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5 obstacles before Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Mission

The Prime Minister’s Swachh Bharat Mission aims to get people to rediscover their roots, and leaves, and other discarded matter

Written by Dilip Bobb | Updated: October 6, 2014 11:26 am
modi-sweeping The Prime Minister’s Swachh Bharat Mission aims to get people to rediscover their roots, and leaves, and other discarded matter

It’s the start of a new broomance. The Prime Minister’s Swachh Bharat Mission aims to get people to rediscover their roots, and leaves, and other discarded matter so they can make a clean break with the past. With ministers and bureaucrats and those who wield clout now wielding a broom, we are in for some sweeping changes. Yet, there is literally a mountain to climb and there clearly need to be specific targets. Here are some obvious targets.

spitsThe spitter: That slimiest of species, the spitter only breeds in the subcontinent and can be identified by the sound ‘swachh’, which is heard when spit hits the road, wall or nearest object. It seems to be connected to an affliction of the salivary glands, since Indians spit with alarming frequency and velocity with no regard for the mess they are leaving behind or any disease they may be spreading, much to the disgust of non-spitters who are clearly a minority community and unprotected against ugly spats. Spitters need to be identified and soon; spittoon in other words.

The paan Indian: A species similar to the spitter, except with a more colourful background, or foreground, since that is where he/she usually squirts the spittle collected by eating paan, leaving blood-like stains on walls and sidewalks. Again, a filthy habit perfected in the subcontinent, it has spread far and wide, on every available surface. In Indian cities, to locate a paan shop, just follow the stains. If the Clean India campaign is to succeed, these need to be segregated and put in enclosures, much like the zoo, with a large sign saying ‘Beware, paan eaters’.

urineThe urinator: We Indians have passed the urine test with flying colours, or, more appropriately, with the fly open, showing our true colours. Not a very pretty sight, but it also shows why we have such a piss-poor record in sanitation, with most Indian men preferring the nearest wall to the nearest toilet to soak the atmosphere. Pee shooters run a muck in India and, sadly, it’s not for lack of toilets; in every Indian city, if you see a car, motorbike or scooter parked by the side of the road, you can be sure the owner is up against the nearest wall, adding to the malodorous graffiti already inscribed there. We cannot kiss in public, but it’s fine to piss in public. What the urinators need is urine therapy, as prescribed by an earlier prime minister.

The squatters: Not the ones unlawfully grabbing real estate, but those we see in a real state from passing trains very early in the morning, which is why we peculiarly refer to it as ‘night soil’. It could also do with a phenomenon called mooning. It’s such a human waste, but we are told that 600 million Indians defecate in the open. That fact may help illustrate the modern phrase, ‘shit happens’. Unfortunately, there’s no solution in sight, just ablution.

litterThe litterati: If we can take a walk without something squishing, squelching, crackling, snapping or crumbling under our feet, we must be in a foreign country. We love to litter and are the litterati of the world, which is why we produce over one million metric tonnes of garbage each day. It’s also why 13 of the 20 dirtiest cities in the world are in India. The Aam Aadmi Party’s choice of a broom as party symbol was not random, even if our choice of where to dump our garbage often is. A majority of the population in India seems to believe that waste disposal means a slimming diet.

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  1. R
    Jun 10, 2016 at 1:48 pm
    a realistic article
    1. A
      Aman Gupta
      Oct 6, 2014 at 6:01 am
      Solutions can resolve the problem, not criticism. Govt should make and maintain public toilets and keep them clean. Does anyone remember how many markets and public places and parks have clean toilets. In commercial areas, Govt sells every inch to make shops and showrooms, but do not take care of areas for parking, toilets, space for police booths and other istance cells. For every 10 shops, do we have one male and one female toilet????Pan and Gutka chewers are people with no hope, only way is to ban these tobbaco snacks and make country healthier and cleaner.
      1. Arun Virk
        Oct 6, 2014 at 6:06 am
        Well, how about we strengthen our existing systems (which clearly have failed), make radical changes to the human resources that are responsible under the munil department and introduce latest technology for cleaning our streets. Just like most countries with a proven pragmatic record. Ask the celebrities to put the money instead of cleaning the streets. Also enforce laws that relate to cleanliness like no defacating and spitting in public etc. most importantly hold the heads of the related departments accountable. Understand their limitations, give them what they need and if they still don't do their jobs then shame them, hold them accountable. Isn't this more practical and pragmatic and genuine?
        1. S
          Oct 6, 2014 at 1:46 pm
          Indian govt. should make a department and body to overlook sanitation and modernize it. Broom just can't clean and keep country clean. It should be a social as well as organized mission with resources. What about making a sanitation and cleaning enforcement police. They can make one from part of CISF wing.
          1. Madan Mohan Gupta
            Oct 6, 2014 at 6:46 am
            Rail track side access to common public at all places can be stopped by constructing public toilets, parking places, community kitchens on ground floor and other floors for slum dwellers dormitory only. litter collection places suitably designed on subzi thela be placed at all places in city for collection of mix waste, recyclable plastic, metals, consumer goods and ng material with left over foods. For spitting plants soil can be the only authorized place which can be managed by adding little soil weekly basis. If there is a will we can definitely succeed. Let us be united to generate public opinion with proper facilities for deprived cl basic needs through partition of corporates enjoying enormous natural resources at nominal price.
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