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Guest column | Need discipline for Swachh Bharat

It is easy to understand that to be a swachh nation, discipline is a prerequisite

punjab Updated: Nov 18, 2017 23:34 IST
Brig IJ Singh (retd)
Brig IJ Singh (retd)
Hindustan Times
Swachh Bharat,Indian Military Academy,IMA Dehradun
Brig IJ Singh (retd)

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment— Jim Rohn

At times, the wisdom comes to you from unexpected quarters. During my recent visit to the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun, I got a ‘mega message’ from the civilian sahayak who was to look after me. During my ‘tea time’ conversation, I happen to ask him why are the surrounding areas outside IMA not as clean and tidy as those of the academy. In the academy not a brick is out of place but the town, Prem Nagar, in the vicinity is littered with garbage and to add to this ugly sight, the walls of the buildings on the approach roads have the spit marks of paan and gutkha, stray animals rule the roost and the policeman standing at the junction is also not doing his duty of guiding the traffic.

His answer was simple and hard hitting — ‘Sir swachh bharat se pehle disciplined bharat ki jaroorat hai’. He wasn’t wrong.

The visit to any Army station is indicative of organised lifestyle and swachh surroundings. The laid down guidelines are followed in letter and spirit with regards to garbage, no use of polythene, proper maintenance of sewerage and finally the disciplined traffic flow. It is a treat to see the jawans’ accommodation, including bathrooms/washrooms, schools, langars, mess areas, office areas, shopping centres, religious places and sports/recreational areas. Even the public sector and private banks located within the boundaries of the army stations bears the stamp of courtesy, cleanliness and discipline. Today, I can proudly state that all Army stations are like mini Smart Cities. As per the latest report of Press Information Bureau, Union ministry of defence, it states: “While swachhta and Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan is being run all over the country, the Indian Army takes pride in environmental conservation being intrinsic to its character, ethos and traditions.” It can be easily discerned that disciplined community can only bring swachhta.

The proud civilian sahayak at the time of my departure added that not only cadets and officers here are disciplined, even families, children, the civilian staff all contribute to the upkeep of the academy. His suggestion was that everybody should be put through NCC training in schools, colleges in India and it should be a compulsory subject. What he was trying to spell was that the Indians must be made disciplined first.

One can easily quote the shining examples of Japan and Singapore where discipline came first and swachhta soon followed. But, I am not sure what model of fear, penalties, fine and ‘danda’ could be imposed in the biggest democracy of the world to ingrain DNA of discipline in our citizens.

Maybe I again have to go back to IMA to get more ‘pearls of wisdom’ from the said civilian sahayak.

(The writer can be contacted at

Views expressed are personal

First Published: Nov 18, 2017 23:34 IST