Sweeping changes are expected as the idea of Swacch Bharat has taken India by storm. Now what is needed is action, more action!
Japan was a winner in the World Cup, though they lost the first match they played. They caught the world’s attention, when all the Japanese fans and players cleaned up their part of the stadium after the match! They set a new gold standard for civility and educated cleanliness. Japanese teachers and students stay back half an hour after class to clean up the classroom and keep it ready for the next day. One of the airlines requests passengers to do the same to get the aircraft ready for the next flight. The idea of cleaning up should become the job description of every person in India. The feeling that ‘others’ will clean up after you is what creates all our hygiene problems. Gandhiji cleaned his own toilet. NRI’s clean their own toilets when they live abroad. But in India, since someone else is doing, it we are totally careless.
Let every reader adopt his own street with five members on a Swachh Bharat Committee
1. To adopt cleaning, greening and composting bio-dependable waste as a regular practice
2. To build close bonds between neighbours and to mentor and teach young people special skills: sports, art, dance, music and stories.
3. To help economic development of disadvantage domestic helper , working in the street.
4. To build close relationship with officials of public utilities and government to ensure problems on the street are solved fast.
Every toilet, every park, every vehicle should be cleaner when you leave it, than when you enter it. Let us start with our own homes and offices. Let us set an example by picking up pieces of paper or plastic thrown in front of our homes. Example is the most powerful motivator. Keep your own doorstep clean.
For years in India, activists have used the pictures of Gods to prevent people using street toilets. Let us involve religious leaders to get across the message that cleanliness is next to Godliness. Let us start with our religious places. Let religious leaders make people see cleaning up as seva.
The Singapore Government achieved a clean Singapore by fining those who litter. The Japanese are doing it by making it a part of education and mindset. In India, let us use every possible method: psychological, social, economic and religious methods to make Swacch Bharat a reality!
Dr. Rekha Shetty
Author of “Innovation Sutra”
And “Everyday Happiness Mantras”