ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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No Magic Broom

The Swachh Bharat campaign has failed to understand why there is dirt.

If a handful of brooms with long handles could make India clean, this would have happened long before Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to use symbolism to launch the Swachh Bharat campaign. The sight of the prime minister, his cabinet colleagues and various well-known personalities wielding these brooms, for the first time for some, is ideal media material. But given the obvious lack of understanding of the reasons India remains one of the filthiest countries in the world, the campaign is likely to remain just that – media images without substance.

One could argue that launching a campaign for cleanliness at the highest level is not a bad idea. Top-down campaigns do gain an initial impetus. Rajiv Gandhi launched an adult literacy campaign when he was prime minister. Indira Gandhi exhorted that she would remove poverty in her Garibi Hatao campaign. But neither did poverty disappear during Indira Gandhi’s reign nor did illiteracy during Rajiv’s.

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