Everyday musings ….Life as I see it…….my space, my reflections and thoughts !!
Cleanliness they say is next to godliness. Cleanliness means different things to different people. Cleanliness refers not only to the way tend ourselves and our homes, but also the care we take to maintain the environment. The significance of cleanliness and hygiene cannot be overlooked by any society. Habits which are learnt at an early age get embedded into one’s personality. Let me give you an example. This incident happened many years ago, when our kids were quite young. On an outing, our son threw a chocolate wrapper which went and fell on the parapet wall. My husband was very upset with his behaviour and made him climb the wall, pick up the wrapper and put it in the bin. This incident left an indelible impression in his mind about the importance of cleanliness. Later, he was an active participant in many lake cleaning initiatives in our city. Cultivating the habit of keeping our body, homes and surroundings clean should be inculcated in children from a young age.
In India I have seen many educated people who drive big fancy cars but throw wrappers and thrash out of their windows. Why is it that our country is not clean? Why do we find litter all around us, overflowing garbage dumps on the roadside bins, paan stains on the stairs and every other corner. Why are our railway stations, public washrooms in such a sorry state? Even places like the pristine Himalayas are strewn with plastic bottles and bags. Apart from the not so pleasant picture we paint, they are also a haven for spreading of many diseases. Who is responsible for all this? Is it only the government? As citizens of this country are we not responsible to keep our surroundings clean?
Why are some of the western countries so clean? What do they do different from us, that their cities and towns are picture perfect? Let me share my experience on a trip to Europe a few years back. We traveled by road for about 3000 kms across 3 countries. Believe me, during the entire trip I did not come across any place which was dirty. The small villages, the washrooms at public places, the stations were so clean and well maintained. I will tell you why. In Germany we were waiting outside our hotel for the bus. A lady parked her car across the road. She had probably come back shopping, so she had many bags in her hand. As she was juggling the many bags, a paper fell from her bag. She kept her bags at the apartment lobby, came back, picked up the paper and put it in the bin. Again this taught me a very important lesson. Just as we are responsible in keeping our homes clean, every single person is equally responsible for keeping his country clean.
There is a dire need to educate and sensitize people about the importance of cleanliness. Our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi started an ambitious campaign of “Swachh Bharat”. The media ,social workers, educational institutes can all play a major role in this direction but above all it is we as an individual who can make a difference. Let me narrate a small story about a college girl who made a difference. Their college had gone for a picnic. After sightseeing and enjoying various games they started munching snacks and recklessly throwing the papers and plates all around. One girl among them quietly started collecting all the litter in a cover. Initially her friends started making fun of her. But she quietly went on with it. Slowly her friends felt ashamed of their behaviour and they too joined in her effort.
Gandhiji rightly said “Be the change you want to see “. Just like the girl in the story, if each of us follows this and does our bit in the keeping our surroundings clean, we can definitely paint a picture of a cleaner and greener India! An article I read last week reiterates this. Indore, a city in central India, has been declared the cleanest city in India in 2017. It was ranked at #149 in the year 2014. This year it won the cleanest city award in Swachh Survekshan. How did this turnaround happen? Point to ponder!!
What are your views on cleanliness? Have you contributed in any way to keep your surroundings clean?