By Somali K Chakrabarti
When you are surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.
With a purpose as imperative as cleanliness and sanitation, which affects every single individual in the country in some way or the other and is driven by none other than the PM of the country, it is but natural that a movement to support the cause will gain traction. The 12 hr long LIVE televised CLEANATHON on 14th December, 2014, a part of “Banega Swachh India” campaign launched by RB India and NDTV was such a unique event that brought together people from all walks and streams of life to create awareness for the need of sanitation and to support the cause.
If my face and voice can become a reason for people to follow the Swachh India campaign, I’m happy to be a part of it. ~ Amitabh Bachchan, Campaign Ambassador
My biggest perk from blogging came in the form of winning Banega Swachh India blogging contest that gave me the opportunity to witness the NDTV Cleanathon event held on the 14th Dec and to contribute to the cause.
Mr Amitabh Bachchan, the brand ambassador for the Swachh India campaign, opened the event explaining why sanitation is of such immense importance to all of us. Mr Bachchan, along with co-anchor, Mr Vikram Chandra, executive director and CEO of NDTV looked into the challenges with respect to sanitation that exist in India today and urged people to join hands in the cleanliness drive.
They were joined by a number of political leaders, a galaxy of stars and celebrities, and corporate leaders who pledged their support for the campaign, as well as NGOs and people who had worked relentlessly for improving sanitation conditions in their communities or for bringing about the much needed changes in mindset towards the use of toilets. On one hand there were Ms Dia Mirza, Mr Boman Irani, Mr Cyrus Broacha, Mr Govinda, Mr Sudesh Bhosle, Mr Javed Akhtar, Ms Sonakshi Sinha, Mr Arjun Kapoor, Ms Waheeda Rehman, Ms Priyanka Chopra discussing the issue, canvassing and contributing for the cause, on the other we had Ms Priyanka Chaturvedi, Mr Shashi Tharoor, Mr Prasoon Joshi coming up with concrete suggestions of how the government machinery could be used for implementing the broad initiatives. Corporate Bigwigs including Ms Arundhati Bhattacharya, Mr Anil Aggarwal, Mr Rakesh Kapoor, Mr Nitish Kapoor, Ms Chanda Kochar, Mr Anand Mahindra, Mr Roinnie Screwala and others pledged support to the campaign as a part of their CSR activities.
Within 2 hours of the start of the campaign, PM Modi tweeted to congratulate the NDTV-Dettol Banega Swachch India Campaign for addressing aspects related to hygiene and sanitation. Connecting virtually with Chief Ministers of different states, Mr Bachchan and Mr Chandra found out about their respective initiatives and also took the audience through the cleanliness drives organized in different cities on the day. Students and volunteers collected rubbish from Yamuna bank to MCD truck in CleanYamuna drive. School children at Ahmedabad pledged to make handwashing a habit. Students in Kolkata cleaned up paan stains from the pavements in New Market area. Sachin Tendulkar joined in virtually and urged all Indians to devote one hour each year in order to clean India.
Contributions poured in from different sectors. By the end of the day, more than Rs 280 crores were raised in donations. The Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley said that the funds for sanitation movement could come in by merging schemes to have asset creation (in form of toilets) as well as to generate employment and from the CSR funds of the corporates and PSUs.
Here was my opportunity to feature LIVE on the CLEANATHON on NDTV. It was an amazing experience to be awarded in such an inclusive forum that had a superstar, a political leader, two chairpersons, two people who do rag-picking for a living and two people who run NGOs seated at the same level on a stage. Kudos to SwachhIndia campaign!
Watching Sudesh Bhosle, and Govinda paying tribute to Amitabh Bachchan with his songs and dance, was an added treat. Well as a friend pointed out treat is an understatement in this context ….it’s humungous, exquisite and fantabulous! Alka Yagnik paid tribute to Waheeda Rehman with her lovely songs.
It was inspiring to see Mr Bachchan tirelessly championing the cause with sustained enthusiasm and a sincere urge to understand and dissect the problems. Not appearing weary, or bored even once during the event, he asked pointed questions and came up with some brilliant suggestions, and got others engrossed into the discussion, as he sought their views on the issue. All seemed to agree that Sanitation is a collective responsibility – it is not the question of blaming only government for insufficient system, or blaming individuals for poor hygiene, or unclean habits. Time and again, Mr Bachchan stressed that swachhindia campaign should not be a one off thing or remain a photo opportunity, but the cleanliness drive should be carried out in a sustainable manner to build up the consciousness about hygiene into our lifestyles.
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By: Somali K Chakrabarti
Hi there! Welcome to Scribble and Scrawl! Here, I delve into themes related to positive lifestyle – from making smart-living choices, savvy financial decisions to nurturing the mind, body and soul. I share my travel experiences, explore facets of art and culture and highlight inspiring stories. Hope you enjoy reading my posts.
Hi there! Welcome to Scribble and Scrawl! Here, I delve into themes related to positive lifestyle - from making smart-living choices, savvy financial decisions to nurturing the mind, body and soul. I share my travel experiences, explore facets of art and culture and highlight inspiring stories. Hope you enjoy reading my posts.