Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Not just Gandhi for a cleaner India!

Sanitation and Simplicity

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a great begining and a welcome one.

October 2, is the most auspicious occassion to start a sanitation drive. Gandhi ji's concept of Gram Swaraj includes sanitation as a major pillar. Gandhi ji not only believed in cleanliness, but also simplicity.

Gandhiji wrote on 17-12-1942, how simplicity helped healthy living:

". . . Many households are so packed with all sorts of unnecessary decorations and furniture which one can very well do without, that a simple living man will feel suffocated in those surroundings. They are nothing but means of harbouring dust, bacteria and insects. . . I meant to say is that my desire to be in tune with the infinite has saved me from many complications in life. It led not merely to simplicity of household and dress but all round simplicity in the mode of my life.."

His RSS background aside, Modi ji paid a fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi in  his just concluded visit to the United States. Modi ji was given a "rock star welcome" in the US, our media gushed and our TV screens beamed. He had certainly taken over Madison Square Garden with all his pomp and show. Perhaps, he should also read about Gandhi ji's simplicity. Reportedly, Modi ji took 40 new suits to the US designed by top designers Troy Costa.

Mahatma Gandhi in one of his rare interviews, when asked about his attire replies in the most natural and simple manner

Interviewer: Will you go attired in native Indian dress, or will you go in European dress?

Gandhi ji: I shall certainly not be found be in European dress

Interviewer: If the king of England invited to dinner in Buckingham palace, you would go in your customary Indian dress?

Gandhi ji: In any other dress, I should be in most difficult state, because I would be artificial.

This was Gandhi ji's simplicity.

The Inspiration 

Who came first- Egg or the Chicken? Modi ji came first to take credit of both. 

There is a joke going around on Twitter these days!

After taking credit for the Mars Mission, INS Vikramaditya, Jammu-Katra train, PSLV's, Big power projects and so on, Our PM's quest of taking credit for the work done by the previous government, doesn't end here.

He will now take credit for the previous government's Total Sanitation Campaign too - Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan. Its goal was to achieve 100% access to sanitation for all rural households by 2022

It is important to know that UPA was the only government in modern India to create a separate ministry of Sanitation and allocate a separate budget for it. The minister for which belonged to Modi ji's Gujarat. Sadly,  we would never ever credit them for this. Everyone is going hammer and tongs about Modi ji's vision for "Swachh Bharat".

The Past Record

Let us also look at Modi ji's previous record as a Gujarat Chief Minister for 12 years, when it comes to delivery

a) While the Gujarat government had said in a report to the central drinking water and sanitation ministry that 82% of its rural population was covered by sanitation in 2011-12, the 2011 Census data showed only 34% of rural Gujarat was covered by sanitation!

b) Gujarat’s record in terms of the improvement in sanitation coverage between 2001 & 2011 is worse than most major States of India, including poorer States. Gujarat ranks 13th behind states like Himachal, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Sikkim, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Nagaland.

c) Also, if we look at the pictures of the much publicized Sabarmati river, one is not impressed by the sanitation levels.

d) Lastly, Vapi in Gujarat is the most polluted city in India. It seems Modi ji could do little to change its status.

It seems Modi ji's record in keeping Gujarat clean, has not been very successful.

We want a Clean India 

In the current scenario, most of the our big towns and cities have municipal corporations governed by BJP- whether its Mumbai, Delhi or Bangalore. Yet, our cities are full of filth.

We cannot squarely blame the BJP for the filth, it is for us to blame ourselves. Charity begins at home, and we should take upon ourselves as citizens to see that we do not litter in our public places.

Not only we need Gandhi ji for a cleaner India, we need ourselves too!

Happy Gandhi Jayanti !