By Shobha Diwakar
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Wow what a platter full of new mission woken up from its deep, deep ‘kumbakaran’ sleep of almost 70 years of independence. There’s rejoicing and fanfare all over the country for otherwise who ever thought India would finally rise from its stupor and resurrect toward this deadened, isolated, blanched event. Seriously, who ever thought that cleanliness would one day become a National project and be taken up trenchantly by every metropolitan, cosmopolitan city, smartly converted cities, villages and kasbas? Were people never before aware of living in a clean environment?
Seems weak eye- sights did not comprehend the need towards educating its less fortunate compatriots to reform their habits and encourage them to be respectable citizens of a new nation in making. Deaf ears did not hear the raucous sounds of loudspeakers; bursting deafening crackers in the middle of the roads sprawling and dousing them with the dead remains with the deadly fumes polluting the environment. Dogs, cows, buffaloes, horses, donkeys, goats and pigs running wildly across the roads unceremoniously scattering the garbage chucked carelessly, and perniciously suffocating the paths with dung and refuse, messing up the way.
Yet, at last realization has dawned that India needs to be cleansed of its ill begotten dirty habits once for all. It ( swacchtha abhiyaan), does sound to be a positive project since all the walls of the cities are now colored, flashing boldly that the environment must be clean, the streets must be swept, ‘groomed’ daily and, the garbage dumped, not on the streets but in garbage bins. What a pity, it has taken seventy years to learn this hygienic lesson and get enlightened. Why was the Nation asleep all these years when proud independent India was endowed with such illustrious politicians and Statesmen who were educated abroad? Did not the arresting clean roads, the beautiful streets lined up with trees and flowering plants there capture their attention and fill them up with the thought of attempting to do the same in their own country? Were they not aware of this great- polluted environment in India? Was it not the duty of these politicians to educate the people on this issue in order to build an arrestingly beautiful new India?
In English, the saying goes ‘better late than never’ while in Hindi it says ‘der aaye, durust aaaye’ so, it is that we the people of India are learning a lesson on cleanliness. An important lesson taught to children since childhood…. It is not that the recent ‘swaach bharat abhiyaan’ has made the streets dust free and shine, declaring ‘themselves’ to be clean yet, some effort to do so is welcome to the ugly sight of yesteryears. Washing the streets occasionally is still a far- fetched dream. You see, there is water shortage; albeit the municipal taps and overhead tanks in the Nagar Nigam colonies waste gallons and gallons of the life saving stuff called water. Those in charge of operating the water supply system switch on the supply and then ‘gracefully’ make a hasty retreat for a cup of tea to gossip and while away their time. If a complaint is lodged with the concerned authority, the gritting answer is ‘aap ki baat sunne ka mood nahi hai’ (not in a mood to listen to your complaint). If rung up persistently, the phones and mobiles can ring until eternity and no one will pick up. All ward members (may be except for a few) personnel, keep themselves so very busy from eight in the morn till five in the evening that the poor ‘hard workers’ burdened with loads of responsibilities about their cities have no time to blink an eyelid. Their shoulders drooping with ‘lifeless’ city problems are so intense that these waggish, ostentatious ‘carriers of authority’ coltish and frigid, act like inanimate objects where city welfare is concerned yet in the council, browbeat each other with vicious, waspish language and misbehavior that puts one to shame.
India is a jubilant country blessed with bounteous goodness and progressive wealth of refinement. Ancient gurus and their spiritual guidance; the great Indus Valley Civilization from which to learn a lesson from, redundant with overwhelming propositions, have been ‘blissfully’ ignored for previous, avaricious pacts of sequential, self indulgent coalition. These issues have been tartly usurped as priorities for ‘their’ own benefits. Now these very muscles indulge in insipid tautology and do not refrain from creating uproar over intimidating issues that are relevant to the progress of this vast holy country, waiting reawakening to reach the horizon of benediction, and rise like a giant from its stupor towards a clean, green India.
So will the hens and cocks stop their crowing and the geese and ganders, their cackling?
Vandematram, Jai Bharat. Long, Live India. Jai Hind
About the Author: Dr. Shobha Diwakar lives in Jabalpur, India and retired as the head of English department at C.P. Mahila Mahavidhyalaya, Jabalpur. She has published many research papers, stories, poems and essays in national, international and online journals. She contributes regularly to writerslifeline and Indian Periodical. Dr Diwakar servers on the Advisory Board of www.writerslifeline.ca.