2014 a Year of Abhiyaans, but New Focus Needed

December 30, 2014

This year has been a year of several innovative campaigns (abhiyaans). Campaigns do bring in a lot of enthusiasm and find highlight in news channels. But some questions still remain. Why don’t they subsist longer? Do these campaigns really target an effective change in immoral structures that hamper good values or peripheral change? Yes, if campaigns do not continue to address beyond personal motives, they will meet the same fate as the “India against corruption” venture.

This year the innovative fire began with the Ice Bucket Challenge in the West for a noble cause, namely, ALS (Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis) patients suffering from the neuro- degenerative disease. Several celebrities gave thumbs up for it. Due to the growing global connectivity, it spread to India too. But it also faced criticism from several activists due to its negligent attitude towards ecological concern of water wastage. Yet an alternate campaign to it that enthralled all, was the Rice Bucket Challenge (the typical desi flavour) to feed the needy and poor. But my sympathy goes to another campaign, Mud Bucket Challenge (ecological initiative of a biodiversity preservation group) that hardly made headlines. What a plethora of ideas Sirji? 4G?

Similarly a few years ago we saw the ‘pink chaddi’ campaign against ruthless moral policing in the south. Muthalik’s Sri Ram Sena was silenced and scared. This recently found its new shoot as we witnessed its nuanced and innovative form of protest - the ‘Kiss of love,’ a unique challenge starting in Kochi, Delhi, Mumbai and getting a grand response. It is due to spread to Bangalore soon amidst controversies.

The political arena also learnt from these campaigns when we saw an innovative challenge, namely the Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan. It was a wonderful move from a new government which wanted to prove to the people that they too are pro-people and pro-national. It spoke well to the sentiments of the people. Many celebrities were challenged to continue this noble venture.
But one thing that needs clarity is that these campaigns as such will not hit the core of India psyche, unless they force an attitudinal change. Swacch Bharat is wonderful move like other campaigns. But the Indian psyche has not yet understood the gravity of the matter of cleanliness and eco-friendly way of life because of its effect. Eastern religions, by their charisma, see God in every aspect of nature. But in practice adherents of some religions cannot but find a place to litter anywhere and everywhere possible. It is a known fact that Indians give utmost priority to keep their compounds and house yards clean, but will not ever feel anything about dropping the dirt and waste into the neigbhour’s compound.

The reason for the failure of above mentioned campaigns is that they have not effected inner transformation. These have remained at the external realm as outward commitments or external actions. Only a campaign which speaks for and forces an attitudinal change will boost external cleansing. For instance, the ‘Kiss of Love’ campaign is resisted because it has a message for immediate attitudinal change. But obscenity cannot be compromised. Who decides what is obscene is another big question.

We Indians need to get rid of our corrupt interior for life’s issues and nature. The day we begin to see nature and people as subjects we will stop to be corrupt and will be clean inside (conscience/heart). Then external Swacchata will be easy. The day we see nature too as having its share of respect for life, that will be the day we will begin to respect it and keep it clean. This is the change needed before endorsing an external change to bear fruit.

Therefore the possible alternative is an abhiyaan that would help Swacchatha abhiyaan, namely, Swacch tan-man-dhan Abhiyaan that will ultimately lead to Swacch Rajneeti Abhiyaan. All these abhiyaans are linked.

Let us see for ourselves what the present government is speaking and doing. Today bringing back the black money seems to be a political gimmick and not a genuine landmark. Is there subtle politics even within than enterprise to safeguard those affiliated to the ruling party? What we need today more along with Swacch tan-man-dhan abhiyaan is Swacch politics abhiyaan. On the campaign trail earlier this year, India’s Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, appealed to voters by promising to combat corruption and clean up politics. He was rewarded with a huge national electoral victory as well as success in state elections last month. Talk the Walk?

Recently Mr Modi considerably broke the promise of real inclusive Swacch Bharat when he named 21 new members to his cabinet which included at least five people charged with such serious offenses as rape and rioting; a total of seven are facing prosecution. Ram Shankar Katheria from Agra, who was named junior education minister, has been accused of more than 20 criminal offences including attempted murder and the promotion of religious or racial hostility. Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, the new junior chemicals and fertilizer minister, was another eye-catching choice. He is charged with around 20 offences, including intent to wage war against India, criminal intimidation and abetting a mutiny. On most occasions, this is shaken off by excuses such as political rivalries. Walk the Talk?

According to the Association for Democratic Reforms in India, about one third of central and state legislators face charges, and amazingly politicians facing criminal charges are twice as likely to win election as those who are not. In India this is not new. But when will it change? Yes, only when there is an inclusive ‘Swacch Bharat’ beginning with interior swacchatha.
Are Mr Modi’s ways a contradiction in terms when he wishes to clean India without total internal cleanliness at its root? Political sanitation is as important as sanitary cleansing. A new political culture is the need of the hour. That will lead to an integral Swacch Bharat.

