Modiji’s clarion call for “Swacch Bharat” has deeper and more significant implications than merely being an initiative to beautify the country to attract tourists from all over the world.  Even a dirtier Bharat has had million foot falls on her soil than a cleaner, more hygienic and upbeat India can ever compete or crave for.  Then why a “Swacch Bharat”? The  slogan raiser’s zealous drive towards nation’s image building is commendable provided its apathetic populace grasp the slogan’s true meaning and import.

A nation where cleanliness  implies keeping your hearth spotless at the expense of other’s front or back yard, ‘swachhata‘  seems a distant ideology to imbue its denizens with the sensibility and the sensitivity towards a better, healthier and shinier India! However, it is a spectator’s delight to watch  how  the ‘abhiyaan’ has inspired collective effort and community programming which were hitherto totally missing in the Capital.  Cosmopolitanization  has robbed the populace of that deep rooted belongingness which propels them to think and do something worthwhile  for their city. Strangely, we love to  count the years we have been staying at a place. But do we ever for a moment ponder what we have done for that place in those so many years of our stay? The honest answer is a single no.


Accumulated garbage in park

Urbanites are a busy lot managing their respective  pigeon holes  drawing lakshmanrekhas around   thereby narrowing  perceptions and performances further. My second floor neighbour has this habit of volleying garbage bags into the park fronting my flat.  In the cold of Capital’s freezing winter, the lady of the house takes special pleasure in washing clothes in her verandah and putting them to dry on the clothesline without squeezing the excess water out. Resultantly, the clothes drip on my balcony and if we are (un)lucky enough to invariably get sprayed each time we walk out, it is our carelessness  if we complaint or lack of humour if we to fail to enjoy the untimely shower.


Oh! What a mess!!!!

While commuting to and fro office, it is a regular coincidence that the vehicle next to mine will be having at least one passenger (usually it is the driver) who will suddenly take a fancy to open the car door and spit on the road. Least can be said about the men lining the pavement they consider their birth right to wet. The idea of Public Convenience is lost on them. Why then accuse the rural habit of visiting the railway tracks early in the morning if the so-called educated urban dwellers do not feel one bit ashamed to relieve  bladders in full view of a crowded road?

The discarded sideboard

The discarded sideboard

But the best is the time for spring cleaning. We completely forget that a healthy and hygienic surrounding is not just a topic confined to our eighth class Civics book, it is our duty to maintain the same in letter and spirit wherever we reside. Last Diwali, our RWA (Residents Welfare Association) took it upon themselves to clean the MCD parks dotting the Block. Amidst roaring slogans of ” na kuda daalengey na daalney dengey” ( neither will we dirty the place nor  let others dirty it) full hearted efforts were made to tidy the Block. Surprisingly, by the end of the day, a broken sideboard surreptitiously found its way into the adjacent park . By whom and when had the (mis)deed been done was neither known nor disclosed. However, it was quite apparent that some family  had found this extraordinary way of getting rid of household junk at the expense of  the neighbourhood !!!


Park or Junk Yard?

Our country is still in the making. So is the populace who not only needs a lesson or two in hygiene,  civic sense and healthy cohabitation but also require to be strengthened of moral fiber. Habits are born out of sanskar and therefore die hard. It is our moral obligation to give to our environment as much as we get from it. Training imparted during the formative years holds us in good stead throughout life. We are a people who believe in Education. Children begin to be taught and groomed from tender age by the family and thereafter in school and college. Yet,  the people of this bulging nation have remained uninitiated into the basics of good living.  Is there any lacuna in the syllabi? Perhaps, yes because notwithstanding the schooling that we receive from the age of three plus till the late teens, our perpetual inability to transmute theoretical knowledge into practical application remains our undoing. We in school had these regular, weekly  classes on SUPW – an acronym which expanded would stand for Socially Useful Productive Work – wherein we the girls had to learn sewing and the boys whiled time doing mischief. Never were we organized in groups to take practical lessons on being actually socially useful and productive within or outside the school premise. So, keeping the surrounding clean, planting trees, imbibing eco-friendly habits, taking part in community programs to develop the residential area could not take root in our scheme of things and thoughts because the lessons that are mugged up and not practised upon, do not stay for long in our minds.


Will this help?

It is perhaps this reason that we still need public awareness  programs,  large bill boards to drill in the dos and don’ts of hygiene, constant counseling on sanitation, workshops on the significance of being environment friendly,  seminars and conferences to  not to treat the city as an extended dump yard.


Glaring reminders… vain ?


