Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Come, Make in a CLEAN India

In the last few months, the broom(jhadu) has gained more popularity in our country sweeping away many other instruments which are technologically more advanced than it is. Probably after jhadu is going to be the next 'broom' in advancement from the 'Nimbus 2000' and the 'Firebolt.' From political parties to private companies, everyone is attracted to the jhadu. So much that people are fighting in associating themselves with this magical broom.
JHADU 2014

Like any other of his famous speeches, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given a beautiful speech before launching the much acclaimed project, Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan. It is nice to see the leader going out of his way to initiate such a nice campaign. It is also very clever of him to nominate an argumentative opponent, a famous sportsperson nominated to the Rajya sabha by the opposition and a film star addressing social issues for some time now to take initiative in the Swachh Bharat mission. Narendra Modi has captured the hearts of those 'thinkers' mostly the middle class through this 'dream project.' Of course, this project has had been the dream project of many leaders but nothing much has changed until now. It is not because earlier leaders could not mesmerise people like Modi. They could. It is that people just remained mesmerised. Did nothing more!!

From 'Mahatma' Gandhi cleaning toilets to Narendra Modi cleaning roads, we have praised the leaders wh ocame forward with such actions and raised them to new heights. But do we get the message? If the leader is emphasising on a clean surrounding, that does not mean he will come and clean our surroundings. If Narendra Modi keeps the Prime Minister office clean, we should keep our classrooms/workplaces clean. Everyone of us should be involved. With a charismatic leader like Modi giving a message about cleanliness, every body in the country has taken to the streets shouldering a broom. Assuming this is not entirely for clicking pictures, one question arises, is this what is cleanliness about?

The PM wants to shift the idea of using the broom for caste discrimination to cleanliness drive. How long will we still associate cleaners with low caste (I don't understand low and high here!!) or vice versa? How long will we confine ourselves to only applauding someone who takes initiative and not ourselves do the good work? When there are people finding reasons to criticise the leader how much ever good his initiative might be; When there are people who buy coconut water and throw the empty coconut shell on the road and drive away; When there are people who so involuntarily drop off chocolate wrappers as soon as they open it; When there are people who instead of in a corner of their plate, throw food waste on the table, making a heap of chewed vegetables and chicken bones thus successfully making it impossible for others to sit in the same place; When most importantly there are NO ONE questioning any of these irritating attitudes, how can one attain Swachh Bharat?

It takes more than a broom to attain a clean India. More than a vacuum cleaner. With technology, it is very easy to identify, segregate, clear and recycle waste. Energy can be harnessed from garbage too, now. There is no dearth of young people with innovative ideas, ready to work on waste management. Jobs can be created. Meghnad Desai feels that beggars can be involved in clean India campaign thus helping the country in two ways. So, the municipality will soon oust the railways in terms of number of employees. As the common Indian throws garbage where ever he wishes, the government sends an army to clean up after this. Guinness book of records will write India as the largest producer of waste yet the cleanest!! But is this what we want? No. We want less waste production than just cleaning the garbage.

Prevention is better than cure. Instead of killing the tenth grade students with coaching for entrance exams, a lot of emphasis should be on cleanliness, reducing waste production, maximising the use of renewable energy sources at the same time minimising the use of natural resources. It is not at all wrong to include in the curriculum simple things like the importance of switching off lights and fans when not in use. Even this can be a job generating opportunity.
Unemployed youth can be trained to educate people about cleanliness, use of toilets, ill effects of littering, open defecation and urination and most importantly the bad effects of over population. More health related jobs can be created too. There is a huge opportunity for private partnership too. Guess this is the emerging sector in the Indian market.

A clean environment will give confidence and security for interested people to invest in the country. I sincerely hope this is the motive behind "Swach Bharat Abhiyan" We shall all go along with those sincere leaders who wanted a clean India.