Clean India of all its , or ‘Swachh Bharat’, is a nation-wide campaign which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 2nd October, 2014, Gandhiji’s birth anniversary. The movement aims to clean India in five years, in time for Gandhiji’s 150th birth anniversary, by encouraging everyone – celebrities, politicians, officials, and the working class – to pick up a broom and get sweeping.
The event was launched at Valmiki Basti, a society in central Delhi that houses sanitation workers. Despite being launched on a national holiday, the drive saw participation from all quarters of society, including government employees such as railway officials and park managers, and Narendra Modi himself. After sweeping an area in the society and paying his respects at a nearby temple, he proceeded to invite nine other figures to join him in his effort, including such emissaries as the Governor of Goa, Mridula Sinha, industrialist Anil Ambani, Sachin Tendulkar, Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra, and Shashi Tharoor. In a format inspired by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, he encouraged the nominees to further challenge nine other people to join the campaign and spread its mission.
The Alternative sought to list some of the initiatives, and their inspiring results, spawned by the Clean India campaign, which has become a sort of proactive hashtag on Twitter, with celebrities and the common man alike following in the footsteps of the Indian Prime Minister. Here are the highlights:
Clean India reaches Allalasandra Lake, Bangalore
The Yelahanka United Environment Association (YUVA) organized a program to clean Allalasandra Lake in Yelahanka, Bangalore, in light of the Clean India mission. The lake cleaning drive saw participation from several local citizens, including MLA Mr S.R. Vishwanath, and corporator Mr Muniraju. In addition to the drive, Karuna International Bangalore was involved in organizing a Poster exhibition to spread knowledge about the harmful effects of plastic on our streets and the animals that inadvertantly feed on them.
‘VBi – The Responsible Indian’ cleans Kanpur up
A Facebook group titled ‘VBi – The Responsible Indian’ has undertaken several cleaning initiatives in the light of Modi’s ‘Swacch Bharat’. One such campaign was focused on Shivaji Park, Kanpur, and urged group members to ‘Just Do It’, and the resulting transformation of the park was truly remarkable – five trucks of garbage were removed and several walls were re-painted.
Swach Bharat Abhiyan Cuttack
“Zamana Hi-Fi ka hai, Wi-Fi ka hai, toh phir Safai ka kyun nahi?” this local Facebook page goads its readers. It encourages residents of Cuttack to spread the word and join the ‘Swach movement’ and, in its very first effort, was able to group several school-going children to gather in a cleanliness drive!
Students at GIC Meerut clean their walls
Sick of their walls being converted into urinals by local shopkeepers and passers-by, some students at the Govt. Inter College in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh decided to take matters into their own hands. Donning protective masks against the stench, they set out to scrape out layers of posters and bills, and cleaned up the walls for good. Additionally, in an effort to curtail the similar degradation of the wall in the future, the volunteers have also decided to install urinals in the vicinity – they’ve thought of everything!
‘Clean Pune, Clean India’
A group of youngsters, working in the field of IT, decided to celebrate Gandhi Jayanthi by gathering at Pune’s Karve Sikshan Sanstha, in an effort to rid its walls of posters and dirt. Their Facebook post gives credit for inspiration to The Ugly Indian and Pune Rising, and displays their success in a series of before-after pictures.
A city in the Haveri district of Karnataka, Ranebennur is realizing the need to protect its environment and is working towards it. Starting with a small municipal ground, the group plans to organize through Facebook and clean other public spots.
Celebrities are cleaning up too
In addition to our everyday heroes, among the individuals Modi nominated for Clean India were quite a few Indian celebrities and actors. While Kamal Hassan dogmatically responded that he was already involved in similar efforts that he would pursue ‘agnostic of party’, most other celebrities responded affirmatively to the challenge and to took to Twitter to express their enthusiasm for it.
— sachin tendulkar (@sachin_rt) October 5, 2014
— Priyanka Chopra FC (@PeeCeeManiac) October 2, 2014
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