“Get on your broom !”
This sentence, which has nothing to see with a political slogan, could soon become a leitmotif for Indian population. Indeed, in tribute to the lustrous Mahatma Gandhi (who considered health as a priority),Modi’s government is planning a sanitary revolution.
“Sanitation is more important than independence”
Gandhi (“the Great Soul”), was very sensitive to the bad hygienic situation of rural Indian people. At his time, he was already dreaming of a cleaner India. However, 67 years after obtaining its independence, sanitary outcomes are poor : only 30% of the population of rural households have access to toilets.
A tribute, then, especially since the deadline is 2019, when we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth.
Five years to clean up the country from top to bottom … An ambitious project for which the leaders did not skimp on resources, as thousands of millions of euros should be invested in this integral renovation.
The first time the Indian president Pranab Mukherjee mentioned this intention to “cleanup” the territory was in June 2014, during his speech to Parliament.
The government of Narendra Modi has placed this project in the heart of its priorities by pulsing the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, huge cleanup dockyard that began this October 2, 2014.
“Modernity” also appears to be one of the keywords of this massive undertaking, which will be built on the extensive use of marketing and social networks. For example, a kind of “contest” will be launched for the population. Companies and individuals will be invited to post Facebook photos “before and after” cleaning the same place to show the improvements.
An efficient brush stroke on discrimination
This trivialization of cleaning is a great novelty. Indeed, those tasks fell to the lowest social classes, and were considered degrading for the rich to care about cleanliness. Often admitted in the collective unconscious as an open garbage, even giant latrines (particularly in rural areas).
The topic therefore has also a social dimension, trying to end the marginalization of an entire part of the population and stigmatization of remediation work.
In addition, the participation of government officials and celebrities like cricketer Sachin Tendulkar is a major encouragement and a first-order model for all.
According to the Prime Minister, the project represents a tremendous opportunity for growth for the country. He believes that cleanliness and economy are directly linked. Thus, according to him this mission could contribute to the increase in GDP, would provide jobs and reduce costs to health.
Modi also believes that the outcome of this project will make the perception of rosier nation in the eyes of the international community and increase tourism.
He encourages individuals to start up spending 100 hours a year cleaning.
Most of the work however is the management of solid waste, estimated at 130 000 tonnes per day (to be approximately 55 million tonnes per annum) and the wastewater.
Swachh Bharat actions
Great operations are planned : construction of separate washrooms for boys and girls in all schools, public toilets, renovations, waste management … The government also wants to equip all rural households with water and toilets.
A huge sensitization campaign has been driven, using advertising media and social networks, with the approval of public figures and support of personalities.
The government heavily hope on changing attitudes so that each individual would be fully involved in the project.
To visit …
Sanitary subject is not really a new topic in India, which has the Toilets Museum of Sulabh, located in New Delhi. The museum was founded in 1970 by Dr. Pathak, famous for his fight for public safety.
It explores the entire history of hygiene, listing all the existing toilets models worldwide. Since the “duble function” throne of Louis XIV to the model imitating a washer, passing by a (French) toilet in a book shape … You will certainly be surprised by the creativity and the imagination man can show.
In a more “serious” registry, there are also testimonies, archives, etc.
A “little corner” that is worth seeing !