Saturday, February 03, 2007
One ‘Area of Improvement’ for India
The list of areas of improvements for a person or a nation cannot be a long list. At the most a person can work on 2 or 3 areas and not more. We need to prioritize which areas are more important and which are not.
What is one area of improvement for India?
I thought about this for quite some time now. What is this one dream that I want to see happen in this country. What is that single thing from which everything else will unfold? What is that single thing to achieve we have to improve everything else? This is my dream – it’s quite simple actually.
I want a clean India.
I want Indian streets, roads, houses, parks, toilets, hospitals, hotels, offices, schools, temples clean. I want to see this everywhere and anywhere in India. I want to see no garbage. I want to see clean toilets everywhere. I want all Indians to get clean hospitals and schools. I want clean landscape and parks. I want to see clean neighborhoods in cities and villages.
The more I think about it the more I feel that the only person who understood India and Indians well enough was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. And for this crime, we shot him dead. It was almost like- “Look, you know too much about us. We don’t want you with us!” His emphasis- or overemphasis on clean toilets is something I completely empathize with. I think he correctly realized that the root cause of our attitudes was in that single action- ability to clean our own shit.
Yes, I want us to be able ‘to clean our own shit’ and be proud of it. Casteism, poverty, untouchability, corruption, unemployment, illiteracy, population, and all other problems combined will get tackled or will need to be tackled to achieve this single dream of clean India.
The pseudo-values such as ethics, morality, family values, traditional values, sampradaya, neeti, etc, are of NO use, when our streets and toilets are really dirty!
Teaching ourselves to keep our country clean will solve many problems. We will need to educate our kids in values- on keeping the country and our environs clean. They will grow to be mature and responsible individuals. Building responsible citizenry is more important than sending our kids to IIT, AIIMS, IISC, NIT, or IIM. Without a sense of responsibility our kids are turning into citizens without social responsibility, fighting for selfish ends, making avarice a value, trying to emulate their parents in hoarding wealth, building bungalows, while practicing the Indian family pseudo-values of not eating meat, not drinking wine, and not visiting a prostitute. Of what use are such youth to India? Not much good will come out of them.
Instead we need are the youth who are more conscious of their responsibility, their impact on their environs, with ability to tolerate Indian diversity, understand it and respect it. We need the educated to promote rational thinking, tolerate criticism, with constant endeavour to improve oneself and the society. We need a creative lot, who are keen on creating something original even though it is risky, instead of copying someone because it is safe.
Let’s admit it. India is dirty country. There is filth, garbage and sewage everywhere. India is almost like a giant garbage place.
This is one dream that is good enough for me- to make it clean.
Keeping our India clean will allow us to plan our cities better. To make sure whole of India is clean, we need to bring prosperity to the rural areas. They have to be taken into stride in our economic successes. People will getter better schools, better hospitals. To make it happen we will have to generate more money- which will result in more employment. To educate everyone we need all kids to be at school, this will bring in literacy. To make sure all houses are clean, we need to have a minimum standard of living in India, which will combat poverty. To make sure we know what it takes to keep India clean, we have to come up innovations in technology and come up with methods to get clean energy.
When one cleans his own toilet, he may start respecting the lower castes. He will find them no different from himself. When one clean his own shit, he will feel responsible for his own shit. He will not blame others when things go bad. To be able to clean shit, he will own up responsibility, he will join politics to clean it up; he will join industry to clean it up. He won’t say- ‘I won’t join politics because it is dirty’. Instead, he will say, ‘it is my shit, I will clean it’.
A Clean India!
It’s one goal I can live with.