Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, the man who visualized India as a country which one day would excel in every realm, once said,”sanitation is more important than independence”. His prophetic words still hold good for our country even after 67 years of independence and when this year on October 2nd, (the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi) the present Prime Minister Modiji launched a 5-year-long Swachh Bharat Campaign, he remembered Gandhiji’s sayings and requested all Indians to take a pledge in order to make the country a cleaner, healthier one.
What We Can and Should Do For #SwachhIndia
The question may arise in someone’s mind that isn’t it the duty of a particular section of workers to keep the environment clean? Aren’t we paying taxes to the Government for it? Yes, definitely. But isn’t sanitation and hygiene are integral part of our everyday life? In a country with the second highest population in the world, it should be the duty of every citizen to keep his house and neighbourhood clean. Not only that, everyone should learn to live with healthy habits. Often we see people spitting on the roads in broad daylight or after chewing ‘gutkhas‘ or ‘paan masala’ making blood-red stains on walls. The problem is much more than mere aesthetic, germs of several diseases are spread in this way. Indiscriminate littering is another problem. It’s a common sight in any place of our country that used food packets, bottles etc are scattered here and there and flies and other insects are feasting on them. People are insensitive enough to throw them randomly after use. It takes a little time to find a garbage-bin. It’s time we should behave as responsible and dutiful citizens.
Sanitation and cleanliness should start from home, more precisely, from MY home. I consider it as my duty to keep my home and surrounding clean and litter free and I hope all my fellow neighbours should join hands in this initiative. We should not throw garbage on roads and let the stray dogs making the things messier. We should build our own campaign against spitting at public places. The public toilets and “Sulabhs” should be used and managed properly and hygienically. All we need is a little effort and willingness. Our small endeavour can set big examples as a little bit of practice is worth more than tons of preaching. As personal hygiene is important to stay healthy, similarly, national hygiene and cleanliness are important to make a sound, healthy, wholesome nation.
Sanitation Problem In Rural India
Sanitation problem is much more challenging in those villages of India where open defecation is a regular practice. In fact, about 50% of the total population have no access to proper, sanitized toilets which leave them with no option than to use outdoors, roadside or open fields. While travelling by train, it’s a common sight in the morning to watch people defecating in open fields. This practice is giving rise to numerous gastrointestinal diseases which is affecting the rural health as a whole. The scenario is even worse for women as to save their modesty and dignity, they often hesitate to go outside for attending nature’s call. They are becoming easy victims of kidney diseases and other gynecological problems. Modiji’s call to prioritize building toilets to temples is the need of the hour.
Sanitation is definitely needed for everyone. But I think, it’s essential for women because a healthy mother gives birth to a healthy child. Often these poor, rural womenfolk use unclean cloths during the days of their monthly menstruation. This extremely unhygienic practice is making them vulnerable to countless diseases and thus weakening the very foundation of the society. This is still a hush-hush issue in our country and except some NGOs, nobody is paying any heed to this titanic problem. To make India healthier, cleaner and more hygienic all these issues must be looked after and taken care of. Tabhi to banega India Swachh.
Manual Scavengers, A Dehumanizing Practice
Though there is an act (The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955) which clearly states that it’s illegal to compel anyone to practice manual scavenging, the actual scenario is heart-wrenching. There are still some states where people who belong to the lowest strata of the Indian Caste system are engaged to clean and clear human excreta manually, using a broom and a tin plate, and sometimes they are forced into this profession. Government is trying hard to put an end to this dangerous and dehumanizing system. We hope that with #SwachhIndia , this malpractice will be buried forever.
Together We Can And We Will Build A Healthy Nation
A healthy nation can contribute much more to the country, economically, socially and culturally. The progress of a country depends a lot on proper sanitation and hygiene. It’s a simple equation, sanitation+hygiene+cleanliness = health+happiness*progress. The 5 year long campaign by the Government alone will not be able to do wonders. It needs a bit of responsibility from everyone of us. Awareness should be at every strata of the society. Cleanliness is a habit and we should grow this habit together as a nation. Together we can make a big difference.
Media is playing a great role in this process along with many reputed brands who have joined hands together to make #Swachhindia initiative a success. They are arranging several awareness programs and launching nationwide campaigns to spread the same. SwachhIndia.NDTV in association with Dettol India is arranging the CLEANATHON, a 12 hour campaign on 14th December with the campaign ambassador Mr Amitabh Bachchan. This commendable initiative will not only spread the awareness and make people understand the importance of cleanliness, but will also raise fund for the cause. Mr Bachchan said,“If my face and voice can become a reason for people to follow the #swachhindia campaign, I’m happy to be a part of it.”
A clean India, a healthy India is a collective dream. It’s time that we should realize it and work together to make it a reality.