Ever since the present BJP led NDA Government under came to power in Centre in 2014, it started a very public campaign to rob away the relevance of Mahatma Gandhi to the Nation. Initially it started to create taller (sometimes tallest) statures of people contemporaries of Gandhi. Important among them was Sardar Ballabh Bhai Patel. But when many Indians and non-Indians objected to such attempts arguing that Patel was indeed a Congressman who evolved as a leader under Gandhi, the BJP started looking for stalwarts among its own clan.
Now, the point is not about who to admire and who not to. It’s your will. Admire any historic figure you want.
The point is something else.
The point is please don’t create wrong analogies (comparisons).
Mahatma Gandhi or Mohan Das Kamachand Gandhi the World over has been recognized and taught as “One who’s the Flag-bearer of Non-violence”. Whenever someone talks of non-violence struggle and ability to remain non-violent on the face of brutal opposing force, they quote Gandhi. Even United Nations, a Body of States which has suddenly become a rallying destination today, observes Gandhi’s birthday, October 2, as the International Day of Non-Violence. Although Lal Bahadur Shastri’s Birthday also falls on October 2, the World celebrates the day as the International Day of Non-Violence.
In this vein, I don’t know why the present Modi Government is so hell-bent at creating Gandhi the Flag-bearer of Cleanliness and; Not the Non-violence. That too, when the World treats Gandhi as one denoting Non-violence. In short, if you’re already number one at some thing (even when said in truly materialistic context), then why this wrong pegging (wrong comparisons in advertising).
Actually, this worry about such wrong comparisons doesn’t come from I assuming that there’s any threat to the stature of Mahatma Gandhi. Honestly speaking, Gandhi’s stature is too tall to be overshadowed by any Government’s marketing and advertising efforts. Whenever there will be talk of non-violence, Gandhi will emerge.
The real worry with the linking of Gandhi to Cleanliness is that, it will severely affect the Jobs in the civic hygiene and Cleanliness sector. A sector which gives, and must give employment, to a large section of Indian masses.
When the BJP led Modi Government says that every citizen must take the pledge of cleanliness in his/her own hands, the Government indirectly says that the act of cleanliness beyond their households is NOT the duty of the Government but the people. Which is an unrealistic expectation. Ask yourself, is it realistic for you to ensure clean roads, streets, drains in your locality, town, city? That too for every single day, for the rest of you life! You know, it’s not possible. You can only do so to an extent, if you work in the civic cleanliness sector or if you are in the Government at any level, which takes planning decisions to ensure civic cleanliness.
Now, when the Modi Government says it’s your responsibility, then it’s not only cutting on jobs and real jobs in civic hygiene and Cleanliness sector, it’s also misquoting Gandhi. If Mahatma Gandhi would have been alive, he would have been very sad at such threat to jobs and livelihood.
Now many of you will say, why bother about the livelihoods in Civic Cleanliness sector. You can remain immune to this. But the point is, when a Politician or Government starts saying people to take up responsibility of work of people in other job sectors, then it’s indirectly shirking away from its own duty. And unless, people are not employed with real and rightful wages to take up the cleanliness drive, our localities cannot remain clean.
Modi Government’s clever ploy to connect Gandhi to Cleanliness, is not harming Gandhi, as much as it’s harming our basic thought procedure. The thought process which sees certain people and jobs as easily dispensable (easily thrown out). This is a harmful thought. Today, you will say, people can take cleanliness their own hands. Tomorrow it will be people in some other profession. But the reality is: No person can do multiple jobs. You cannot spend 8 hours or 12 hours on you main job and take additional job, and remain that productive.
We humans are made to work like that. We collaborate, and make up for the skills and time we don’t have. For example, a Garments retailer cannot prepare the garments. A garment maker cannot make a worker do Chikankari (a form of embroidery) if the embroider doesn’t know that embroidery. Hence believing in some marketing ploy that certain people are not necessary in the society, is wrongful thinking. Today certain group of people and their jobs are being treated as unnecessary, tomorrow, it could be you or I. Hence, no human being must think like that.
Love or hate Gandhi, he will remain with us as a way of life. Linking Gandhi to Cleanliness and NOT with non-violence, may give BJP led present Government some momentary and temporary benefits too. But on the cleanliness front we will see no benefits in both short and long run. Our localities will remain as such. Rather than wasting money on such marketing ploys in the form of cleanliness drives, the Government must invest on good civic infrastructure, and employ more people at rightful wages to maintain and run the service.
To conclude, connecting Gandhi to cleanliness, and all the marketing campaigns (sponsored by some Corporate or indirectly by Government, taking ahead the Government plan) amount to nothing, and hence for the sake of cleanliness, we shouldn’t feel very emotional about them. And Let Gandhi remain the ambassador of Non-violence. Courtesy Mahatma Gandhi, we are already World number One there. Why sabotage it for some momentary gain.