Tag Archives: Narendra Modi

Swacch Bharat. Possible? Yes!

People are skeptical. They discuss animatedly outside tea shops. India? Clean? Hah! Narendra Modi is dreaming! They say as they crush and throw down the paper cups in which they just had tea…

Once I was traveling by auto right after a heavy spell of rain. The roads were flooded. The auto driver was whining and telling me that he spent the entire night, draining water out of his home as the rains had caused sewage water to overflow. People throw trash on the road, he proceeded to explain, that goes and blocks drains. When will people understand this, he moaned. As he was saying this he spat out into the rain water and also proceeded to crush and throw some newspapers lying around his seat…

So, yeah…where does one start with this clean India thing? Doesn’t it look too far fetched?

But hang on. I have a theory. The clean India mission needs to be implemented psychologically.  Telling people to clean up their act does not help, because most of us are so used to our action, we don’t even know we are part of the brigade that’s messing up the place. So screening expensive ads on TV channels, if you ask me, will not help. People will nod, agree and go about their business. They don’t realize that when they crush that newspaper and throw it on the road, it goes and blocks the drain.

Now my point is stop talking and preaching. It’s time to show people what clean means. The human brain is a funny thing. When it sees something better it aspires for it. Like, you’re driving a Maruti Swift, but you aspire for that BMW.

So step one. Stop spending obscene amounts on TV ads. Instead, what I propose is, lets take the children of our government schools on a school trip to Japan (or ok, if thats too much to Singapore). SHOW them what CLEAN is. SHOW them how schools can be kept clean, how streets can be kept clean. SHOW them how no one, spits, urinates and throws things on the road. SHOW SHOW SHOW. Their brain will assimilate it all. Then they will come back home to the squalor and find it hard to accept it. At this point – tell them, they are the ambassadors of clean India. It needs to start from them. Their home. Their neighborhood.

Step two. Tie up with the fancy sanitary ware companies. Lets open really really swank, 5 star level public toilets. Full with lovely mirrors, citronella aroma oil, soaps to wash hands and so on. There toilets should be manned and by smart, uniformed employees. They must be polite, yet intimidating. Encourage the slum dwellers to use this facility. But sternly tell them to be kind to the next user and keep the toilet clean. Tell me who can make such a place dirty? It will intimidate them. Yet if they are welcomed, they will use it. And once they use it, can they ever go back to defecating in the open?

The problem I think is that we build for them these regular toilets, which look dirty the moment they are ready for use. The person manning them hates his/her job and could not care about maintaining it. When you privatize it, the name of the organization is at stake. What an amazing branding exercise for the private sanitary ware companies. If they pull it off, they will never again have to have a marketing and advertising budget! They will get all the publicity and goodwill for free! Everyone in the country will patronize them. It’s win win situation for everyone.

Also these two ideas can be applied, pan India. They are not language specific. I noticed that all the Swacch Bharat ads are in Hindi. The message is not reaching half the country!

More thoughts on this soon. Meanwhile, be good. be clean. Swacch Bharat is possible. We have to make it possible.


Dear Mr. Modi,

I voted. So I have earned the right to write this note to you. This evening is your big moment. You will be sworn in as the prime minister of the world’s largest democracy. What an honour that is! There’s a million people out there waiting with bated breath to see you take on that magic wand and wave it. The masses believe that the moment you wave that wand poverty will go away. Economic inequalities will evaporate.

The toothless old village bumpkin will smile. The village granny with thick, shell framed glasses will grin because she now has electricity. The home maker in a remote village in Andhra will cook happily because she now has water. The farmer in Punjab with sigh with delight as his motor chugs and water spouts into his yellow mustard fields. On a remote highway in Leh, the truck driver will smile because, hey, suddenly the driving conditions are so much better. The roads are good and well lit.

Ok so everyone is happy at grassroots level. Now let’s zoom into the city.

There are young women, wearing just whatever they like, fearlessly roaming the streets at 9 pm. There are no chain snatching incidents or even robberies. Everyone has jobs you see. Jobs that pay good enough. Also people have begun to respect law and order. Cops are no longer corrupt. They do not work in tandem with thieves any more. They cannot be bribed. Every crime is punished according to its gravity. For that matter no government official can be bribed any more. People fear law and order. Ah. How wonderful.

There are no city slums. There are just neat rows of lower middle class housing. They are not badly maintained, garbage strewn places, rather they are neat, dignified places to live. There is no garbage piled up on the roads. Your magic wand has made people act responsibly! They know their civic duties. People no longer treat the road as the dust bin. They neatly throw any kind of garbage into designated bins. (yes organic and non organic matter has separate bins). There is no pollution on the roads, no one honks, no one jumps the red light. Suddenly people have learnt the meaning of the word DISCIPLINE. Jeez what do you have in that magic wand! Oh wait, there’s more. No one spits, pisses or defecates in public places.

Tourists visiting our country are not harassed any more. They are treated with dignity and respect. There is no shady roadside character passing loud and lewd remarks on them anymore. They fear the law you see. And anyways there really are no more jobless people. Employment is rampant.

Which of course means that the population has been magically controlled. No one has more than two children. Government has enforced the one-child rule. There are many benefits and tax exemptions if you have just one child. There are heavy cash fines imposed on those who have their second child. And it just gets heavier as you have more children. To save the citizens all this trouble, in hospitals, they just operate and ensure that you cannot have more children.

It’s the golden era for India. Neat, clean, cultured India, that is once again proud of its heritage. We do not deface our monuments any more. No one scribbles “Rahul loves Paro” kind of things on the walls of Ellora caves any more. People understand that this is part of their culture. These historical monuments define who they were and who they are. Which idiot will then go and scribble on it?

Out past is protected. Our future is bright. What a fantastic magic wand you have Mr. Modi.

But wait. What is that you say? You have no such magic wand? How is that possible? We believe you do. That’s why we voted for you.