It was a very fine Saturday afternoon, as me and my friend were in a local train to Kasara. The temperature outside had dropped abysmally but the events pertaining to the next few minutes ensured it would creep up. Certainly not in the atmosphere outside but may be inside the compartment where a heated exchange loomed in the horizon. A family had boarded the train and were sitting next to us. Since embarking to Kasara seemingly makes it a subtle long distance travel, you do have vendors selling water and fruits in between. So this particular family bought oranges. And as we minutely observed them peeling the skin, our intuition had streamlined unanimously towards the possibility of them littering the same.
The man of the house in the family ( ingrained with the pose of patriarchy in his mannerisms ) began the honors by throwing orange peelings below the seats in the compartment. My friend who was closely monitoring like an eagle as it unfolded, reprimanded him with nice but stern tone about his uneventful folly. His reflex action of throwing it down turned sideways as he prepared himself to chuck it out of the window. My friend tried to further explain him and his family the need of cleanliness and tried to tap their consciousness which had rusted under the layers of indifference and ‘’follow the crowd’’ mentality. Even the sweeping proposal of keeping it in our bags was declined. Finally after a much bargaining, his wife not only demonstrated thy willingness to understand the necessity of not littering around but also asked for a bag to throw that garbage in the end. Much appreciated.
With all the fierce debate raging between the polarised Modi supporters and his opponents about his policies and their outcomes, this is one area where you need not be right wing, left wing or centrist.
You don’t need to have opinions about any political philosophy , understand economy or formulate or forecast policy paralysis. Yes there will be people touting clean India campaign by the Modi Govt as an unprecedented success or people downsizing it as a wasteful public relations exercise. But the point is no awareness, no tax payer spending or maybe even hefty fines can resonate with people unless their inner dozing self conscience wakes up to making or rather keeping the country at its cleanliness personified. The family above did seem too reluctant to change its habituated culture of littering but eventually they did turn the tables owing to my friend who made it a point to sound it like awareness imbibed education program rather than an intimidating intercalation in the conversation.
Awareness campaigns do work on the ground and can instill changes.
Clean India campaign from the perspective of ground reality has had a two prong effect.
The mission undoubtedly is set for 2019 completion but the campaign has created that necessary stir in people on the ground. However much needs to be done in lieu with making it a success in reality. People are taking a notice of it and public places have seen adopting it with a glaring effect. Romping in celebrities has its necessary impact as we have seen how brand endorsement does have its mushrooming effect on the masses. Channelizing the same in clean India campaign will have rich dividends in tune of raising awareness. However we also have to see the other side of it in terms of how it can be implemented with reforms.We need stricter laws and robust cleaning personnel to match the same advertising of a campaign. Underpaid staff, lack of more bins, public behaviour in tune of spitting and littering have to get that required boost to accelerate the mission. Maharashtra govt’s anti spitting law they were to introduce in the state is a very good step in this process. However the implementation of it to enforce people into the same becomes very imperative. MNREGA was not a bad welfare program but it’s implementation is where they all went wrong. The mission to build toilets should also not just be ascribed to a certain statistical coherence but a major ground reality situation.
Its so amusing that people expect the Govt of any country to deliver them better infrastructure, polished to suit the growing aspirations of a resurgent yet propellant economy. But the citizens on their part have to do their job, in bit and pieces beginning to pick up the very pieces of litters that has unfortunately become symbolically a much brazen and indecorous trademark in the world. You may swing to any direction of thy political spectrum, keeping your surroundings clean and ensuring people around do the same I guess is in a way bringing about a pure deep sense of patriotism ( that is reserved for cricket matches) on to the surface for a much fulfilling purpose.