Cleanliness is both the abstract state of being clean and free from dirt, and the process of achieving and maintaining that state.
This is how Wikipedia describes cleanliness. The Prime Minister of our country has stressed upon this fact right from day one. Remember the ads by Aamir Khan called 'Athithi Devo Bhava'? Are we actually a clean nation? Are we setting a good example for our visitors? But then again what does cleanliness mean? It has a different definition for each one of us. For me cleanliness is being pure and true to oneself from outside and the inside. This should be shown in our actions and our behaviour. And most importantly it should come from ones own thought and from within. And how do we achieve this? But creating awareness. And how do we do that? By raising our voice.
I would like to address this issue on two grounds. One, by cleaning the literal filth from the streets of our country. Two, by cleaning the filthy thoughts from the minds of people.
On my first wedding anniversary I visited Delhi and Agra. The first thing that welcomed me as I stepped out of the Delhi airport, was the unbearable stench. There was a pile of garbage, open garbage mind you, waiting to welcome visitors at the capital of the country. We hailed a taxi to our hotel and the streets of our capital city surprised me. The streets were narrow and they were lined with filth. I could see garbage cans at the corner of almost every street, but more than half of them were empty, thanks to the garbage strewn across the length of every street. There were street vendors sitting beside such filth and selling their merchandise that ranged from clothing to food. Imagine the diseases that would plague us and them from eating and selling at such unhealthy environments? They are unaware of such things, but we being the educated youth can make them understand right? Waiting for the government to intervene and do something about this is not going to help. A celebrity nominating his famous friend for the Swachh Bharath campaign is only going to provide fodder for the media camps and photos for Instagram. Nothing else is going to happen after that.
I live in a posh suburban society in Bangalore, in a colony. Recently, the municipal council of our area has announced that they will not collect the waste from our homes until it is segregated. I applaud the initiative by these guys. So from last week I see every housewife of our area, promptly placing two bins outside their house. One for dry waste and one for the wet ones. It takes only two minutes of every individual's day time to do so. One neighbor can inform the other and then form a chain regarding this. The area is clean and so is the house. It sounds hard only in the mind. All it takes now is to have two bins instead of one and drop items into them accordingly. If every single house around a vicinity decides to adopt this, then just like how the Prime Minister said, no soul can come visit us and tell us that we live in a dirty country.
Now coming to the filthy minds of people and the filthy intentions of society and their blatant norms. India is a free country where everyone is allowed to do what they want to. They call her Mother India and worship her twice a year, once in January and once in August. But sadly no woman is given the respect she deserves till date. A lady wearing jeans is frowned upon and then she is blamed for seducing the men around her. If she gets raped, then point the longest finger at her and treat her like dirt. A lady not wanting to bear a child is treated like an criminal and god forbid if she gives birth to a daughter then she is termed as the devil. Where do all such things come from? How are such thoughts embedded in the minds of people? It would take a while for people to figure this out. But you know what, now it is too late to figure it out. Instead, we need to focus on getting such thoughts out of their minds.
Some people find their excuses by saying that they are uneducated and are unaware of how to behave? But don't they have eyes to see what actually happens around them? Let us give them the benefit of doubt and believe that they actually do not understand about what is going on. But we, the educated youth have the eyes to see such things and we sure do not have the strength to digest such things. Let us not keep quiet any more. There lies a Montu in every one of us. Let us wake him up and do something for our future generations. Speak up! Being silent is not going to help anymore. Scream your thoughts out. We are the children of technology and let us put that to good use. Create forums on Facebook and post pictures of everyone who is seem dirtying the country or committing a crime. Make him an outcast until he realizes what he has done and apologises. Make the forum so strong that people should think twice before doing anything heinous.
Start a campaign within your street. Go home to home, explaining the importance of a clean area. Grow some patience and help them understand the need to segregate their garbage. Help them understand and change their thoughts. I know it is not going to be easy. But it is not impossible either. If one of us tries to make a difference somewhere, I am sure hundreds of us can make a difference to an entire state and thousands of us can make a difference to a country. Keeping quiet has only added to more filth, in the nation and in the minds of the people living in it. There is no need to be tolerant anymore. There is no need to sit quiet and wait for the government to come in and do something. What about individual thoughts? What about individual responsibilities towards the country we live in? You thing you can make a difference only if you have money of form a party? You would be surprised at the things you can do once you make your mind up. Can you write? Pick up the pen and spread awareness. Can you speak? Pick up a mike and make your point. Own a camera? Take pictures and tell your story. Bring the unsung heroes in front and put them on a pedestal. Start a revolution with the simplest of tools. Just begin, and then you shall see how many people shall follow you. Speak up today, or be prepared to stay silent forever.
The #AbMontuBolega campaign lets you voice out your opinions and be heard. This is an initiative by Strepsils to speak up and make your voice count. If there are places that need cleaning, people who deserve your attention & authorities who need to hear your opinions, then don’t be a silent spectator. Raise your voice and make a difference. We have the power to raise our voice against all that is dirty in our country. Let us put that power to good use. Report anything and everything that you have to say and try to make a difference to clean India.
This post has been written as a part of Indi-Happy hours on Indiblogger in association with Strepsils.