Swacch Bharat: How Clean Is India?
We have heard people talk about this from the day 1 – The Swacch Bharat mission started to mark Gandhi Jayanti or even from the day of Modi’s Speech at Madison Garden. There was a hue and cry when he mentioned the idea of clean India and I guess I heard more naysayers than the ones who were excited by it.
It sure started with a greate gusto, the top names of Indian newspapers, televisions like Salman, Aamir were all over the news and the idea of tagging these movie superstars was indeed very smart by our PM. However that being said, there was another set of people who were making a huge list of reasons for why this project would be an utter flop. Some of them prefer to call it opposition :P. Well whoever they are, they were clear of one thing -It is never going to succeed in a country like India.
And what were the reasons given?
– There is no infrastructure, not enough dustbins or toilets
– People do not have civic sense, they urinate on roads, throw garbage wherever they like
– People spit where we walk
– Even if I clean it , someone else will dirty it. So.. Why bother!
– Someone else did it to MY STUFF. There was no one to stop them, why should I do it for someone else.
And here is a very clever video giving the various reason as to why India can never be a clean country. If these people were given the bible or the Bhagawadgita, I am sure they would have sworn by it to say that it is never going to happen.
Truth is – I agree, I agree that it is never going to happen. And the reason is not that people are insensitive, it is because of these people who discourage the ones who actually want to do it.
My first question to any project is this :
1) What do you do to ensure that it is followed?
Why should someone do a good deed? I agree that it is a great feeling to do a good job and I would feel great doing it once in a while. But if you want me to do it continuously, it becomes a chore. How would you encourage someone to take a new step and keep taking it consistently.
The technical term says “Positive Reinforcement”. I would rather call it the simple reward and punish mechanism. How do you reward these good people? And I do not mean money, this is a small responsibility, but I would really like to be appreciated for taking it. Here are a few ways you/I can reinforce this behaviour
– A simple thank you or a smile when you see someone doing the right thing
– We have all these celebrities cleaning the streets and I do understand that they are busy. How about a signed card from these celebrities, nothing extravagant, just a simple card which says Thank you for making this a better place! Let there be a slight competition.
– It need not be a permanent measure, it can be a simple, easy positive reinforcement which keeps people ticking
2) The punishments.
The same people when they are in US / UK do not spit on the roads, nor do they urinate in public places! Why?
Cos people look down upon them, they call the cops on them, they levy fines on them.
Why can’t we do that here? And with the way the govt exchequer is spending money on new projects, I am sure we can use the extra money gathered from this to make more toilets or install more dustbins
How about moral policing? We have seen the so called brands who shout at women for wearing short skirts! Where are they when it comes to more sensible issues?
How about us, maybe we can raise our voices against these perpetrators. Maybe for once, we can stop complaining and do something about it. We all need not be Gandhis but we sure can be responsible people and if we do not make the change happen, then I doubt if any govt is ever going to do that for us!
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