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.


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