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Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: It is a vision and not just mere photo opportunity
It seems it's the season of photo opportunities. In last few days, the air is showered with photos and images of several ministers with a common caption "picking up a broom in hand and cleaning their offices".

Be it HRD minister Smriti Irani or Food security minister Ram Vilas Paswan and many other else. In fact Union Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad made a surprise visit to a post office and was seen grumbling and grunting on staffs while inspecting the cleanliness of the same.

I don't mind if our ministers being cleaning, sweeping or inspecting the cleanliness of their offices, but what I don't like is if they do it only when a camera is around. It makes me feel that it is just a photo opportunity for them.

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is not just an occasion for mere symbolism rather it's a great Vision. PM Narendra Modi as we know is a man of vision. Many times he has expressed his desire to gift a "clean India" to Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary (2019) who apart from a votary of peace and non-violence was a hard practitioner of cleanliness as well.

And the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan itself has great objectives. It aims to stop open defecation with every village having pucca toilets for every house hold, clean roads and lanes, waste management system and clean water for all. If at present we analyze "cleanliness standard" of our nation, sadly we have to admit that we don't stand even for a minimum standard and forget about world standards.   

While watching a TV program on "The State of Cleanliness in Delhi- The Capital of India" I was rather shocked to see the realities. In fact there was no difference in the lifestyle of some people in Delhi and those in rural areas. The stories are almost same in every city, town or village.

It's not only the lack of equipment, man power or resources but also there is a huge shortage of "will" on part of us as citizens who lead to such a sorry state of affairs as far as cleanliness is concerned. So instead of picking up a broom and posing before a camera, our ministers should better understand the vision behind "The great initiative". They should rather go to their own constituencies and look at the realities. 

They should visit each and every village, town and city. The way they campaign for themselves during elections and in the same way they should inspect and educate people about cleanliness. They should create volunteers who can communicate, educate and spread awareness on cleanliness in every corner of the country.

They should make people participate in the process through awareness, acknowledgements and encouragement. Also they must look at the life style of "cleaning staffs" and should resolve the difficulties they face in their day to day life.

In short they should take the responsibility of their own constituencies and make sure of having achieved all the objectives that is mentioned in the "Swachh Bharat Abhiyan" initiative. In this way they can inspire other MPs, MLAs and others to do the same, which by itself will achieve around 80% cleanliness in our nation. Another 20% will be taken care of by municipalities.  

Remembering Mahatma Gandhi?getting freedom was not a "one man's job" rather it was the result of a collective effort of all the people. But what Mahatma did was he inspired people to achieve freedom for them, which resulted into a great revolution. Even for cleanliness also he was not only cleaning himself but also was always asking everybody to clean his/her own surrounding. That's the way great objectives are achieved.

No great objective has ever been achieved without a collective effort. The point is, we have miles to go if we want to achieve an "Entirely Clean India" with every house hold having toilets, clean water and a clean surrounding. And it's not a prime minister or a bunch of ministers, who are picking up broom in their hands, will achieve that in one day. Rather it's a constant process of communicating, inspiring and educating the people for a mass participation in the same.

So our ministers must rise above the mere photo opportunities or tokenism and start doing things in reality. Then only we can hope for a "Clean India". And at last I must say we as citizen should understand that cleanliness is not only a virtue but it's a responsibility as a human!

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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In This Article
mahatma gandhi
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