PM’s “Cleanliness” Drive – It’s also about changing the attitude, restoring the dignity of labor, rising above class and caste !

Sustainable Agriculture, MSME & Green Value Chain Finance | Priority Sector Finance | Manoj Rawat, ValueFin India

PM’s “Cleanliness” Drive – It’s also about changing the attitude, restoring the dignity of labor, rising above class and caste !

PM’s “Cleanliness” Drive –  It’s also about changing the attitude, restoring the dignity of labor, rising above class and caste !
“Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan” is right in its intent and spirit.

Cleanliness is undoubtedly a virtue and is to be encouraged. Cleanliness is traditionally associated with good health, tidiness, and purity.  In fact it is said that Cleanliness is next to Godliness’. In many cultures, hygiene and holiness go hand in hand.

The hard and hitting truth is the Culture of cleanliness and Hygiene in public places has not prevailed in our society for decades and no one could truly gauge this silently destructive phenomenon of converting “Public Spaces” to “Filthy Litter yards”. The situation is both scary and shameful.

There is no point in getting infuriated or defensive about this. The lack of cleanliness and hygiene hits the eye wherever one goes in India — hotels, hospitals, households, work places, railway trains, airplanes, temples….If there is a ranking of countries in respect of observance of standards of sanitation and hygiene, one can be sure that India would figure close to the bottom.

This is not to say that we Indians are not hard working. It is our attitude and bias against manual labor, which has got so deeply ingrained in our society over the ages. The fact is in India a blue-collar work is considered degrading & demeaning while white-collar work is uplifting & gives high status in society.

Another psychological issue that needs to be addressed is one can perform manual labor without losing dignity in Society. Unless we recognize the fact that dignity of manual labor needs to be restored in Society with a much broader acknowledgment, the litter on the lanes will continue to plague us.
We, Indians by nature are not the kind who would genuinely consider picking up the litter in public, consider public place cleanliness  as important as our personal cleanliness. Some token efforts with photo-ops session where media is invited is fine but it needs a sea change in mentality.

Though it is important for important social figures to set an example by openly and publicly cleaning and showing that anyone can perform this labor without losing dignity, we need complete framework to achieve this.

Need to adopt Public Cleanliness Index?

The Public Area Cleanliness Index an effectively provide an objective measurement on the cleanliness of the city like in some other parts of world.

The proposed cleanliness index can be based on simple 4 factors that directly affect the cleanliness of the public area.

The four factors

  1. Trash, Litter
  2. Garbage Cans
  3. Organic Materials
  4.   Fecal Matter

Based on simple measurable parameters the areas/wards/suburbs/cities/villages can be graded

  1. Excellent – Very Clean
  2. Good – Clean
  3. Satisfactory – Acceptable
  4. Poor – Filthy
  5. Scary – Extremely Filthy

The sidewalks, roads, bridges, parks, parking’s, crossings, waterways, open areas, community places, public centers,  government schools, public toilets etc should be covered.

It is only possible when “Public Cleanliness” work and manual labour is considered a work which is “Dignified” and is given due social acknowledgement.

Let’s change our attitude towards “Manual Labour”, rise above the “Class & Caste” approach to cleanliness work and make India a cleaner place to Live.  The task is huge as India will start dumping 150 million tons trash by 2050.

“Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan” is right in its intent and spirit. It helps all of us aspire for an India that is Clean and scores high on Public Cleanliness Index.

स्वच्छ भारत, स्वस्थ भारत , सुदृढ़ भारत

Manoj Rawat | India

Twitter: TheManojRawat

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The views expressed are purely personal.

 

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