Sunday, October 5, 2014

Clean India or Swachh Bharath : Clean the mind first

The massive campaign to clean up our country gained a humongous momentum with Modi pitching in the fray on October 2 along with invoking Gandhi's name to further the cause. Modi does identify that the people's participation in a cleanliness drive is a must before anything real can be done.
The Indian Juggad mentality 
We Indians are apt at circumventing everything to our needs with blatant disregard to public at large. Consider most of the economically sustainable families, they are critically obsessed with the cleanliness in their private surroundings but never questions the private filth that may prick their nostrils sometimes. Least bothered about public cleanliness because the maximum time spent by them are in their well cleaned private encompasses. Coming to the issue of building toilets; here the classic Indian juggad mentality exists so intrinsically that just building more toilets is not enough. The program must also incorporate ideas to make people use them. Many Indians, especially in rural India still believe that open air defecation is more liberating and hygienic than the closed door dealing, The dangers of open air defecation on growth stunting and morbidity is well documented. The dissemination of such information is vital but herein lies another catch; how to do it for those who does not get these basic terms.
Turning on the clean mode
Modi being the prime minister is all together making the right noises. Being at the helm and talking about cleanliness and toilets does strike a chord with publicly untidy Indians. But unless the back-end logistics of the fate of waste accumulated is worked out more comprehensively; the program might not go anywhere. For this to happen, Modi must involve every institution from his own PMO; state governments to village panchayaths. The real challenge to Modi will be to change the juggad attitude of these institutions; most he can hope is they change over time when people who create them have cleanliness as their core attitude.

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