Wednesday, December 24, 2014

“Swachha Bharat” – A distant dream for “Incredible India”…

“…Unless”, I start the post with the word because I didn’t want to sound cynical because of the title of my post (the word “unless” has a “hidden hope even if the situations are impossible and not in our hands”). Hence adding “unless” to a pessimistic title like the one I am using, I thought would be clever and would save me from contradictions and offences from Indians (who do not like to be shown their mistakes).

 Moving back to the title, “Swachha Bharat Abhiyaan”, an initiative that has suddenly revolutionized my country and all I can notice on social media these days are celebrities and volunteers across India with brooms in their hands cleaning their vicinity. The initiative is one of the most awaited initiatives ever, no wonder it comes from one of the most strategically efficient PMs of our country. And IF followed honestly, the campaign can do wonders for our country. As an Indian, it has given me a hope to see myself living the dream of seeing a clean India. But it has also forced me to question why it took 69 years of independence to comprehend that our country should be clean? Why not before? Why it takes celebrities, actors and sports people who are role models to inspire an Indian to keep their surroundings clean? Wasn’t “keep it clean” one of the lessons in moral science we learnt as kids? Keeping it clean is one of the most basic etiquettes which a child learns about from her or his parent when she or he is asked to throw the toffee wrapper in the dustbin. Then why and how that basic etiquette is lost when she/he grows up?


 I am not a cynical, I never was, but as a practical Indian who knows her fellow Indians’ mentality, here are eight reasons I believe, could make “Swachha Bharat” campaign a distant dream, UNLESS we change our as well as others attitude.

 1. Self – centered nature (turning blind eyes towards everything and everyone except ourselves) – If our home is clean, who cares if we have thrown the garbage outside our house? Garbage is equal to no garbage if we close the door or our window to it and turn a blind eye towards it. This kind of nature is why we see people throwing their home trash outside and closing their doors and windows to it.

 2. The “Chalta hai” challenge – “So the Prime Minister has initiated this campaign on hygiene. What is the big deal? It won’t run for long. Moreover we are happy with all the trash around us. Makes us feel like India”. This “chalta hai” attitude of Indians is the biggest challenge for the campaign to succeed in this country.

 3. “Not possible” attitude – During recent visit to a foreign country for an official tour, I was totally in awe of the level of cleanliness in those cities. I was full of admiration for the cities, for the government and for the people who keep it this clean. I wished if I could see my country this clean. But deep down in my mind, I also had a thought that was negative enough to contradict my wish and kept telling me that this is not possible in India. This distrustful off-putting attitude generally leads to our failure to initiate anything at our level.

 4. System loopholes – It is always people vs system in India. The blame-game between people and system is a never-ending affair. If the people have countless excuses, the system has got immeasurable loopholes to tackle with. And unless that is handled, there is no way we can see “a clean India” happening anywhere down the years.

 5. Lack of strict(er) laws – In US kissing in public is legal while pissing in public is illegal. While in India you all know, it is the opposite. I am not asking for making kissing in public legal (we still have a lot of time to get that going in this country). But at least pissing in public needs to have strict penalty. We need stronger laws and not just signs to prevent people from urinating on walls. It is highest time stronger laws are passed against people who litter, urinate or spit on roads. Because I don’t think signs or signboards work on Indians. And it is really annoying to have the smell of ammonia on walls of our neighbourhood.

 6. Programmed habits – They are used to spitting on roads. A habit that has been installed or genetically programmed in their body systems. And why not, they have been spitting on roads, I don’t know, since they were kids. So even unknowingly, unconsciously walking down the road, without any reason, they would spit. A habit that would need rigorous efforts and strong laws, and not just a campaign to make them quit.

 7. Inability of Indians to aim directly at dustbins – We are incapable of throwing it inside the dustbin. Most of the time we throw the trash at least 2 feet away from the dustbin. We have terrible throws, something that has been proven many times by the Indian team too, when they are trying to throw ball at stumps.

 8. For us “Rules are not meant to be followed” – Rules are followed by the losers. We think we are cool if we don’t follow rules. So whether it is “stand in queue”, “traffic rules” or any other, we always have an excuse not to follow those.

 Unless the Indians start working on these eight in-born qualities, forget about any Modi-vention, success of Swachha Bharat campaign would need a divine intervention.

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