Saturday, November 29, 2014

Banega Swachh India!

India is a country of multiple faiths, religions and languages. Very few initiatives have transcended the multiple boundaries and reached people effectively. Either the spirit is lost in translation or it reaches people so late that the very campaign becomes irrelevant. But here is one campaign that has the power to be relevant over a few years if not generations. This, by the way is nothing to proud of; yet this is something we can actually use to our advantage.

The Swachh india is the vision of our PM. But the truth is, he has echoed out loud the voices that keep running inside everyone of our heads. Two of the biggest terms used as foundation for this campaign are sanitation and hygiene. Nothing would be worse on our part, than overlooking these two biggies. Swachh India has drawn our attention to the importance of hygiene and sanitation and quite a few commendable activities have flooded the social media already. The question is, “Is one day’s worth of action enough?”

Take a walk on your streets; whether it is the main road or a sub lane or a tiny alleyway. The roads are strewn with plastics, the corners carry the disgusting stench of urea, the bins are surrounded by trash, food particles, spit and wastes have spoiled so much of our roads. Everyday the roads are being swept, the trash is being taken away by the civic authorities, the plastics are picked by rag-pickers. Yet, in a matter of hours the roads get back to the sorry state they were… WHY? Why does this happen? Where is the hole in the system?

The answer is simple, WE are the problem. We are the hole in the system. Our callous attitude is the sole reason. We write pages and talk for hours but when it comes to execution a lot of us fail miserably. We don’t think twice before spitting on the ground. We casually throw away chocolate wrappers, junk food boxes, excess food, water bottles, paper cups and many more on the road; even when the trash cans are a few meters away.

Urinating on the streets is an act of shame but we never stop do we? We let our kids relieve themselves, because WE say they can’t hold on. Drunken men just don’t care about the place. Educated people are worse. They pick corners where no one can see and people just follow their lead. Soon that neat corner becomes the foulest place on the street. When we throw trash on the roads when the bins are few meters away, does it really make sense to say if we build 1000 toilets on that stretch people won’t urinate in public? The most common excuses would be, 1. I didn’t know there was a toilet nearby. 2. The toilets are not clean (WTH? Ya I get you). 3. The toilets are not safe for children. 4. <Think of anything you might say and fill it here>

No, none of the efforts can actually give you a complete solution. One part will always be missing! And that part is HOME! Sanitation and hygiene begin at Home. When you teach the kids to not give excuses and develop intrinsic discipline they will change; when you as parents/guardians/siblings lead by example the family will follow. The biggest challenge in life is living by your principles. Tell yourself to be disciplined and at home make it a habit to be disciplined. Think of Sachin Tendulkar, his discipline is what made him what he is, his self control stopped him from endorsing a tobacco product even though it would have given him 7 Crores more. Look up at your role model and hero. Their good habits started at home.

Sanitation and hygiene starts at home too. Let’s develop the habit of throwing trash into the bin and nowhere else. Let’s make a promise not to dirty the roads. Appreciate the many endeavors of people around us. Here is a sample, NDTV’s swachh india campaign -

Let’s do our bit to the society and our own selves. Let’s start the revolution at home and together let’s make a Swachh India!