the country is witnessing. Today, old ideas and institutions are being challenged by modern ideas. Innovative solutions are being provided to old and new issues alike. India is taking gaint strides in all fields, while the world is still sceptical because we are a not “clean country” . Have people look at us because we come from a country that is beautiful but litter.

Despite all this info, right under our nose, why do we all litter and trash?

It’s not that we have the wrong attitude or the system is wrong…… It is just that we are too lazy or maybe reluctant to change. We seem to be playing a game; where the ball is passed on to your neighbour’s court. While we all enjoy playing the sensible citizen, we back away from belling the cat.

We seem to forget that -“If not you , then whom , if not now , then when?” Touche.

 

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