From Imphal to Prayagraj to Delhi, a small gallery of Swachh Bharat walls, and an opinion

Kolkata, July 2016

The Swachh Bharat or Clean India Mission that the National Democratic Alliance government started after it came to power in 2014 has resulted in garbage dumps having some great murals that look better than the winning entries at painting competitions in schools.

The government calls Swachh Bharat the world’s largest “behaviour change programme”. That’s in Latin. What it really means in a language you understand is that it is teaching Indian grown-ups how to keep their surroundings clean and wash themselves properly, within the confines of three walls and a door, also known as a toilet.

What can be inferred from the Swachh Bharat programme is the extent to which poverty has eaten India from within. The need for such a programme in the first place is proof that millions of poor people in India, if given a choice between spending on food and building a place to defecate, would choose food first and think about spending money on making a place to take a dump.

The weirdness of it all - without meaning to point a finger - is that it took over 60 years for the government to tell grown-ups in India to consider investing in a proper place to defecate than in the paddy fields.

The cliche that it is difficult to explain India is unfortunately true. Former BBC reporter Mark Tully is probably the only journalist who has been able to explain the weirdness that is India. It sends a person to the list of the world’s 10 richest people. It has sent missions to Mars and the moon.

But still, it has to shepherd people into taking a dump in a toilet, not under the open sky.

Here's a brief gallery of Swachh Bharat walls and related themes. Some of these photos have been published on journey basket's Instagram feed:

Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad), January 2019

Imphal, June 2015

Imphal, July 2016

Delhi, June 2019

Delhi, March 2019

Delhi, September 2018

Delhi, August 2019

Delhi, August 2019

Delhi, January 2019

Delhi, January 2019

Delhi, January 2019

Delhi, September 2019

Varanasi, July 2017

Varanasi, July 2017

Delhi, April 2019

Delhi, October 2019

Delhi, January 2017. This is an insurance to stop Indian men from peeing on the wall.

Delhi, April 2016

Delhi, June 2019.
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