Swachh Bharat : Making Inroads for cleanliness in India
The real essence of the proverb “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” can be established by Narendra Modi’s dream of a Swacch Bharat (Clean India). It is a giant step in cleaning India and making it a beautiful place, attracting tourists from all over the world who would otherwise shun India for its litter,filth and garbage.
The grim situation had been captured in an advertisement on television depicting the Bollywood star, Aamir Khan. It highlights how a mother allows her child to pee in a public place instead of the toilet. This is then scorned by a foreigner. The ad is a subtle attempt to bring home the message to all the mothers of India to reflect on their misdemeanor and it’s implication on the image of India.
The basic right of any citizen to defecate in toilets has been neglected for long time in India. This privilege not only protects our environment from foul smell and degradation but also helps children from not falling sick and safeguards the self esteem of a person who on nature’s call often exposes his/her private parts in fear of public gaze !!
Modi’s speech on Teachers’ Day was an indication in terms of equating the drop out of girls from schools in Grades IV and V to lack of separate toilets for girls. The body clock, especially the onset of menstrual cycle and the urgency for privacy of girls has never been pondered upon by anyone. If the basic task of providing a toilet can enhance the retention of a girl child in a comfortable school environment, then it can have far-flung consequences. Since Modi rightfully opined that when we educate a boy, we educate an individual but when we educate a girl, we educate two families— her parents’ and her in-laws’.
His Teachers’ Day speech also spoke of the Japanese philosophy of making children clean their own school toilets. This philosophy will go a long way in inculcating a sense of responsibility and a love for cleanliness during the foundation years of a child.
October 2, Gandhi Jayanti was an auspicious day to launch this programme. Modi launched the cleanliness drive in one of Delhi’s dirtiest slums.His oath and inspirational speech shaked up the citizens to embark on the urgent need of spending two hours every week towards cleaning their environment. The release of a Swacch Bharat logo and slogan on October 2will add further colours to this significant event .
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has praised Modi for his focus on providing toilets as a critical driver of children’s health. Though the earlier Governments had spoken about it but had not taken any cponcrete steps. The dynamism of new PM is sure to make the mammoth task a reality. Reaching out to each stae run and private school in every village,taluka and town looks daunting task but the spirited zeal can eventually touch the chord of each girl child who would soon be given the privilege of a toilet and in turn give her the immense power and dignity to surmount the pressure of physical changes and remove it as stumbling block to her education,career and her dream.