Sydney organises a concert for Swachh Bharat campaign


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by Neena Badhwar

Swachh Bharat Music Concert organised by Indian Seniors Group, Hornsby and supported by Nautanki Theatre where singers of Sydney namely Vinod Rajput, Pushpa Jagadish, Reena Mehta and Suhas Mahajan will together entertain Sydneysiders with songs of Bollywood films for the last 25 years.

The concert raised an unending response and comments to how a Bollywood concert in Sydney can help India clean in the community’s Facebook network. Up until now we NRIS always talk about India’s dirty  roads, streets, neighbourhood and a lack of infrastructure to do away the rubbish. It is a topic and an issue that is very close to our hearts. We feel, who now live overseas and have gotten used to living in clean environs and habits, that India should also be equally clean and would like to be proud of our home country as well.

When Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi, came to Sydney he talked about ”˜Swachh Bharat’ campaign to clean India to which he set a time frame that by 2019 he would like India to be as clean as any other clean country. Cleaning India is a monumental task since we do not have infrastructure suited to the burgeoning population of India. There are not enough public toilets, not enough bins to dispose off rubbish, not enough workers and cleaners and cleaning supervisors to make sure that cleaning tasks are carried out properly. For the government’s part it has to look into the whole program of ”˜Clean India’ campaign and commit itself to practices which are carried out in a sequential manner so that while  the residents adhere to a mindset of cleanliness yet they must also be provided infrastructure as outlined above to help dispose off rubbish in a proper manner with the help of committed workers  who carry out their jobs with a sense of pride and efficiency that is required to keep a country clean.

We, in India, clean our homes, get rid of daily rubbish, clean out toilets ourselves or get them cleaned by sweepers who we are ready to pay some extra money then why is it the system fails soon as that rubbish is put out on the street. Indians are quite clean inside their homes, in their personal hygiene but when it comes to streets, roads and public places we are at a loss. One main big reason is the absence of public amenities such as toilets, bins etc. that are not enough to serve the population’s need and the amount of rubbish that India  as a nation produces.

Recently there was a strike by the sweepers of Delhi because they had not been paid for the last three months. We, sitting here far away, do not know what is the truth in this news but surely Arvind Kejriwal’s government must answer this since it came into power in January with an outright majority as MCD comes directly under the state government.

There are many issues that come to mind when cleanliness of India is being discussed. Either we as NRIS take part in a movement and help India in whatever way we can or put up with the way it currently is. India is dirty and there is no dispute about it. We the citizens of India treat  our country not with respect. Perhaps even the government does not pay much attention to paying the sweepers and cleaners of India well. One knows from the country’s history that the cleaners and sweepers were the ”˜achhoot’ ”“ the ”˜untouchables’ the lowly ”˜shudras’ and that kind of mindset still exists in our minds. A garbage collector here in Australia, I am sure, is paid thousand times more than a sweeper in India. We Indians consider cleaning our own toilets quite denigrating. We are happy to use toilets but cleaning the toilet bowl with a brush is below our dignity. One does not have to mention all the argument we have daily with our sweeper and talk down to them while paying them quids.

Joining a campaign in helping India clean by the year 2019 and years to come everyone, not just in India, but worldwide who is of Indian origin and others who love India, should be a part in whatever effort they can contribute. In helping set up a system, a scheme, a respect for the cleaners, an infrastructure to help India get rid of its rubbish thus help it become a clean and a proud country.

The Facebook comments put a lot of doubt on the way the Swachh Bharat poster conveyed its good motives. There were comments on Mr Modi, comments on how each individual was contributing at their own individual level but ”˜Swachh India’ campaign is rather a collective movement joined by many a personalities such as Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Ameer Khan. It is a campaign, an ”˜Abhiyaan’, a movement which specifies for the residents of India to be volunteers and make a pledge:

“I want to be a volunteer of “Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan” and take a pledge that I will

– Not Litter anywhere and not let others litter around

– Not Spit

– Respect Public/private properties by not throwing waste in open

I will contribute for the cleanliness activities directly/indirectly for our common dream of “Swachh Bharat”

मैं स्वच्छ भारत अभियान का सदस्य बनकर यह प्रण करता/करती हूँ कि

– मैं न कचरा फैलाऊंगा / फैलाऊंगी और न ही किसी और को ऐसा करने दूंगा/ दूँगी

– कहीं खुले में न थूकूंगा/ थूकूंगी और न ही किसी और को ऐसा करने दूंगा/ दूँगी

– अपनी और सार्वजनिक संपत्ति को साफ़ रखूंगा/ रखूंगी

स्वच्छ भारत अभियान के लिए मैं अपनी तरफ से जितना योगदान हो सकेगा, करूंगा/ करूंगी. और हम सब मिलकर एक स्वच्छ भारत का निर्माण करेंगे.

स्वच्छ भारत – स्वस्थ भारत – श्रेष्ठ भारत”

This above pledge is for Indians living in India but what can the NRIs do in helping India clean sitting so far away. The NRIs have seen and lived in clean places and respect and adhere to clean practices. They can help increase awareness in a little window of when they visit India and educate family and people around them. This movement needs huge input from all corners: from the government, from the people of India, from the workers, from us NRIs. It needs to be supported whole heartedly at individual and collective as well as governmental level. It is a campaign which is there in India for years in a patchy manner and has not made any impact in helping clean India. There are many countries which have much smaller GDP than India yet are comparatively clean. India is a rising economic power yet it is not a very clean country.

We do not need patches of cleanliness we need the whole 1.2 billion people of India to join in a movement the whole nation which works on ethos based on clean habits, infrastructure, commitment from the government and well paid workers. It needs a pledge from all of us to do something about it on a very large scale and not cast doubts. If we donate money then we must also dictate where the money is spent and how it is spent. This movement needs money, it needs support and it needs each one of us to buy a broom for every Indian who lives in India and to carry out the pledge for a ”˜Swachh Bharat, Swasth Bharat and a Shreshth Bharat ”“ ”˜Clean India, Healthy India and and an Excellent India’.

Since it is a new movement, a new campaign we need to be part of it. Swachh Bharat Campaign Sydney contacted Indian Consul General. Sunjay Sudhir who gave the details of the Swatch Bharat Kosh where the proceeds raised from the concert will go and all the donations on top will all go into this kosh or fund. Recently Dr Nihal Agar and Balesh Singh Dhankad also met the PM Mr Modi in Delhi to talk about Sydney joining in this campaign. Both Dr Agar and Dhankad have promised their support in helping raise not only awareness but also do some concrete work in this effort to help India be clean and a country that one is proud of.

Organiser Dave Passi of ”˜Swatchh Bharat’ concert says, “It is only a small effort which the Indian Senior Group Hornsby has started but it can become a movement in Sydney. I am sure this one little concert will inspire and motivate 100 more concerts or ways to help India clean in which Sydney also proudly takes part.”

“Suggestions are also welcome from everyone in helping us execute the fund for this worthwhile cause,” says Dave.

Details of the account for Swachh Bharat Kosh are as follows:

Account No. : 34215500587
Bank Name : State Bank of India
Branch Name : Central Secretariat Branch
Branch Code : 00625

Address : North Block, New Delhi 110 001
Email :
IFSC Code : SBIN0000625
MICR No. : 110002014


The Swachh Bharat concert is on April 4, 2014 at Riverside Theatre from 2 to 5 pm. Tickets can be bought directly from the Riverside Box Office number 02 8839 3399 or call Dave Passi 0413 760 300 or Vinod Rajput on 0421 017 592.


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