Dichotomy of swachh bharat Abhiyan: Where are the real ambassadors?

This is the second in a series of articles planned on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan 

For me swachh bharat abhiyaan presents a dichotomy. On one hand, I see these politicians and superstars cleaning already clean streets with a brand new broom and a subtle sophistication conscious of the fact that they can’t afford to spoil their all shiny cloths.  They are flashed on screens and occupy the headlines. On the other hand we have these unsung heroes around us. Sweepers in our schools, housekeeping staffs in our offices, maids at our homes, garbage collectors in our society. No one talks about them. They work day in and day out to keep our locality clean. No one thanks them. No one appreciates them. They are seen with contempt; underpaid and under appreciated.

While Sania Mirza is made the brand ambassador, it is a day as usual for them. Aren’t they real ambassadors of this initiative? I believe that this campaign should focus equally on appreciating efforts of these unsung heroes as it is to make India a cleaner place. I would especially like this campaign to focus on the plights of manual scavengers. These are the people who go down those manholes and drains to remove your shit. How disgraceful??
A fun fact: Indian Railways is one of the largest employers of manual scavengers. Because the sanitation system in our railways still remains the same as it was half centuries back, we need them to clean the toilets and the tracks. For me, swachh bharat initiative should also wake up to these facts. We must promote innovative solutions such as dry toilets in Railways. Also our cleaning system should be updated so that no one has to go down the drain to clean them.

I am not gainsaying the benefits of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan or its impact. Entire country has woken up to the importance of sanitation. Sanitation is one of the basic requirements which has been comfortably ignored till now. Our image to the world is of dirty India. Even in the movies like Slumdog Millionaire, our country comes across as poor, hungry and dirty. Even if we ignore what the world thinks of us, lack of sanitation leads to many diseases.

Hence, the point that I want to drive home is that the scope of this initiative should be broadened. Cleanliness should not just be restricted to roads and pathways. It has to spread to all the streets and corners of India and every household. Entire purpose of this campaign would fail if it remains a media gimmick. We must recognize and appreciate true ambassadors of swachh Bharat.

Am I against celebrities and politicians joining this initiative? Ofcourse not. These are the role-models people follow. All I am saying is that recognition to them should not be at the cost of those who deserve it.


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Amit

|| Carnivorous Reader | newbie writer | Drawing room activist | Wannabe Entrepreneur || I write here to reach out to you and would love to hear from you.

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