Modi Reliving Gandhi’s Dream of a Clean India
Mahatma Gandhi spoke about a problem which has been plaguing our nation since decades.
On 4 February 1916 at the inauguration of the Benaras Hindu University, Mahatma Gandhi spoke about a problem which has been plaguing our nation since decades.
Recalling his visit to the Vishwanath temple, Gandhi said, “Is not this great temple a reflection of our own character?” The houses around had been built without regard to any norms, the lanes were tortuous and narrow and, of course, dirty. "I speak feelingly, as a Hindu," he added to emphasise his pain, asking whether the temples would be clean once the British had left the country, bag and baggage.
Gandhi’s observation holds a great importance in today’s India. The answer to the question he had asked almost a century back stares at our face. From streets, public offices, temples to national heritage sites and water bodies, we are not free from filth.
However, not a serious thought had been put forward from both people in and out of power of taking up the effort to clean up the towns and cities.
On India’s 67th Independence Day, when India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped on the dais overlooking the Red Fort, he made his intention quite clear in his inspirational speech. Unlike the other Indian leaders since independence, he not only touched upon eradicating poverty and economic development but also stressed on the fact of creating a ‘Swachh Bharat’, Cleaner India.
He has envisioned an India which is free of open defecation and open drains in the next five years through effective measures and inclusive help from the ministers, public officials and citizens.
He had rightly harped on the fact which the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi had hoped for – a cleaner India where all the citizens come together to clean up their streets and localities.
Ahead of the launch of the ‘Clean India’ campaign on 2 October, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he will himself go out using the broom. He asked people to give two hours every week to him in ‘alms’ to make the drive a success.
He explained, "I myself am going out to use the broom. People often wonder why I keep harping on these small things. It is because I am a small man. These small people with their small works can take the country to supreme heights.”
"I am seeking alms from countrymen. In alms, I seek your 100 hours in a year. We will together launch a cleanliness drive. You give your two hours in a week ... As you clean up your house for a guest. Prosperity will enter our country if we remove all dirt," he added.
On the question of clean-ups, the Mahatma personally took the effort to achieve the change which he wanted to see. Gandhi’s Harijan group used to go around cleaning slums and burying and disposing of waste.
Modi’s ‘Swachh Bharat’ which aims to solve the country's sanitation problems within five years will be a befitting way to mark the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birthday in 2019.
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