Strong foundation for Swachh India

Scene 1 :
“You must visit USA sometime. It is so clean and neat that I feel ashamed to say I am from India” boasted an NRI who was like everybody else stung by the American bee.
“But our India is no less. It is green, rich culturally and one of the ancient civilizations” argued a proud Indian (at heart)
“Are you kidding me? Seriously? Do not compare India to USA. It is no where close. Achieving that level of cleanliness would be next to impossible in India”
The proud Indian, knowing his facts well, did not argue further. His silence spoke the truth.
Scene 2 :
“I really need to pee man. Don’t tell me there are no public toilets nearby” a foreigner in India during his first visit yelled at his only Indian friend.
Confused Indian, gave him the obvious solution of peeing on roadside or at least behind a tree.
The foreigner swore never to step in India.
Scene 3 :
I saw him throw his water bottle and some food on the road. I increased my scooty speed and crossed him and asked,
“excuse me sir. There was a dust bin near by. You could have dumped your waste items in it. Why throw it on road. You seem educated and well cultured. Then why do you behave like this?”
“It is none of business madam. And by not throwing one water bottle, India is not going to get clean in one day. But if you are still concerned, you are more than welcome to clean my dump” without a grimace or guilt he rode away.
Scene 4:
Everyday he saw her go behind the bushes and lift up her skirt showing her assets. What she did after that didn’t concern him. But his testosterone level definitely shot up and one day he decided to feel that ass in his hands.
Few days later, he did !!!! However, her house was ritually pure.
Scene 5 :
“Why can’t you at least clean you room? I think there is some left over food behind your study table, your AC needs to be cleaned as water is getting collected, and your room stinks. Please clean it or I will.” Angry mother shouted at her teenager son.
“Mom, who told you to enter my room? I will clean it when I can and dare you enter my room and touch my stuff. May be I like it dirty in here. Ok” shouted back her beloved son.
I am not calling anybody rapist here but I only intend to highlight one point – Is India going to become more hygienic just because somebody holds up a broom or builds more toilets? What about the so called much hyped “Indian mentality”.
Let me brief you –
1. Few days ago I had written about cleanliness and how we can do our part in cleaning our society. In facebook my article gets may be two likes but my profile picture gets 150 likes. Who wants to read the boring topic anyway?
2. We so much appreciate it when somebody raises their voice against crime. We share the news on facebook, tweet about it and blog about it but trust me when it is our turn to raise the voice, we prefer to keep silent
3. We talk about cleanliness and hygiene. Then tell me have you ever stopped a stranger peeing on the streets. Questioned him and argued with him?
4. An Indian who doesn’t even throw chocolate wrap in foreign countries doesn’t mind defecating in public saying “Jo khulle me maza hai woh toilet ke andar kaha?”
This is what I am highlighting in my post – “Indian mentality” (I don’t know what else to call this and sorry if I am hurting anyone here) and as long as our mentality and attitude towards life doesn’t change no matter how much try no bigger change can be expected. You want a Swachh Bharat then guys we should cleanse ourselves first. I am not talking about habit but our overall attitude of “theek hai” “chalta hai” “mere baap ka kya jayega” “abe itna ganda toh hai, mein fekunga toh kya hoga” and etc etc etc.
In my profession before we teach “how to talk” to children we train them for certain prerequisites such as attention, eye contact without which child can’t attain the level of talking. In the same way before cleaning the streets and building toilets I think every Indian (I mean every single Indian) should possess these prerequisites :
1. Love your country – I am not talking about saluting in front of our flag or being emotional listening to patriotic songs but love your country like it is your own child. I am not asking you to compromise your life or die for it, but try never to hurt your country. The moment you do that your heart will never allow you to throw even a small piece of paper on the streets.
2. Respect for individuals who do the low level or low pay jobs – In my city hardly people are available for cleaning and keeping the city clean. Why? Pay is less and more than money, they are not respected. Now in countries like Germany, even these people are highly respected and treated equal in the society. They are not untouchables or wear stinky clothes. We can try and not litter but there are lot of things which needs cleaning. And these are the people whom we should really respect and admire. So, may be it is time they are paid well and treated equal in the society. Why sixth pay commission to those who are already earning well? Why not to those people who are helping to keep our city clean and saving us from diseases?
3. Leave behind the age old customs and traditions – Yes, it would be sad to know that in India, certain Hindu traditions still encourage defecation in the public mostly far away from home, to avoid ritual impurity. Because of this even after having latrines at home, men prefer going out in the open, which in turn leads to lot of other health hazards like diarrhoea, malnutrition and many others. So, now tell me is building toilets going to help these people? But these people need proper education regarding the health hazards and also, need to be convinced to leave behind these silly traditions.
4. Raise your voice – Once we learn to do that in public I guess littering will be automatically reduced. We see some people throwing garbage or peeing or spitting and we choose to ignore these. We might curse them under breath but our vocal cords are paralysed to raise voice against it. So if we really want our society, our country to be clean then the moment we see something wrong going on in our surrounding we should fight against it.
5. Do your job – We depend so much on others, that we need a maid at home, cook or gardener. We want somebody to clean our lanes, wash our toilets and dumb the garbage. May be we should try and do our job faithfully and try to keep our surroundings clean. The more we depend on others the more problems will arise – they wont come on time, they wont clean as much as we would (of course not their house), and we will forever be lazy. We often compare India to the USA and sulk about how India is not as clean but nobody notices how people in abroad do their own job.
I believe these are the five main prerequisites before we start holding a board and campaigning about hygiene and sanitation. But yes, if we can’t do all this then for sure we can do one thing – complain about things that are going wrong in India and blame the government for it and wait for them to do everything right as we continue to do everything wrong.
I hope my post makes some sense. And if it does, then do let me know what you think about my approach towards “Swachh India” and if doesn’t then let me know what you guys think is the best way to keep our country clean and safe.
This post is written as a part of IndiBlogger contest in association with Dettol – Banega Swachh India.
RB (formerly known as Reckitt Benckiser) has partnered with NDTV and Facebook to launch “Dettol – Banega Swachh India” – a 5 year ambitious program to address the rising need of hygiene and sanitation in India. The campaign will aim at creating awareness about the importance of hygiene and sanitation, and also work with NGO partners to support infrastructure for construction and maintenance of toilets. RB India has committed to spend a sum of Rs.100 crores towards this program over a period of the next 5 years.”
For more information please check their website

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