SET AGAINST the hilly terrain of East Kameng in Arunachal Pradesh, a little boy nudges his father to use the toilet. In Chhattisgarh’s Kanker, a man woos his bride-to-be with a commode in hand. In Karnataka’s Lingsugur taluka, an ideal village is shown as one where everyone uses the toilet, composts the waste.
These are a few of the paintings from among the lakhs that have poured in from across the country after the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation announced a Swachh Bharat painting competition for primary school students from mainly government schools. A total of 2.46 crore children studying in class 1-5 have submitted their entries for the Swachh Sankalp Swachh Siddhi painting competition.
“We have got a phenomenal response from these students for our painting and essay competitions on the issue of cleanliness. They are all on the theme of sanitation as perceived through the eyes of a child, their idea for a clean India,’’ said Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Drinking Water and Sanitation.
For instance, Aashi Sharma, a Class-2 student dreams of cleaning up her village in Jharkhand’s Gamhariya with her friend. For Devendra from Bastar, cleanliness begins at home and his painting is all about ways to maintain personal hygiene. Vishal Bhagat, from a government school at Hakkal in Jammu, has come up with a more figurative depiction, the map of J&K surrounded by multitudes cleaning it up with brooms.
While the district-level winners have been awarded, the states are expected to send their top three entries soon following which the ministry would pick the country’s top three and felicitate the students at a ceremony in Delhi on October 2, the third anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission.
According to the ministry, 2.36 lakh villages and 1,286 cities have declared themselves as Open Defecation free so far. The ministry has said that the country’s sanitation coverage, since the beginning of the mission on October 2, 2014, has increased from 39 per cent to 67.5 per cent.
Ministry officials said the idea of announcing a painting competition was to drive the message of cleanliness in young impressionable minds.
See the paintings here
“Some of the district-level winners have used charcoal colours with great detailing while others have used bright colours. Their idea of cleanliness differed, for some it was a clean school, for some clean village and for others a clean globe. Some incorporated local elements like, say, a clean-up following the floods in Assam while students in mainland UP would show the drive spearheaded by the Prime Minister. But a common theme in most of the paintings was how each child would want to contribute to swachchta (cleanliness),” said an official.
A common motif used by the children is Mahatma Gandhi who is present in most paintings either in person or symbolically where only his trademark round spectacle is part of the image.
Soumya Gond from Lourdes Convent School, who won the second prize in Ghazipur district, chose to include Gandhi in her painting, albeit watching a cleanliness drive from the skies above. “Mahatma Gandhi often spoke about cleanliness. Which is why I drew a picture of Gandhi smiling from above as the Prime Minister leads a cleanliness drive,” she said.
Lourdes school principal Sister Alphonsa said that over 250 students participated in the various competitions that were held as part of the campaign. “Each child has their own interesting idea on how to keep their homes and surroundings clean. Moreover, students and parents also took a pledge to maintain cleanliness,” she said.