Swachh Bharat Mission: Is it just another jiffy affair?

Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, has just launched the nationwide cleanliness campaign under the name – the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ or ‘Clean India Campaign’ from the Valmiki Basti in New Delhi on Thursday (October 2, 2014). Addressing the nation at the launch, Modi asked India’s 1.25 billion people to join the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ and promote it to everyone.


I would like to narrate an incident from my own life in this milieu – I was travelling from Pune to Jaipur by a train (in sleeper class) in 2007. After having a cup of tea, I was making an attempt to throw the waste through the window. My attempt was restrained by a foreigner named Ms. Bowdely, who was also travelling to Jaipur in the same train and compartment. She asked me to put the waste in a carry bag she carried along with her to dump the waste. After the entire journey was concluded, she threw it in the waste bin kept on the railway platform. This incident made me to feel ashamed of myself. Yes, truly there was no waste bin kept in the bogie, so it was obvious that I opted to throw the waste outside. Nevertheless, that foreigner (who is one of the best friends to me as on today) has taught me a lesson – what it means – where there is a will, there’s a way.


Yes, there is no doubt that the idea behind such a beautiful mission called “Clean India Campaign” is excellent. But, I doubt it will be another jiffy affair, as usual. Personally, I feel that such ideas should come from within and not without. Keeping the surroundings clean ensures the stability of all kinds in a given nation. If we genuinely look into the issues faced by contemporary India, surely we can comprehend the levels of our attitude.


I second a thought of John F. Kennedy. According to him, one should ask only “what you can do for your country” — as if “country” were the master, and “you” and I and all of us merely servants. Most of the influential personalities of developed countries realise the importance of patriotism. For example, the US President Barack Obama once said loving one’s country means accepting one’s responsibility to do his part to change it. Patriotism is nothing but the grand inherent apostle that prompts a person to serve his nation, at any given time. Of course, in this milieu, I would correlate the cleanliness of one’s own surroundings to that of a kind of mere patriotism.


The essence of patriotism is fully recognizing and consciously participating in that network of affinity, paying very close attention and constantly responding to a range of issues like what everyone else is doing and saying and wanting and hoping.


Out of the multiple associations emerge ideals and institutions. But those ideals and institutions are valuable only insofar as they support the fulfillment of each and all. The individual is the master; the nation’s ideals and institutions exist merely to serve persons. So ideologically in any given nation, true patriots do not serve some imagined unchallengeable unit called nation or country; rather, they serve the needs and aspirations of every person. Clean India Campaign is one such good attempt.



There is a need to self examine whether we can be called factual patriots? Had we been really patriotic year after year, India could have accomplished laurels; but not plummets in grading in almost every sector.


The true spirit of democracy lies in patriotism alone. Each and everyone is responsible for making the dream of Mahatma Gandhiji – “After attaining Swaraj (independence), now it’s time to attain Suraj (good governance)” a reality.


If such a day is realized in India, India can reinstate its supremacy and show its power to the entire world. If everyone follows one’s own duties both in letter and spirit, that is more than enough to turn India, the best country. Let’s not forget what the great Mahatma once said: “Be the change you wish to see.’ Jai Hind!!


Published by sumankasturi


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