Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan

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 


  1. It’s a very well written article, Ms Diwakar. It’s a shame that no one ever thought of such an important project ever before. What is surprising is that though children are taught about cleanliness in schools they either feel it’s just for clearing exams or you clean your house & throw the garbage out on the streets and roads. Even some educated parents do this so naturally their children will do the same. Let’s hope everyone unites in making this project a big success thereby helping beautiful India in blossoming into one of the cleanest countries in the world. Jai Hind!

  2. O K R Sivagnanam

    A nice article, madam!
    We are sought to be awakened by the government to remain clean and lessons given on its importance, as if we’re strangers to cleanliness!
    Adding fuel to the fire, the rulers are responsible for the loss of green cover, thanks to its policy of economic development!
    Removal of trees on the existing roads- which otherwise are shade-providers to the traveling public – speaks volumes on the destruction spree chosen by the government!
    We’ve allowed any amount of vehicles on the road, raising the pollution level, quite unheard of!
    In agriculture, we’ve not been restrained to use poisonous chemicals , that make the food stuff we partake of, not fit enough to pass the quality test!
    In the health sphere, we lack the right medicines, and at affordable prices at that, with the result, our ailments continue unabated!
    On all fronts, we’re going reverse, and I’m afraid anything tangible comes out of the cleanliness drive by the government!
    Necessary infrastructure should come from the authorities, and not to speak of co-operation from the people!
    Anyhow let us contribute our part for the likely success of the program!

  3. A good topic picked up by you Ms Diwakar and very well written at that. We need to be awakened and made aware of observing ‘ Cleanliness ‘ in every sense of the word. So our home becomes the first school where the Parents become the first teacher in instilling the importance of keeping our homes and surroundings clean . Then later the actual schools and colleges should take it up. Cleanliness.will then become a part of us so much so that we’ll keep not only our homes clean but also our surroundings, our streets and wherever we go..Each one of us is responsible and needs to cooperate to make the Cleanliness Drive a success and not believe in ‘ Everybody’s business is nobody’s—. Let us join together in the direction of achieving a ‘ SWACCH BHARAT.’. JAI HIND.

  4. Thank you ASB, OKRSji & Manju Naik for your thoughtful views and comments
    Let us all join hands and pray that thiis drive achieves all success albeit it may still take time for people to relaize the value of living in a clean environment.