Incredible India

Incredible India (or Atulya Bharat) is a slogan of Indian Tourism Department. Well the thought of a blog about it occurred because of this blog.

"The government is promoting this campaign of Incredible India or 'Atulya Bharat'. But, what is incredible about this country. When my friends from Europe or US come to India for a visit, all they find is dusty roads, animals on the streets, poor facilities etc. etc."

This was the point of discussion and I was also one of the listeners of this comment. Some people argue that this is a bull shit statement and India is really incredible because of the diverse cultural heritage and the quality of Indians to keep up with our traditions even though we were subjected to so many foreign invasions. Others may say that boasting of traditions is a farce. Metros of our country is under a huge influence of western culture and even small towns are jumping on the bandwagon. And their justification is that it is personal freedom. Fine. I would say it is improper upbringing. If a child is not told about his own culture and the importance and reason why it is better than others, then how can one expect it from them.

Counter Argument? There are many. Western culture gives lot of freedom to individuals. Theirs is more of an individualistic society where family and friends are secondary. You live with somebody only if you feel so. Isnt that better than struggling (and compromising against your will) to keep the family intact just because the society looks down upon you? I don't know!!!

All that I can say is that I would rather be an Indian than being westernized because I cherish my family (even the extended family of relatives).

Having said that, I would still say that there is lot of things that make India inferior to the world. And there are things that we should learn from others that will make us feel more proud of our country.

Cleanliness: Everybody complaints about the street, city, country being kept unclean. Especially if you see the North. Down South things are better. People have more awareness about cleanliness and sanitation. Very rarely will you find a south Indian who is shabby and untidy. In the North, the conditions are bad. A typical example is Kanpur. I haven't seen a place more horrible than Kanpur. The moment you set foot at the railway station or the bus stand you feel like getting back to where you came from.

Reason. The first and foremost is the lack of public awareness. People live in cities as if they are living in a countryside. I don't mean that countryside is dirty, but the crux of the matter is that the amount of filth that is generated in countryside is little and most of the stuff is biodegradable. So even if you just dump it in your backyard it is fine. There is no pollution. And that is how we all have been inherently. On the contrary, if you see any beautiful landscape on any nice wallpaper, it would surely be a countryside :-)

Sorry, I diverted a bit, but people thinking that filth out of sight is cleanliness. And out of sight means dumped in some corner of the street. And of course all hue and cry of the municipality or the corporation not doing its job of clearing of garbage and proper disposal of waste. I am sure all of us will agree that garbage collection, disposal and recycling is not a department that is running properly, at least in many towns.

Why aren't they running smoothly? I don't have a clue. May be we should catch hold of a PWD official and ask.

But there are smaller things that people don't care when it comes to cleanliness. How many of us make an effort to dump the trash in the trash can and not of the road side? I agree that lot of the educated lot does it, but you can't argue with me that if you take the country as a whole the number is surely less than 10%. To give an example, I have seen people littering on the road the moment they step into the country out of an international airport. Do they dare to do the same abroad, in a country like Singapore?

All said and done. The simplest question from a layman is how does it matter if I add a drop of filth into the ocean of garbage on the streets. A possible answer is 'Boond boond se ghada bharta hai' but who cares.

Another simple example. You shout at a person when he pisses on the boundary wall of your house, but imagine how many times you have done the same in some unlighted narrow alleys.

Yet another. You scold your child when he spills food on the floor, but you do the same dropping orange peels and groundnut shells in buses and trains.

The most common example from my IIT campus. Most students buy coffee and walk through the campus. Nice and wonderful experience. But the moment the cup is empty they dump it by the fence or under a tree. Cant you wait till the next corner where you find a dustbin? Now you can guess what is the state of the country when the brightest of them do such things in a beautiful campus which is so well maintained.

If we think deep into the cause of such human behaviour, one thing is obvious. We have never been taught. Even if we are, we have not made it a habit. And since it is not in our habit, we never teach our children the need for cleanliness. We dont teach them civic sense.

Let me give a typical Indian household example that I have seen in North India. Men eat and leave the place as it is. They unpack a gift and leave the wrappers there itself. Maintaining the house clean is never an agenda of the men. Most of the cleaning stuff is done by ladies. Well then do u expect them to be very neat and clean? If you do, then you are wrong. Of course they will clean the house and keep things in order but you can find lot of households where the mess is pushed under the cot, hidden from the eyes of the guests, giving a sense of pseudo-cleanliness. More so, even when they really clean the house once, the trash just ends up outside their house on the street. Many a times you can see a bag of trash from the top floor of a building, flying over your head and landing near you, when you walk in alleys.

Solution. Only possible solution is people learning themselves that discarding unwanted stuff from your possession doesn't mean that you are neat and tidy. Making sure that it ends up in its proper place is the best solution. Also we should not expect that there are others to clean up the filth that we generate. Others are there to clean it up only from designated garbage bins.

This post had been long pending.. So I will post it now.. The other things that make us inferior to the world will follow later.


Rat said…
Nice write-up.
Got reminded of a train incident. My most respected cousin and I were on a train journey. We ordered 2 cups of tea. Out of my expectation, I found m y cousin throwing the empty cup just around the platform, when the train started moving. A shocked me asked him for an explanation. He said "If you dump this plastic bottle somewhere in the empty deserted track, it will remain there forever. Here, at least, it is cleaned up and dumped appropriately". Quite sensible, isnt it ? Of course, the preferred option would be a trash bin in the platform. But if this option is a far cry, then what he did was perfectly legal!
VG said…
I agree. But the same guy in a foreign country would have either got down to put it in the dustbin on the platform, or if the train has started moving then dumped it in a dustbin inside the train (if it exists) or would have just carried it along with him till the destination station and dumped in the dustbin there. I guess Indians can never do that in India.
Ankur Gupta said…
good Thought !!
I believe this has to be somehow imparted through schools or religion(through a Guru :)).there should be a logical reaoning which should applase normal indian in making the attempt to follow it.or the other means is my somehow making it against religion and indian being so religios country, religion can provide enough motivation or fear to let people follow it ;)

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