We Indians are quite hypocritical. While abroad, we follow all rules and regulations ~ eg. traffic/parking/cleanliness etc obediently; but when it comes to our own country, everything goes for a toss. We break traffic signals left n' right, throw waste everywhere except in the trash-bins ( nevermind how much harmful those actions might be to us ) and then we wonder why our country doesn't look as clean and beautiful like those foreign countries. We look for opportunities to go abroad and settle there - after all, who'd want to live in such a dirty unhealthy place as India, right? Well, that's the attitude of maximum urban Indians take all the offence you want, its intended!
However, not all can escape abroad, can we? And do we honestly want to live like some banana republic? - by that I don't mean political, but our civic sense. We can make our country clean and beautiful too, if only we tried it ourselves. And believe me, no one else is going to do it for us! Yes, at times we have to take things into our own hands to make our surroundings truly Swachh. We have to care!

Take my building for example - there was this paan-chewing dude who'd spit on the staircase walls everyday, leaving the dirty red paan-stains behind, that'd make one go yuck. This happened for years. Perhaps, the society people finally understood from all the complaints they received ( including mine ), that they ultimately had to install some religious deity-tiles at certain spots where those stains used to be a regular disgusting feature. After this effort, there has been no further paan-spits thankfully. Yes, invoke some religious feelings - that may work at times. How I wish though, instead of installing some holy deity-tile, the sense of cleanliness came naturally to such a person! *Sigh* Well, something is better than nothing atleast, I guess :-)

Take another example for instance, where I literally had to fight with my neighbour to teach some cleanliness to her. A new tenant had moved into the flat next to mine, a few months back. The lady started keeping her trash-bin in the corridor, that was a passage-way to my flat. Having small kids, her trash-bin would be filled and nearly spilled over with the 'kachras' everyday, and only the next morning the boy who collected the garbage would come. So, the whole day her trash would be lying spilled in the corridor, sometimes making it impossible to walk even. At times, I had to nearly hop to my door, to avoid coming in contact with the trash. Once, I advised her to keep it somewhere else or inside her home, but not near that corridor as it was bothering me. She of course didn't listen, saying that she had kids and kids are bound to throw things here and there. One day, some of her trash was spilled on the floor as usual and the corridor was literally stinking. I got so furious that day, that I decided enough was enough and finally got my excuse to lash at her, which I was intending to do for quite a while.

I called her and started giving lecture that ~ if I felt sick from her continuing to keep her garbage-bin in the corridor, with all the flies/mosquitoes etc other germs hovering over it, would she treat me or cure me or bear my medical expenses, if I fell ill! Would she take my responsibility? I further lectured, that, not just me even her own kids may fall sick by all that carelessness - what would she do then! I cited my own example, that, I never kept my own garbage-bin in the corridor and was careful not to let it bother anyone else, so what right she had to trouble others, since the time they moved into the building. I guess, my harsh lecture made some impact that day, because she stopped keeping the garbage-bin in the corridor from that day onwards. What a relief it was! Swachhta ( cleanliness ) has to start from our close surroundings, only then our whole country will be swachh! And, we need to take a stand!

So, these instances happened in the posh city; ever wondered what might be happening in rural places? Open defecation is a huge problem in rural places; even in the slum/
chawl areas of the cities itself. Ever seen those people sitting by the railway tracks with their 'lotas' early morning, answering nature's call? I'm sure, all of us has. It is a usual sight even in a city like Bombay/Mumbai. So, imagine the condition in rural places. Moreover, people are so ignorant, that they do not realize the health risk they carry around or are surrounded by; especially the women-folk who are at more risk. Many people do not know how important it is to wash their hands - as these carry the most germs; the other being the places where they openly defecates - making those places a hub of bacteria and other germ's breeding ground. As such people are unhealthy too, frequently falling ill, because of poor hygiene and sanitation. Even death occurs because of such neglect at high rate.

We have the pledges undertaken by various celebrities in the Banega Swachh Bharat campaign, but campaigns such as these will be successful only when the message reaches to the grass-root level and people really understand and practice the various cleanliness methods that they are taught. These people are very poor, so by themselves they might not be able to build the necessary toilets or other infrastructure or purchase essentials required for hygiene ( water/ electricity/ hand-washes/ sanitary pads etc ); so a bigger awareness is necessary to create amongst the wider general public to contribute to the cause too. Remember, as somebody once said - together we can, together we will! We just have to be pro-active!




( Images - IB/Swachh )
Sanitation and hygiene begin at Home: Sanitation and hygiene plays a role in your everyday lives. Good hygiene and sanitation can affect India at large! RB (formerly known as Reckitt Benckiser) has partnered with NDTV and Facebook to launch “Dettol – Banega Swachh India” – a 5 year ambitious program to address the rising need of hygiene and sanitation in India. The campaign will aim at creating awareness about the importance of hygiene and sanitation, and also work with NGO partners to support infrastructure for construction and maintenance of toilets. RB India has committed to spend a sum of Rs.100 crores towards this program over a period of the next 5 years.
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