Reports say prime minister
Narendra Modi was worried about the sustainability of the Clean India campaign
in discussions with his officials.
And his worries came true on
October 2, Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, the day which Narendra Modi
chose to launch the campaign with the message of the Mahatma on cleanliness.
The reason to link it to the
Mahatma was making it an all encompassing initiative, beyond party politics,
because the ambitious target of the cleaning the whole country by the 150th
birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in 2019, the target set by Narendra Modi, can only be achieved with participation of everyone, the Union Government, the
state governments, their bureaucracies and the public. It has to operate at a
non-political level. The political will to steer it ahead has to be
And that was in Narendra Modi’s
mind while his government was working on designing the campaign. And it had to
begun from his house, his government. It had to reflect in the acts of his colleagues.
But what to say about others when his own ministers put a big question marl. Most of them failed the intent on the very day of launching.
Delhi, like any other Indian
city, is no free of filth. In fact such spots in the whole country have prime
visibility and a nauseating presence. But, here about Delhi, as Delhi was
championing the cause.
A good intent to clean Delhi (or India)
of filth could have easily found more than enough ‘real’ spots in Delhi. But
except few, all other ministers looked to take it lightly, like they have been
doing it, diluting and compromising the essence of any intent on the public cause.
And that was when it was spoken
of emphatically by their Prime Minister who came out, proved seriousness of his
intent yet again, and tried to convey it to his ministers, but, the 'but' remained.
Most of his ministers reduced it
to a photo-op event only. Like the ‘seasoned’ politicians (and bureaucrats)
have been doing in India, they didn't even care what their ‘clean’ photographs would
tell that they rushed to upload on their social media and Internet platforms.
Except a few, it is hard to
locate filth in almost of their photographs, not even dirt. Google it and find
volumes of photographs if willing to dig more. It was sad for the country that who could make a mark were very few.
Ministers are supposed to set
the bar high, to set examples for others to follow, to bring the change, to
sustain it in the long term to bring the quality change, folks from the
political lot, but as they have failed us mostly, they failed us even this time.
Someone said we should focus on positive points irrespective of these routine political behaviours, that there were people on the ground doing what was expected from them to do, that even if few of them could do it, the event was worth it.
Silly! This complacency has been the central bane plaguing the Indian democracy.
The ambitious target of the Clean India Campaign or the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan would remain a distant dream with such a complacent attitude and such a political lot believing more in words than action.
The Clean India Campaign has to be a mindset campaign first but how can we believe that such politicians who are expected to drive the change to bring the mindset change would be able to deliver?
We can rightly blame the Janata (the public) for its mindset here as well, but here the change has to begin from the government, from its ministers.
When most of the ministers could not deliver on the day-1, how can they be trusted to deliver us the 'ultimate day' after five years?