Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much touted Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan is making headlines across the nation. The country’s premier varsity, Delhi University, is too smitten by the “Swachhata-fever”.
The university campus is witnessing green campaigns by the student wings of political parties. BJP’s Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had distributed cartons to be used as dustbins near the momos-stands inside the campus. They also requested the students to avoid littering on roads. On the other hand, volunteers from the National Students Union of India (NSUI) initiated cleaning drives at several places including Faculty of Law and Ramjas College wherein the volunteers went around collecting waste material which was later on disposed at an appropriate place.
“It’s a good idea in terms of reinforcing the fact that citizens should be responsible for the cleanliness of the environment in which they dwell,” says Aditya Mishra, 2nd year student of the prestigious Hindu College. Aditya is principally in agreement with the essence of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan. When questioned as to whether the campaign is an attempt by Modi to develop a personality cult, Aditya responds by stating that “it is the outcome which matters, not the intent.”
Despite of not being aware of the committee constituted by Delhi University in regards to Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, Philosophy student Sadaf supports the initiative. She incorrectly mentions that the cleanliness drive in her college took place on Teachers Day ie 5th September, almost a month prior to the launch of Swachhata Abhiyan on Gandhi Jayanti. Talking about whether the campaign would lead to blurring of caste distinctions, Sadaf says, “I don’t think that one measure can wipe out the institution of caste which has plagued our society since a thousand years.”
Undeterred by Modi’s image of being a Hindu Hriday Samrat, Sadaf stresses on the inclusivity of the PM’s endeavour. “A clean India would not be solely for Hindus but for Muslims too,” she says.
Amal David of St. Stephen’s College is unsure of Narendra Modi’s “commitment to Gandhian principles.” He however mentions that the need for a nationwide cleanliness movement was long due. Currently a student of mathematics and an aspiring social worker, Amal was part of the activities which took place in his college during the launch of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan on 2nd October.
In his speeches, Modi has often stressed on the need to convert the campaign for cleanliness into a mass movement. He wants the Swachhata Abhiyaan to command the same amount of importance for 21st century Indians as the freedom movement did for the countrymen from the previous generation. Considering the fact that “well begun is half done”, Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan has already made a promising start by taking into confidence India’s youngsters.
(This article was originally published in University Express.)