Saturday, November 29, 2014

Swach Bharat Stupidity

Swach Bharat Stupidity

So this morning I was on my way to work when I happened to notice a bunch kids in their school uniforms enthusiastically sweeping and cleaning up the road outside their school gates. It took me back to the days when I was in what used to be grandiosely named as RSF- Road Safety Patrol of my school where we used to stand outside our school gates every morning and direct traffic – the vehicles driven by parents coming to drop off their kids at school.  Now before you get the wrong idea that I was a little goody two shoes at school and teachers pet and what not, let me confess that the thing which attracted me to the road patrol was, more than the cool arm band, the chance to get off the daily prayer time while I stood outside the gates ordering the cars to stop with just a flick of my wrist. I was never very religious when young and doing group worship therapy at the beginning of the day, every day, was at the bottom of my wish list. Ergo Road safety patrols duty. I also, for your kind information, joined the scouts- the sea scouts to be specific because I had dreams of turning sailor and enlisting in the navy. Well, that was before I read in the newspapers that the Indian navy had ships which sunk when tied up to the dock in peacetime. That kind of safety record made me change my mind about enlisting in the navy and I ended up applying to the army (with a plan of turning into a tank man if selected) after school. But the Indian army in one of its wisest decisions to date refused to grant me admission and saved themselves the cost of organizing a court martial for insubordination and refusing to follow rules- which would have happened as surely as Adam ate the apple, for I was never very good at blindly following orders – like all those poor guys who pleaded so at the Nuremberg trials after world war two.

Anyway to come back to the sweeping school kids, I thought about how these kids were outside on the orad cleaning up everyones litter while classes were going on inside the school for other kids. Is this what the parents of these kids would have wanted for their wards when they paid the steep admission fees for their children in such prestigious schools? Cleaning up after oneself is all very good and proper but is it the duty of the school to clean their roads using the children who have come for an education? To learn something?  Or should they have employed some cleaning personnel, paid them a decent salary and made sure that they cleaned up the school while the kids were where they belonged? In the classroom? Will making the kids sweep the streets for one day really make achange to the cleanliness of the orad? And who will clean it every day after this? Will it become the duty of the children- to sweep the streets for an hour daily if they need to get an education? These and other questions were revolving around my mind all day and I could not come to any conclusion.

They say the more things change the more they remain the same but in the case of government it seems they  get even more stupider with every change of regime. The new governments executive diktat (like the gulag sending Stalinists) to implement a program calle swach bharat abiyan is the latest manisfestation of colossal governmental stupidity. By asking people, common people, to clean up common areas the government has abdicated its responsibility of questioning why it spends thousands and thousands of crores on conservancy workers and on outsouricng contracts to private companies for cleaning and still nothing seems to be done and our streets remain filthy. By failing to question those responsible it shifts the onus on the citizens who have already paid taxes which were collected by the government and paid to the outsouricng firms for cleaning. So what happened to all that money? Why is no one taking these firms to task? Why is all this being covered up by asking common man to volunteer?

Shouldn’t each one of us be doing their own work to their best of the abilities? Or should we all pitch in to do the work of others who prefer to slack off and will never be called to account for their gross dereliction of duty? Can we cover up this total lack of responsibilty by just volunteerism? And will no one get up and say the emperor has no clothes on?

I rest my case, fellow citizens.

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