Why display double standards if the motive to cleanse India is genuine? Swacchata must be internal first, then external. One cannot speak of rooting out corruption and bringing back Black money and at the same time continue inducting corrupt people to represent the cabinet. We need non-corrupt leaders to lead India in its drive to cleanse our nation. This is the ultimate Swacch Bharat abhiyaan. Only then India will benefit from campaigns. When we don’t catch the devil by his ears we will not be able to tame it.

Above all, there is need for ‘Swacch Mind’ of governance. Our nation is truly in need of many other Swacchata Abhiyaans like cleansing from discrimination, communal tendencies and the concocted concept of development. But let us cleanse our inner motives first. Then development will not merely be signing projects that build industry and infrastructure and cleanse sacred rivers and build bullet fast trains. It will be a development that will take into account the well-being of the poor, raising their living standards and bringing a smile on their faces. May the tribe of Abhiyaanwalas increase with concrete motives!



Lancy Fernandes - Archives:  

By Lancy Fernandes
To submit your article / poem / short story to Daijiworld, please email it to news@daijiworld.com mentioning 'Article/poem submission for daijiworld' in the subject line. Please note the following:

  • The article / poem / short story should be original and previously unpublished in other websites except in the personal blog of the author. We will cross-check the originality of the article, and if found to be copied from another source in whole or in parts without appropriate acknowledgment, the submission will be rejected.
  • The author of the poem / article / short story should include a brief self-introduction limited to 500 characters and his/her recent picture (optional). Pictures relevant to the article may also be sent (optional), provided they are not bound by copyright. Travelogues should be sent along with relevant pictures not sourced from the Internet. Travelogues without relevant pictures will be rejected.
  • In case of a short story / article, the write-up should be at least one-and-a-half pages in word document in Times New Roman font 12 (or, about 700-800 words). Contributors are requested to keep their write-ups limited to a maximum of four pages. Longer write-ups may be sent in parts to publish in installments. Each installment should be sent within a week of the previous installment. A single poem sent for publication should be at least 3/4th of a page in length. Multiple short poems may be submitted for single publication.
  • All submissions should be in Microsoft Word format or text file. Pictures should not be larger than 1000 pixels in width, and of good resolution. Pictures should be attached separately in the mail and may be numbered if the author wants them to be placed in order.
  • Submission of the article / poem / short story does not automatically entail that it would be published. Daijiworld editors will examine each submission and decide on its acceptance/rejection purely based on merit.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to edit the submission if necessary for grammar and spelling, without compromising on the author's tone and message.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to reject submissions without prior notice. Mails/calls on the status of the submission will not be entertained. Contributors are requested to be patient.
  • The article / poem / short story should not be targeted directly or indirectly at any individual/group/community. Daijiworld will not assume responsibility for factual errors in the submission.
  • Once accepted, the article / poem / short story will be published as and when we have space. Publication may take up to four weeks from the date of submission of the write-up, depending on the number of submissions we receive. No author will be published twice in succession or twice within a fortnight.
  • Time-bound articles (example, on Mother's Day) should be sent at least a week in advance. Please specify the occasion as well as the date on which you would like it published while sending the write-up.

Comment on this article

  • Rahul Carreira, Jeppu, Mangalore

    Tue, Jan 06 2015

    Good Article!!

  • Lingappa, Kuppepadavu/ Amsterdam

    Fri, Jan 02 2015

    Sounds like an article from the KHANgress for the KHANgress.

  • Phantom, Kadri

    Thu, Jan 01 2015

    Usually people use such opportunities to portray themselves as saviours of mankind including authors. What is your contribution on ground?

  • John DSouza, Mangaluru

    Wed, Dec 31 2014

    If new focus needed, let us think different and implement change
    If tired by problems, let us welcome solutions
    If innovations not to display, let us us implement them
    Unique resolution of new year is 20:15 (4:3)
    Rapid revolution of surface transport sector
    Let us have a happy and prosperous new year 2015

  • Rita, Germany

    Wed, Dec 31 2014

    A very interesting article,feels like looking into the mirror.To tell the truth,do we Need a Minister to tell us to Keep swatch Bharat?First one should Keep our home clean and then surroundings.Thats difficult.The day Minister told cleaning was started enthusiastically same road with whole neighbourhood .But now is it same?I had the experience of having whole compound full of burntout tubelights,empty motoroil bottles in our Absence.who was it ?noone.and empty bottles not to Count.For Indians keeping clean our surroundings is really a Problem.when one s more educated and have some Hygiene sense it may be successful.Lets hope for it .with our Population and less place to live is a big Problem.keep writing further .

Leave a Comment

Title: 2014 a Year of Abhiyaans, but New Focus Needed

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. Daijiworld.com will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will Daijiworld.com be held responsible.