Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cleanliness Anyone?

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

How we will manage to keep a billion plus folks in line with keeping a clean home and clean environment is a task for the heavens. The initiative of clean India which is being pushed hard by the prime minister is being well publicized in the Indian and also the international media. Starting with the PMO and with the PM himself taking lead and at the same time calling out to some of India's well liked celebrities of various fields, the PMO has been taking the publicity route to the masses for clean India campaign. From Gandhi to Modi, from before India's independence in 1947 to prime minister Modi in 2014, a lot of time has elapsed and a lot more Indians have been added to Indian population, lot of leaders, lot of changes to the living style and standards, and in general life it self keeps changing while Indians did not adopt to being clean, which could have enhanced the country's overall health and hygiene.

Driving the nation to adopt to a clean society is by no way a simple task for one leader. The entire nation is used to spitting and peeing and simply throwing stuff everywhere they live and use. Irrespective of where people live and go to and irrespective of their social stature, Indians love to pile up garbage and throw stuff around.

We are also a society that hoards every little thing that we get our hands on and also save every scrap. From paper, clothes, bags, shoes, utensils and any other household items we save and keep them under lock and key. Indians inherently have a wonderful culture of saving, and this transcends to saving trash.

For many generations we have continued to follow the same routine with hygiene and savings and we lead our children to follow the same way of life. So, even if our leaders ask us to keep things clean, specially our surroundings clean it will be a humongous task for us to follow as a complete society.

For our current PM who is from Gujarat, he must be used to his fellow state's men chewing tobacco and spitting everywhere. With our huge population and minimal sanitation facilities and in general our lack of respect for our own surroundings, along with everything else that the nation has to deal with is a huge task before the country become a clean and habitable India.

The initiatives being suggested in respect to sanitation in India is a major step in making the nature's call a private session, which is imperative to get the Indians first to do what is supposed to be done in private to be done in private and also stop messing up the country. While building toilets and restrooms is clearly a feasible enterprise, the nation and its leaders and planners should also how to dispose off the sewage. Indian doesn't have sewage collection, management and processing capabilities to deal with sewage and waste. Even the major cities have problem with collection and disposal of waste. India needs to get a system planned and implemented not just build sanitation facilities but also waste management. At this time for those who live in villages, smaller towns and municipalities, there is no such plan for waste management and there are no sewer or water pipelines that support a waste management and disposal system. Along with building toilets, the country also needs to work in tandem in massive restructuring of the infrastructure of cities, towns and villages, where by building the infrastructure to handle the waste, and manage the waste management to not further suffocate the population. Also, the so called smart cities that are being pushed by the current Pm, should be planned and developed in keeping in mind the waste and sewer management as a part of the overall planning of the new development.

The country has to get started somewhere and somehow to get India clean. There are no alternatives but to make India clean to keep the nation healthy. The clean India task is enormous considering where we are now. The country, its population and its leaders; all should start with a clean slate and start the process now for a sustainable environment and clean India.

From the initial looks of it, and the processes and promotions on Clean India, reception to the PM and the subsequent initiatives has been very positive. A number of well regarded celebrities taking to the streets with gloves and brooms to show support to the clean India program has been well received by the general public, who also wants to pitch in. Modi himself keeps his channels of communications open, and keeps the cleanliness drive as a top priority for him and his government. His direct communications constantly update on who is doing what on the cleanliness drive, and also he continues to encourage more and more participation.


As we look at the clean India drive with irony, it has been long overdue. The PM needs to be applauded for pushing the cleanliness drive as a personal and national political issue. Going back to Mahatma's India prior to 1947 and Modi lead India in 2014, it is of great importance for the nation to be clean and continue to remain conscious of the importance of cleanliness. Here a big tip of the hat to Modi, Indians and a happy and clean India. 

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