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OPINION | Children the New Whistleblowers, Ask People Not to Defecate in the Open

The Prime Minister said that every house must have a toilet and this has mobilized the authorities and administrators across the country.

Bindeshwar Pathak |

Updated:September 17, 2017, 9:05 AM IST
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OPINION | Children the New Whistleblowers, Ask People Not to Defecate in the Open
File photo: Schoolgirls pose in front of wall with Sanitation quotes written on it to promote Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.(Photo by Priyanka Parashar/Mint via Getty Images)
The Honorable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi-ji has renewed our pledge towards cleanliness and is going to launch a campaign “Swachhata Hi Seva” to encourage widespread support for, and participation in cleanliness initiatives across India.

Shri Narendra Modiji has appealed people from all walks of life, particularly government officers, ministers and MPs to carry this message in every village, town and cities across the country and to ensure that they lead by example.

He has strongly emphasised the importance of the campaign and has pronounced that cleanliness is the best way to show love and patriotism for our mother land. He pointed out that there is no point in chanting Vande Mataram if we cannot keep our country clean. Cleanliness is the first and foremost act of showing obeisance and respect to the dignity of our nationhood.

The passion and the commitment demonstrated by our Prime Minster towards cleanliness is both unparalleled and historic. His actions echo Mahatma Gandhi’s words when he said “I want clean India first, independence later.” For our prime minster for India to be counted as true superpower cleanliness of our streets, neighborhood, environment and ensuring good health of the citizens are pivotal.

The Prime Minister has been instrumental in mobilizing the people of India. He urged his countrymen to wake rise and lead the country to the path of cleanliness and to get rid of the practice of defecation in the open.

Cleanliness, he said, is the first sign of development of any country; it is important that we get it right. His act of leading the nation to clean our surroundings has inspired people to do their bit to keep their offices and public areas clean.

People, who never thought of cleaning their offices, began to keep their surroundings tidy. Celebrities, sportsperson, citizens of all backgrounds, VIPs, students and teachers joined the Prime Minister and made efforts to clean up the country.

The Prime Minister has unleashed a culture of cleanliness in which people have become more conscious about clean environment. Ordinary people and children have become emissaries of cleanliness: they educate people about cleanliness and discourage them from littering or defecating in the open. Children now teach parents and elders not to litter thereby ushering a new mindset towards cleanliness.

On my flight from Udaipur, I saw a seven-year old girl handing over waste paper to the airhostess. This was remarkable in the sense how conscious children are becoming about cleanliness! I have heard children saying “If you litter, Modiji will notice”. This is significant in the sense children have become alarmed and this is purely due to what can be described as “Modi effect”.  The whole nation is talking about Modi’s immense contribution in leading the nation towards cleanliness.

The Prime Minister said that every house must have a toilet and this has mobilized the authorities and administrators across the country. Now, children are doing the job of whistle blowers and asking people not to defecate out in the open. The number of men and women defecating in the open has drastically gone down.

The Prime Minister’s noble campaign will go a long way in bringing about a revolution in cleaning up India and make the country free of defecation in the open by 2019 on the occasion of the Gandhiji’s 150th birth anniversary – a goal outlined by Shri Narendra Modiji.

It is significant that the war against cleanliness must continue and it should not be seen as a symbolic gesture to keep the surroundings clean. For this to happen, there has to be a new sense of awakening or a cultural revolution towards cleanliness must dawn in the minds of people. We must improve our habits and lifestyles. Only when we sow the seed of positive change in us, then eventually it manifests in our family, neighbourhood, village, towns, cities and country.

India had a glorious culture of hygiene and cleanliness and nowhere is this more evident than our past civilizations of Mohenjedaro and Harappa, which had a highly sophisticated drainage system and hygienic sanitation practices. We have to revive that culture of cleanliness and our Prime Minister Modiji has paved the way for the nation to develop a highest degree of civic sense.

(The author is the founder of Sulabh International. Views are personal.)
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