Reaching Mars is easier than ensuring a toilet in every home in India! This world, or should we say the universe, is full of ironies. On Wednesday morning, while half of the nation of a billion plus waited with bated breath as MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission) delivered, the other half waited for their turn to answer nature's call, again with bated breath.
While MOM is looking for methane in the bid to find life on the Red Planet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is determined to clear the air of methane in one of the most populous countries on the neighbouring planet. Where there is life, there has to be dirt and now a broom. Though there is no confirmation yet if Mom is carrying a broom to Mars, the humble tool is fast becoming a fashion statement in India.
Unlike last year when the jhadu swept the elections in Delhi, this time round the Aam Aadmi's symbol of empowerment is being put to test to make the Swachh Bharat Mission a success. So now we have municipal corporations issuing advertisements, school education boards announcing plans and bureaucrats issuing directions to clean India. The railways, market associations and even corporate houses are waking up to the filth around, never mind if they had been putting up with it for a lifetime.
October 2, the birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation, is turning out to be the perfect occasion to raise a stink. Embarrassing encounters and uncomfortable situations are inevitable as our enthusiastic cleaners get going with their campaign. Several questions are bound to be swept under the carpet and proposals set to be rendered waste. For instance, questions like will a week-long cleanliness drive suffice to clean up the country or where are the gallons of water needed for flush toilets or should children clean school toilets, are all likely to land up in the dustbin.
Wonder what the original custodian of the broom, a certain Mr Kejriwal, has to say about Modi hijacking his jhadu to clean up India? Such has been the power of the broom that it has taught its bearers to stay grounded irrespective of the poll outcome. Kejriwal is now busy setting his house in order in Delhi, awaiting elections, while NaMo is heading to the United States to clear the air on his 'make in India' slogan.
Not to be left behind, the Supreme Court has ordered a clean-up in the coal sector by cancelling the allotment of blocks made by successive governments over the last two decades. Though this has sullied former prime minister Manmohan Singh's not-so-squeaky clean image further, bureaucrats-turned-authors are also leaving no stone unturned to wash their dirty linen in public.
It sure is the time for some cleaning up in India before the Diwali festivities kick in.