Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan: Stars “Clean Up” Act!
Change begins at home. This is one of the ideologies behind the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Giving form to the dream of Gandhi’s Clean India, Modi has finally taken the matter to the public and actually got down to the streets with a broom in his hand and determination in his heart. PM Narendra Modi expressed his heartfelt wish to make this Gandhian dream a reality in India. He said, “We gained freedom under the leadership of Gandhi ji, but his dream of a clean India is still unfulfilled.” Hence, began the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, on 2nd October, Gandhi Jayanti, when the Prime Minister addressed the public at Rajpath and appealed to them to join in this movement. Modi himself swept the streets of Valmiki Basti which is a colony of sanitation workers near Rajpath.
Modikickstarting the campaign: Leading with example
This national level campaign initiated by the Government of India is one of the biggest cleanliness drives and about 3 million government employees along with students from schools and colleges all over participated in this drive. The campaign covered an estimated 4041 statutory towns to clean the streets, roads and infrastructure of the country. The endeavor of this mission is to achieve the vision of a clean India by 2nd October 2019. For this mission an amount of Rs. 62000 crore has been allocated.
President Pranab Mukherjee: Pledging Cleanliness
The movement began with a Swachh Bharat Run flagged off by President Pranab Mukherjee where around 1500 people including government officers and their family and friends participated. In order to generate publicity about the movement Swachh Bharat Apps were created by independent developers which became a huge success by mobilizing people more than other social media forums.
A large part of the success of this campaign is due to the active participation of Prime Minister NarendraModi himself, who not just expounded passionately of his dream of a clean India but generated huge support from the masses. Another great idea was to directly call out to the celebrities and other prominent people from entertainment, sports and business fields,who attracted with them a chain of followers. Amongst the prominent people invited were Anil Ambani, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Mridula Sinha, Sachin Tendulkar, Baba Ramdev, Shashi Tharoor, Kamal Hasaan and Priyanka Chopra.
Shashi Tharoor: Digging out the garbage
Modi describes the nature of this movement and says, “This campaign is above politics, this is purely due to our love for the nation.” This became the connecting moment for the rest of the population and people began to see this movement as theirs. Modi further evoked the people of India by asking the important question “Is cleaning only the responsibility of the karamcharis? So citizens have no role in it?”
Therefore, the people of India took it upon themselves to challenge this mindset and contribute to this mission. Amongst the stars, actor Salman Khan began his own part of the movement where he and his team wielded brooms sweeping the streets of Karjat. He was also seen painting a house. Salman Khan applauded the efforts of the prime minister by tweeting, “I once again thank @narendramodi for taking up the Swachh Bharat initiative and nominating me.” Keeping up the trend, started with the ALS Bucket Challenge of nominating other celebrities to join the chain of the movement, Salman further nominated Aamir Khan, AzimPremji, ChandaKochhar, Omar Abdullah, Pradeep Dhoot, Rajat Sharma, Rajini Kant and Vineet Jain.
Salman Khan: Painting the walls of Kajrat
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar wrote a letter to the Prime Minister congratulating him on his excellent efforts to organize such a large scale cleanliness drive and expressed his enthusiasm to be a part of the same. He along with his team marched towards the footpath opposite the Bandra Reclamation Bus Depot which wasn’t being used by the general public as it was littered and dumped with garbage. Cleaning it up took 4 hours and soon they began attracting the locals and rickshaw pullers who were keen to participate as well. Sachin managed to not just mobilize a group but also allied with the local municipal official to set up benches, solar lighting and to grow plants.
Aamir Khan expressed his humble acceptance to the idea of becoming the ambassador of this movement and said, “I would be honored to accept the position of an ambassador for a noble mission like this. It is a big step for our country.” He further added how generating efforts for such movements creates a ripple effect and we begin to address other related issues too. He said, “When we start thinking about cleanliness, we start thinking about a lot of other issues too like health concerns which are directly affected by cleanliness and about the status of water bodies in India. I appeal to the people of India to join in this movement. I also appeal to the Municipal Authorities to do something about better management of solid and liquid waste.” Aamir’s appeal to both the masses and the local authorities together makes for a sensible change in the society by empowering people at both levels.
Anil Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Group and another prominent name in India, rolled up his sleeves on the 8th of October 2014 and cleaned the streets of Church Gate, Mumbai. He expressed his admiration for the project and pleasure to be a part of this. He further nominated other famous personalities like Mary Kom, Amitabh Bachchan, SaniaMirza, Shekhar Gupta, Shobha De, HritikhRoshan, Nagarjuna and Prasoon Joshi.
Hrithik Roshan: Spreading Awareness about Hygiene and Sanitation
Famous boxer Mary Kom took up the opportunity happily and promised to take this cleanliness drive to Manipur, her home state and participate in it along with her family and students of her Boxing Academy. She further nominated many prominent names from the field of Sports and Bollywood. South Indian superstar Nagarjuna felt that it was a matter of great pride to be a part of a nationwide movement such as this and pledged his support in generating awareness and creating as many ambassadors for this movement as possible. Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra tweeted, “I want to make a change. I want a #Clean India. It’s time to clean up our act.”
An off shoot of this mission is the project “Dettol – BanegaSwachh India” which is a joint venture between Reckitt Benckiser, NDTV, Facebook and Dettol. With a staggering amount of Rs. 100 crore allocated for the project and the eminent actor of Indian cinema, Amitabh Bachchan as their brand ambassador, this project is all set to make a significant contribution to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan movement. Over a span of 5 years this initiative aims towards developing insights, creating behavioral changes, building and maintaining toilets, spreading awareness regarding sanitation practices. In its initial phases among 400 villages across 8 states like UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and MP.
With the beginning of such projects and the support of such eminent personalities, Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan seems to have taken off successfully. We at One World News, promise to do our bit as well. We need to understand that change is a slow and steady process and it needs continuous efforts. Our celebrities have led us with an example and created a wave throughout the country. Let us all pledge towards the sanitation of our country, because as we all know, Cleanliness is next to Godliness.