Free Press Journal

Mahatma Gandhi and Swachh Bharat


Everybody in this country talks about Mahatma Gandhi whenever it suits them. It is a foregone conclusion that he was a great philosopher and thinker.

We just talk about him but none of the political parties or the media have ever commemorated the quintessence of his character by practising what the Mahatma personified. You may realise yourself with a niggling sense of unease that none of us have remembered Great Mahatma Gandhi on 2nd October (Birthday) and 30th January (Martyrs’ Day). Is it not a matter of shame for all of us? Even the vigilantly active, reactive, retrospective, and proactive media machine either forgot or underplayed the birth anniversary of the Mahatma.

We are glad that the Government has restarted the campaign which was started way back by the great Mahatma. I happened to travel by car all over North India last year and was immensely shocked to notice on roadsides, sides of railway tracks, canal banks, and margins of rivers noisome mounds of litter strewn with empty Pan Parag packets, water bottles, tetra packs, polythene bags and excreta.

The zealous poster boys and cheer leaders of Gandhi’s charisma, character and vision are chanting the mantra of resurgence of a swachh, powerful and prosperous India. I wish more volume and sonority to their slogans.

Positive as I am in my outlook, I cannot help feeling that a little more emphasis could be laid on keeping India clean. Unremitting process is more important than the event on a single day with all cameras focussed on the brooms to cover how briskly they sweep away the filth and dirt.

To ensure a steady follow-up, the Government should ask all industries, business houses, institutions and schools to adopt at least 1 km of road or railway track or banks of rivers / canals to sweep all the garbage sprouting alongside. Each of these organisations should give at least half day in a week, if not more, for this purpose.

The Government’s initiative to keep India clean is a great step forward. It should not be just Clean India Campaign, but “Maintain Clean India” campaign.

I offer my suggestions for the greater good of all those millions who ardently subscribe to a clean, green and prosperous India.

Greenery includes the moss, the grass, the bulrushes, the shrubs and the lush majestic trees with infinite swathes of self-sustaining forests. There are no short-cuts to promoting welfare, wealth and vitality.

— Ravi Kiran Aggarwal