Cleanliness is Godliness

Friday, October 11, 2019 | Pranab Mukherjee

Cleanliness is Godliness

Mahatma Gandhi said “Cleanliness is next to Godliness. We can no more gain God’s blessing with an unclean body than with an unclean mind. An unclean body cannot reside in an unclean city”. He raised the issue of sanitation and cleanliness to the sphere of spirituality.

On 2nd October 2014, Swachh Bharat Mission was launched to intensify the efforts to make Bapu’s dream come true. Since then the problem of accessibility and infrastructure has been solved to a great extent. But repeated incidents of violence against dalits and members of other communities make me question if people have really understood the true meaning of “Swachh Bharat”. These incidents underscore the urgency for us to introspect the erosion of values from our society. We can not build a Swacch Bharat which exalts outer cleanliness while ignoring the inner cleanliness.

Cleanliness is a matter of attitude. An attitude of being tolerant and sensitive. We come from the land which gave the world the concept of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’. Our civilizational ethos of tolerance, acceptance, and forgiveness is beginning to tear. We must identify the causes of this degradation of values and bring it to an immediate halt.

We need to strengthen and reinforce the moral principles of non violence and equality. Peace and harmony prevail when a nation celebrates pluralism, practices tolerance and promotes goodwill among diverse communities and when we get rid of the toxin of hatred, envy, jealousy, and aggression from our everyday lives.

Let us not wait to see what others are doing but be the change we want to be and in the process change the attitude of the world around you. It is time to strengthen our civic ‘consciousness’ and standards of ‘cleanliness’ and build a healthy, happy, humane and harmonious society.