Fact also remains that we Indians are not a race dedicated to our soil unlike the Japanese.  We love to be ignorant of rules. We love to be disobedient because in some insane way it makes us feel above the law of the land. We take pride in turning our faces to the other side when a fellow Indian knowingly soils the surrounds. We are self-centered and irresponsible with a “sanu kii farak paindaaye” mantra of life.  In short, we are the quintessential Indians who are congenitally averse to being alert and disciplined.   We are also the successor of a colonial past.  And therefore we rather take up a sweeper’s job abroad than keep our own city clean.

In this national scenario, Modiji will a mere blood boiling speech  be enough to inspire the nation to take up the broom and swipe away the generations of cobwebs which have not only settled in the nooks and corners of the cities and towns of India but also dug deep roots in our minds?


About gc1963

A working woman with interests in reading, writing, music, poetry and fine arts.

12 responses »

  1. KP says:

    “If each of us sweeps in front of our own steps, the whole world would be clean”Let u.s start with our abode and then enlarge it to our locality,city etc.But then municipalities have their responsibilities to clear the garbage on a day to day. and the government in larger projects like Ganges and other high cost areas.It is a team work where each one should contribute .

    Liked by 2 people

    • gc1963 says:

      Exactly, we all need to conscientiously participate in the program but alas that is not happening…and you are right the Government has a larger role to play in this mandate. But again the Center not clearing the dues of the MCD and the latter discontinuing service does not actually in any way contribute to the health and hygiene of the Capital or the nation. So, here we are with lofty mandates but no clear program and incessant infightings which render things murkier than ever….where are we then….back to square one!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Without responsible steps from us, this dream will never realize… yet everybody has such an insouciant attitude!

    Rightly the cobwebs have dug deep into our minds..perhaps by now it has been placed in our DNAs….

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Very apt and thought-provoking as well as thoughtful article Geeta Ji which is hard to disagree to. Modiji conveniently forgot that the problem is less of sweeping the places with brooms in hands (and arranging snaps of that for later publicity) and more of the proper disposal of that litter. He overlooked the heaps of garbage scattered throughout the country which always keep on waiting to be wisely disposed off. Anyway, when we can’t improve, how can our lot or our society or our nation improve ? We have not developed the concept of self-discipline. We only understand the language of punishment or penalty.The only thing the right-thinking Indians can do is to do the right things themselves and pass on that wisdom to their offspring and nothing more. You can’t teach something to someone who is not at all willing to learn. That’s the case with the most of the Indians who take pride in shouting – Mera Bhaarat Mahaan but take genuine interest in those things only which are directly linked to their personal interests.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gc1963 says:

      Yet, Mathur Sahab, to build a nation we need to ingrain certain morals, sense of obligation and duty in the minds of the people. We have to train and teach them, which is a pity because cleanliness is kind of obvious but if it is obviated it is unfortunate to the point of no return. It is really surprising to note that the biggest sub-continent in the world is surviving on sheer chance. Sometimes I wonder whether we do have any trait, I mean as a race, which can elevate us in the eyes of the world, as exemplary. Perhaps our culture and heritage, yes. But we cannot survive on our past. We have to build our present and the future. What is the way forward, I wonder?


  4. Prakash says:

    Well Said, Geetaji! Yes, it is the deep rooted attitudes towards keeping our surroundings clean that are a hindrance to the Swachh Bharat Call of Modi.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. gc1963 says:

    Yes, Omji, it now appears that the crusade will remain confined to speeches only….said because the scheme had originality, novelty and a sincere and well meaning intent

    Liked by 1 person

  6. elixired says:

    These things should have been in our values but they are not. Though Modi abhiyan has given some litterers of the country some gyan and they are not doing what they used to do- only some. I still see people throwing out their garbage outside their car’s window. And I get in pain seeing that. What you have shared above is what ubiquitously happens around in our city. May be too many talks about it can make it a fashion statement and things change… I agree larger projects are the responsibility of our govt. Only if we all were responsibly playing our parts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gc1963 says:

      It is a two-way traffic. While Government may go in for appropriate legislation, incentivising implementation etc, the aam junta has to realize that it is ultimately for their own good and participate willingly not out of fear of punishment or greed for prize.


  7. jmathur says:

    There’s little in this article that can be disagreed to. We, the Indians, lack self-discipline and can be forced to do the right things through the fear of punishment only. Mr. Modi conveniently forgot that the real problem is not of sweeping the places with brooms (and getting snapped by cameras while doing that) but of the proper disposal of that litter whose heaps scatter around the country. That’s the real issue which is neglected by all and sundry including Mr. Modi. What all the right thinking Indians can do Geeta Ji, is to do the right things (and abstaining from doing the wrong things) themselves whether or not others follow suit.

    Jitendra Mathur


    • gc1963 says:

      Yes, what you are trying to say is implement by example. But the examples are few and the majority are apathetic. There is some problem in the roots which we are unable to eradicate and happy to overlook.


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