Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Cleanliness: Our catharsis amid the chaos #SwachhIndia

What is that one thing which reviles you the most when you step inside the premises of a typical government office? I bet you've had instances when corners in front of a flight of stairs was emblazoned with such magnificent graffiti in red that it left you spellbound. Or maybe you dared to use the urinal nearby once, only to find that the redolence is a little too profound for your liking. Or maybe when you finally made your way through the queue, you ended up in a huge pile of files laden with dirt, housed with complete lack of meticulousness in cabinets which have remained a delight of termites for generation.And all that in a gloomy and dreary office room which also houses cockroaches, mice, lizards and spiders, amongst other life forms of nature. All in all, if you're not the other type, these offices are archetypal for muck and melancholy. Even the thoughts of stepping inside one of these clamped up spaces sends shocks across your nervous system. Be it your local revenue officer, be it a public utility office or be it a railway ticket counter, you've witnessed all of it. But even though these govt offices may have developed an indelible reputation for being so odious, we've done more or less the same thing to our nation and are even proud about it. 

I recently had this taxi driver who was very vocal about how Indian politicos fail to deliver and how he himself has plans for foraying in the mean and sullen world with his own ideas of emancipating the needy. His ideas seemed alright but what made him appear holding a trophy at the zenith of hypocrisy, was that he would slide open the window every 4 minutes and 27 seconds and would spit his pan laden saliva, making his own red graffiti on the road or sidewalks as govt officials and visitors made in the para above. 


PC - The Hindu

Ever spent some time sitting on the sumptuous coast of the marine drive in Mumbai, enjoying one of the most priceless of scenery? Well, it seems all so good except for when the high tidal waves bring with it all the grime and grit and the waters touching those massive beeline stones appear so turgid and smell so morbid that you're forced to consider coming back some other day. And while the Mithi river literally disappeared in Mumbai taking human ignorance and neglect for the nature to an all new level, Delhi is doing the same thing with the Yamuna. With everything from dirt to garbage being littered in the river, the city's prime water source appears to have a rather grim future. And when it comes to Ganga, reports have already been published regarding how big of a cleaning operation shall have to be carried out to pull the sacred river out of its plight. In short, what we've done to our water bodies, is no better than the state of those urinals in public toilets. Full of shoddy smells and sleazy garbage, all because of our years and years of onerous efforts to destroy their natural charm and to literally extirpate their existence. 

And finally comes the case of our residences. While from the inside of our houses we claim to be aficionados of life and lifestyle with the best of gadgets and the best of antiques. From the outside, our houses are enmeshed in a large and never ending muddle of more and more houses, crossing over with open drainage and improper electrical and other transmission systems and the occasional open pound of unattended garbage. Look closer and you'd find that the same exasperating configuration which you found in your local govt office, is prevalent in the very society you live in; Complete chaos with a lot of clamor and with almost nothing being set in proper order. 

So to my surprise, we are doing nothing more than turning the entire nation into that clumsy little govt office we hate to even step inside, without knowing that one day our efforts are actually going to help the nation surpass that govt office in terms of the filth and murk. We may not realize but not only all does this execrable dirt and dung cause problems in truly executing the present tasks, it also impedes any progress which we might be able to conceive. Cleanliness is not about sweeping your house with a broom but it is in fact the absence of any tumult and entropy. Cleanliness is what makes your overall environment much more conducive to positive transformation, while the absence of the same stymies any progress whatsoever. So while the country pledges to be clean, one should know that though cleanliness alone can manumit us of a lot many problems, but that's applicable only when cleanliness is taken for what it really means. And as we dream to be a genuine superpower, enshrining cleanliness in the individual and the nation could just be the most important step in making us a convincing candidate. For no progress is possible when you get your very first footing wrong.