When I stepped out of India, for the first time in my 20’s for a vocation, I still remember the decade old experience i had. I was bedazzled by the outstanding cleanliness and the standards of beauty of the cities. It seems a very standard experience, bombardment of thoughts and questions, “I love my country and thankful for having lead a comfortable life”, but I still wonder why my country lacks the basis of sanitation and the culture of cleanliness? Why do we the “oldest civilization” of the world live in a mess? When the cities and towns can be designed so beautifully?
Trust me, this question hovered my mind on my way back and for years to come. And to satisfy my quest I always came up with my own weird answers, however I never felt satisfied.
And as the saying goes “learn from the Romans about Rome.”
After having lived in various international cities myself, I truly feel I have the answers to my decade old question.
I know you will be guessing “oh yes, it the government and political system, where they have tighter and stringent laws to maintain cleanliness and beauty”. My answer shall be “No”. Or maybe developed nations have sufficient allocation of funds to the cleanliness of the state, I shall still nod my head and say “hhmm not really, partially true.”
So, who is that ? What is that, that keeps the nation clean and tidy? Well my dear friend the nation is kept clean by the Citizens and NOT by the government.
Yes the citizens, people here take interest in the government’s functioning and it’s attempts to maintain sanitation. However they do not only look up to the government officials for the tidiness of the local parks and neighborhood, instead citizens take matters in their own hands. The cities the towns are maintained by the citizens themselves.
It is someone just like you and me. Someone who has a desire for cleanliness and a passion for beauty and also takes action , that is, they develops a hobby around it. Well how do the foriegn citizens do this?
People set up social groups to clean up parks and surroundings. Make sure the trash is thrown into respectable recyclable and non recyclable bins each time, to avoid future mess. Each persons trash is their personal responsibility, not anyone elses.
The elderly, school children all engage in cleanliness by forming volunteering groups to clean and maintain a local garden or a neighborhood road. They cultivate hobbies of gardening, farming and preservation.
Residential socities send mandatory participation request to residents to take part in weekend clean up where every household needs to take part and the contribution is not always monetary.
My emphasise here is that next time, on your way to work when you are stuck because of the water logging and failure of the drainage. Or a morning walk in park when you get disgusted of the sad outlook of the park don’t drain your ideas and energies talking about the failure of the political system. Instead spare some time to take care and nurture that park or the road.
Remember it’s not only the battle field or the LoC, where your country needs you, but it is also the neighborhood at home needs your love, time and concern. We are the sons and daughters of this land and must take matters in our own hands.