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.

10 comments:

  1. Dignity of labour is missing in India. Courtesy of caste, class and other divisions in the society. We should strike a balance between cleanliness of the 'exterior' and the cleanliness of the 'interior'. What I mean is we should also try to improve the 'cleanliness' of thoughts and actions along with keeping the external environment clean.

    ReplyDelete
  2. my one wish would be to see ugly men stop leering at pretty women. pretty random comment, but still.

    ReplyDelete
  3. hi Sujai,

    While I agree with your goal, I have issues with your arguments.

    I'll quote from your post
    " ..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."

    I find nothing wrong in saving, building a nice place for your family to live in, being vegetarian, a teetotaler and not visiting hookers. These are in my opinion the All American values that have made America the world's superpower. In fact with some of these I find it odd when someone does the activity in question.

    You have your heart and motivation in the right place but I feel you need to harness the activist and contain the rebel within if you want to make a difference. The test of a leader is someone who can get everyone else to join the cause and thus bring about change. It has to be inclusive.

    I posted a bit about this a few years ago. Linked below:-
    http://roshandsilva.blogspot.com/2005/10/gyan-entrepreneurial-criminal.html

    Cheers,

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Roshan:
    Thanks for the suggestion/advice:
    ...but I feel you need to harness the activist and contain the rebel within if you want to make a difference.

    The test of a leader is someone who can get everyone else to join the cause and thus bring about change. It has to be inclusive.

    Yes, I agree with you. I don't see myself there as yet. May be, I see that for myself in future, but I am not there yet. I need to inculcate that in me. I may be able to transform into that.

    Right now, I have different kind of battles to fight- which I do- by being inclusive and also being a rebel in a different context.

    I will keep that in mind and as a task for the next few years.

    I find nothing wrong in saving, building a nice place for your family to live in, being vegetarian, a teetotaler and not visiting hookers.

    I don't either. It is just that we seem to place too much emphasis on the above and consider them to be necessary and sufficient values, while completely ignoring the other value- social responsibility- keeping our environs clean, not throwing garbage, not spitting, etc. And I believe these are certain values which we seem to lack compared to certain other countries you talk about.

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  5. One way towards reaching that goal is to privatize the cleaning job instead of making this as Govt's responsibility.

    I've seen places like Chennai bus terminus, where the cleaning job is controlled by a private player is much better than the Govt. controlled ones.

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  6. while practicing the Indian family pseudo-values of not eating meat, not drinking wine, and not visiting a prostitute
    Since when did these values become "pseudo"?
    And since when did they come into conflict with keeping India clean?
    Are all "red-light" areas spotless?
    Or for that matter meat-selling areas ?Dude,you need to stoop writing things for the sake of them.
    Do not mix up your pet peeves with other issues.
    If you think Indians are obsessed with "pseudo"-values,you have every right to think as you want.
    However,linking the "obsession" with cleanliness???
    WAKE UP..YOU OK??

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think ur openess to accept the right comments makes you imrpove well. I agree with you that the clean INDIA will be achieved and the educated yougsters are indeed driving it well with themself and trying to pass on to the next generation. I am one of them.
    With globalization ,though there are negatives, one good thing is about awareness in youngsters about
    cleanliness.

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  8. Sujai,

    I have to tell you - this was by far, the funniest post I've read on your blog (and there have been quite a few). Glad to know your sense of humor is quite intact. ;)

    Cheers,
    -Amit

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  10. You say -

    They would definitely be better than the present-day immature and irresponsible IIT, AIIMS, IISC, NIT, IIM grads: who all they can do is crunch math, physics, biology and chemistry without an iota of social responsibility, fighting for selfish ends, becoming greedy citizens, 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 these graduates to India? Nothing good has come out of them.

    Oh of course, the whole thing is a sham. Nothing has come good of them. In fact, you know what, I was one of those useless brats graduating from IIT. But I turned out alright, visited a prostitute, drank a hell a lot of wine, and boy o boy you should try the new KFC zinger.

    On a serious note, what a preposterous argument. Looks like someone regrets missing out on one of these hallowed portals.

    Murthy
    murthy.mail@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

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