Tuesday, November 21, 2017


“A clean India would be the best tribute India could pay to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150 birth anniversary in 2019”
- Shri Narendra Modi, Honourable Prime Minister of India

Mahatma Gandhi had been advocating and practising the cause of cleanliness all along his life. His maxim “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” epitomizes the great soul’s concern and priority for cleanliness.

The SBA is a movement or a campaign (Abhiyan) for cleanliness drive launched across the country. As the name suggests, it is an initiative where the involvement of people is cornerstone for its implementation and success. War against open defecation (ODF) is the main plank of SBA, and rightly so, but it is not the only culprit contributing to uncleanliness of our surroundings. 

Rural areas are not immune from the curse but in urban areas the health, hygiene and sanitation have become a major agenda for local bodies eating large chunk of fund. Most of our big cities have accumulated mounds of garbage (in some cases as high as a hillock) on their periphery belching out foul smoke. 

The issue of uncleanliness is not just associated with esthetic beauty of the habitat but it is also an economic issue (particularly for the poor) as it invites illness leading to medical expenses and loss of work days and income. This is a one of the major reasons trapping the poor in vicious circle of debt.

We have improved our infrastructure and services, and some of them can well compete with developed countries; to attract overseas tourists but where do we stand as a nation when it comes to cleanliness? Would the level of cleanliness of our holy places and monuments come any close to the level that is expected by overseas tourists? 

Though the motivation for clean and tidy surroundings may be different but the poor, the middle class and the elite are unanimous in demanding the same from the local body and the State, and this common demand without contributing their mite is the crux of the whole problem. 

This is more so, as the efforts and the cost of “prevention” of the uncleanliness is “huge” when compared with those of its “cure”. Reminded of the exaggeration? No exaggeration. Just think of someone spitting in a swanky premises after chewing a betel wine leaf (paan) and another Good Samaritan cleaning after the delinquent.

The cleanliness is more about contributing one’s mite for cleanliness and less about demanding for cleanliness from the “other one”, local body or the State if the cleanliness is to be sustained for a long period. 

Every citizen has to inculcate it as habit. This not difficult as we have ingrained the habit for own home, just we have to extend its benefit to public places and our workplaces.


Saturday, November 4, 2017


One of the penalties for refusing to vote is that you will be governed by inferiors.
- Plato, Philosopher in Classical Greece (Born 427 BC, Died 348 BC)

The epigrammatic sentence quoted above, succinctly convey the message of importance of voting. Voting in election by a voter is the heart of democracy. 

By casting your vote, you are conveying  your choice who should govern the constituency – may be a village or upto a country. The turnout percentage at various elections indicates that voters are not serious in exercising their right or preferably, one should say, in performing their duty. At national level the turnout percentage in General Election varies from 55.27% in 1971 to 66.40 % in 2014. 

Day by day, election process is becoming voter friendly, technology based and trustworthy, still seriousness of the voters is not showing any marked and consistent improvement. We are bestowed with the gift of universal suffrage (voting rights to all adult citizens) on silver platter by our constitution while citizens of many western countries have to agitate on streets for decades to get this right. This may be one of the reasons why we do not value the gift.  

Though no statistical study is analyzed by the writer of this blog, it can be safely inferred that ‘higher the education, poorer the inclination for voting” and one more concomitant inference is “richer the person, lesser the propensity to vote”. The voters are indifferent to their duty of voting inspite of SVEEP (Systematic Voter’s Education and Electoral Participation) initiatives by Election Commission of India (ECI). Hence, days are not far when a rule, for compulsory voting may be introduced as prevalent in many countries.

Why should I vote?

·        Your vote is your expression of your choice to change or not to change the people who form the Government.   
·         Remember, “Ballot is more powerful than bullet”. Election is a silent revolution which brings changes what the voters want without shedding a drop of blood.

·        Every vote counts. Have you heard the story of residents pouring a liter of water in a hose when they were ordered by Akbar to pour a litter of milk during dead dark night?

·        If you vote, you have a moral right to ask your representative for the account of performance, though you might not have voted for that person.

·        It is an effective weapon to keep the legislative branch of Government sensitive to public demands as the representative has to return to voter at periodic interval. If voter does not use the weapon, it will degenerate into a forgotten article in constitution.

·        Voting is a process of your voice being heard. You have heard the rhetoric of candidates and their party leaders for weeks together during their election campaign, now let them hear you through your voting.
·        Investing your valuable time once in a 5 year for casting the vote is more effective to bring the changes voters want as a nation than spending time on sending loads of WhatsApp videos and texts on “Save the Democracy”.